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).

What is your current timeline for a MainNet launch?

We are currently targeting December 2021 for a Moonbeam launch on Polkadot. Moonriver launched to Kusama in June 2021.

These timelines are dependent upon winning a slot on the Polkadot network, and are consequently subject to change.

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?

The Moonbeam Foundation is running a crowdloan to fund Moonbeam’s deployment to the Polkadot network. Previous, 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.

Please 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.

Do you plan to deploy Moonbeam on Kusama?

Yes. Moonriver was released to Kusama in June 2021 and is now live.

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.

How is Moonbeam handling scalability for Ethereum dApps?

We will not be able to provide specific transaction time estimates until we are running a live network, but we expect Moonbeam to be faster than Ethereum Layer 1, but not as fast as a transaction-optimized solution like zk rollups. We will be running benchmarks as we get closer to our Polkadot deployment.

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?

We currently do no not have plans to build a Layer 2 solution ourselves, but we are interested in partnering with existing solutions that could provide this.

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. Our EVM implementation is an independent instance of the EVM, separate from the EVM on the Ethereum MainNet. But it will look, feel, and behave in a very similar way. And Moonbeam will have staking and on-chain governance.

You will be able to take an Ethereum app and deploy it with minimal changes to Moonbeam, both back-end Solidity contracts and dApp front-ends.

We plan to connect back to Ethereum via bridges, directly from Moonbeam and via the parachain-based Ethereum bridges that are under development. This will allow ERC-20 token transfers, for example.

Our 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.