Moonbeam, a Substrate-based smart contract chain wants to change the dynamics of blockchain interoperability.
Enabling Ethereum Smart Contracts on Substrate
In an announcement made today, Phil Lucsok, Product Communications Manager, Parity Technologies, unveiled a Substrate-based smart contact chain aiming to be a parachain on Polkadot – Moonbeam.
Per the announcement, Moonbeam will make it easier for smart contract developers to deploy their applications for the rapidly-evolving Polkadot ecosystem. In essence, Moonbeam will make it easier for developers familiar with the Ethereum smart contract toolset to leverage the network effects helping in the quick development of the Polkadot ecosystem.
Notably, applications built on Moonbeam can reap benefits from the interoperability within the Polkadot, Ethereum, and Bitcoin ecosystems.
Current Challenges in the Ethereum Ecosystem
Several technical challenges within the Ethereum ecosystem have forced developers to adopt a multi-chain blockchain approach. These challenges pertain to a lack of scalability, excessive gas fee, and the general direction of the Ethereum 1.0 chain, among others.
It makes sense for blockchain projects to not keep all their eggs in one basket by only investing in developing applications on Ethereum. This is exactly where Moonbeam steps in. The announcement reads in part:
“With Moonbeam, developers can easily port their existing applications’ code to deploy on the more affordable, directly-governable Moonbeam platform. This means smart contracts written in Solidity are directly compatible with Moonbeam’s EVM.”
“Developers can also gain the benefits of the existing Ethereum tooling ecosystem such as Truffle and a Web3 RPC. Even the successful Metamask browser extension can be used by developers deploying Dapps on Moonbeam.”
Further, following in the resounding success of “wrapped bitcoin” on the Ethereum network, the decentralized bridge between Bitcoin and Polkadot to enable the Moonbeam community to put its BTC to work.
The decision to implement the Substrate blockchain framework was motivated by a swathe of technological reasons. Firstly, Substrate supports a wide number of modules that developers can integrate into their blockchain, including an already-existing Ethereum Virtual Machine pallet being used by Moonbeam.
Further, Moonbeam also allows developers to leverage other pallets that will make the smart-contract blockchain more utilitarian. This would include introducing on-chain governance modules, social recovery for lost accounts, and funding opportunities through the on-chain treasury.
Moreover, the wider interoperable Polkadot ecosystem will allow dApps on Moonbeam to tap other parachains’ decentralized finance (DeFi) tools, including Acala’s aUSD stablecoin, Chainlink’s decentralized oracles, and Polkadot’s decentralized exchanges (DEX), among others.
It’s also worthy of note that the Moonbeam team was the recipient of a grant by the Web3 Foundation to work on a Web3-compatible RPC library. It is this RPC implementation that enables developers to seamlessly run Ethereum-native tools like Truffle, Remix, and MetaMask on MoonBeam’s Substrate-based network.