Academy Series #6: Try the Web3 in a safe environment with Testnets
Whenever we speak about applications in a blockchain (Ethereum, BSC, Polygon, Polkadot, Solana, etc.) we are usually referring to applications that are deployed on the so-called MainNet of that blockchain.
However, all of these blockchains also have parallel instances called Testnets. These are testing environments used to test applications and smart contracts before they go fully live. As the name says it’s particularly useful for testing, and they are already extensively used by development teams.
But the reality is that these Testnets can be more than that: they can provide a secure and safe environment for new Web3 users to experiment with cryptocurrencies and try new things without being concerned about risks, consequences, and most of all, losing money.
In this article, we will coverthe importance of Testnets and how these Testnets are actually a great option for new users to get onboard in Web3 applications.
What are Testnets?
As the name indicates, a Testnet is a network for testing. It is in reality, a separate blockchain from the main one, purely focused on experimentation.
Testnets were created as a way to provide an environment for developers to put out and test smart contracts without worrying that they are on their final version. As you may know, as soon as something is deployed on a blockchain (the MainNet), it becomes immutable. Also, there are high costs to deploy smart contracts in different blockchains. The immutability of the contracts means that deploying new programs in the blockchain is highly risky, and the software must be thoroughly tested before deployment.
If a smart contract is not sufficiently tested we can come across several issues that are hard to solve and an entirely new contract must be deployed to fix those. And, in the worst-case scenarios, a badly audited and tested contract can be vulnerable to hacks and exploitations, which might result in people actually losing a lot of money.
This is why most of the blockchain development teams use Testnets extensively in order to make sure that they cover all the possible issues and risks before deploying the final version on the blockchain.
A new use case: Testnets are also for End-Users
It’s quite clear the benefit for Testnets when you’re developing smart contracts, but we believe there’s way more value beyond that.
One less-discussed aspect about Testnets, which we believe is actually one of its biggest advantages, is the fact that Testnets don’t necessarily need to be exclusive to developers. While it’s certainly good as a development tool, using a Testnet is actually the best way for new users to try out the blockchain in a secure manner, where they can also do their trial and error.
The reality is that getting started with Cryptocurrencies, Blockchain and Web3 can be scary sometimes. You usually have to go through several complicated steps: install a wallet, create an address, deposit & withdraw funds, connect the wallet, approve transactions, sign transactions, double and triple check the address you’re sending funds to, and so on. Plus, on top of this, you usually have to start paying fees for every action that you make and undoing actions can actually cost you money.
This is truly overwhelming for a new user. You feel lost, and you feel like you can quickly lose a lot of money with a small mistake. In the end, users prefer to stay away in order to avoid major mistakes.
And, this is why using a Testnet first is the best way to learn how to navigate the blockchain world. On the Testnet, everything is risk-free. It’s like a playground where the currencies you use are all equivalent to “paper monopoly money”.
Start Using Web3 applications in Testnet
We’re providing basic guidance on how to start playing around with Testnets, and also some pointers to applications that are a good way to start off with.
1. Install Metamask
First, you should start by installing a wallet. You need one for every interaction in the blockchain. The most common wallet is Metamask, and you can follow this quick tutorial on how to create your first Metamask Wallet and address: https://myterablock.medium.com/how-to-create-or-import-a-metamask-wallet-a551fc2f5a6b
2. Switch to a Testnet
Now that you created your Metamask Wallet you should switch to a Testnet. Metamask is connected with the Main Ethereum Network by default. In this menu you can see the other Testnets available. Change the connection to any of these.
3. Get some Ether (Native Coin)
In order to use a blockchain you always need to have the native coin of that chain on your wallet, so you can use the applications.
One easy way to acquire native coins in testing environments is by using Faucets. These allow you to ask for a small amount to a specified wallet address. Use the following link to request Test Ether to your wallet: https://faucets.chain.link/kovan
Get to Work
Ok! Now you have your wallet created, connected to Kovan or Rinkeby Network, and with some Ether on it. It’s time to start using it now! Here are some possible applications for you to try now:
A simple one is simply transferring money. Maybe you can ask a couple of friends to join you in this experience, and you can start seeing how easy and simple it is to send Cryptocurrencies to each other!
If you’re looking to play around with DeFi both Compound or Aave are both options to try:
- Compound Finance — https://compound.finance/ (use Kovan Network)
- Aave Finance — https://testnet.aave.com/ (use Kovan Network)
Exchanges & Coin Swaps
If you’re looking to learn more about Decentralized Exchanges then take a look at UniSwap or SushiSwap:
- UniSwap — https://app.uniswap.com/ (use Kovan Network)
- SushiSwap — https://app.sushi.com/ (use Kovan Network)
If you’re looking to learn more about NFTs, and trying to buy and sell a few, and don’t want to use your money for now, Rarible’s Testnet is a good option for that.
- Rarible — https://rinkeby.rarible.com/ (use Rinkeby Network)
Finally, BEPRO also recently launched its Testnet, an Autonomous Protocol for Decentralized Development and it’s live for you to try it at: https://testnet.bepro.network/
Last but no least, Web3 enhances the internet as we know it today with a few other added characteristics as it is verifiable, trustless, self-governing, permissionless, distributed and robust, stateful and native buil-it payments. And at BEPRO Network, we’re building code for the future of Web3 decentralized development with these premises in mind.
Hope this article was useful and made you a little bit more familiar and comfortable to try out the Web3.
But in the meantime, can I start now?
Of course you can! At BEPRO Network we build tools for builders and help ambitious individuals and teams speed up their idea development. We recently released our NFT Factory into our codebase which allows you to easily build NFT-based applications. Start here: http://docs.bepro.network
If you have questions or ideas around the topic feel free to reach out directly to us and I’ll be happy to help! Just ping me directly at email@example.com !
About BEPRO Network
BEPRO Network is a codebase for DeFi, Gaming, Prediction Markets & More. We are a Code-as-a-Service protocol providing technology and support for blockchain-based applications.