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There's a great deal of terminology that's specific to Polkadot, Substrate, and the emerging Parity/Web3 ecosystem. We've compiled a list of terms we think you'll want to know as you review the Moonbeam documentation, plans, and tutorials.


One of the key network participants needed to support parachains within the Polkadot Network. In Moonbeam, collators are the nodes that are responsible for block production and for submitting produced blocks up to the Polkadot Relay Chain for finalization.


A blockchain which is connected to Polkadot. Parachains receive shared security from Polkadot and the ability to interact with other parachains on the Polkadot network.


A network of connected blockchains that provides shared security and the ability to interact between chains. Polkadot is built using the Substrate development framework. Chains that connect to Polkadot are called parachains.

Relay Chain

The backbone blockchain supporting the Polkadot network. Parachains connect to the Relay Chain and use it for shared security and message passing. Validators on the Relay Chain help secure the parachains.

Smart Contract

A smart contract is a computer program or a transaction protocol which is intended to automatically execute, control or document legally relevant events and actions according to the terms of a contract or an agreement The objectives of smart contracts are the reduction of need in trusted intermediators, arbitrations and enforcement costs, fraud losses, as well as the reduction of malicious and accidental exceptions. Learn more.


A Rust-based blockchain development framework created by Parity Technologies based on their experience implementing multiple blockchain clients. Substrate comes with many modules and functionalities that are needed when you are building a blockchain, including P2P networking, consensus mechanisms, staking, cryptocurrency, on-chain governance modules, and more. It dramatically reduces the time and engineering effort required to implement a blockchain.

Substrate Frame Pallets

Substrate Frame Pallets are a collection of Rust-based modules providing functionality that is required when building a blockchain.


WebAssembly is an open standard that defines a portable binary code format. It is supported by different programming languages, compilers, and browsers.