Welcome to the Cardano testnets and testbeds portal. Here, programmers and smart contracts writers will find information and instructions for IOHK’s testing environments. These allow you to try out your code for smart contracts without having to deploy programs to the live Cardano blockchain – this means you avoid any costs. These services are free to use.

As Cardano development progresses, more testing environments will be available here. We encourage you to read about them and to play around with the features they offer. Most importantly, we look forward to your feedback, which will help us to make Cardano best in class.

Available testbeds

  • cardano shelley logo

    Cardano Shelley

    The Cardano Shelley testnet is where you can experiment with stake pools and help build up a collection of pools on Cardano. It is a milestone as we move into the Shelley era of development and will help us to prepare for the community taking over the blockchain.

  • plutus logo

    Plutus Playground

    The Plutus Playground is a web-based emulator that executes smart contracts developed in the Haskell-based Plutus programming environment as if they were running on the Cardano blockchain. Plutus is embedded in Haskell, and is familiar to Haskell programmers, while being easier to analyse than Haskell itself. The Plutus Playground provides a way to easily write and deploy your contracts without the overhead of installing and maintaining a full development environment and blockchain. As with all of IOHK's testbeds, it is free to use.

  • kevm logo

    KEVM

    The KEVM is a high quality, formally verified smart contract virtual machine compatible with the Ethereum virtual machine (EVM). Formally specified in the K framework, the KEVM uses formal semantics for elements such as the configuration and transition rules of EVM, resulting in a more secure virtual machine for smart contracts.

  • marlowe logo

    Marlowe Playground

    Marlowe Playground is a web-based emulator that works with Marlowe, the smart contracts development system for people with financial expertise who are not programmers. It also runs the required actions to test your input and output transactions as if you were integrated with a live blockchain.

  • cardano  byron logo

    Cardano Byron

    Based on the Byron era version of Cardano. Developers can explore the features of Cardano on this testnet before deploying their code on the mainnet.

  • iele logo

    IELE

    The IELE testnet underpins the path to a more robust smart contract design for Cardano. It is a register-based virtual machine built to take account of the lessons learned from LLVM. IELE aims to provide the most secure and high-performance platform for smart contracts, while also executing different programming languages.

What is a testnet?

A testnet is a blockchain that is still being developed but is open to software writers so they can experiment with their own programs. A testnet allows software writers to check that their code runs properly before they make possibly costly deployments to a mainnet; this works for both seasoned blockchain developers as well as students looking to polish their skills. It also gives an opportunity for everyone to give feedback about the performance of the platform. A testnet environment provides the virtual machine, a blockchain and a faucet for test tokens so that the developer has everything they need for the testing and verification of their use cases, avoiding the mainnet and the use of real cryptocurrency for their tests.

What is an Emulator?

An emulator is a program that reproduces the functions or actions of a different computer, operating system or other software. In this case, it is web-based software that enables you to execute programs as if they were running on the Cardano blockchain, though it does not simulate all aspects of the blockchain.

Select Testnet

kevm logo

The KEVM is a high quality, formally verified smart contract virtual machine compatible with the Ethereum virtual machine (EVM). Formally specified in the K framework, the KEVM uses formal semantics for elements such as the configuration and transition rules of EVM, resulting in a more secure virtual machine for smart contracts.

cardano byron logo

Cardano is the world's first third-generation blockchain, using rigorous academic research to improve on Bitcoin and Ethereum technology. IOHK's engineers have created the Cardano Byron testnet so developers and exchanges can explore the blockchain and check out their code before it is deployed on the mainnet without needing to use real cryptocurrency.

iele logo

The IELE testnet underpins the path to a more secure, robust smart contract design for Cardano. It is a new register-based virtual machine for smart contracts built to take account of the lessons learned from LLVM. IELE aims to provide the most secure and high-performance platform for running smart contracts, while also delivering the most flexible set of interfaces possible to execute different programming languages.

plutus logo

The Plutus Playground is a web-based emulator that executes smart contracts developed in the Haskell-based Plutus programming environment as if they were running on the Cardano blockchain. As with all of IOHK’s testbeds, it is free to use.

marlowe logo

Marlowe Playground is an emulator that works with Marlowe, the smart contracts development system for people with financial expertise who are not programmers. It provides a browser-based graphical interface where you can easily play with and edit your contracts. It also runs the required actions to test your input and output transactions as if you were integrated with a live blockchain.

cardano shelley logo

The Cardano Shelley testnet is where our community can experiment with stake pools and help build up a collection of pools on Cardano. It marks an important milestone as we move into the Shelley era of development and will help us to prepare for the day when the community takes over full management of the blockchain.

Need technical support?

To contact IOHK Technical Support, please submit a request using the Submit a request form. You can also click on the Support button at the bottom right of your screen.
The request form is better if you have a lot to write.

Support request