Moonriver and Moonbeam are each independent layer one networks
Moonriver and Moonbeam are independent Layer-1 networks. Layer-1 refers to a base network, such as Bitcoin, BNB Chain, or Ethereum, and its underlying infrastructure. Layer-1 blockchains can validate and finalize transactions without the need for another network. In other words, a protocol is Layer-1 when it processes and completes transactions on its blockchain and has its native token, used to pay for transaction fees.
New code ships to Moonriver first, where it can be tested and verified under real economic conditions. Once proven, the same code is then shipped to Moonbeam on Polkadot. Dapp developers can deploy to either or both networks depending on which Relay Chain (Kusama or Polkadot) they wish to access. By adopting Ethereum’s tooling standards and implementing the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) environment, Moonbeam and Moonriver minimize the work needed to deploy existing Ethereum-based applications to Polkadot and Kusama.
Scaling blockchain for users
Deploying and using, Ethereum-based dapps within alternative blockchain ecosystems has become a vital part of web3. While Ethereum’s first-mover advantage and large user base and tooling make it a great location to build web3 applications, this, in turn, leads to congestion, which can cause high operating fees and slow transaction speeds. Furthermore, even with the advent of Ethereum 2.0, gas fees will not be significantly cheaper as Ethereum’s core problem is the blocks are always full. Moving from a PoW to PoS consensus won’t solve that. Who gets the gas fee will change, but the costs will still be relatively high hence why Layer-1 networks become so important.
The ecosystems of both networks have grown considerably since DappRadar integrated them back in January 2022. At that stage, there were just 18 dapps across the two networks, with most on Moonriver testing under actual economic conditions. Additionally, most dapps were in the DeFi and exchange categories. We now track 78 dapps across the two networks, including several games, NFT collections, and marketplaces.
Despite luring many already well-utilized dapps over from Ethereum, such as SushiSwap, Beefy Finance, Curve, and Oasis, it’s the native dapps that stand out as gaining the most traction, attracting the most user wallets and transactions on both Moonriver and Moonbeam.
Moonriver – a safe space
As mentioned, the new code ships to Moonriver first where it can be tested under real-world conditions. Users can interact with these dapps in the same way as on Moonbeam, and importantly devs can launch dapps to both networks and then update things on the Moonriver side before shipping updates to the Moonbeam version. TVL on Moonriver currently stands at almost $270 million, with a noticeable uptick from May 13 to today of more than $60 million.
Looking at the source of the TVL uptick points toward Solarbeam, Zenlink, and Lido as the significant contributors, Solarlink recording a 7-day TVL rise of 146% over the last week. Again we see that the networks native dapps Solarbeam and Zenlink lead the charge, while Lido, an Ethereum dapp, contributes significantly but far less than the other two.
Looking at on-chain data over the last 30 days on Moonriver indicates which dapps are finding significant traction with users. It’s also interesting to see a once very DeFi-heavy network embracing games and NFT marketplaces in line with industry trends.
Given the current trading climate, it is not surprising to see that the network’s leading DeFi dapps have taken a hit regarding usage. Solarbeam user numbers are down around 20% month over month, while RomeDAO active wallets fell by almost 65% in the last 30 days. Both protocols provide trading, token swap, staking, and yield farming options. As seen above, however, despite falling usage, both still contribute significantly to the TVL of the network. Perhaps more interesting is the uplift in the use of dapps in the game and marketplace categories.
MoonBeans is the leading NFT marketplace on the Moonriver Network, currently only available on Moonriver and coming to Moonbeam soon. The MoonBeans NFT platform provides profit-sharing and features USDC dividends automatically rewarded to BEANS token holders, customizable rewards, and a fully functional community DAO. BEAN holders receive passive rewards from every transaction, with reward payouts determined by a community vote via the DAO.
The average price of an NFT on MoonBeans is relatively low at around $227, reflecting the type of collections available to purchase. No Bored Apes here. Nonetheless, in the last 30 days, traders increased by more than 66%, up to 399, while sales volume swelled 116% to more than $160,000. Small numbers compared to OpenSea’s billions of dollars per month in trading volume, but still, it shows solid momentum in the right direction.
Moonbeam – take it to the next level
TVL on Moonbeam currently stands at just over $70 million, which reflects that many DeFi dapps responsible for generating TVL are still in the testing stage over on Moonriver. However, Moonbeam represents the most active side of the ecosystem and is home to the most competitive dapps.
We don’t see such positive upticks in TVL on Moonbeam as we saw on Moonriver, however, Zenlink operates on both chains and is a significant driver of TVL on both.
The top three dapps on Moonbeam attracted more than 13,400 unique active wallets between them in the last thirty days, while the top three on Moonriver attracted just over 8,000. Given the current trading climate, it’s not surprising to find the networks’ leading DeFi dapps seeing less usage right now.
The StellaSwap platform focuses on creating a comprehensive suite of DeFi products for end-users as well as a robust ecosystem for projects to build on the Moonbeam network. By leveraging the premise of interoperability and scalability, StellaSwap is pushing for mass adoption by deconstructing and streamlining the traditional user journey, creating a more approachable and straightforward suite of DeFi products catering to the average user.
Meanwhile, BeamSwap is very similar and offers a decentralized exchange with an AMM. Alongside various other features like yield farming, a token bridge and faucet service, a project launchpad, and syrup pools in a setup similar to Ethereum’s leading DEX SushiSwap.
Moonbeam & Moonriver in summary
As Ethereum scalability continues to be a significant cause for concern, Layer-1 networks like Moonbeam and Moonriver should find more traction from customers looking for low cost, fast transactions, and Ethereum class security. By providing an Ethereum-compatible development environment, Web3 RPC API support, and ready-made tooling for tokens and data, Moonbeam and Moonriver simplify deploying Ethereum-based dapps within the Substrate ecosystem.
Already we have seen significant players like Sushi, Curve, and Beefy make the switch. However, usage for those dapps on the two networks is lagging behind native dapps. Nonetheless, this is very positive for the growth of both the Moonriver and Moonbeam networks.
Developers interested in learning more about building or moving dapps to Moonbeam or Moonriver can start here. Ethereum projects can simply replicate their dapp and deploy it to Moonbeam using Hardhat, Truffle, Remix, and other popular deployment tools.
The above does not constitute investment advice. The information given here is purely for informational purposes only. Please exercise due diligence and do your research. The writer holds positions in various cryptocurrencies, including BTC, ETH, and RADAR.