Crypto Society Ama Recap with Moonbeam, 23 September 2021

With Francisco Javier Agosti

Moonbeam is not just EVM implementation, it’s a specialized Layer 1.5 chain that mirrors Ethereum’s Web3 RPC, accounts, keys, subscriptions, logs etc. The platform extends the base Ethereum feature set with additional features e.g., on-chain governance, staking and cross-chain integrations.

Moonriver is a companion network & provides an incentivized canary network. New code ships to Moonriver first, where it can be tested under real economic conditions. Once proven, the same code ships to Moonbeam on Polkadot.

Bilo | Crypto Society

It’s our pleasure to have you with us today. I would like to welcome you here on behalf of our entire community.

Francisco Javier Agosti

Thank you for having me again — it’s a pleasure to be here!

Bilo | Crypto Society

Could we begin with a brief history of yourself and your team and your Moonbeam roles and what you were doing before Moonbeam and your relationship to Moonriver?

Francisco Javier Agosti

Sure — I joined PureStake around 1 year ago. PureStake is the company that is running the core development of Moonbeam, led by CEO Derek Yoo. Derek and the team have extensive experience building technology companies in the web2 space and have leveraged this to excel at providing secure, reliable services to our customers.

Before joining PureStake I was working in a more traditional tech start-up in Germany for a few years focusing on Business Development.

Overall, the Moonbeam project started with the goal to directly tackle cross-chain interoperability challenges by providing a simpler way to deploy apps to Polkadot, using a smart contract and Ethereum compatibility approach.

Currently, my work at Moonbeam is mostly focused on ecosystem development and markets related work.

We’re all brought together by our vision to make Moonbeam the best platform for developers and projects to build on Polkadot.

To learn more about the team, you can visit:

https://moonbeam.network/team/

https://www.purestake.com/about/

Bilo | Crypto Society

Thanks that must very exciting work — Congrats.

I would like to congratulate you on Moonriver’s most recent success in winning a Kusama Parachain slot. We have witnessed an explosion of support and following on social media channels with a growing number of followers and supporters. To what do you attribute this success?

Francisco Javier Agosti

Thanks a lot — the team has worked hard in the past months to make the Moonriver launch a success. I don’t think any of us expected this degree of demand on the network so early on, but it’s a positive sign particularly in anticipation of the polkadot auctions.

I would say that a big part of the success is that we’re filling an essential need in the market by providing the most practical way for Ethereum-based projects and projects on other EVM-compatible chains to deploy on Polkadot. For the majority of projects building their own parachain is a complicated and expensive process, so deploying on Moonriver and Moonbeam is a much easier way to get access to the Polkadot and Kusama ecosystem. Projects can leverage their existing deployment on Ethereum or other EVM compatible chains, and also get access to all the tools they’re used to using.

I think another determining component, perhaps even more important than filling a practical market need, is the team behind Moonbeam. I can confidently say that it’s the best team I’ve ever worked with — everyone on-board is determined to make this project a success and when you combine that with talent it doesn’t take much to realize why we’ve grown so much.

Last but not least, I would say our community is another big part of the traction we’ve seen so far. It’s been pretty crazy to see how our community of ambassadors and supporters has grown since I first joined. They are an important pillar of Moonbeam and will continue to be that way in the years to come. Also, the Polkadot and Kusama communities, in general, have been great — both developer-wise and others who have contributed a bunch creating content and helping spread the word.

Bilo | Crypto Society

I have to requite this.. “I don’t think any of us expected this degree of demand on the network so early on, but it’s a positive sign particularly in anticipation of the polkadot auctions”

And this

“Last but not least, I would say our community is another big part of the traction we’ve seen so far. It’s been pretty crazy to see how our community of ambassadors and supporters has grown since I first joined. They are an important pillar of Moonbeam and will continue to be that way in the years to come. Also, the Polkadot and Kusama communities, in general, have been great — both developer-wise and others who have contributed a bunch creating content and helping spread the word” (heart emogi).

Big shout out to the MOVR community!

