What is Mainnet in Blockchain

Andrew Carr
| Editor:
April 2, 2024
6 min read

A mainnet is the principal blockchain network where real transactions take place, and actual digital assets are used. It is a live, public, and decentralized network that operates using the native cryptocurrency of the platform. 

This mainnet is where actions such as transferring real digital assets, executing smart contracts, and interacting with decentralized applications (DApps) are performed.

Mainnet vs Testnet

In contrast to the mainnet is the testnet, a parallel network to the mainnet designed specifically for testing purposes. The testnet allows developers to test the functionalities of smart contracts and DApps in a safe environment without risking real assets or transactions.

Unlike the mainnet, the testnet does not use real cryptocurrencies. Instead, test tokens are used, which have no real-world value. This enables developers to experiment freely without the fear of losing valuable assets.

Understanding the difference between a mainnet and a testnet is key when exploring blockchain technology. As a user or investor, your interactions will likely occur on the mainnet, where real transactions are executed. The robust testing that takes place on the testnet helps to ensure that these transactions occur smoothly and securely on the mainnet.

Transactions on Mainnet

On a mainnet, users perform actions such as sending and receiving cryptocurrencies. These transactions are real, meaning they have actual value and are permanently recorded on the blockchain. This is why transactions on the mainnet must be performed with caution – once a transaction is confirmed, it cannot be reversed.

Mainnet transactions can be as simple as transferring digital assets between two users or as complex as multi-byte transactions conducted through DApp interaction. Regardless of the complexity, all transactions on the mainnet require a gas fee to be paid to the miners or validators to incentivize them to confirm the transactions.

Executing Smart Contracts on Mainnet

In addition to performing transactions, the mainnet is also where smart contracts are executed. Smart contracts are self-executing contracts with the terms of the agreement directly written into code. Smart contracts automatically execute when the encoded terms are met between the participating parties. They are a fundamental aspect of most blockchain platforms, enabling automated, trustless transactions to take place.

Before executing a smart contract on the mainnet, it's important to thoroughly test its functionalities on a testnet. Testnets provide a safe environment for developers to experiment and debug without risking real assets. Once a smart contract has been thoroughly tested and audited, it can then be deployed on the mainnet.

Executing a smart contract on the mainnet involves paying gas fees to the miners or validators. Once a smart contract is deployed on the mainnet, users can interact with it, triggering its functions and potentially transferring digital assets depending on the nature of the contract.

Understanding the role of the mainnet in transactions and smart contract execution is essential for anyone interested in leveraging the power of blockchain technology. From transferring digital assets to deploying and interacting with dApps, the mainnet is the hub where all these activities come to life. 

Significance of Mainnet Launch

The mainnet launch, or the deployment of a new blockchain network, is a significant milestone in the life cycle of a blockchain project. This event marks the transition from development and testing to fully operational and live operations. In this section, we'll delve into the preparations for a mainnet launch and its potential impact.

Preparations for Mainnet Launch

Before a mainnet goes live, extensive preparations are made to ensure the network's smooth operation. This involves rigorous testing, auditing of the codebase, and fine-tuning the network's parameters. The main objective during this phase is to identify and rectify any potential issues that could affect the network's performance or security.

The focus is also on ensuring that the network is capable of handling real transactions and functioning as intended. This involves testing and verifying the network's capacity to execute smart contracts, handle high-transaction volumes, and maintain stability under different scenarios.

Moreover, preparations for a mainnet launch also involve building an active community of users and stakeholders. This may include conducting beta testing with a select group of users, engaging the community through updates and announcements, and soliciting feedback to make necessary improvements.

Security Aspects in Mainnet Deployment

One of the crucial aspects when operating on the mainnet is the security of private keys. These keys hold real crypto tokens with real value, making them a prime target for hackers. Special care must be taken to secure these keys. It's recommended to consider hardware wallets for key security, and admin accounts with special privileges should be safeguarded against malicious use. A multi-sig smart contract can be used for added security.

