What is Moonriver and the MOVR Token?

Ivan On Tech

Written by Ivan on Tech

November 22, 2021

The Moonriver crypto ecosystem is the largest and most active decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem on the Kusama parachain. Providing a canary network for the upcoming Polkadot Moonbeam network, Moonriver is an Ethereum-compatible smart contract development environment. Further, the project facilitates seamless interoperability with existing applications on the Kusama parachain, external blockchains, plus its companion Moonbeam network. This is thanks to Moonriver smart contracts offering extensive Ethereum development tools. Also, the native Moonriver token (MOVR) is paramount to the smooth-running operations and functions of the Moonriver crypto ecosystem. The MOVR token holds several key responsibilities offering holders the chance to participate in securing and governing the network. 

In this article, we are going to dive deep into the Kusama parachain’s leading decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem, Moonriver. We will explore how developers can take advantage of the Moonriver smart contracts and the relationship between the Moonriver crypto ecosystem and the Moonbeam network. Plus, we’ll look at the roles of the Moonriver token (MOVR) and see why the MOVR token is so crucial to operations. Finally, we’ll explore some of the different DeFi projects already live and fully operational within the Moonriver crypto ecosystem.

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What is Moonriver?

Deployed as a Kusama parachain in 2021, Moonriver is the companion network of the Polkadot-based Moonbeam project, operating as a “permanently incentivized canary network”. Moonriver facilitates frictionless Ethereum compatibility and offers developers a reliable and secure testing ground for deploying decentralized applications (dApps). Moreover, developers can use Moonriver to trial and analyze dApps prior to launching on the Moonbeam network. Alternatively, developers can use the network itself to host their applications.  

Blog Moonriver Crypto Project Logo

The Kusama parachain project is providing developers familiar with Ethereum’s programming language, Solidity, the opportunity to try out their code in a test environment. But, Kusama boasts the added excitement and convenience of real economic conditions. Further, upon successful testing and verification, the exact same code transfers across to Moonbeam on Polkadot. Also, the project offers a seamless migration process for existing Ethereum decentralized applications (dApps) to move across to the Moonriver network.

The Moonbeam network is yet to launch its mainnet. As such, the Moonriver parachain offers a canary network allowing developers to design, experiment, and deploy applications ahead of the Moonbeam network launch on Polkadot. 

Kusama and Polkadot 

Polkadot is a long-standing top 10 cryptocurrency project by market cap with a primary focus on interoperability and compatibility between different blockchains throughout the industry. Accordingly, the Polkadot project infrastructure comprises various chains and elements to the network instead of being an individual blockchain. At the center of the network is the Relay chain. The Relay chain is responsible for the validation of transactions and cross-chain communication. Furthermore, the Relay chain can be thought of as a loop or wheel securing the rest of the chains in the network. These chains are known as parachains, parathreads, and bridges. 

Blog Moonriver Kusama Parachain

Parachains are sovereign customizable blockchains with their own tokens and governance structures. Also, parachains have a connection with the Relay chain 24/7. Alternatively, developers can choose to implement parathreads, which have very similar properties to parachains. However, parathreads are smaller and require less interaction with the Relay chain. Finally, bridges are the smallest chains that link together parachains and external blockchains such as Bitcoin or Ethereum

The Polkadot mainnet is mid-way through its launch phases at the time of writing. However, Polkadot has a sister project, Kusama, of which the mainnet is already live and fully operational. The role of the Kusama project is to act as a canary network or testing ground for developers prior to deploying applications on the Polkadot network. As such, the Kusama network and infrastructure mirror that of Polkadot. Kusama provides developers with a full suite of tools and resources the same as its sister network. Conveniently, Kusama offers familiarity with that of Polkadot when designing and releasing applications. 

To gain a deeper understanding of how Polkadot works, see our Polkadot 101 course at Moralis Academy! Discover a deep dive on the Polkadot network infrastructure, how the on-chain governance mechanism works, and how to install Polka.js! 

