Moonbeam: EVM + XCM

June 8, 2022 Sam Kim & Ninos Mansor

Moonbeam is a Polkadot Parachain which combines the functionality of the EVM with Polkadot’s multi-chain infrastructure. We believe it could evolve into the central hub for Polkadot assets and become a conduit to EVM-based projects.

Ethereum’s scalability challenges have fuelled the rise of new blockchains which try to cater to different use cases. There is no general purpose blockchain that can meet the unique demands of all applications. This lies at the heart of Polkadot’s approach: infrastructure to deploy application-specific blockchains, moving beyond homogenous and generalized computing.

Despite Ethereum congestion, the EVM dominates developer and user mindshare. EVM chains from Ethereum to alternative EVM-based L1s have captured the lion’s share of blockchain activity across most sectors.

As an EVM-based Parachain, Moonbeam inherits both the rich infrastructure forged through years of EVM-based products and the multi-chain architecture that is uniquely enabled by Polkadot’s XCM framework. It could thus become a prime destination for natively multi-chain applications. We believe that Moonbeam is positioned for a new generation of “xApps”, applications which deploy across blockchains from day one.

This report attempts to unpack the technical foundations of Moonbeam and how it fits into the Polkadot ecosystem and the broader XCM framework. The first section focuses on Polkadot’s multi-chain design and the rise of the EVM. The second section explores the consensus technology and token economics of Moonbeam and the unique use cases unlocked by XCM. In the third and final section, we briefly describe some of the major protocols building on Moonbeam.