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Author Topic: Bitcoin Testnet. Activate, experience it, but don't trade and get scammed.  (Read 1074 times)
tranthidung
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January 08, 2020, 03:08:39 AM
Last edit: September 07, 2020, 01:26:05 AM by tranthidung
 #1

If you are newbies in crypto currency, bitcoin might be the first crypto currency you know about (from your friends, from your relatives, from any Ponzi clubs, whatsoever, but it is your personal issues, I don't care).
The thread is made to help you know basics on Bitcoin Core Testnet and avoid scammers.


Important notes
  • Bitcoin on Testnet have zero-value financially but extremely high value technically.
  • You can not move your coins on testnet to mainnet, and vice versa.




Table of contents

For bitcoin blockchain, there are two type of its blockchains:
  • Main net
  • Test net

Differentiate Main net and Test net wallets based on UIs

Wallet typesNotesUI images
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Bitcoin Core Mainnet
Bitcoin Core., in Orange color.

fffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff
Bitcoin Core Test net
Bitcoin Core [test], in Green color.

fffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff
Electrum Main net
Electrum 3.3.8

fffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff
Electrum Test net (Legacy)
Electrum Testnet 3.3.8

fffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff
Electrum Test net (Segwit)
Electrum Testnet 3.3.8

fffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff


Main net:
See it here: https://bitcoin.org/en/glossary/mainnet
The thread is for Testnet, specifically, so I skip the part for Mainnet as short as possible.


Test net:
A global testing environment in which developers can obtain and spend satoshis that have no real-world value on a network that is very similar to the Bitcoin mainnet.

The testnet is an alternative Bitcoin block chain, to be used for testing. Testnet coins are separate and distinct from actual bitcoins, and are never supposed to have any value. This allows application developers or bitcoin testers to experiment, without having to use real bitcoins or worrying about breaking the main bitcoin chain.

Test net generations
There are 3 generations of bitcoin testnet:
There have been three generations of testnet. Testnet2 was just the first testnet reset with a different genesis block, because people were starting to trade testnet coins for real money. Testnet3 is the current test network. It was introduced with the 0.7 release, introduced a third genesis block, a new rule to avoid the "difficulty was too high, is now too low, and transactions take too long to verify" problem, and contains blocks with edge-case transactions designed to test implementation compatibility. On the December 21 of 2015 SegNet was deployed, to test the Wuille's Segregated Witness proposal.

Transactions on testnet are made through the same process as with main net, that is one of advantages for Newbies to start off and get experiences with bitcoin transactions, how to create receiving addresses, label them, making transactions (receiving and sending) without risk of financial loses. If they make mistakes with transactions on testnet (mis-typing addresses, ie.), they will not lose anything at any amount of coins they send on test net.

Activate Bitcoin Testnet?
Does Bitcoin Core automatically activate testnet for your wallet when you set it up and run it the first time?
NO
By default (without arguments), the main net will be run for you.
When run with no arguments, all Bitcoin Core programs default to Bitcoin’s main network (mainnet).
You have to activate testnet mode by yourself.

Steps to activate Bitcoin Testnet mode
1. Bitcoin Core:
To use testnet, use the argument -testnet with bitcoin-cli, bitcoind or bitcoin-qt or add testnet=1 to your bitcoin.conf file as described earlier.
You can go to the directory in which you install your Bitcoin core, such as "C:\Program Files\Bitcoin" (in Windows), then:
  • Choose the bitcoin-qt and Right click > Create Shortcut
  • Rename the Shortcut (with Testnet suffix - I recommend you to do this).
  • Right click on the Shortcut> Properties > adding -testnet like the image.
Finished! When you run your bitcoin core on testnet, the GUI will be displayed with Green color (not Orange, as for Main net), and at the top right corner, you see [test].


2. Electrum:
See more details here: https://bitzuma.com/posts/a-beginners-guide-to-the-electrum-bitcoin-wallet/#testnet-mode
Please remember to choose steps guided for your operating system (Windows, Mac or Ubuntu).

