Why Are Testnets and Stagenets Important for Blockchain Development
Bware Labs Team
Whenever a promising new blockchain, cryptocurrency, or decentralized application (dApp) goes live, you can be sure that it has undergone months of existence on a test network. Often overlooked and underestimated, testnets and stagenets play a pivotal role in the realm of the blockchain world.
Like sandbox environments, testnets and stagenets enable safe patch testing, feature development, vulnerability scanning, or bug fixing.
Read on to learn more about these networks and why they’re beneficial, including for individuals who aren’t developers.
What Are Testnets?
Testnets are Beta versions or working prototypes of a mainnet ecosystem. Many blockchain networks, including Ethereum, have at least one active testnet with the help of which developers can test protocols and smart contracts.
The users get to understand network operations better and observe the actual behavior of their dApps on the network. At the same time, the network itself gains insights into what works well and what requires fixing with the help of users who can identify bugs or errors within the blockchain network.
Tokens used on testnets hold no real value, enabling users to enjoy a risk-free interaction with the network without losing their assets.
How to Use a Testnet
Follow these steps to begin your testing journey:
- Choose a blockchain with a testnet version: make sure to select a blockchain that offers a testnet environment. Not all blockchains have testnet versions, so check if your preferred blockchain provides this option.
- Download and install a wallet that supports the testnet: ensure your chosen wallet supports the testnet version of your preferred blockchain. Visit the official website of the blockchain to find a list of wallets that are compatible with their testnet.
- Get testnet coins: unlike the main network, testnet coins hold no real-world value and can be acquired for free from various sources. Some cryptocurrencies or even companies that provide various blockchain services have faucets that offer testnet coins.
- Start experimenting: you can now begin exploring and experimenting with the various features and applications available on the testnet; this includes sending and receiving testnet currencies, testing smart contracts, and more.
How are Stagenets Different from Testnets?
Like the testnet, a stagenet is a staging environment that mimics the mainnet as best as possible and includes mining pool software and forks.
Most platforms don’t make any difference between testnets and stagenets. Users can easily run their own stagenet node, test builds, and updates before deploying them for general use.
Yet, a stagenet can be used for different purposes. Within some platforms, stagenets are dedicated to users who simply want to interact with the network, while other platforms release stagenets strictly for developers who want to test more advanced features.
As opposed to testnets, some stagenets require using tokens with real value. For example, THORChain has introduced a stagenet with real-value tokens to attract more developers so they can test security features for the platform’s new blockchains.
The network’s stagenet clones THORChain with real assets, node operators, and incentives deposited to the pools strictly for testing. This way, THORChain can release new features quickly as stagenet contributors will speed up bug discovery since they’ll be incentivized for their contribution.
Testnets and Stagenets’ Crucial Role in Blockchain Development
1. Educational resources for learning about blockchain
As testnets and stagenets are safe and free to use (there’s no need to pay for gas fees with real tokens), they present the perfect opportunity for blockchain newbies to learn more about the blockchain ecosystem.
Although you can learn a lot by just playing around and experimenting all by yourself, developers usually offer several resources to guide you through your journey in testnets and stagenets. You’ll have access to user manuals, tutorials, and other guides for every step of the testnet and stagenet.
2. Foster innovation and creativity
Both testnets and stagenets instill developers to freely explore diverse concepts and ideas, even those deemed prone to failure. The outcomes of these trial-and-error processes often pave the way for the birth of unconventional and captivating projects.
3. Enhance security and user experience
Bug-free apps or platforms are a myth in blockchain too. Regardless of developers’ efforts, blockchain protocols or dApps will have bugs or errors. Testnets and stagenets ensure that these bugs and errors are identified, so they can be solved before the live launch. Additionally, developers can find that unexpected use cases need to be improved, so they can implement different formats and designs and see which version performs better.
4. Encourages community engagement
A thriving community is one of the basic elements in the blockchain space, especially when it comes to defining successful Web3 projects. It’s natural for any testing project to enjoy the community’s active support and contribution. Usually, supporters of a blockchain company or product are also willing to help with testing the design on the testnet or stagenet.
By engaging in testnets or stagenets, developers immerse themselves in the realm of new blockchain tools and documentation, enabling them to garner exposure and hands-on experience. They can also become enthusiastic advocates by spreading the word across social media platforms, fueling engagement, and cultivating a vibrant community.
5. Opportunities for airdrops
In the realm of blockchain projects, there are exciting prospects for airdrops, which not only reward users for their valuable testnet feedback but also serve as a gateway to potential future airdrops if the project decides to issue its own token.
By seamlessly connecting your wallet and engaging in specific actions, you will be securely logging your wallet address within the smart contracts of the testnet application. Developers can track the addresses that have successfully connected to the application and perform specific actions.
Testnets and stagenets are essential tools for the development and innovation of blockchain technology. They enable developers to experiment with new projects, features, and upgrades without risking real money or compromising the security and stability of the mainnet.
With the help of Blast, you can get access to Sui and Base testnet faucets and claim funds by just filling in your wallet address. Use Sui if you want to deploy and interact with their programs on Sui’s Devnet and Testnet networks or Base if you’re interested in Ethereum dApp prototyping and testing.