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NEAR Networks

NEAR Protocol operates on several networks each operating with their own independent validators and unique state. These networks are as follows:


mainnet is for production ready smart contracts and live token transfers. Contracts ready for mainnet should have gone through rigorous testing and independent security reviews if necessary. mainnet is the only network where state is guaranteed to persist over time (subject to the typical security guarantees of the network's validation process).


testnet is a public network and the final testing network for nearcore changes before deployment to mainnet. testnet is intended for testing all aspects of the NEAR platform prior to mainnet deployment. From account creation, mock token transfers, development tooling, and smart contract development, the testnet environment closely resembles mainnet behavior. All nearcore changes are deployed as release candidates on first testnet, before the changes are released on mainnet. A number of testnet validators validate transactions and create new blocks. dApp developers deploy their applications on testnet before deploying on mainnet. It is important to note that testnet has its own transactions and states.


localnet is intended for developers who want to work with the NEAR platform independent of the public blockchain. You will need to generate nodes yourself. localnet gives you the total control over accounts, economics, and other factors for more advanced use cases (including making changes to nearcore). For developers, localnet is the right choice if you prefer to avoid leaking information about your work during the development process.

More on local development here

near-cli network selection variable is local