Warning message!
When you finish those steps and run your Testnet wallet the first time, you will see the warning

How to know that you currently use Testnet?
It's simple. There are two signals for you:
  • Wallet UI color and flag (for tesnet) for Bitcoin Core or tab header for Electrum wallet (see images)
  • Address-prefix: m or n for Legacy testnet. tb1 for Segwit (bench32) testnet (see images).

For more things relate to Bitcoin Testnet's Script Hash, Private key (WIF compressed or WIF-uncompressed), please see: https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/List_of_address_prefixes

Test net with Legacy wallet:
Do you see this line on the wallet header ?
Electrum 3.3.8 Testnet

Addresses show with m or n.

Test net with Segwit (Bench32) wallet:
Do you see this line on the wallet header ?
Electrum 3.3.8 Testnet
You will see the notification and pub address shows with tb1.

Testnet Servers
You have to customize your testnet servers in order to get connections to the other Testnet nodes, especially if you running Testnet on Electrum wallet.
See: https://bitzuma.com/posts/a-beginners-guide-to-the-electrum-bitcoin-wallet/#testnet-servers




How to detect Scammers?
Ok. For newbies, those steps are find for them to start off.

Now, let's move to the most important section in the thread. How scammers can make scam with Testnet?
They will likely do something:
  • Giving you a deal with very cheap price for bitcoin. Much cheaper than actual price on the market.
  • Asking you to do some 'complicated' steps to activate your testnet mode.
  • Asking your receiving address on Testnet (starts with m or n)
  • You mostly have to go first with you fiat (always avoiding this step).
  • Whether you receive bitcoin on testnet after sending fiats to them or not, it does not matter because coins on testnet have zero-value

So, if someone (strangers) make bitcoin transaction deals with you with those requirements, avoiding such deals because you will lose your fiats by buying Testnet-coins (that have zero-value).

You can also play with them by asking them which address they will use to send their coins to your wallet. If their address is on Testnet (m, or n prefix), okay you have another clue to conclude they are scammers.




Coins are unable to be use for cross-exchanges between Mainnet and Testnet
So, you have to make sure that you use your wallet on Main net for Mainnet-transactions, and use your wallet on Testnet for Testnet-transactions.

Testnet Faucet:
You can get your testnet coins (for free, sure)

Explorers to check transactions on Test net

Lesson from loser(s)




https://bitcoin.org/en/glossary/testnet
https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Testnet
https://bitcoin.org/en/developer-examples#testnet
https://bitzuma.com/posts/a-beginners-guide-to-the-electrum-bitcoin-wallet/#testnet-mode
https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/List_of_address_prefixes
[overview] Recover Bitcoin from any old storage format (you should read it to understand more about bitcoin private key formats).
Reminder: TestNet coins have no value whatsoever, don't get scammed.





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June 12, 2020, 08:47:04 PM
 #2

I find this topic very useful and I'm sure it will help many forum users for improving their knowledge and also for avoiding scams.

If I may, I have a small add-on about this part:

  • Bitcoin on Testnet have zero-value.

Indeed, test coins have no monetary value. But obtaining them is not free, as the user trying to mine them will have to follow all the steps from mainnet, including but not limited to: buy (rent) an ASIC, pay the electricity, pay for fees, plus the effort. Thus, if someone would ask money for test coins or a collateral for lending, he may be legit. Of course, as long as the discussion implies test coins on plain sight, not a scam for sending test coins masked as real BTC.

Mocacinno offered a very detailed cost of the test coins and a very rational explanation for asking a collateral for lending such coins:

testnet BTC are not supposed to have any value ... ... but ... yeah.

That's true, they don't have any value... But that doesn't mean you can mine them for free anymore...

I would give a tBTC loan to anybody who wants one, but for people i don't know i still request collateral so i get the tBTC back and i don't have to rent hashrate to mine new tBTC for my faucet out of my own pocket.

