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Shimmer acts as the production-grade staging network for the IOTA mainnet where new protocol changes are introduced and evaluated for functionality, scalability, and security before they are made available on the IOTA mainnet. However, unlike most staging networks, Shimmer has a token called SMR, which is traded on major exchanges, thus giving the network real monetary value, which in turn is beneficial to foster the testing of upcoming protocol changes even further.

Currently, Shimmer runs the Stardust protocol version, enabling tokenization and the anchoring of L2 smart contract chains into L1.

Shimmer is also the network on which the Shimmer EVM runs, an L2 solution that provides smart contract programming on top of the base layer.