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I'm just getting into cryptocurrencies so forgive me if there are some basics I am missing out on.

I have got a bitcoin account up and running and will soon be buying a few just to test things out, the purpose of buying these is so that I can then buy Ether (Cant go straight from my currency to Ether).

So I have downloaded the desktop version of Mist, and have created an account in both the Main Network and the TestNet, but am not sure what the difference between the two are? Both accounts have the automatic name : Main Account (ETHERBASE). I dont really understand what the etherbase is either? Is that just the network?

I've read that the testnet is just for trying things out? But I'm not sure exactly what that entails.

But I'm presuming that if I have Bitcoin and want to buy Ether (using shapeshift.io for example), that I would need to add the account details for the account that is set up on the main network and not the TESTNET?

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I'm presuming that if I have Bitcoin and want to buy Ether (using shapeshift.io for example), that I would need to add the account details for the account that is set up on the main network

Yes

Testnets are "play money" so that you can try out applications without spending real money. Applications are typically deployed on testnets before eventually being deployed on the main network.

Etherbase is the account that would get the mining reward if you were mining. It has little relevance if you are not mining.

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Testnet is used for trying out things and the ether which is present in it, does not have any monetary value. Mainnet is the Public Ethereum chain that has monetary value. That said, you can use any account, either the account created on mainnet or Testnet to do the transactions because they are both created in the same way and you would be able to access your ether in any account provided you have the private key or passphrase.

If you are using a wallet like mist then use mainnet account only.

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If you care only about trading, then forget about the testnet and focus on the mainnet. These two blockchains are separated and the valuable ethers are only in the mainnet. The ethers in the testnet are worthless and cannot be moved to the mainnet. In a nutshell, the testnet is for the developers to test their codes and applications. It is a kind of Draft. The mainnet is the real thing.

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