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Using Brownie to Deploy To Moonbeam


Brownie is an Ethereum development environment that helps Python developers manage and automate the recurring tasks inherent to building smart contracts and DApps. Brownie can directly interact with Moonbeam's Ethereum API so it can also be used to deploy smart contracts on Moonbeam.

This guide will cover how to use Brownie to compile, deploy, and interact with Ethereum smart contracts on the Moonbase Alpha TestNet. This guide can also be adapted for Moonbeam, Moonriver, or Moonbeam development node.

Checking Prerequisites

To get started, you will need the following:

  • Have MetaMask installed and connected to Moonbase Alpha
  • Have an account with funds. You can get DEV tokens for testing on Moonbase Alpha once every 24 hours from the Moonbase Alpha Faucet
  • To test out the examples in this guide on Moonbeam or Moonriver, you will need to have your own endpoint and API key, which you can get from one of the supported Endpoint Providers

For this guide, Python version 3.9.10, pip version 22.0.3, and pipx version 1.0.0 were used.

Creating a Brownie Project

You will need to install Brownie and create a Brownie project if you don't already have one. You can choose to either create an empty project or use a Brownie mix, which is essentially a template to build your project on. For this example, you can create an empty project. You can get started by completing the following steps:

  1. Create a directory for your project
    mkdir brownie && cd brownie
  2. If you don't already have pipx installed, go ahead and install it

    python3 -m pip install --user pipx
    python3 -m pipx ensurepath

  3. Install Brownie using pipx

    pipx install eth-brownie


    pipx is used to run executables installed locally in your project. Brownie will be installed into a virtual environment and be available directly from the command line.

  4. Create a project

    brownie init

Create Brownie project

Your Brownie project should contain the following empty directories:

  • build - for project data such as contract artifacts from compilation
  • contracts - to store the smart contract files
  • interfaces - for smart contract interfaces that are required for your project
  • reports - for JSON report files for use in the Brownie GUI
  • scripts - where Python scripts used for deploying contracts or other automated tasks will live
  • tests - to store Python scripts for testing your project. Brownie uses the pytest framework for unit testing

Another important file to note that is not included in an empty project is the brownie-config.yaml configuration file. The configuration file is optional and comes in handy when customizing specific settings such as a default network, compiler version and settings, and more.

Network Configuration

To deploy to a Moonbeam-based network, you'll need to add and configure the network. Network configurations in Brownie are added from the command line. Brownie can be used with both development and live environments.

Moonbeam, Moonriver, and Moonbase Alpha are supported out of the box with Brownie as of version 1.18.2. To view the complete list of supported networks, you can run the following command:

brownie networks list

Network list

If you're looking to deploy a contract to a Moonbeam development node you'll need to add the network configurations. Under the hood, Brownie uses Ganache for development environments. However, since a Moonbeam development node acts as your own personal development environment, Ganache isn't needed. Therefore, you can configure a development node as a "live" network.

To add Moonbeam development node configurations, you can run the following command:

brownie networks add Moonbeam moonbeam-dev host= name=Development chainid=1281

If you successfully added the network, you'll see a success message along with the network details in the terminal.

To deploy to a Moonbeam network, or run tests on a specific network, you can specify the network by appending the following to the given command:

--network moonbeam-main
--network moonriver-main
--network moonbeam-test
--network moonbeam-dev

If you would like to set a default network, you can do so by adding the following snippet to the brownie-config.yaml configuration file:

    default: moonbeam-main
    default: moonriver-main
    default: moonbeam-test
    default: moonbeam-dev


Keep in mind that the brownie-config.yaml file isn't automatically created, you can optionally create it yourself.

Account Configuration

Before you can deploy a contract, you'll need to configure your account, which is also done from the command line. To add a new account you can run:

brownie accounts new {INSERT_ACCOUNT_NAME}

Make sure to replace {INSERT_ACCOUNT_NAME} with your name of choice. For this example, alice will be used as the account name.

You'll be prompted to enter in your private key and a password to encrypt the account with. If the account was successfully configured, you'll see your account address printed to the terminal.

Add account

The Contract File

Next you can create a contract inside of the contracts directory. The smart contract that you'll deploy as an example will be called Box, it will let you store a value that can be retrieved later. You can create a Box.sol contract by running the following command:

cd contracts && touch Box.sol

Open the file and add the following contract to it:

// contracts/Box.sol
pragma solidity ^0.8.1;

contract Box {
    uint256 private value;

    // Emitted when the stored value changes
    event ValueChanged(uint256 newValue);

    // Stores a new value in the contract
    function store(uint256 newValue) public {
        value = newValue;
        emit ValueChanged(newValue);

    // Reads the last stored value
    function retrieve() public view returns (uint256) {
        return value;

Compiling Solidity

To compile the contract you can simply run:

brownie compile

Compile Brownie project


The first time you compile your contracts it may take longer than usual while the solc binary is installed.

