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Moonbuilders Academy: Learn How to Develop on Moonbeam with Solidity

Moonbuilders Academy is a new learning hub and educational platform where developers can learn how to build Web3 apps on Polkadot’s Moonbeam parachain (and Moonriver on Kusama).

The Moonbuilders Academy is a series of self-paced developer-focused courses that include an overview of Polkadot, Moonbeam, Substrate, Ethers.js, price feeds, precompiles, and interoperability features.

You’ll also learn about how to leverage existing Ethereum developer tools like Remix, Solidity, Truffle, and Hardhat that also work with Moonbeam.

To wrap up the course, you’ll apply all the lessons you’ve learned to build and deploy a staking DAO smart contract. What is Moonbeam?

Moonriver on Kusama

Kusama is a public “canary” network for Polkadot that allows web developers to test early versions of Polkadot projects, but with real users, data, and cryptocurrency traded on an open market.

Moonriver is the Kusama version of Moonbeam. New code ships to Moonriver first, where it can be tested and verified under real economic conditions. Once proven, the same code ships to Moonbeam on Polkadot.

What you learn in the Moonbuilders Academy also applies the same to Moonriver, but keep in mind that Moonriver may have code that hasn’t made it to Moonbeam yet.

Moonbeam EVM Compatibility

Launched in January 2020 by Derek Yoo of PureStake, Moonbeam is a developer-oriented platform on the Polkadot network that provides compatibility with the Ethereum blockchain and development tools.

Polkadot itself does not natively support the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), making it impossible for developers to use Solidity smart contracts. The default way to write apps for Polkadot is through Substrate.

This is a problem for apps migrating from Ethereum to Polkadot, and for developers with experience writing smart contracts in Solidity.

To resolve these issues, the Moonbeam team worked with Parity to develop the “Frontier” pallet that brings full EVM compatibility to the Polkadot ecosystem.

Using Moonbeam, Solidity developers can deploy existing Solidity smart contracts to Moonbeam without having to change the structure of the existing code because Moonbeam mirrors Ethereum’s Web3 RPC, account model, event subscriptions, logs, and more.

Since Moonbeam is built on Substrate, the foundation of Polkadot, it offers much more than just EVM implementation with Polkadot’s built-in features of on-chain governance, staking, and cross-chain integrations.

Apps built on Moonbeam benefit from Polkadot’s fast transactions, low gas costs, and enterprise-grade security.

Moonbeam’s Ethereum Compatible Account Model

Unlike other EVM-compatible chains, Moonbeam uses the H160 format of Ethereum addresses. With this, users do not have to manage different addresses for each network or switch and wallets when completing multi-chain operations.
This approach eliminates the issue of requiring mapped addresses where other platforms use the standard Polkadot Substrate H256 addresses linked to an Ethereum-style address which the user doesn’t have the keys.

Moonbeam’s frictionless unified account approach lets users use the same private key and corresponding address to interact with both Ethereum and Moonbeam, including native functions like staking and voting in on-chain governance.

Developer Tools

Developers can continue to use their favorite development environments, build tools, and services when building new applications on Moonbeam.

Moonbeam developers can utilize the most mature Solidity tools in the Ethereum ecosystem that they are already familiar with. These include Web3/Ethers JavaScript SDKs, Truffle, Remix, Hardhat, Waffle, Scaffold-eth, and many other popular Web3 development tools.

In addition to a broad range of developer tools, essential APIs like The Graph Subgraphs and Chainlink Price feeds are available to Moonbeam developers. This is possible because Moonbeam’s set of Web3 RPCs allow these developer tools to build with Moonbeam in the same way as Ethereum.

The integration of Chainlink’s price feeds helps enable DeFi developers to source accurate price information across many exchanges. The availability of Chainlink Price Feeds for Moonbeam means developers can build sophisticated DeFi apps with all the added benefits of building on the Moonbeam network.

Moonbeam Grants Program

The Moonbeam Foundation hosts a grant program to support projects at any stage of development that will add value to the Moonbeam ecosystem, such as a DEX, DeFi protocols, oracles, NFTs, gaming, marketplaces, or any other type of Moonbeam-native application.

Arrington Capital also announced a $100 million fund for Moonbeam developers. The $100M ecosystem fund is dedicated to supporting developers to build and scale multi-chain applications, including new use cases that leverage the interoperability provided by Polkadot.

Moonbeam has gained significant momentum as a new Layer-1 protocol and provides a needed spark for the larger multi-chain movement, a trend which we are seeing across our portfolio. We are thrilled to more deeply support the Moonbeam team’s goal of empowering cross-chain expansion for startups and developers in the simplest way possible. This fund signifies our enthusiasm for Moonbeam, and we’re excited to work closely with the rapidly expanding ecosystem of teams there.

Michael Arrington, Partner at Arrington Capital

Moonbuilders Academy Course Overview

The course assumes you have some experience with developing smart contracts with Solidity and Web3 development in general, but you don’t need to be an expert.

If you are new to the Polkadot ecosystem, the course does a good job introducing you to Polkadot native concepts like on-chain governance, staking and precompiles. You’ll also gain an understanding of how the Moonbeam EVM works on top of Polkadot and Substrate.

The course is broken up into eight lessons each with about 30 minutes of video lessons and links to more detailed information, ending with a short quiz on the lesson you just completed. Once you finish the course by passing all the chapter quizzes you’ll receive a certificate of completion.

Here is the breakdown of the lessons in the course:

  1. Moonbeam, Polkadot & Substrate
  2. Remix and Solidity
  3. Truffle and Hardhat
  4. Web3.js
  5. Ethers.js and Price Feeds
  6. Precompiles
  7. Build a Staking DAO (Part 1)
  8. Build a Staking DAO (Part 2)

At the end of the course you’ll develop, test, and deploy a final capstone project of a Staking DAO where users can commit DEV (the test token on Moonbase Alpha network) to stake to the specified collator, and once the minimum amount of DEV required has been reached it will automatically stake with the collator until revoked and withdrawn.

If you get stuck anywhere when taking the course you can find the entire project source code on Github. You can also reach out for help or to chat with other Moonbuilders Academy students in the Moonbeam Discord

As an example of what you’re going to build, here is the address of the contract I developed taking the course:

Introduction to the Moonbuilders Academy

Join the Moonbuilders Academy

Mike Hale
Mike Hale

Mike Hale has more than 20 years of experience in software & web development, marketing, and product management.