Other than what is listed in the wiki, what is the difference between the two networks?

Could you sell test Bitcoins for money if you could find someone willing to buy?

What would happen if you tried to send test Bitcoins to a 'real' account and vice versa?

2 Answers 2

  1. Testnet bitcoins are less widely used in commerce than mainnet, and are not perceived as intended to be a currency.

  2. Yes, you're unlikely to fetch a significant price though.

  3. The transaction will not be recognized as a valid transaction. It would essentially be an irrelevant jumble. In fact the client wouldn't allow you to send anything because the address won't match the format of the respective network.

  • 7
    Testnet coins aren't durable. Sometimes, the bitcoins developers will ship a new testnet with a new bitcoin client. This will reset everybody's balance to 0 on the testnet. It's happened twice so far.
    – Nick ODell
    Feb 24, 2013 at 19:09
  • 1
    @NickODell: Interesting point, which leads to a philosophical discussion of "which is the real testnet"... Feb 24, 2013 at 19:33
  • Details about testnet reset: bitcoin.stackexchange.com/questions/9975/…
    – Nick ODell
    Jun 15, 2013 at 20:37
  • 2
    Also, if you're looking for testnet coins there are a number of faucets like this one -> tpfaucet.appspot.com (which also has a nice explanation of why you shouldn't sell testnet coins).
    – schellsan
    Sep 6, 2013 at 0:04

The one big difference between MainNet and TestNet is that TestNet exists at a whim of the developers. Currently we are at TestNet 3, meaning that the entire network was reset 2 times in the past.

If you try selling TestNet Bitcoins to other people, you might quickly find that the Bitcoin core development team will reset the TestNet and you will find yourself with a lot of worthless coins. From what I heard, that was one of the reasons TestNet was reset in the past - people started selling TN coins.

Since TestNet and MainNet use different net byte (0x6F rather than 0x00), means the addresses are incompatible with one another - you can't send TestNet Bitcoins to normal Bitcoin address. Even if such a transaction would be accepted (say, by using "pay to public key" script), the transaction itself would not penetrate from one network to another. In Bitcoin, a transaction is valid only if it is created from valid outputs (among many other things). Since a transaction from TestNet would reference an output that does not exist on the main Blockchain, the transaction would be invalid.

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