After compilation, you'll find the build artifacts in the build/contracts directory. The artifacts contain the bytecode and metadata of the contract, which are .json files. The build directory should already be in the .gitignore file but if it's not, it’s a good idea to add it there.

If you want to specify the compiler version or compilation settings, you can do so in the brownie-config.yaml file. Please note that if you haven't already created this file, you will need to do so. Then you can specify the compiler like so:

  evm_version: null
    version: 0.8.13
      enabled: true
      runs: 200


You can view the list of EVM versions supported by Brownie in their documentation.

Your contracts will only be compiled again if Brownie notices that a change has been made. To force a new compilation, you can run:

brownie compile --all

Deploying the Contract

In order to deploy the Box.sol smart contract, you will need to write a simple deployment script. You can create a new file under the scripts directory and name it

cd scripts && touch

Next, you need to write your deployment script. To get started start, take the following steps:

  1. Import the Box contract and the accounts module from brownie
  2. Load your account using accounts.load() which decrypts a keystore file and returns the account information for the given account name
  3. Use the deploy method that exists within this instance to instantiate the smart contract specifying the from account and the gas_limit
# scripts/
from brownie import Box, accounts

def main():
    account = accounts.load('alice')
    return Box.deploy(
            'from': account,
            'gas_limit': '200000'

You can now deploy the Box.sol contract using the run command and specifying the network:

brownie run scripts/ --network moonbeam-mainnet
brownie run scripts/ --network moonriver-mainnet
brownie run scripts/ --network moonbeam-test
brownie run scripts/ --network moonbeam-dev

After a few seconds, the contract is deployed, and you should see the address in the terminal.

Deploy Brownie project

Congratulations, your contract is live! Save the address, as you will use it to interact with this contract instance in the next step.

Interacting with the Contract

You can interact with contracts using the Brownie console for quick debugging and testing or you can also write a script to interact.

Using Brownie Console

To interact with your newly deployed contract, you can launch the Brownie console by running:

brownie console --network moonbeam-mainnet
brownie console --network moonriver-mainnet
brownie console --network moonbeam-test
brownie console --network moonbeam-dev

The contract instance will automatically be accessible from the console. It will be wrapped in a ContractContainer which also enables you to deploy new contract instances. To access the deployed contract you can use Box[0]. To call the store method and set the value to 5, you can take the following steps:

  1. Create a variable for the contract
    box = Box[0]
  2. Call the store method using your account and set the value to 5, {'from': accounts.load('alice'), 'gas_limit': '50000'})
  3. Enter the password for your account

The transaction will be signed by your account and broadcasted to the network. Now, you can retrieve the value by taking these steps:

  1. Call the retrieve method
    box.retrieve({'from': accounts.load('alice')})
  2. Enter your password

You should see 5 or the value you have stored initially.

Interact with Brownie project

Using a Script

You can also write a script to interact with your newly deployed contract. To get started, you can create a new file in the scripts directory:

cd scripts && touch

Next, you need to write your script that will store and then retrieve a value. To get started, take the following steps:

  1. Import the Box contract and the accounts module from brownie
  2. Load your account using accounts.load() which decrypts a keystore file and returns the account information for the given account name
  3. Create a variable for the Box contract
  4. Use the store and retrieve functions to store a value and then retrieve it and print it to the console
# scripts/
from brownie import Box, accounts

def main():
    account = accounts.load('alice')
    box = Box[0]
    store =, {'from': accounts.load('alice'), 'gas_limit': '50000'})
    retrieve = box.retrieve({'from': accounts.load('alice')})

    print("Transaction hash for updating the stored value: " + store)
    print("Stored value: " + retrieve)

To run the script, you can use the following command:

brownie run scripts/ --network moonbeam-mainnet
brownie run scripts/ --network moonriver-mainnet
brownie run scripts/ --network moonbeam-test
brownie run scripts/ --network moonbeam-dev

You'll need to enter the password for Alice to send the transaction to update the stored value. Once the transaction goes through, you should see a transaction hash and a value of 5 printed to the console.

Congratulations, you have successfully deployed and interacted with a contract using Brownie!

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Last update: September 28, 2023
| Created: March 25, 2022