For years, developers have been trying to determine the best alternative for Ethereum’s increasing network congestion and gas costs. Even though layer-2 scaling solutions involving zkSNARKS and Optimistic Rollups have been introduced to alleviate these challenges, most of these answers aim to improve Ethereum’s scalability.
On the other hand, Moonbeam leverages the interoperability and scalability of Polkadot to offer developers an environment that is fully compatible with Ethereum and its corresponding development tools. The Moonbeam Network serves as a highly-specialized layer-1 blockchain. Accordingly, it isn’t here to compete with Ethereum but will assuredly extend Ethereum’s base functionalities with Polkadot’s built-in features like on-chain governance, cross-chain integrations, and staking.
Since Ethereum already holds the lion’s share of the DeFi ecosystem (and the majority of the dApps are deployed atop it), it is quite certain that even in a multichain future, it will continue to hold a commanding position. In this context, Moonbeam will offer developers the ability to migrate their existing Ethereum-based projects to its network without making any major codebase changes. At the same time, it will extend a project’s reach to other chains (and users) who are already part of the Polkadot network.
As DeFi takes the multichain approach, which is a must for projects to achieve mainstream adoption, multichain infrastructure providers such as Polkadot will play a critical role. The platform offers seamless interoperability and cross-chain integration with several individual chains while ensuring fast transactions, industry-grade security, and extremely low costs. Since Moonbeam is a parachain on Polkadot, any project deployed on Moonbeam will also have direct access to all parachains, parathreads, and external chains.
Furthermore, Moonbeam’s supports Solidity smart contracts, which means that developers can quickly migrate their existing projects on the network, with virtually no changes to the underlying code. Owing to these features, Moonbeam, which is yet to go fully live on Polkadot, has already attracted developers and projects covering a wide range of sectors, including DeFi, NFTs, and gaming.
The Bright Future For Moonbeam’s Multichain Landscape
Moonbeam was launched in January 2020 by Derek Yoo of Pure Stake to simplify building multichain dApps. In August, the platform received a Web3 Foundation grant, following which the team accelerated the development work on both Moonriver and Moonbeam platforms.
Since then, there has been no looking back for the Moonbeam Network. In 2020, the platform raised $1.4 million from its seed round led by Hypersphere Ventures. Throughout 2020, several upgrades were unveiled, each designed to add new features like unified accounts, multi-collator support, Ethereum-native publishing and subscription capabilities, and much more. The Moonbeam team also rolled out its public TestNet, Moonbase Alpha, finally enabling developers to test the network’s compatibility with Ethereum.
However, Moonbeam gained mainstream recognition after participating in the Kusama parachain slot auctions. By design, any project that wants to be a parachain on Polkadot has to first deploy on Kusama, Polkadot’s testnet. Moonbeam’s canary network, Moonriver, won the second round of the Kusama slot auctions, raising upwards of 205,935 KSM tokens from the community via its crowdloan initiative. Following this, Moonriver has been successfully deployed on Kusama and is fully operational from August 2021.
The Moonriver network currently supports a diverse range of projects, including DeFi, NFTs, storage solutions, wallets, blockchain explorers, games, and much more. Over the last five months, Moonriver has passed significant milestones, such as registering over 2.5 million unique transactions and crossing $241 million in total value locked (TVL). Additionally, the development team has expanded rapidly during this period, helping Moonriver cement itself as the ninth-fastest growing network for a project that has over 50 developers.
The platform has also been continuously integrating new API and oracle service providers like SubQuery, Dapplooker, Figment Hubble, Automata, The Graph, Waffle, Chainlink, and Band Protocol, among others, to ensure a truly multichain ecosystem. Meanwhile, Moonbeam has also secured a parachain slot on Polkadot. It launched on Polkadot on December 17th and is currently moving through the first phase of its full launch. For now, the Moonbeam team has implemented decentralization and added new collators to the network. Once complete, the Moonbeam team will remove the “Sudo key” and go fully live on Polkadot.
To date, more than 60 dApps have deployed on the Moonriver network, all of which will be gradually positioned on Moonbeam once the network goes entirely live on Polkadot, scheduled for this month. The live projects on Moonbeam span across assets and issuance providers like Impossible Finance, Ocean Protocol, Polkastarter, and Poolz, on-chain bridges like Synapse, AnySwap, and ChainSafe, dApps like Authtrail, Polkacover, and Human Protocol, DeFi protocols like Lido, C.R.E.A.M Finance, Orion Protocol, and Balancer, as well as NFT and gaming platforms like Unifty, Seascape, Banksea, Zoombies, and many more.