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).
- 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
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 Polkadot.
Interfacing - PolkadotJS
For other programmatic ways of interacting with these networks (including PolkadotJS), please view the Node Interactions page.
Almost all tesnets either have a web-based interface for getting test currency or a Matrix room
which you can post