In January 2017, a Cardano SL test network was launched. The testnet is required to get the community acquainted with the cryptocurrency and to polish the implementation, eliminating possible flaws or instabilities.
During the Testnet era all functionality, including the reward mechanism, will be activated. Anyone will be able to redeem a private key from Cardano SL Testnet Faucet to get their coin supply.
In late March 2017, the testnet will be resetting and users will be asked to download a new, updated version of Cardano SL. This part of the Testnet era can be thought of as beta testing, resulting in the release of Cardano SL in March.
We encourage everyone to download Cardano SL client for your platform, get some coins (we call them Lovelace) from the faucet and invite other people to participate in beta testing.