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What is a Mainnet?

Mainnet is a term used in the cryptocurrency world to refer to a blockchain network that is used to securely and transparently record transactions and store data. Mainnets are independent and self-sufficient networks that are not dependent on any other network or system. The term "mainnet" is a contrast to "testnet", which is a testing version of a blockchain network used for development and testing purposes.

The main purpose of a mainnet is to provide a secure and stable platform for the transfer of cryptocurrency assets and the execution of smart contracts. The mainnet operates as the backbone of a cryptocurrency, allowing users to send and receive digital assets directly from one address to another, without the need for a centralized intermediary.

In addition to being a secure platform for transactions, mainnets also allow developers to build decentralized applications (dApps) that run on the blockchain and can interact with the underlying network. This can include everything from simple financial applications to complex supply chain management systems.

Overall, the mainnet is a crucial component of any cryptocurrency and is essential for maintaining the integrity and security of the network.

Simplified Example

Think of a mainnet like a gaming hub. Imagine that you and your friends have different games, like Call of Duty, Axies, and Minecraft. This gaming hub is where you can all play games together.

Just like a gaming hub, a mainnet is a place where different things (like computers, applications, and digital money) can work together and do what they were made for. They can all play together nicely and make sure that everything is done fairly and securely, without any cheating. That's what makes a mainnet special!

History of the Term "Mainnet"

Identifying the exact originator of the term "mainnet" is challenging, as it likely arose organically within the early blockchain community during the late 2000s to early 2010s. The term's emergence is closely tied to early blockchain projects, notably Bitcoin and Ethereum, which initially launched on testnets—experimental environments for refining blockchain software before broader deployment. "Mainnet" likely came into use to distinguish the official, public version of the blockchain network from the experimental testnets, a crucial distinction for establishing legitimacy and trust, especially as blockchain technology gained broader adoption. Over time, as more projects embraced blockchain, the term "mainnet" became widely adopted within the community to delineate between test networks and the official, production-ready blockchain.

Examples

Ethereum Mainnet: Ethereum is a decentralized platform for building and running applications on blockchain technology. The Ethereum Mainnet is the original and most widely used network for running decentralized applications and executing smart contracts.

Bitcoin Mainnet: The Bitcoin Mainnet is the original and most widely used network for the cryptocurrency, Bitcoin. It is a decentralized network for peer-to-peer transactions and is used to securely transfer bitcoins between users.

EOS Mainnet: EOS is a decentralized blockchain platform for building decentralized applications and executing smart contracts. The EOS Mainnet is the original and most widely used network for running decentralized applications and executing smart contracts on the EOS platform.

  • Mainnet Swap: A process that occurs when a cryptocurrency project migrates from a testnet or other blockchain network to its own mainnet.

  • Decentralized App (dAPP): A special kind of computer program that runs on a decentralized network.