Deep Dive: Moonbeam Network
Launch Announcement: What is Moonbeam all about?
Moonbeam Network is one of the most well-renowned parachains in the Polkadot ecosystem. This network is talked about because of the potential it brings to the Polkadot space by trying to work toward Ethereum compatibility on Polkadot, in addition to developing a robust smart contracting facility. With a prime focus on developers, the Moonbeam blockchain network will provide compatibility with the existing Ethereum developer tools, chain, and network ecosystem as a whole.
Cross-chain smart contract functionality is key.
Source: Moonbeam’s Website
There are primarily three target audiences that would largely benefit from the successful execution of the launch -
Existing Ethereum-based projects prior to the launch of Moonbeam - All projects based on Ethereum that struggle with cost and scalability, can take advantage of Moonbeam as they could try to implement a hybrid approach wherein their applications live on both Ethereum and Moonbeam, simultaneously. Additionally, these projects could also expand their presence to Polkadot easily with the interoperability feature that Moonbeam aims to bring. Lastly, these projects can always move portions of their existing workload to Polkadot from Ethereum with minimal required changes coupled with a Polkadot integration.
Polkadot Ecosystem Projects - There may be multiple projects in the Polkadot ecosystem that may require smart contract functionality. This is where Moonbeam comes in. These projects could take advantage of the smart contract functionality provided by Moonbeam to augment their existing parachains and parathreads, add new functionality wherever needed and also leverage the presence of Ethereum at the same time.
Builders of the new Web3 era! - dApps continue to crop up every single day with the growing reach of web3 and developers of new dApps are definitely one of the prime target audiences for Moonbeam Network. These developers could be building a multi-chain product, an Ethereum-based product or a Polkadot chain product. Either way, these developers could leverage the specialized smart contract functionality from Polkadot parachains while also simultaneously reaching users and assets on other chains, among other things.
Source: Moonbeam’s Website
In a nutshell, the key features include minimal configuration changes, i.e., no need to rewrite or reconfigure smart contracts just because you are changing chains; easy integration of tools that you’ve already been using; usage of smart contract languages that you are most likely already very familiar with, such as Solidity, Vyper, etc.; and lastly, there are pre-built integrations for assets like ERC-20s, DOT, etc.
Decentralized and Permissionless - Like all things Web3, the Moonbeam Network is decentralized and permissionless. Hence, it is censorship resistant and is built to support many existing and future dApp use cases.
Full Ethereum Virtual Machine Implementation - To facilitate easy migration of existing Solidity-based smart contracts, with minimal to zero changes or modifications, Moonbeam Network has ensured that it contains a full EVM implementation.
Implements the Web3 RPC API - To ensure that Ethereum-based tools that are universally used such as Truffle, Remix, and MetaMask can be used in Moonbeam as well without modification, the Web3 RPC API is implemented. Existing dApp front ends can also be migrated with minimal to zero changes.
Compatibility with the Substrate Ecosystem Toolset - To assist developers in building the dApp they have envisioned for their team, Moonbeam Network has attempted at creating a toolset that would give developers and users, the right tool to utilize in order to achieve what they are trying to accomplish. These tools include, among other things, block explorers, front-end development libraries, and wallets.
Native cross-chain integration - Creating token bridges in order to allow token movement, and ensuring the complete integration of Polkadot and EVM, Moonbeam has managed to ensure native cross-chain integration.
On-chain governance - Like everything decentralized and web3, Moonbeam Network has also ensured on-chain governance wherein stakeholders can quickly as well as forklessly vote on all necessary proposals thereby having a say in the decision-making process. Moonbeam has always held involving the community in the decision-making to be a definite priority for itself.
PureStake ideated and commenced working on Moonbeam in early 2020. As per PureStake’s plan - the company that is developing the Moonbeam smart contract platform - after the announcement of the intention to create Moonbeam, a TestNet parachain deployment took place, followed by the Moonriver network deployment to Kusama and lastly, the Moonbeam network deployment for Polkadot which would complete this multi-phased approach of the Moonbeam Network’s launch.
In September 2020, Moonbeam launched a TestNet and closed a seed round. Ever since then, tons of projects have been built on Moonbeam or have actively integrated Moonbeam. All of the projects are listed on their website, here . Some of the prominent projects include Unstoppable Domains, SushiSwap, IDEX, Ocean Protocol, Collab.Land, etc. In April 2021, Binance Labs led a strategic round of funding for about $6 million, with ParaFi and CoinFund, for Moonbeam Network. The ambition was that this round of funding would be used to hire more development resources, build more developer tools, help establish a market presence in Asia, and to be able to perform third-party security audits.
Since Moonbeam chose to build itself as a parachain on the Polkadot network, it has definitely benefited from the shared security of the Polkadot relay chain as well as integrations with other chains that are connected to the Polkadot network. The Moonbeam family, which gets support from the Moonbeam Foundation, essentially consists of three networks. Moonbeam remains the EVM-compatible parachain within the Polkadot ecosystem. On the other hand, its sister network, Moonriver, launched as parachain on Kusama in June 2021. Both Moonbeam and Moonriver have identical technology; however, Moonriver is likely to receive new features as a test prior to Moonbeam. Both of these networks share a common testnet between them called Moonrock. In a nutshell, these are the various networks within the Moonbeam Ecosystem as per the Moonbeam Documentation available on their website
Source: Moonbeam Network’s Documentation
What lies ahead for Moonbeam?
The Polkadot network is likely to grow over time with additional dApps cropping up and newer solutions being developed for the Polkadot ecosystem. The early entrance of Moonbeam and the unique combination of features that it offers definitely fills a market gap thereby giving it a certain strategic early mover advantage. If we were to sum it up then Moonbeam provides the best of both worlds - the well-developed toolset that Ethereum has to offer, and the interoperable architecture of Polkadot! As has been claimed by Moonbeam consistently throughout its branding, the future is multi-chain and that is exactly what it aims to achieve through its various integrations as well.
Source: Moonbeam’s Website
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