Introduction to Moonbeam

Last Modified:
March 1, 2024

Moonbeam is a smart-contract platform on Polkadot launched last December 17th, 2021. It is fully Ethereum-compatible and offers developers an easy entry into the Polkadot ecosystem. Moonbeam minimizes the need for code changes by allowing developers already familiar with Ethereum tools and languages (Solidity, Truffle, etc.) to build applications on Moonbeam. 

Moonbeam runs as a parachain connected to the Polkadot relay chain. Users also have the option to run their own node for personalized access.

Moonbeam's native token is called Glimmer (GLMR). 


Moonbeam allows you to do several things. Check them all out here. You will immediately jump to the Home page. You can navigate the different features Moonbeam has to offer by selecting them on the left part of your screen. 


Moonbeam’s home page gives you an overview of the network. It also displays your network activity, such as your balance, staking rewards, and assets. 


The “Staking” tab allows you to stake your $GLMR to secure the network in exchange for rewards. In “Overview”, you can choose the amount you wish to stake, delegate collators, set up auto-compounding of rewards, and view your overall staking activity. You can also unstake your already staked tokens here. Take note that there is a fixed 7-day unbonding period upon unstaking wherein you cannot accrue staking rewards. 


The “Cross-Chain” feature allows you to bridge assets between different blockchains. In “Parachain” bridges, you can bridge assets between Polkadot parachains. 

Here, you can set the asset and amount you wish to bridge, set your source and destination network, and view your fees and transaction history. You can also click “Other bridges” to find more bridge options that build on the Moonbeam ecosystem. 

Cross-Chain functionality is essential to Moonbeam since it allows different blockchains with different coding and architecture to still be able to communicate and leverage each other’s strengths. As a parachain on Polkadot, it is able to use Cross-Consensus Message Format (XCM) to communicate with the entire Polkadot ecosystem. For example, Moonbeam can talk to Polkadot, Acala, Astar, etc. and vice versa. 

Moonbeam itself is also fully Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) compatible allowing seamless communication and asset transfers with the Ethereum ecosystem. It is also compatible with other blockchains such as Cosmos and Avalanche.


Moonbeam’s “Governance” feature allows its community to actively participate in the decision-making of the project. In “Overview”, you can view the different types of ongoing proposals and use your $GLMR to vote on them. “Signal Voting” lets you express your initial opinion on proposals before formal voting begins. You can also participate in “Discussions” with other community members and set up “Alerts” for various events on the blockchain. 


Moonbeam also allows you to view and learn about the different projects building on their blockchain in the “Projects” tab. In “Overview”, you can view all the projects, search for specific projects or sort them by popularity, date of creation, and transactions. You can also jump to a specific project category by selecting it on the left side of your screen. 

Crowdloan Rewards

“Crowdloan Rewards” allows you to access and claim any remaining rewards from past crowdloan contributions to Moonbeam. Note that this will only be applicable if you’ve contributed to any crowdloans. Your screen will show your total rewards, claimed rewards, and claimable rewards, if any. 


The “Others” tab allows you to access additional functions. “Ecosystem” lets you discover other projects within Moonbeam. “Chain Explorers” allow you to specifically view explorer projects on the network. “Requests” shows you product requests on the blockchain.