What is the Moonbeam Parachain?

The Moonriver network is operating on a Kusama parachain as the canary network for Moonbeam on Polkadot. Moonbeam offers a development experience combining the familiarity and ease-of-design of Ethereum with the scalability, security, and interoperability of Polkadot. As such, this makes for a powerful development environment with its own set of open-source permissionless tools and resources. Moreover, Moonbeam offers a seamless transition for existing Ethereum decentralized applications (dApps) to redeploy in Moonbeam’s environment. Offering far more than just a bridging service, developers can seamlessly migrate Solidity applications in a Substrate-based environment. Furthermore, this often comes with little to no cost.


GLMR Token 

Moonbeam’s native token is the Glimmer token (GLMR), soon to be released on Polkadot. Functioning as the main utility token of the Moonbeam network, the GLMR token and Moonriver token (MOVR) basically hold the same roles and responsibilities. This includes providing governance rights, gas metering of smart contract executions, paying for network transaction fees, and incentivizing nodes. We’ll cover the MOVR token in more detail further in the article. 

Moonbeam Foundation

The Moonbeam Foundation is responsible for the inception, design, implementation, and growth of the Moonbeam project and its ecosystem. This includes the Moonriver network as the testing and development ground. There is little public background information available surrounding the Moonbeam Foundation. However, the Foundation is keen to support the next generation of Web3 developers offering a Moonbeam Grants Program. 

The Moonbeam Grants Program is to support the development and growth of the Moonbeam platform and ecosystem. Largely, the Moonbeam Foundation aims to provide funding for projects adding value to the Moonbeam ecosystem through innovative developments introducing new use cases to the project’s native tokens.

MOVR Token 

The native Moonriver token (MOVR) is a multi-functional utility token for the network. In turn, the MOVR token holds four key responsibilities to ensure the upkeep and operations of the network. The essential roles of the MOVR token include incentivization for honest participation of the Moonriver node network and a governance mechanism for on-chain voting. Plus, the MOVR is a medium of exchange for paying transaction fees and gas metering for smart contract executions.

Blog MOVR Token

The Kusama-based Moonriver token (MOVR) is crucial to the functioning and security of the Moonriver network. Furthermore, the MOVR token helps facilitate true decentralization of the project. With a circulating supply of just over two million, the Moonriver crypto market cap is $773 million, according to CoinGecko. The MOVR token currently sits at $326 at the time of writing. 

Moonriver Smart Contracts

In a similar way to how Kusama presents the same infrastructure for testing as the Polkadot network, Moonriver smart contracts operate in the same manner as Moonbeam’s smart contracts. As a fully-operational development ground, the Moonriver crypto project offers an easy on-ramp to the Kusama network and its native assets. Furthermore, developers can deploy existing Solidity-written Ethereum applications on the Moonriver parachain with little to no alterations. Also, upon the launch of the Moonbeam mainnet, the Moonriver crypto network will continue to operate as its own parachain. The project plans to host its own native projects with specialized use cases.

Blog Moonriver Smart Contracts

Moreover, Moonriver smart contracts provide an early opportunity to experiment with the latest development tools and resources on the Moonbeam network. While providing an incentivized canary environment, Moonriver smart contracts provide easy access to the Kusama mainnet. Additionally, Moonriver smart contracts offer the same Ethereum tools and compatibility as its sister network, Moonbeam.  

Ethereum Compatibility 

As Ethereum is the number one smart contract-enabled blockchain, many projects endeavor to offer some form of interoperability with Ethereum. Initially, projects began offering compatibility with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), offering developers a space to compile Solidity application code. However, as the innovation of decentralized finance (DeFi) progresses, projects are beginning to offer more than just foundational EVM compatibility to compete with other existing platforms. As such, Moonriver provides programmers with a frictionless interoperable development opportunity extending beyond solely EVM compatibility. 

