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Moonriver Vs. Moonbeam – What’s the Difference?

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The crypto market is filled with exciting projects that stretch the imagination and help to bring new features to the market. Moonbeam and Moonriver are two projects designed to help drive innovation in the market. As such, they have some similarities and some stark differences. Here's everything you need to know when discussing Moonbeam (GLMR) vs Moonriver (MOVR).

Moonbeam Vs. Moonriver

To better understand these networks' similarities and differences you first need to grasp their relation to each other and the Polkadot ecosystem in general. Both of these protocols were built to help drive innovation on the Polkadot blockchain and incentivize participation. Moonriver is an incentivized testnet. It enables developers to create, test, and adjust their protocols prior to the official launch on Moonbeam.

Moonbeam (GLMR) - Twitter

Moonbeam (GLMR) – Twitter – Moonbeam (GLMR) vs Moonriver (MOVR)

Moonbeam is the mainnet of the ecosystem. It was the first operational parachain for the Polkadot ecosystem. As such, it's considered further along in its development. Parachains are subchains designed to expand the DOT ecosystem. Polkadot initiated the Parachain campaign to find the most valuable additions to its network. Notably, Moonbeam was awarded the Parachain title after the community voted that it was an essential addition to the system.

What is Moonbeam?

Moonbeam was built to provide full interoperability with the Ethereum ecosystem. It operates as a layer 1 chain that is capable of executing EVM instances on the Polkadot chain. The protocol improves developer options with built-in integrations. The network supports the ERC-20 standard and DOT protocols.

Ethereum is the largest DeFi and Dapp ecosystem in the world at this time. However, due to network congestion, the network has record-high gas fees at this time. These fees have led developers to seek out more scalable alternatives. Polkadot is one of those options that has captured the attention of developers and investors alike. Moonbeam eliminates these problems and provides scalability with top-performing blockchains.

What is Moonriver?

Moonriver launched in June 2021. It operates as a companion network to Moonbeam. The goal of the project is to incentivize the development of the Moonbeam protocol.  Developers can create on Moonriver first. Here, they can test their creations under real economic conditions. They can use this data to verify their concepts.

Moonriver (MOVR) - Twitter

Moonriver (MOVR) – Twitter – Moonbeam (GLMR) vs Moonriver (MOVR)

Once the protocol proves to be secure and efficient, they can effortlessly migrate to Moonbeam. Moonriver is ideal for innovation within the ecosystem because it enables users to start building, experimenting, and launching their Dapps and assets.

What Problems Does MoonbeamSolve?

Moonbeam was built to solve multiple problems facing the Polkadot network. Its primary goal is to provide an Ethereum developer-friendly parachain that could streamline the process of migrating protocols to the network. As such, Moonbeam was built to be flexible. The protocol supports multiple coding languages. Specifically, you can create using Solidity, Vyper, and anything that compiles to EVM bytecode.

Moonbeam provides Ethereum developers with much more flexibility than their original chain. Users can create multi-chain projects that include unique features like staking and cross-chain interoperability. They can also create sub-governance systems to manage these protocols.

What Problems Does Moonriver Solve?

Moonriver was designed to give Moonbeam developers a head start. It helps reduce launch delays and improves security for the mainnet. Developers can verify their protocols function as intended and users can gain early access to the new system while they are still in testing. The eventual goal of these protocols is to make it to the Polkadot environment. As such, both networks share a very similar codebase.

How Does Moonbeam Work?

Moonbeam is a Polkadot parachain network. It’s directly linked to the Polkadot ecosystem and enjoys full interoperability with its features. Developers can create on Moonriver and get a head start on their Polkadot applications. This approach is ideal because they gain immediate access to the growing DOT community of digital assets. These assets include DOT, KSM, and a variety of other popular projects. Developers can even integrate ETH and BTC using the systems network bridge.

Moonbeam (GLMR) - Homepage

Moonbeam (GLMR) – Homepage –

Moonbeam has a larger token supply than Moonriver. The system is set up to issue 1 billion GLMR tokens over the life of the project. Notably, the network splits the fees with 80% going to a burn address and the remaining 20% sent to the community treasury. The GLMR inflation rate is capped at 5%.

How Does Moonriver Work?

Moonriver was built on the Kusama Network. Kusama is an experimental test network. It's designed for fast-paced transactions with lower block times. This layout enables developers to see their protocols mature over time faster to test their long-term viability and growth potential in the market. Moonriver was built to support Moonbeam and provide support for Solidity smart contracts on Kusama.

Moonriver (MOVR) - Homepage

Moonriver (MOVR) – Homepage – Moonbeam (GLMR) vs Moonriver (MOVR)

Moonriver has set its token supply significantly less than Moonbeam at 10 million MOVR tokens. These tokens share the same 80/20 split design as GLMR tokens. They have an uncapped inflation rate of 5%.

Same Development Team

It's worth noting that these projects come from the same development team and both are decentralized in nature. As such, these networks operate as straight coding with no human intervention needed to complete their operations. This technical structure ensures they remain efficient and free from human errors.


The deflationary aspects of each protocol provide these projects with added value. When tokens are sent to a burn address they get removed from circulation forever. This removal of tokens drives the supply lower. In turn, these actions push demand higher. These factors help to drive the value of tokens up over time.

How to Buy Moonriver (MOVR) Vs. Moonbeam (GLMR)

Currently, Moonbeam (GLMR) and Moonriver (MOVR) are each available for purchase on the following exchanges.

Kraken – Founded in 2011, Kraken is one of the most trusted names in the industry with over 9,000,000 users, and over $207 billion in quarterly trading volume.

The Kraken exchange offers trading access to over 190 countries including Australia, Canada, and Europe, and is our most recommended exchange for USA residents. (Excluding New York & Washington state).

KuCoin – This exchange currently offers cryptocurrency trading of over 300 other popular tokens.  It is often the first to offer buying opportunities for new tokens. USA Residents are Prohibited.

Moonbeam (GLMR) vs Moonriver (MOVR) – What  is a Better Investment?

Now that you have more insight into these protocols you may still find that it's hard to determine which is the best investment. Both projects serve vital roles and analysts have expressed potential for both projects even though Moonbeam is the mainnet. For these reasons, it could be wise to hold both of these tokens in your portfolio as they may see growth alongside further development of the Polkadot community.

To learn more visit our Investing in Moonbeam and Investing in Moonriver guides, or our How to Buy Moonbeam and How to Buy Moonriver guides.

David Hamilton is a full-time journalist and a long-time bitcoinist. He specializes in writing articles on the blockchain. His articles have been published in multiple bitcoin publications including