I know it kind of defeats the purpose, and i really wonder why there are people that insist on pushing the difficulty on the testnet so incredibly high by mining on the testnet with relatively new ASIC's... I'd love to mine on the testnet with my cpu, but if i did this i'd mine close to nothing  Sad

I did a VERY raw calculation, based on prices i found on miningrigrentals:
You can rent an S9 with 16,5 Th hashrate for  0.00002/hour.
The diff is 10.5M
The block reward is 0.39 tBTC

So, if you run this S9 for a full day, it would mine:
 (((((16500000000000 * 0.39 * 600 * 65535) / 2^48) / 10500000) * 6 * 24) = 12.3 tBTC/day

A day of mining with this rented S9 would cost 0.00002 * 24 = 0.00048

So, mining 1 tBTC with rented hashrate would cost ~0.00004 BTC, NOT including the transaction fees, not including the fact that you'd end up with change on miningrigrentals, not including the time i'd need to setup everything, not paying for my efforts, not including the odds that i'm unlucky and hit less blocks than average,...

I hope this helps.

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June 13, 2020, 02:16:18 AM
 #3

Indeed, test coins have no monetary value. But obtaining them is not free, as the user trying to mine them will have to follow all the steps from mainnet, including but not limited to: buy (rent) an ASIC, pay the electricity, pay for fees, plus the effort. Thus, if someone would ask money for test coins or a collateral for lending, he may be legit. Of course, as long as the discussion implies test coins on plain sight, not a scam for s
Thank you.

I know that testnet coins don't have monetary value but in reality such coins are invaluable for us, especially for developers and newbies.

For newbies, they can claim testnet coins to get experience with bitcoin (on testnet, of course), including how to install a wallet, backup a wallet, label an address, send a coin to a receiver, send coins to multiple receives in one batch of transaction, etc.

For developers, they can use testnet for their works.

Generally, testnet coins are invaluable. If you notice, you will see a warning on sites that allow to claim testnet coins, something like "If you don't use your testnet coins, please send them back to the address ....".





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June 13, 2020, 04:09:39 AM
 #4

For developers, they can use testnet for their works.

only if they want to test something trivial and without any hassle, or if they are lazy.
otherwise regtest should be used instead which gives the developer a lot more flexibility and there no longer is any limitation on amount of coins they need, waiting for blocks to be found, wanting to test certain non-standard things, wanting to test without certain forks that happened in the past (eg. P2SH, SegWit,...), and many more.

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June 13, 2020, 05:33:41 AM
 #5

I am glad that I have found this thread before committing bitcoin transfer on the main net. I used tBTC to test and to be comfortable transferring bitcoin from Hardware Wallet to Electrum and Vice Versa  Cheesy

For newbies, they can claim testnet coins to get experience with bitcoin (on testnet, of course), including how to install a wallet, backup a wallet, label an address, send a coin to a receiver, send coins to multiple receives in one batch of transaction, etc.
I have some spare tBTC in my wallet. Maybe if there is anyone interested in trying testnet for their HW or Electrum, they can drop a PM to me  Cheesy

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July 18, 2020, 07:24:49 AM
Last edit: July 18, 2020, 07:38:49 AM by tranthidung
 #6

There are faucets that give you bitcoin testnet (that requires mining fees to create them on the testnet) but please be aware of such trading behaviours on bitcoin testnet
Have DOGE, Want tBTC (Bitcoin testnet)


Specifically, you can send a request to mocacinno (his faucet is the last one on the list) if you need a few tBTC to test. What's up with the need for tBTC?





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September 06, 2020, 05:23:27 PM
 #7

Quite an elaborate post with a lot of links and posters. It's cool. Though, haven to load every single link to download the content of that page which is also rather large seems a bit discouraging to read, I guess the newbies would be more discouraged as well as most points aren't pre explained and as such, most of it's details are filled in the links.
How about, making it a summary or something of that nature? How about that! It would give the reader a sense of where to start reading and where it ends but, the links kind of makes this part of understanding the extent of post eludes them and might get discouraged along the way. The concern is just for It'd he newbies otherwise, it's a very helpful OP.

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September 07, 2020, 06:38:21 AM
 #8

Great post! Very informative. Hopefully it helps a lot of newbies to avoid various mistakes.
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November 04, 2020, 12:01:22 AM
 #9

Are there any more recent examples of people getting scammed by buying testnet BTC? I notice a small uptick in the number of accounts asking for tBTC again... for a while I thought maybe it had to do with participation in an airdrop or some other kind of giveaway but apparently people are just using it to scam others with. (On a rare occasion does somebody actually use it to perform a test).





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