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. The testbeds are:

  • KEVM testnet: allows you to experiment with any smart contract that runs on the Ethereum virtual machine (EVM).
  • IELE testnet: the first smart contracts virtual machine to use formal semantics, which delivers improved security and performance.
  • Cardano testnet: based on the next version of Cardano for release, so developers can explore new features before they are deployed on the mainnet.
  • Plutus Playground: a web-based emulator so you can develop contracts without the overhead of installing and maintaining a full development environment and blockchain.
  • Meadow: an emulator with a browser-based graphical interface so you can edit contracts written with the Marlowe tools for non-programmers.

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.

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 logo

Cardano is the world's first third-generation blockchain, using rigorous academic research to improve on Bitcoin and Ethereum technology. To give our global community of developers confidence in their applications, IOHK's engineers have created the Cardano testnet. This is based on the next upgrade to Cardano, so developers can explore new features before they are 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

Meadow 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.

Need techinical 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