To those who are unfamiliar; Can you tell us why you thought Moonbeam and Moonriver needed to be built and what problems they solve?

Francisco Javier Agosti

Sure — Moonbeam is designed to simplify the experience for Ethereum developers as they expand to Polkadot. Because Polkadot and Kusama use a different tech stack, and most developers are used to using Ethereum tools, integrations and frameworks — it is very easy for Ethereum or evm compatible projects to leverage the existing code they have on Ethereum or other EVM compatible chains to have a Polkadot deployment via Moonbeam.

By doing so they also get access to the Polkadot and Kusama ecosystems which offers a completely new set of users and assets for projects, along with the native cross-chain integrations and security that come with it.

To summarize, these points are some of the advantages of Moonbeam and Moonriver:

1. Minimal Codebase Changes: if you have an existing contract, it will work right away with no need to rewrite or reconfigure

2. Language Support: write smart contracts in Solidity or anything that compiles to EVM bytecode

3. Use Existing Tools and frameworks: connect popular tools like MetaMask, Remix, Hardhat, Waffle, Mars and Truffle via a complete set of Web3 RPC endpoints. Use well known Javascript libraries such as Web3.Js or Ethers.Js.

4. Core Developer Integrations and overall ecosystem: integrations with the most-requested developer tools and services like APIs (The Graph, Biconomy, Covalent, OnFinality), assets (Ocean Protocol), bridges (ChainSafe, Interlay, and an NFT bridge in the works), DeFi protocols (SushiSwap, IDEX, CREAM Finance), oracles (Chainlink, Band Protocol) and many more. The ecosystem we have built is an essential component of what differentiates us from other projects. Teams that build on Moonbeam directly have access to everything they need to successfully grow their project on Polkadot and Kusama.

5. Unified Accounts: you can use your existing Ethereum H160 accounts & ECDSA signatures to interact with Moonbeam. This is also an important change we did in comparison to other teams on Polkadot and Kusama. We changed the underlying account and signature structure from Substrate to Ethereum so that it would create less friction for users on Moonbeam and Moonriver. Now users can simply change the network on Metamask and use is seamlessly as the would do on Ethereum. We thought that if users had to manage 2 sets of accounts and keys it would have been a less pleasant experience.

Bilo | Crypto Society

😅 oh my thats a lot to read lol — Thanks for the details.

I have read that Moonriver is a community driven network in that most of the tokens are in the hands of the community, and that there were no private sales, no VC’s and that the direction the project takes in the future will be decided by the community. That is outstanding and refreshing. What made you decide to go that route and why did you feel comfortable to put such a valuable commodity in the hands of the community?

Francisco Javier Agosti

Yes, that’s correct. Moonriver didn’t and won’t have any private investment rounds. The main distribution mechanism for MOVR was the Moonriver crowdloan. I think the team had the idea to make Moonriver a community-driven network early on. We thought it was aligned with the nature of what Kusama represents and so we wanted to make Moonriver an experimental network in that sense. We also wanted to reward the community since it’s been such an important part of our traction.

So far, I think the response has been great and I’m looking forward to how Moonriver evolves over time.

Bilo | Crypto Society

I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited about another project TBH.

Francisco Javier Agosti

I’m glad you’re as excited as we are!

Bilo | Crypto Society

How do Moonbeam and Moonriver work? Why are there two distinct networks? Will they inadvertently compete with each other? Will they be competition to Ethereum?

Francisco Javier Agosti

This is a question we receive often. Basically, Moonriver is an Ethereum compatible smart contract parachain on Kusama — Moonbeam is the same as Moonriver but it’s a parachain on Polkadot as opposed to Kusama. They each have the same codebase, although they are separate, independent networks.

The relationship between Moonriver and Moonbeam will be similar to that of Kusama and Polkadot. Moonriver will serve as a place for projects to deploy their code first, under real economic conditions, before deploying on Moonbeam.

I think what Parity found was that unless there was real value at stake, you can’t really test new features effectively. Users don’t really care about new deployments and won’t react the same way unless there is real value on the line (Governance is a good example of this). So that was the original purpose of Kusama, and now it has taken a life of its own. The Moonbeam Foundation is adopting this philosophy with Moonriver/Moonbeam.

