What happens if you transfer real tokens to a test account? The Ethereum wallet says that you shouldn't do it, but it doesn't say why.

2 Answers 2


As long as you have the private key and therefore access to that account, you will be able to transfer the tokens to another account.

Great way to test it, is to load that account using the Metamask addon (MetaMask.io) and then to switch the Net you are on:

Choosing the Network in MetaMask

You can see the balance of the account on every network.

Why the warning: I think the warning comes, because for a test account you would possibly be less careful in handling the private keys, than with a main account.

  • Addition: a Token Contract could theoretically exists on more networks or on just one. Either way, those contracts would not know anything about each other. This means, having a token on a net, does not affect your balance on another net. Jan 10, 2018 at 9:52

Real tokens live on the mainnet. You're testnet account address does not exist on the mainnet. So when you send real tokens from the mainnet to this testnet address, you will lose them. It's like sending money to a wrong bank account.

That's because mainnet and testnet are two completely different networks.

  • 3
    This is incorrect. A testnet address is a valid mainnet address. If you did accidentally send coins to a testnet address, it would not be difficult to retrieve them. Oct 17, 2016 at 19:19
  • ok sorry, is the same private key valid for an address on mainnet and testnet? So value in addresses is the same even though the tx-history and contracts of both ledgers are completely different?
    – Jerry
    Oct 17, 2016 at 19:33
  • 2
    That's correct. Oct 17, 2016 at 21:53

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