A multi-signature (multi-sig) smart contract is a type of digital agreement executed on a blockchain that requires multiple parties to sign off on transactions before they can be executed. 

This contract is programmed with conditions specifying the required number of signatures from authorized parties, providing enhanced security and reducing the risk of single points of failure. It's commonly used in scenarios where multiple parties need to collaborate or where additional security measures are necessary, such as managing funds or assets collectively.

Furthermore, verifying the source code of deployed contracts on the mainnet is essential. For example, when deploying on the Ethereum mainnet, this involves submitting Solidity code to a third party like Etherscan or Etherchain, which will compile and verify that it matches the deployed assembly. This process allows users to view the contract code and confirm its correspondence to the deployed assembly.

Impact of Mainnet Launch

A mainnet launch is a pivotal event that signifies a blockchain project's readiness for real-world use. This event generates excitement and interest within the crypto community, as it provides verifiable proof that a project is fully functional and capable of handling real transactions.

Following a mainnet launch, public participation in the network is enabled, demonstrating that the project is fulfilling its roadmap as planned. This increased visibility and credibility can attract new users and investors to the platform, boosting the project's growth potential.

A mainnet launch is a significant event in the blockchain ecosystem, marking the transition from a project's development phase to real-world operations. It's a decisive moment that can greatly influence a project's reputation, user base, and market performance.

Market Trends Post-Mainnet Launch

Following a mainnet launch, the associated token often experiences an initial upward trend in price. This is largely due to the heightened credibility and proof of functionality that a mainnet provides. For instance, Ethereum, EOS, and VeChain are examples of projects that successfully launched their mainnets, subsequently experiencing positive market responses.

However, it's important to note that while an upward trend is common, the extent and duration of this trend can vary greatly depending on a multitude of factors. This includes the overall market climate, speculative factors, and even the price movement of Bitcoin, which often influences the broader cryptocurrency market.

Moreover, traders often wait a few weeks after a project goes live on mainnet before making investment decisions. This waiting period allows them to observe the project's performance and stability post-launch, providing additional insight into its long-term viability.

The launch of a mainnet can have a significant influence on the price of a project's tokens. A successful mainnet launch provides verifiable proof that a project is fully functional and allows real transactions to take place. This increases its credibility over projects without a mainnet launch and can lead to increased demand for the token, subsequently driving up its price.

Participation in Governance

In addition to enabling transactions, mainnets also facilitate participation in governance activities tied to the blockchain. This includes voting on proposals or changes to the network, among other activities. Governance mechanisms are critical to the functioning and evolution of a blockchain network, as they allow users to have a say in its future development.

On a mainnet, users can participate in governance activities through a variety of mechanisms, depending on the specific blockchain. Some blockchains enable governance through direct voting, where users can vote on proposals based on their token holdings. Others use delegated voting, where users can delegate their voting power to representatives who vote on their behalf.

By understanding the various actions that can be performed on a mainnet, users can better grasp the full potential and functionality of blockchain technology. Whether it's mainnet vs testnet, the distinction is crucial and lends to the versatility and robustness of the blockchain ecosystem.

Role of Mainnet in Blockchain Maturity

Mainnet launches play a pivotal role in showcasing the maturity and readiness of a blockchain platform for real-world use. These events often generate excitement and interest within the crypto community, indicating that the platform is ready for administrators, users, and miners to perform transactions, cryptocurrency trading, and other activities.

A successful mainnet launch helps demonstrate that the project's technology is capable of handling real-world transactions and that it can operate as a standalone network. It also indicates that the project has moved beyond the testing stages, with developers confident in its security and robustness.

In essence, mainnet serves as the backbone of blockchain projects - the more robust and secure it is, the more appealing the project becomes to potential users and investors. Therefore, the launch of a project's mainnet is a key indicator of the project's progress and a significant step towards blockchain maturity.

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