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Development Networks

While Polkadot itself is the mainnet, there are several networks that can cater to different development or application-driven contexts.

Polkadot Ecosystem Networks

  • Mainnet: Polkadot
  • Canary network: Kusama
    • Kusama is a value-bearing canary network that gets features before Polkadot does. Expect Chaos.
  • Official testnets:
    • Westend - Functionality equal to the current Polkadot mainnet, with possible next-generation testing of features from time to time that will eventually migrate onto Polkadot. Perma-testnet (is not reset back to genesis block).
    • Paseo - A community-run testnet which mirrors the Polkadot runtime. It is maintained by the community.
    • Rococo - Parachains and XCM testnet. Occasionally reset (started over again with a new genesis block).
    • Contracts - Wasm-based Smart Contract enabled parachain testnet on Rococo, primarily for ink! development.

Kusama mainnet has been running since August 2019 and has implementations in various programming languages ranging from Rust to JavaScript. The leading implementation is built in Rust and uses the Substrate framework.

Tooling is rapidly evolving to interact with the network; there are many ways to get started!

But before you jump head-first into the code, you should consider the kind of decentralized application you want to make and understand the different paradigms available to developers who want to build on Kusama.

Interfacing - PolkadotJS

PolkadotJS is the most widely used developer tool in the Polkadot ecosystem. It provides a web app to interact with various parachains, nodes, and their RPCs, as well as a Javascript API for use within front-end contexts. You can view more on PolkadotJS and its resources here.

For other programmatic ways of interacting with these networks (including PolkadotJS), please view the Node Interactions page.

Testnet Faucets

Almost all tesnets either have a web-based interface for getting test currency or a Matrix room which you can post !drip <ADDRESS>

See here for all available faucets and how to obtain testnet tokens.