Ultimately, we will see the ecosystems on Moonriver and Moonbeam evolve in different ways. So far, we have seen a growing interest for NFTs on Moonriver, however time will tell what shape they take.

I don’t think Moonriver and Moonbeam will compete with each other, I think they will be complimentary to each other. And as far as the ETH killer narrative goes, I think it’s just a narrative. We don’t see ourselves as ETH competitors/killers at all — if anything we are huge fans of Ethereum and we’re using its ecosystem to accelerate the adoption of web3 as a whole.

Bilo | Crypto Society

NFT’s… — I have some questions 🙂

NFT’s are a hot item. We recently saw an explosion in Solana NFT’s. What are your thoughts on this? Has Moonriver seen much development in that area and why should projects consider the Moonbeam and Moonriver networks for their NFT’s

Francisco Javier Agosti

I think that our objective is to create the best possible platform for developers to build on, and that includes NFT projects.

So far, we have seen significant traction on Moonriver within the NFT space with projects like Zoombies, Seascape growing rapidly on Moonriver and more will follow like myNFT, Unifty, Jambb and Yuser.

myNFT will also be building a bidirectional NFT bridge between Ethereum and Moonriver/Moonbeam that will allow for transit of ERC-721s and ERC-1155s — we expect that to accelerate the growth of the NFT ecosystem on Moonriver and Moonbeam.

Given the permissionless nature of Moonriver and Moonbeam, we are also seeing projects deploy without necessarily having spoken to us. Recently a community driven NFT project called Moonsama launched on Moonriver which is also growing rapidly.

Overall, we are enthusiastic about the growth of both the NFT space and the overall ecosystem of Moonriver!

Bilo | Crypto Society

Recently saw a very successful launch of Moonsama NFT- Congrats to that team for their success @DonnieBigBags

Many are tired of the Ethereum ecosystem due to the high transaction costs. We see more projects integrating bridging mechanisms to allow token holders to transition their ERC20 tokens onto their networks. Are there any working bridging platforms from Ethereum onto Moonbeam and Moonriver?

Francisco Javier Agosti

Yes, there are several bridging efforts going on right now on Moonriver. AnySwap is now live, and Meter Passport is another bridge that will transit assets to and from Ethereum and Moonriver.

We expect there to be many more bridges connecting to Moonriver from different EVM compatible chains and in the future even to non EVM compatible chains as well.

Overall, given the permissionless nature of Moonriver the foundation has had a ‘hands off’ approach when it comes to project deployments. Our job has been to provide the best developer experience possible for teams to build on.

There will be many bridges connecting to Moonriver and Moonbeam — many of which we don’t know or endorse. Please DYOR when it comes to using bridges!

Bilo | Crypto Society

That’s fantastic — Can’t wait to be able to bridge all my tokens over.

I see that there is a means to stake $MOVR tokens at https://apps.moonbeam.network/moonriver I don’t see however what the %apy being offered is and if there are any lockup periods. Can you point me in the right direction to find out?

Francisco Javier Agosti

Yeah, we get this question quite a lot. We’re currently working with the Figment team to build a more detailed staking explorer/dashboard that will answer many of these questions (https://moonbeam.network/announcements/moonbeam-figment-integration/).

Currently the APY is calculated by several variables — the first one being your staked MOVR in proportion to the total amount of MOVR staked to that collator.

Another important variable is the performance of the collator itself, some collators don’t perform as well as others — so if they skip a block then nominators won’t get rewards.

For now, I would recommend users to check out https://moonbeam-explorer.netlify.app/stats/miners?network=Moonriver to see how many blocks their collator is producing.

You can also check https://moonriver.subscan.io/validator to see what amount of MOVR is staked to each collator — you ultimately want to pick the best balance between a low amount of total MOVR staked and how many blocks the collator is producing.

As mentioned before, we are working with partners so that this experience is more conveniently displayed in a staking dashboard.

In terms of lockup periods — it usually takes around 2 hours to stake and start seeing rewards, and to unbond your MOVR from a given collator.

