# Testnets¶

BitShares offers an Open Public Testnet that has been deployed and is fully functional for anyone to join and test without using real BTS. Instead, you will receive Testnet Core asset TEST. The Open Public Testnet is a great space to start learning about BitShares-Core features and BitShares-UI wallet.

For the BitShares Testnet preparation, you should download a testnet branch from the BitShares-Core repository. The testnet branch files are for the Testnets to use.

The testnet branch files: include bug fixes or new features

## Public Testnets¶

If you want to prepare a Public Testnet, you can simply download and use BitShares-Core’s testnet branch. The testnet branch files have been prepared for the Public Testnet environment.

## Private Testnets¶

If you want to test the feature set of current mainnet without connecting to mainnet, you must start a new (private) network. The private testnet is suitable for building faster local testing environments and testing your applications.

For a Private Testnet set up, you can download and use the testnet branch. However, you will have to set up necessary parameters’ valuables for your Private Testnet before you start witness_node.