Dot Pulse #11 — Continuous Auctions & Moonriver Deep Dive

Learn about Karura and other Kusama parachains, how the Kusama community fixed an exploit, new farms and governance watcher! 📣

Welcome to Dot Pulse, your window into the Polkadot DeFi ecosystem.

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This time we’ll be covering Moonriver, the canary deployment of Moonbeam on Kusama. Unlike our last deep dive with Karura and Acala, there are meaningful differences between the two networks that are quite interesting to uncover!

Moonriver: EVM on Polkadot

The basic analogy we can apply to Moonriver is that it’s an Ethereum emulator on Substrate. This is a major difference with many other EVM chains that propped up in the past few years, as these will usually be simple Geth forks with a few custom changes to consensus (Geth is the primary Ethereum 1.0 node software, basically what defines the Ethereum blockchain as we know it.)

What this means is that Moonriver is a Substrate blockchain that incorporates all user-facing aspects of Ethereum to make it functionally indistinguishable from it. Underneath, though, it’s a very different architecture.

Moonriver supports nearly all features of the Ethereum RPC (basically, the node API), it supports the same H160 addresses and, consequently, it has full support for MetaMask, Truffle and all the other Ethereum development tools. You can deploy Ethereum smart contracts to Moonriver with very few changes, and they will work with existing Ethereum wallets and libraries.

Since it’s still a Substrate chain, Moonriver will also support all major Polkadot features like staking, governance or indices (Polkadot’s wallet nickname system). In fact, you can still use Substrate APIs and Polkadot JS to interact with Moonriver.

Moonriver and Moonbeam position themselves as the friendly “gateway drug” into Kusama/Polkadot for Ethereum users and developers. Any asset on Moonriver should be fairly easy to port into the wider Kusama/Polkadot ecosystem, so eventually you’ll be able to start on Moonriver and gradually accustom to whatever else is on the Kusama ecosystem. For now though, XCM and interoperability functions aren’t live yet.

A note on performance

Without going too much into the technical details, the fact that Moonbeam/Moonriver is an emulation of Ethereum will probably cause additional overhead compared to a native implementation, but the Substrate EVM is based on SputnikVM, which is supposed to be faster than Geth. There isn’t much information available for now, so the jury is still out on this one.

In practice, right now Moonriver is operating with a block time of 12 seconds and a 15M gas limit, which is roughly equal to pre-EIP-1559 Ethereum. The network is still fresh and the team is likely playing it slow, but they are promising to increase the gas limit 4x and reducing the block time by 2x, eventually.

The good news is that you can already launch rollups and other L2s on top of Moonriver, so it will directly benefit from Ethereum scalability research. This is also a nice showcase of the idea of Polkadot/Kusama as a layer zero that simply glues together different L1 blockchains.

Moonriver vs. Moonbeam

The biggest difference between the two networks lies in the token allocations.

MOVR, the Moonriver token, has no team or investor allocation. All tokens are either distributed to the community or held as a general reserve for future parachain auctions and liquidity incentives.

The MOVR crowdloan was one of the most generous in terms of supply allocated at a whopping 30% (consider that this is just one crowdloan). It is also the most successful crowdloan so far with a 1300% ROI for participants.

Moonbeam’s Glimmer (GLMR) token, by comparison, has about 47% of the supply devoted to investors, early backers and future employees. Overall you can see why MOVR has one of the strongest communities for any parachain project so far!

The DeFi offering

So far Moonriver’s got a couple of Uni V2 forks with decent and by now quite stable farms (more on them below). Beyond that there really isn’t that much to see unfortunately. A couple of multi-chain projects made their way to Moonriver, a few rugs here and there… 

We’re mostly just waiting for the promised Cambrian explosion after the liquidity incentives begin. With 10% of the MOVR supply promised so far, that’s $380 million in incentives!

Polkadot Weekly Farms

We’ve got a lot of Kusama auction action this week! Motion 384 effectively established continuous auctions with over 24 slots expected to be made available in the coming months.