Bilo | Crypto Society

Are Moonbeam & Moonriver disruptive, and if so, how so? What sets Moonbeam apart from other EVM-compatible chains?

Francisco Javier Agosti

I think the main added value of Moonriver and Moonbeam vs. EVM compatible chains outside of polkadot is that Moonbeam allows projects to gain access to the greater Polkadot ecosystem by being a parachain, which then offers natively interoperable use cases which is very exciting.

In terms of other projects within the Polkadot ecosystem that also offer EVM compatibility, I can compare us to 2 other popular projects on Polkadot — Acala and Astar:

Regarding Acala — Acala’s evm is an extension to their substrate based defi suite. It allows the use of solidity smart contracts to create apps that compose with the core Acala defi apps and kusama / polkadot based assets on their chain. But they do not support the full web3 rpc so you can’t port existing dapp front ends, and users will not be using MetaMask as the wallet. This is different from the moonbeam idea where we have created a full Ethereum like environment, changed our underlying accounts to be Ethereum like, and have full web3 rpc support. This allows for direct backend and front-end ports of existing dapps, gives us better compatibility with existing Ethereum tooling and infrastructure, and lets end users stay in MetaMask.

The other significant difference is that Acala is building DeFi products that are targeting end users, whereas moonbeam is just a platform and all functionality, defi and otherwise is provided by other teams deploying their protocols on top.

Regarding Astar — I think the main difference between Moonbeam and Astar is specialization.

Shiden (Astar on Polkadot) has opted to offer a wide range of options including support for the smart contract programming language ink! which is native to substrate.

Moonbeam is solely focused towards improving and specializing in an Ethereum compatibility feature set, along with being a developer-centric platform. This includes adding tools like Solidity based smart contracts, Metamask, Truffle, Remix, Hardhat, a fully functional EVM, web3 RPC’s and even a unified accounts feature that makes accounts and keys Ethereum-like on Moonbeam to reduce friction for EVM compatible projects to deploy on Moonriver and Moonbeam. We’ve also worked very hard to build a well-rounded ecosystem of projects that helps create a network effect on Moonriver and Moonbeam.

Another difference between our projects is that Astar also offers L2 solutions on their chain whereas we currently do not.

The way we see it, while it is true that L2 implementations could perhaps offer more scalability, for projects that will need said scalability we think it would be more practical for them to have their own parachain since it would give them full control over the implementation, it’s optimizable for various uses cases, and they would be able to benefit from the cross-chain interoperability that being a parachain offers, something that isn’t as clear with L2’s. There is a current lack of clarity regarding interoperability between different L2 solutions that has fragmented that market.

Having said that, both Acala and Astar are good projects with competent teams and we’re happy they are on the Kusama and Polkadot ecosystem.

I recommend you do your own research in terms of what projects you want to support!

Bilo | Crypto Society

I’ve already done my research and I’m happy supporting this one right here 🔥

Have you learned something from deploying the Moonriver network that will impact or change something in the Moonbeam network?

Francisco Javier Agosti

Moonriver is providing our team with a ton of experience! The Moonbeam team has learned a lot by having a production-running network with real-world load and use cases on it. Many of the things we have observed were not previously seen on either our Moonbase Alpha TestNet or in our performance tests. It was just possible to learn them from the unexpected demand we’ve seen on Moonriver.

Multiple bugs and performance issues have been found and addressed, and we expect this to continue in the coming weeks and months. Some of the issues we are finding are part of Moonriver, some are underlying Substrate issues, some are related to Moonriver’s interaction with Kusama, and some are potential issues with Kusama itself or its validators.

All of this experience and learning is in keeping with the idea of Kusama and Moonriver as a CanaryNet where things happen first.

Overall, the ability to respond to what we are learning is key — that applies to the Moonriver and Parity teams being responsive, but also the upgradability that is built into Substrate and Moonriver, which has also allowed us to quickly adapt.

Bilo | Crypto Society

Brilliant 💎💎💎💎💎

Can you describe the future roadmaps for Moonriver and for Moonbeam?

