Frequently Asked Questions

Technology Underlying Moonbeam

Why would I build on Moonbeam instead of creating my own parachain or parathread on Polkadot?

In general, Moonbeam makes it a lot easier to build applications on Polkadot blockchain compared to implementing a full parachain or parathread. Specifically:

  1. Substrate is powerful but complex. With a Moonbeam-based application, you don’t need to worry about token economic models, issuance schedules, governance, incentivizing nodes, or security — all of which are required when launching your own blockchain.
  2. You can leverage Moonbeam’s full connection to the Polkadot Relay Chain, which the Moonbeam economic model pays for on an ongoing basis. This is much less expensive than paying for parachain- or parathread-based access on your own.
  3. You will have a smooth upgrade path from a Moonbeam smart contract/DApp to becoming a full parachain or parathread (if and when you need the scalability and full control that comes with running your own blockchain).

When did the MainNet launch happen?

Moonbeam completed its 3-phases launch process to Polkadot on January 11, 2022 by removing Sudo (superuser key) & enabling EVM and balance transfers.

What is Polkadot, what is a parachain, and how does this relate to Moonbeam?

Polkadot is a network of connected blockchains. Each blockchain that is directly connected to Polkadot is called a parachain. Polkadot provides shared security and a means of communicating between parachains that are on the network.

Moonbeam is parachain connected to Polkadot. You can learn more on the Polkadot and Web3 Foundation websites.

How does Moonbeam plan to pay for the parachain slot on Polkadot?

Moonbeam won the second parachain auction on Polkadot thanks to a wildly successful crowdloan campaign held by the Moonbeam Foundation. More than 35 million DOT (approximately $1.4 billion USD) was contributed from over 200,000 participants. Previously, the Moonbeam Foundation conducted a community token event for Moonbeam in September 2021 and a crowdloan for Moonriver in June 2021, both of which have now ended.

Read more about how crowdloans work and how parachain auctions work.

What is Substrate, and how is it different than Moonbeam?

Substrate is a blockchain development framework that dramatically reduces the time and effort needed to implement your own blockchain. It is Rust-based and offers many reusable components called frame pallets.

Frame pallets can be used to rapidly build an application-specific blockchain that has full control over its economy and resources, and that is optimized for the application use case.

Polkadot and Moonbeam are both built using Substrate. To learn more, visit the Substrate website.

What are XC-20s?

XC-20 describes a type of interoperable token that conforms to the ERC-20 standard but is also Substrate-native. XC-20s combine the power of Substrate assets (native interoperability) but allows users and developers to interact with them through a familiar ERC-20 interface via a precompile contract (Ethereum API). Developers can integrate XC-20s with regular Ethereum development frameworks or DApps.

XC-20 assets are differentiated by having xc prepended to their name. For example, Kusama’s KSM representation on Moonriver is known as xcKSM. Please note that XC-20 precompiles do not support cross-chain transfers, and this is intentionally done to stay as close as possible to the standard ERC-20 interface.

Learn more about XC-20s and XCM on Moonbeam. Here’s a guide that will walk you through how to interact with cross-chain assets on Moonriver.

What is Moonriver?

Moonriver is the community-led sister parachain of Moonbeam on Kusama. It is an incentivized canary network which has the latest features to test and verify under real economic conditions before shipping to Moonbeam on Polkadot. Moonriver’s community launch (30% of the genesis token supply given as crowdloan rewards) helped create a vibrant and innovative community. The Moonbeam team is committed to continue developing Moonriver for the long-term and ensuring that this network continues to grow.

What can I do with my GLMR tokens?

GLMR is the utility token of Moonbeam. It can be used to pay transaction fees and support network operations. Token holders can delegate their tokens and earn GLMR regards by staking using the Moonbeam DApp. The Moonbeam team has published a guide to walk you through how to stake your GLMR tokens and earn rewards.

