What is TBTC Bitcoin Testnet and Why Do Developers Think It Needs a Revamp?

On the testnet Bitcoin, the speed of transactions is significantly higher than the original mainnet.

What is TBTC Bitcoin Testnet and Why Do Developers Think It Needs a Revamp?

Photo Credit: Unsplash/ Kanchanara

The TBTC testnet has not been reset for the last thirteen years

  • The TBTC testnet is handled by Bitcoin custodian firm named Casa
  • tBTC tokens are native to the testnet blockchain
  • The TBTC testnet is also called Testnet3

Casa, a Bitcoin custodian firm based in the US, operates a separate and parallel version of the Bitcoin blockchain called the TBTC testnet. This technology supports tBTC tokens, which have no financial value linked to them but come in handy for conducting tests around new protocols that could be supported on the Bitcoin blockchain. In fact, the full form of TBTC is ‘testnet Bitcoin'. Casa's cofounder and blockchain developer Jameson Lopp, in a recent blogpost, said that this TBTC testnet urgently requires a configuration revamp.

The TBTC testnet helps developers figure out the working of potentially usable blockchain solutions. This testnest is used for the testing and development of these solutions. On the testnet Bitcoin, the speed of transactions is significantly higher than the original mainnet. To put things in perspective, an average of 144 blocks are reportedly produced on the Bitcoin mainnet on a daily basis, whereas on the other hand, the TBTC is capable of producing over 10,000 blocks per day.

Because of the speed of processing blocks, the testnet has already logged the block height of 2,811,000. For Bitcoin's mainnet to reach this block height, the blockchain would reportedly need to wait till year 2061. This development has resulted in the drop of reward tokens earned by testnet miners to almost zero – making the testnet almost unusable for developers. Consequently, the number of tBTC tokens – which can be exchanged for BTC and are native to the testnet, have become extremely scarce because miners are not adding new blocks. Presently, the block reward for these testnet miners stands at only ~0.006 TBTC.

As per Casa chief, Lopp, “Testnet coins are supposed to be plentiful and free so that developers can experiment and test their Bitcoin software without having to spend money or put real value at risk when debugging software. It's time to reset Bitcoin's test network, also known as ‘testnet' or ‘testnet3' to be more specific.”

The TBTC testnet has not been reconfigured in the last thirteen years.

“People have been using it (the testnet) for airdrops and other activities promising actual value. This has created economic demand for TBTC. People are buying / selling TBTC on multiple sites. Testnet has a weird quirk we should fix because it's somewhat responsible for getting us to this point,” Lopp has noted in his blog post.

As of now, it remains unclear by when this blockchain revamp work start on the TBTC and what would be the outcomes of this for the developers using it to design Bitcoin-compatible protocols.

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Further reading: Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, TBTC Testnet
Radhika Parashar
Radhika Parashar is a senior correspondent for Gadgets 360. She has been reporting on tech and telecom for the last three years now and will be focussing on writing about all things crypto. Besides this, she is a major sitcom nerd and often replies in Chandler Bing and Michael Scott references. For tips or queries you could reach out to her at RadhikaP@ndtv.com. More
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