The Cardano SL test network (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, are activated. Anyone is able to redeem a private key from Cardano SL Testnet Faucet to get their coin supply.
We encourage everyone to download Cardano SL client for their platform, get some coins (we call them Lovelace) from the faucet, and invite other people to participate in beta testing.
The result of the Testnet era is the release of Cardano SL.