Blog Kusama Parachain and Ethereum interoperability with Moonriver Smart Contracts

The Ethereum experience on Moonriver can begin from an application’s first line of code. Moonriver allows developers to build decentralized applications (dApps) using the familiar Solidity programming language or any other preferred language compilable into Solidity bytecode. Moreover, developers can take advantage of popular Ethereum tools, including Truffle Suite and Remix. Also, tools such as Waffle, Hardhat, and Web3 wallet MetaMask can all be integrated using a complete set of RPC endpoints. Additionally, the Moonriver crypto project offers developers access to popular Javascript libraries, including Ethers.Js and Web3.Js.

For developers with existing Ethereum decentralized applications (dApps), Moonriver is arguably the most efficient option for migrating to the Kusama parachain. Developers can choose to do so without reconfiguring or rewriting the code much, if at all! Furthermore, alongside minimal adjustments, there is little to no cost for developers to redeploy their dApps from Ethereum to Kusama via the Moonriver crypto project. Moreover, developers can use different accounts, signatures, and addresses from Ethereum as Moonriver allows developers to create unified accounts with existing Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm (ECDSA) signatures and H160 accounts used to sign transactions. 

Moonriver DeFi Ecosystem

As the most active ecosystem on Kusama parachain at the time of writing, the Moonriver crypto project hosts a variety of decentralized applications (dApps). Further, projects are increasingly using Moonriver for dApps as a gateway service to Kusama and its assets and users. The type of dApps available within the Moonriver crypto ecosystem span from popular decentralized exchanges (DEXs) and automated market makers (AMMs) to staking protocols and crypto wallets. Plus, the Moonriver crypto ecosystem hosts several different oracle services, including leading oracle Chainlink, Band Protocol, and DIA. 

Blog Moonrive Crypto Ecosystem

The Moonriver crypto ecosystem is also host to different infrastructure and application programming interface (API) projects too. This includes the likes of The Graph, API3, OpenZeppelin, and Covalent. Additionally, the Moonriver crypto ecosystem features multiple non-fungible token (NFT)-based applications, including SeaScape, Unifty, and myNFT. Also, the Moonriver crypto ecosystem provides users with access to a range of exciting decentralized finance (DeFi) projects. The Kusama parachain project hosts DeFi platforms including Balancer, Ocean Protocol, Injective Protocol, and SushiSwap

Exploring the Moonriver Crypto Ecosystem and MOVR Token Summary

The Moonriver crypto project is the testing ground or canary network for the Moonbeam network. In a similar fashion to the relationship between the Kusama and Polkadot networks, developers can access Moonriver for experimenting prior to releasing applications on Moonbeam via Polkadot. With the native Moonriver token (MOVR) crucial to network functioning, the decentralized development environment receives direction for expansion from its governing token holders. Further, the MOVR token incentivizes the Moonriver nodes and is the primary medium of exchange across the Moonriver crypto ecosystem.

Offering simple, fast, and cost-efficient access to the Kusama parachain, Moonriver smart contracts extend beyond solely Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) compatibility. Developers can migrate existing Ethereum decentralized applications (dApps) frictionlessly to the Moonriver crypto ecosystem with minimal adjustments to code. Additionally, developers on the Kusama parachain can gain access to a wealth of Ethereum tools and resources via Moonriver. This includes a range of wallets, external project integrations, and dApp development tools. Moreover, interacting with Moonriver smart contracts gives developers an insight into the development experience of the project’s companion network, Moonbeam. Further, upon launch of the Moonbeam mainnet, developers will be able to swiftly ship across their application code from the Kusama parachain to Polkadot, thanks to Moonriver.

If you want to create your own decentralized applications on Ethereum or Moonriver, Moralis Academy can help you achieve this goal! Moralis Academy offers development courses to suit a range of programming levels, even if you have no experience! Start with our JavaScript Programming for Blockchain Developers course to grasp the basics of coding. Then, our Ethereum Smart Contract Programming 101 course is the perfect place to learn the Ethereum programming language, Solidity. Also, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @MoralisAcademy! We’d love to hear your thoughts about the Moonriver crypto ecosystem and MOVR token!

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