Francisco Javier Agosti

For now, our focus is making Moonriver as stable and secure as possible. Secondly, we want to continue to grow the ecosystem on Moonriver as much as possible in the weeks and months to come.

I would say the next major milestone will be to win a parachain slot on Polkadot and follow a similar launch process as we did on Moonriver (https://moonbeam.network/networks/moonriver/launch/).

After Moonbeam is effectively launched, we will aim to grow it as much as possible similarly to what we’re doing with Moonriver.

Exciting times ahead for sure!

Go Moonbeam

Bilo | Crypto Society

Is there any breaking news you can share with us here today?

Francisco Javier Agosti

Sign Up for Our Monthly Newsletter | Moonbeam

Each month, we send a monthly progress dispatch to your inbox. Sign up to receive updates on the project as we approach MainNet launch.

I would say stay tuned in our channels — we are constantly releasing news regarding our network, and the next weeks won’t be disappointing for sure!

You can subscribe to the Moonbeam and Moonbeam Foundation newsletters here:

https://moonbeam.network/newsletter/

https://moonbeam.foundation/updates/

Or you can also join the official telegram announcement channel: https://t.me/moonbeam_announcements

Bilo | Crypto Society

next weeks won’t be disappointing for sure!

👀

Need alpha, plsssss…

@fjagosti I will get fired if you don’t share breaking news.

Francisco Javier Agosti

Haha news will be coming soon and on a constant basis — don’t worry :D

Crypto Society

How important is the community to you? and how can we collaborate or help you for the development of the project?

Kathy | Moonbeam

Kathy | Moonbeam

Great question! We currently have an ambassador program which is open to people that is passionate about the Moonbeam & Polkadot ecosystems. Ambassadors have been a fundamental piece of the project growth and they do fantastic things. This is a great opportunity for more people to join our community and interact with other people that is super passionate! The Moonbeam Ambassador program has now +1300 ambassadors from 20+ countries around the world!

Ambassador Program | Join the Community | Moonbeam

Help promote the mission of the Moonbeam Network as an official ambassador! Learn more about the Ambassador Program and how to join.

Crypto Society

How about now you also know that there are not a few projects in the Polkadot ecosystem that offer cross-chain bridges and smart contracts. What are the advantages of Moonbeam in comparison? How to deal with competition?

Francisco Javier Agosti

Yes sure — first of all Moonbeam is not a bridge per se, it’s more of an Ethereum compatible onramp onto Polkadot.

In terms of competition, we are seeing more chains on Polkadot offering EVM compatibility. This is a sign that we are on the right track, and it validates the concept of what Moonbeam represents.

I’d also say that while most do offer EVM compatibility, they don’t go as deep as Moonbeam does, and our unified accounts feature is a good example of that. We decided to change the underlying account and signature structures on Moonbeam from Substrate based to be just like on Ethereum.

We wanted to avoid users having to control 2 separate sets of keys between Ethereum and Substrate accounts since it would create more friction for the UX. So, by using Ethereum accounts users can directly use tools like Metamask without having to change anything. This is an example of a feature that we have that other project don’t have.

Also, I’d say another determining factor is the ecosystem itself. At this point we’ve just worked a lot to have the richest possible ecosystem of tools, integrations and frameworks that makes it very difficult to replicate.

Crypto Society

Francisco and Bilo, thank you very much for this fantastic AMA!

Questions to Francisco.

1.How I can explain to my grandparents, what is Moonbeam?

2.What are the main tasks and goals of the Moonbeam project after full launch?

Francisco Javier Agosti

Haha that is a good question! Unfortunately, I think with blockchain it’s not so easy to explain it to our grandparents in one line.

I’d try to explain how the industry has evolved — explaining it from the start with what Bitcoin is and how it got triggered by the global financial crisis in 2008, followed by Ethereum and how it improved the overall application of blockchain technology going beyond a digital currency to decentralized applications.

And finally, how Ethereum ultimately presented limitations that were made clear by its high demand, and how Polkadot is an evolution of those learnings.

