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Understanding The Cardano Testnets

In recent months there has been talk about the Cardano Testnet being broken due to a “catastrophic bug”. This brought a lot of fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) regarding Cardano especially to those who did not understand the issue. The issue has since been resolved and now Cardano is using multiple Testnet environments for different stages of development. Just what are these environments and do you need to know how to use them? Read on to find out:

The Cardano Testnets

If you are only investing in Cardano and are not running a stake pool or planning on doing development, you actually do not need to know about Testnets. Still, this summary is good for you to understand Testnets so that whenever there are discussions relating to the Cardano Testnets you will be able to read them with a better context.

Without further ado, the main Cardano testnets are the following:

Pre-production Testnet – this is the minimum test environment that all stake pool operators and developers should have. It closely mimics the production (Mainnet) environment which makes it easy to see if any changes you want to apply will also work in Mainnet.

Preview Testnet – this environment includes new functionalities for testing. It has 1 day epochs which makes it very fast and easy to do testing compared to the preproduction Testnet.

Other Testnets – aside from the above, there are other testnets that are created to address certain parts of the Cardano development process which I will not mention here. These are usually short lived and are not required unless you have the time and want to be involved in very early development testing. An example of this is the Vasil devnet.

NOTE: It should be noted that the old Testnet that contained the infamous bug is no longer in use. Hence, no actual damage happened to Cardano apart from a delay in the recent hard fork.

Setting up and maintaining a Test environment is time consuming and requires resources especially if you plan to keep up the environment 24×7. Also, these environments will need to be upgraded and sometimes re-created whenever there is a planned respin to resolve an issue. This will mean losing all delegation, stake and any activities that the SPO has done in the test environment when they recreate the environment after a respin. All of these takes a lot of time and require a certain level of expertise. For these reasons, only a subset of stake pool operators have test environments in preprod and much less in the preview environment.

Nevertheless, it is highly recommended for all SPO’s to have at least a preproduction environment up and running. This will ensure that they can test any changes prior to applying to to their production Mainnet environment. Proper testing will help to keep their stake pool safe from any changes that may cause a negative effect on their production stake pools. Not doing proper testing puts their stake pools and delegators at risk of losing rewards.

To view the details of the pools that are in the preproduction and preview environments, you can use explorers like preprod.cexplorer.io and preview.cexplorer.io respectively.

I hope this short summary of Cardano testnets has given you a peek at what environments SPO’s and developers maintain in order to bring about changes to Cardano while maintaining the integrity of production environments.


In other news, WISH Pool has completed recreating its preproduction and preview test environments after IOG announced a respin of these environments. It was a shame to have to start from the beginning again, but this is just one of the things an SPO needs to do to make sure they can do proper testing whenever they need to.

Also, we have completed our October donation to our adopted educational charity Children’s Wishing Well.

October 2022 Donation

WISH Pool is the creator of Cardano SPOT Check, an online resource for Cardano Stake Pool Operators for maintaining their nodes. We are part of the Ardana ISPO and were a recipient of the IOG delegation in 2021 and the Cardano Foundation delegation in 2022. If you like this article, we greatly appreciate if you will delegate your ADA to WISH Pool. You will be earning interest rewards while helping the lives of disadvantaged children. This is because we pledge to give at least 10% of our own profit to educational charities so that successful students can help get their families out of poverty. Let’s help grow the community together!

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