How to familiarize yourself with Counterparty by using testnet


#1

New Counterparty users sometimes jump straight on to mainnet (the network with “real” tokens, XCP, BTC and others) without any practice.

While that is fine if you deal with small values, it can be pricey if you make a mistake. It is therefore recommended to spend an hour or two on testnet, which is a network with “fake” coins.

First you need to create a testnet wallet. Counterwallet has a testnet version and is usually enabled on sites that run it. Once you create a wallet, you need to get some testnet BTC, from which you can generate testnet XCP and other tokens. The process is described here.

Once you have a testnet wallet with BTC and XCP, you can do the same things that you can do on mainnet, but without risk of loss (since testnet tokens are worthless).

Recommended Practice

Below you can find some operations that different categories of users may want to rehearse before moving to mainnet. This list is not exhaustive - please remember that you are the only person responsible for your tokens.

NOTE: If you plan on using a hardware and/or software wallet to keep Counterparty assets/tokens, before you send your tokens to an address in that wallet, make sure you know how to get/sweep/send them out of that wallet. Most wallets that allow you to obtain the private key for its addresses are likely to allow Counterparty tokens to be swept or send transactions composed externally, but that is not always the case and testnet gives you a chance to verify that (alternatively you can first use your 3rd party Bitcoin wallet to send a very small amount of real Counterparty tokens, so that in case of a problem the loss is minimal. This can be done if the 3rd party wallet does not have a testnet version).

Regular Wallet Users

  • Buy a token on DEx (pay attention to how the UI works; for example if you click on an offer to sell the quantity and price both change to adjust to the offer you click on; if the price is set to a ridiculous level, you probably want to adjust it before you place Order)
  • Send and receive testnet tokens (you can create another wallet for this, or send between 2 addresses in which case you need to add another regular address in existing wallet)
  • Notice how orders are broadcast and how they are full
  • Use a Bitcoin blockchain explorer for testnet to watch your address and see how transactions need to get confirmed before they’re finalized in Counterwallet (by the way, Counterwallet testnet explorer would show you the details of your Counterparty transaction, but in terms of confirmed/uconfirmed, it is sufficient to watch the bitcoin blockchain because no Counterparty transaction is valid until it’s been confirmed and entered the bitcoin blockchain)
  • If you have a hardware wallet or use some fancy theft protection scheme, practice how to get the tokens in and out of your wallet and make notes (of course, without private keys in them). Do not wait until the hour you need the tokens. You may be the only person who uses this particular hardware wallet or client to send/receive XCP or other tokens, so you may need to document this procedure just for yourself.

Issuers

  • Issue an asset (or better, issue a bunch of assets, using different options)
  • Sell the asset on DEx in exchange for XCP
  • Buy the asset using XCP or other token they’re being sold for (for this it is recommended to create another wallet, which would simulate the “buyer” of the token, but you can also use another address from the same wallet, although this can be confusing)
  • Issue dividend
  • Lock an asset

Traders (Users who use the Counterparty Distributed Exchange aka DEx)

  • Issue several assets
  • Create buy/sell offers using different wallets and see how they match (partial, full matches), how orders expire and so on

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