As ICON builds out blockchain interoperability connections through its groundbreaking Blockchain Transmission Protocol (BTP) technology, it is useful for Iconists to become familiar with compatible blockchains. This article is the first part of a ‘BTP series’ in which we take an introductory look at the other blockchain networks that will be joining the ICON community. Be sure to also check out the other articles in the series:

BTP is still in active development, but a “BTP lite” version known as ICON Bridge is scheduled to launch this month. According to an ICON Foundation insider, ICON will first build support for Binance Smart Chain, followed soon thereafter with support for Moonbeam Network, one of four Polkadot parachains scheduled to be implemented in BTP.

Let’s take a look at Moonbeam and get to know what it’s all about.

Meet Moonbeam Network

Moonbeam Network is the first parachain to launch on Polkadot, having completed its launch in January 2022. They tout themselves as “the easiest on-ramp to Polkadot”, thanks to their platform offering “the most powerful Ethereum-compatible smart contracts” for the Polkadot blockchain.

What does this mean for developers working on Polkadot BTP projects? There are a number of conveniences and advantages to developing compatibility with Moonbeam Network:

1. Moonbeam boasts a very large and extremely active ecosystem, with over 100 projects already being built on the network. This is a seriously huge growing ecosystem that ICON is building a bridge to, representing a massive milestone for interoperability. Moonbeam also features a grants program similar to ICON’s CPS (Contribution Proposal System), and we’d also like to remind readers that ICON Foundation has launched a 200 million ICX fund for developers looking to integrate BTP to other projects.

2. Moonbeam is compatible with EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine) and Ethereum-style wallet addresses and private keys. They also maintain a very Ethereum-like development environment and compatibility with Ethereum developer tools. Notably, Moonbeam is also integrated with some of the most widely used Ethereum infrastructure, including Chainlink oracles (the most secure method of powering universal smart contracts) and The Graph (a decentralized protocol for indexing and querying blockchain data).

3. Moonbeam is also compatible with all other Polkadot parachains. Once the XCM (cross-consensus messaging) functionality that makes cross-parachain compatibility possible goes fully live (it’s in active development at the time of writing), users will be able to interact smoothly with other parachains by funneling assets across the Polkadot relay chain. Moonbeam also has their own interoperable token, XC-20s, which conforms to Ethereum’s ERC-20 standard yet is also a native asset on the Polkadot Substrate framework.

4. Moonbeam has its very own permanently incentivized “canary network” testnet called Moonriver, which is also EVM-compatible. All new code is launched first on Moonriver, so developers can test and verify new features under real economic conditions. Once proven, the same code ships to Moonbeam on Polkadot. A total of 30 applications were developed for Moonriver prior to Moonbeam’s official launch, including the Sushi decentralized exchange and the Beefy Finance yield optimizer.

5. Moonbeam is built from the ground up as a developer-oriented platform, making it extremely convenient to build on. A lot of assets and resources have been invested into making the development experience as smooth as possible, with global technical support across a variety of time zones and international documentation in a number of languages including English, French, Spanish, Chinese, and Russian. Furthermore, all of Moonbeam’s code repositories are open source, available for review on GitHub.

Who is Behind Moonbeam?

Moonbeam Network is developed by PureStake, a company that provides protocol implementation services and creates developer tools for next-generation blockchain networks. While PureStake has a global development team assembled for Moonbeam, their executive team is primarily headquartered on the US east coast — PureStake is headquartered in Burlington, a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts.

Moonbeam is supported by ‘collators’, node-runners that collate parachain transactions similar to how ICON’s P-Reps maintain the blockchain’s proof of stake consensus mechanism. There are currently 30 collators on the Moonbeam network.

Utility Tokens

Moonbeam’s utility token is called Glimmer ($GLMR). GLMR is built on the Polkadot relay chain and is used on the Moonbeam network in a number of ways, including:

  • Supporting the gas metering of smart contract execution
  • Incentivizing collators and ensuring protocol security
  • On-chain governance facilitation
  • Paying for transaction fees on the network

The Moonriver ‘canary net’ also has its own utility token which is also called Moonriver ($MOVR). MOVR is built on the Kusama relay chain, and has utility behaviors that mirror that of GLMR.