I am being told to use a private blockchain instead of the public one in an attempt to cut gas costs. But I was hit with the problem of the value of ether and tokens in this private blockchain.

I am implementing an ERC20 Token to be used in value exchanges between wallets that are controlled by our backend system.

In a public chain, the token value is measured by ether which has a certain known value in USD. In case it is a private chain this value ( of ether and consequently erc20 tokens ) will have to be set manually.

So my question is: is the value of ether, in the private blockchain, set manually based on some off-chain calculations? is using ERC20 tokens in a private blockchain when it s meant to serve as Fiat currency equivalent, a design flaw?


2 Answers 2


Typically even tokens in the mainnet are not strictly bound to any Ether amount. They may be purchases in a crowdsale (ICO) with certain amount of Ethers but after that their value starts floating.

Therefore the value of tokens is typically only up to the laws of supply and demand. This is actually exactly the same for Ethers - nothing states how much 1 Ether costs in USD, only supply and demand affect the price.

The same is true for your private chain tokens (and Ethers). Their value is only based on supply and demand. Now, as it is a private chain, the market is not very liquid (not much trading happening) and probably your tokens can't even be purchased anywhere. In private chains tokens don't typically really have any monetary value at all as they can't be traded for any other asset types (such as mainnet Ethers or fiat). Their value is only for internal usage but no real monetary value.

  • Thanks, But what would be the uses of tokens in private networks ? why not use the "private" Ether instead ? because they are making things harder in smart contract design and implementation. Nov 28, 2018 at 18:16
  • Tokens are more flexible. You can for example mint them whenever you want, you can decide how many there are in total, you can remove them all if you want, etc... Depending of course on what the token contract supports. Nov 29, 2018 at 6:07

The advice you will have received to 'use a private blockchain instead of the public one in an attempt to cut gas costs' has likely been given in the light of needing to thoroughly test your DApp/contracts before you deploy them on the mainnet where your gas fees == fiat currency.

In direct answer to your question: the 'value' of ether in a private blockchain is, in regard to fiat currency, precisely zero (0). These 'ethers' will have been 'minted' when you create your pseudo network, and hold absolutely zero real value. Their value within your private blockchain is 1ETH = 1ETH. Further to your question: 'is it a design flaw' - actually, it's probably the single greatest design feat in test networks, since they allow real time evaluation prior to public commitment.

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