In the end Moonbeam is Ethereum on Polkadot — and the design and architecture of Polkadot itself is aiming to solve a lot of the limitations we’ve seen presented with blockchain in the past.

As said, it’s not an easy conversation to be had with grandparents, particularly if they’re not tech savvy — but I think the best way is to go step by step and including as much context as possible!

The main goal of Moonbeam I’d say is to accelerate the adoption rate of the Polkadot ecosystem and web3 as a whole through the use of the Ethereum environment and feature set which at this point has the bulk of developer activity in blockchain.

Crypto Society

Moonriver consists of four basic layers — EVM, Web3 RPC, Unified Accounts, DeFi Integrations. How does this help Moonriver improve compatibility? What makes you become a multi-functional coding environment for coders?

Kathy | Moonbeam

Correct, thanks for your question. Moonriver technology goes beyond EVM, which is why hundreds of developers have been able to expand to Polkadot without reinventing the wheel. The Moonbeam team has created the most Ethereum-compatible environment on Kusama. This has been a guiding principle throughout our development and is a core principle of the Moonbeam project. Our team wants to make sure existing Ethereum-based tools and code would work out-of-the-box on Moonriver and have gone to great lengths to ensure this is the case.

This is how Moonriver goes beyond EVM:

- Minimal Codebase Changes: if you have an existing contract, it will work right away with no need to rewrite or reconfigure

- Language Support: write smart contracts in Solidity or anything that compiles to EVM bytecode

- Use Existing Tools and dApp Front-Ends: connect popular tools like MetaMask, Remix, and Truffle via a complete set of Web3 RPC endpoints. Use well-known Javascript libraries such as Web3.Js or Ethers.Js. 60+ integrations on Moonbase Alpha are ready to deploy to Moonriver!

- Core Developer Integrations: integrations with the most-requested developer tools and services like APIs (The Graph, Biconomy, Covalent, OnFinality), assets (Ocean Protocol), bridges (ChainSafe, Interlay, and an NFT bridge in the works), DeFi protocols (SushiSwap, IDEX), oracles (Chainlink, Band Protocol) and many more.

- Unified Accounts, Addresses, and Signatures: use your existing Ethereum H160 accounts & ECDSA signatures to interact with Moonbeam

Crypto Society

What will be the biggest challenge for Moonbeam ecosystem in the next five years?

Kathy | Moonbeam

Great question! We are very excited about how our ecosystem has developed so far. 60+ projects are currently building on Moonbase Alpha, and these projects are already expanding to Moonriver (some of them already did > Biconomy, Seascape, Wanchain, Zoombies, IBetYou, AnySwap, and more!).

As a team, we are going to continue looking forward to integrations that will add value to the Moonbeam project to provide the best-in-class user experience for devs that want to expand to Polkadot. Additionally, we are looking forwards to have new use cases and access new communities. For us, it’s very important to bring integrations that will strengthen our portfolio.

I think we are also super excited to see how the ecosystems on Moonbeam & Moonriver will develop. We see this happening as Polkadot & Kusama, which pretty much are independent networks now. Each one has its own community and ecosystem.

Thanks, Bilo! For more information about Moonbeam, please visit our official channels listed here:

https://linktr.ee/moonbeam_network

Moonbeam Network | Linktree

Ethereum-compatible smart contract platform in Polkadot.

Crypto Society

Thanks @fjagosti @katherineqb for your time. We love you guyz ❤️

Kathy | Moonbeam

Thanks for the invite, it’s an honoured to be here with the CryptoSociety community 🙌

Francisco Javier Agosti

Thank you for having us!

Relevant Links

⚜️ Moonbeam Website: https://moonbeam.network/

⚜️ Moonbeam Telegram: https://t.me/Moonbeam_Official

⚜️ Moonbeam Twitter: https://twitter.com/moonbeamnetwork

⚜️ Crypto Society Announcements: https://t.me/CryptoSocietyyy

⚜️ Crypto Society Twitter: https://twitter.com/cryptosocietytg

Crypto enthusiasts join forces to bring you the latest Fundamental and Market Analysis