As detailed in the proposal, a batch of 5 auctions will begin with each new lease period, so each 6 weeks. The first one already began on Monday, with Picasso currently in a commanding lead of 92.8k KSM. Then again, there are only 9 parachain candidates left, so everyone should be able to get in eventually. This mega-batch will keep us occupied for about 6 months, so we should be able to see new contenders in the later rounds! 

Active Crowdloans

TL;DR: Offering 20% of supply, you can contribute with ERC-20 stablecoins. The project is a kind of “everythingVM” that aims to connect all protocols in one chain.

TL;DR: Offering 15% of supply, right now in second place with 40k KSM. The project is essentially a Decentraland on Polkadot.

TL;DR: Offering 8% of supply, third place with 17k KSM. The project is an NFT platform for Polkadot/Kusama.

Active Farms

Earn KAR by staking on Karura DEX

  • Yields are now 23% APR (or 47% with loyalty bonus) for KAR/KSM. 

  • KSM/LKSM farm has 16% APR (54% with loyalty)

  • KAR/kUSD offers APR is 47%, 68.1% with loyalty.

Earn KAR + BNC (Bifrost tokens) when staking kUSD/BNC 

  • APR is 116% with loyalty, 35% without.

Moonriver’s farms continue steady. As before, the following section is not vetted. Rug risk is high on Moonriver, though the farms below have been around for weeks. Still, fundamentals are basically absent. Proceed at your own peril.

  • Earn SOLAR in a classic Pool1/Pool2 arrangement, Pool2 yield is mid triple-digits, but there are a few juicy Pool1s with 100-200% APR.

  • Earn MOON in another Pool1/Pool2 set of farms. Yields at 500% for the Pool 2s, a few 100% Pool1s here and there.

Polkadot is set to do a partial rebrand via a stakeholder vote. The name will stay the same, as well as the overall color scheme, but the community is being asked to vote on a new logo and “brand identity”.

The motivation is that according to the team’s research, the Polkadot logo is not particularly memorable, while the existing design identity is not “deep” enough to allow a consistent artistic expression across many different content types.

The design identities are based on doing things with dots, either as a kind of modern Pointillism or by using dots as the main design “module” of sorts. You should check out the video presentations, a picture is definitely worth a 1000 words here!

The logos each represent the Polkadot network structure, the first one using the Relay Chain as the foundation (bottom) for the communities (top), while the second represents the idea of parachains connected with no real center between them.

Still, not everyone likes these.

Artistic debates aside, the proposal is a pretty cool expression of the spirit of community governance for Polkadot. The vote will be weighted with a quadratic formula that gives more weight to each individual stakeholder, instead of rewarding the rich.

To achieve this and avoid sybil exploits (one wallet splitting up into many), the team made a snapshot of all existing balances just as the poll was launched. Splitting up your stash now is pointless as it won’t be counted.

Bifrost will support Picasso Kusama Crowdloan through SALP Protocol.

TL;DR: Bifrost is supporting Picasso by enabling users to back the crowdloan while obtaining liquid vsKSM derivatives with the SALP protocol.

Allocation and Rewards Details Announced for the Moonbeam Crowdloan.

TL;DR: Moonbeam Foundation offers detailed information on the key points of Moonbeam Crowdloan, ways to contribute, rewards distribution, the parachain deployment and more. 

Epsilon, The Curve.Fi AMM on Kusama and Polkadot is Live.

TL;DR: Equilibrium has brought a “semi-official” Curve AMM implementation to Kusama, to be later integrated with Polkadot. 

Kusama Proposal 51

TL;DR: It’s a governance proposal with a rich backstory. The community is asking to end Integritee’s crowdloan due to pulling what they consider is a “bait and switch” on the participants.

All info in this newsletter is purely educational and should only be used to inform your own research. We're not offering investment advice, endorsement of any project or approach, or promise of any outcome. This is prepared using public information and couldn't possibly account for anyone's specific goals or financial situation. Be careful and keep up the honest work!

A guest post by
A techie passionate about (some) humanities. Former editor at Cointelegraph, DeFi enthusiast, self-taught programmer
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