Casa, a US-based bitcoin custodian firm, runs a separate and parallel version of the bitcoin blockchain called the TBTC testnet. This technology supports tBTC tokens, which have no financial value associated with them, but are useful for conducting tests around new protocols that can be supported on the Bitcoin blockchain. In fact, the full form of TBTC is “testnet Bitcoin”. Casa co-founder and blockchain developer Jameson Lopp said in a recent blog post that this TBTC testnet urgently requires a configuration overhaul.

The TBTC testnet helps developers understand the workings of potentially usable blockchain solutions. This testbed is used to test and develop these solutions. In the Bitcoin testnet, the transaction speed is significantly higher than the original mainnet. To put things into perspective, the average is 144 blocks it is reported produced on the main Bitcoin network on a daily basis, while on the other hand, TBTC is capable of producing over 10,000 blocks per day.

Due to the block processing speed, the testnet has already recorded a block height of 2,811,000. In order for the Bitcoin mainnet to reach this block height, the blockchain could it is reported you have to wait until 2061. This development caused the reward tokens earned by testnet miners to drop to almost zero – making testnet almost unusable for developers. Consequently, the number of tBTC tokens – which can be exchanged for BTC and are native to the testnet – has become extremely scarce as miners are not adding new blocks. Currently, the block reward for these testnet miners is only ~0.006 TBTC.

According to Casa boss 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 risk the real value of debugging in the software. It’s time to reset the Bitcoin testnet, also known as ‘testnet’ or ‘testnet3’ to be more specific.”

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

“People are using it (the testnet) for airdrops and other activities that promise real value. This created an economic demand for TBTC. People buy/sell TBTC on multiple sites. Testnet has a weird quirk that we need to fix because it’s partly responsible for getting us here,” Lopp noted in his blog post.

As of now, it remains unclear when this work to update the TBTC blockchain will begin and what the results of this would be for developers using it to design Bitcoin-compatible protocols.

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