GLMR tokens holders can also participate in democracy-related actions and propose changes to the Moonbeam network such as code upgrades, altering values to key parameters and the governance system itself through referendum. Visit the documentation site to learn more about governance on Moonbeam.

What is the contract address for GLMR/MOVR?

GLMR and MOVR are the native tokens of the Moonbeam and Moonriver networks, respectively. As such, they do not have contract addresses, much like ETH on Ethereum.

If you already have GLMR or MOVR tokens and cannot see them in your MetaMask account, you just need to add the Moonbeam (for GLMR) or Moonriver (for MOVR) networks. Refer to this guide for instructions.

What is on the roadmap for Moonbeam?

Moonbeam is fully launched. The team is continuing to release additional functionality, including full support of XCM (Polkadot’s cross-chain messaging features) while focusing on three core pillars: interoperability, ecosystem growth, and community.

Ethereum Compatibility

What do you mean by "Ethereum-compatible?"

Moonbeam aims to be both compatible and interoperable with Ethereum. That means it has:

  • Support for Solidity smart contracts to be run natively on Moonbeam.
  • Support for popular Ethereum developer tools like MetaMask, Hardhat, Remix, Truffle, and the Web3/Etherjs JavaScript libraries.
  • Support for Ethereum account structures and signatures.
  • The ability to extend the Ethereum feature set with Polkadot-specific benefits like on-chain governance, staking, and cross-chain compatibility via bridges and Polkadot itself.
  • Support for wrapped ERC-20 tokens via a bridge back to Ethereum.

Do you support any development languages other than Solidity?

Solidity is the primary language, but really Moonbeam (via its full EVM implementation) supports any of the existing Ethereum tools and languages that compile down to EVM-compatible bytecode (e.g., Vyper). We currently have no plans for supporting ink! but, given that we are committed to maintaining Ethereum compatibility long-term, we plan to support ewasm as Ethereum evolves toward that.

What is your estimated block time?

As Polkadot parachains launch, it makes the most sense to match the 6 second Relay Chain block time. But Parity has future enhancements planned which would open the door for parachains to have a faster block time, which we plan to take advantage of once it’s available.

So, are you a token bridge?

We plan on having an integral bridge on Moonbeam to move tokens, like ERC-20 tokens for example, to and from the Ethereum MainNet. But we also will be integrating and partnering with other parachain-based bridges to support their multiple choices for users to bring assets, and for developers to integrate their applications, back to Ethereum MainNet.

Will you be able to use a Layer 2 solution on top of Moonbeam?

Applications with massive throughput requirements will likely want a Layer 2 solution on top of Moonbeam or would elect to build their own application-specific parachain directly on Polkadot.

Does Moonbeam need to wait for a transaction to be finalized on Ethereum before it can be finalized on Moonbeam?

No. Moonbeam’s EVM implementation is an independent instance of the EVM, separate from the EVM on the Ethereum MainNet. But it looks, feels, and behaves in a very similar way. And Moonbeam has staking and on-chain governance.

You can take an Ethereum app and deploy it to Moonbeam with minimal changes, both back-end Solidity contracts and DApp front-ends.

Moonbeam connects back to Ethereum via the Nomad bridge. This allows ERC-20 token transfers.

The goal is to allow apps to be deployed in a hybrid configuration, with some parts on Eth Layer 1, and some parts on Moonbeam Layer 1, where apps can take advantage of Moonbeam’s lower cost and ability to access other parachains and services on Polkadot.

In the future, will Ethereum have any weight in consensus?

Moonbeam has its own consensus mechanism. Just like all the parachains on Polkadot, collator node operators that support Moonbeam produce blocks, and these blocks are verified and finalized by validators on the Polkadot relay chain.

This is all separate from Ethereum and its current proof-of-work (PoW) consensus mechanism.

The bridges are the connection between Ethereum and Moonbeam. One end of the bridge is connected to the Ethereum consensus mechanism, and the other side is connected to the Moonbeam consensus mechanism.