Moonbeam: Ethereum layer 1,5 on Polkadot

Ethereum is without a doubt the most mature and largest blockchain ecosystem focused on smart contracts. While Ethereum still got the most dApps and developers that are building them, it suffers from big scalability issues that will take a lot of time and pain to solve. Besides scalability, the extensive increase of gas fees is another pain point for not just users, but also developers.

This is why projects such as Polkadot are creating a brand new ecosystem for users and developers to build applications that are actually fast and very user-friendly thanks to native chains' low transaction fees.

Moonbeam is an implementation of EVM (Ethereum virtual machine) based on Substrate which aims to become a parachain and connect to other Polkadot ecosystem projects. With that in mind, it will be much easier for developers and users to migrate on Polkadot and while still being connected to the “old” Ethereum chain via bridges.

What is Moonbeam?

Moonbeam is a Substrate-based implementation of Ethereum. While having a closer look, Moonbeam is actually a lot more, it’s a layer 1,5 of Ethereum which mirrors Web3 RPC, accounts, keys, subscriptions, logs, etc.

Besides that, the Moonbeam platform has some additional features such as on-chain governance, staking, and cross-chain integrations. All that interoperable with the Polkadot ecosystem enables transferring value and messages through the whole network, once secured a parachain slot on the Polkadot network.

Moonbeam consists of a full EVM implementation, a Web3 compatible API, and bridges connecting the existing Ethereum network with Moonbeam (and potentially the whole Polkadot). All of this allows developers to deploy existing Solidity smart contracts and dApp frontends to Moonbeam with minimal changes.

Technology diagram, source:

While much of Moonbeam’s functionality depends on the Frontier implementation, Moonbeam blockchain has also a set of unique features targeted at Ethereum developers.

Moonriver: Canary network of Moonbeam

In the future, Moonbeam will secure a parachain slot on Polkadot. However, before we have a parachain auctions on Polkadot, Kusama has to come first. Therefore Moonbeam is launching its own incentivized Canary network called Moonriver. Similar to the relationship between Polkadot and Kusama, the new code will ship to Moonriver first, and once proven after testing and verifying under the real economic conditions, the same code will be shipped to Moonbeam.

Moonriver will bring Solidity smart contracts to Kusama. That will enable new or existing Solidity DApps to migrate into the Moonriver parachain with little or no modifications. And enjoy the advantages of access to the Kusama network and the whole ecosystem.


Moonriver Kusama parachain auction strategy

The team has allocated 60% of the River tokens for a crowdloan to community members, to support Moonriver's chances in the Kusama parachain auction. So there won't be any rewards in River tokens for the founders of Moonriver.


Moonbeam has two different tokens, Glimmer for Moonbeam and River for Moonriver. Let's have a closer look at both of them.

Glimmer (GLMR)

Glimmer is the utility token of the Moonbeam network. It is central to the entire Moonbeam network, which can’t run without it. Holding GLMR utility tokens will serve as the gateway for network participants to access their corresponding network functions.

The main utilities of Glimmer (and similarly of River on Moonriver) will be:

  • paying transaction fees for network operations,
  • incentivizing collators for maintaining parachains on Polkadot,
  • supporting the gas metering of smart contract execution,
  • enabling on-chain governance mechanisms — proposing referenda, voting, electing council members,

River (RIVER)

River is the utility token of the Moonriver, the Canary network of Moonbeam. And as said before, Moonriver will be parachain of Kusama.

Both Glimmer and River are not live yet. We can expect them to be released in Q2 of 2021.


Moonbeam will allow developers using familiar Ethereum development tools to create new smart contracts and dApps within the Polkadot ecosystem.

Moonbeam also aims to minimize the barrier to entry for already successful Ethereum dApps to move into the more efficient and less-costly platform in comparison to today's Ethereum overpriced gas fees place. Paying $2000 gas fees for the robust smart contract will be history!

Moonbeam is based on Substrate and by using PoS instead of PoW by using Substrate development framework, it will create a native Ethereum execution environment significantly more scalable than Ethereum 1.

One of the main advantages is that Moonbeam will have better compatibility and UX in comparison to Ethereum with remaining the same ETH address.

As a Polkadots parachain, Moonbeam will be also interconnected to other applications and services of the Polkadot ecosystem such as Oracles, DEXes and Bridges. And that’s a significant evolution.

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