BNB Chain, formerly known as Binance Chain, is an Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)-compatible blockchain that has emerged as a popular alternative to the Ethereum blockchain. As of the time of writing, BNB Chain is the second-largest Layer-1 chain behind Ethereum, with $4.92 billion in total value locked (TVL), according to Defillama.
Unlike other Layer-1 blockchains, BNB Chain features a unique dual architecture, running two chains concurrently: the BNB Smart Chain (BSC) and the BNB Beacon Chain. Despite working together to enhance the BNB Chain, both chains operate independently of each other.
The BNB Beacon Chain is primarily used for governance, allowing the blockchain community to stake the governance token (BNB) and vote on the decision-making of the blockchain. On the other hand, the BNB Smart Chain hosts the blockchain ecosystem, similar to the Ethereum blockchain. It is Turing complete, allowing the deployment of smart contracts, decentralized Applications (DApps), and other web3 applications.
Importantly, the Beacon Chain and the BSC maintain operational capacity while being independent of each other. This means that if one chain shuts down, the other will still be fully operational.
BNB Chain was created in 2019 to provide a decentralized and ultrafast trading capability for blockchain users. This chain supported cross-chain compatibility and addressed the poor user experience provided by other DEXes. However, due to some programmability restrictions at inception, Binance created Binance Smart Chain (BSC), a smart contract blockchain, to have an Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) compatible blockchain platform.
In February 2022, Chanpeng Zhao (CZ), the founder of Binance, announced that Binance Chain is transitioning into a fully decentralized, open-source, and community-owned ecosystem. As a result, the Binance Chain was rebranded to Build n’ Build (BNB) blockchain, with the BNB token (formerly Binance Coin) now used as the native currency of the blockchain.
The BNB Smart Chain boosts smart contract functionality and is EVM-compatible. This compatibility allows developers to easily migrate and redeploy their DApp projects and smart contracts from Ethereum to the BNB Chain. For users, an EVM-compatible blockchain means they can configure Ethereum DApps like MetaMask to work with BSC. However, the BNB Beacon Chain is only designed for governance and decision-making and does not support smart contract functionality or EVM.
Wallet Address Format
The Beacon Chain and the Smart Chain are independent of each other, and this independence extends to their wallet address formats. The BNB Beacon Chain wallet address starts with “bnb” and may require a memo for token transfer. However, as an EVM-compatible chain, the BSC wallet addresses start with “0x”, similar to the Ethereum wallet address format.
BNB Chain features two token standards: BEP2 and BEP20. BEP2 is the token standard for the BNB Beacon Chain and is used only as transaction fees on both Binance’s centralized and decentralized exchanges. BEP20 is the native token standard for the BSC, BNB smart contract platform. This token standard was inspired by the ERC20 token standard, making it EVM-compatible.
The primary use case of the BNB Beacon Chain is for governance and decision-making. This chain is designed for validators and delegators to stake their tokens and perform on-chain voting on issues concerning the BNB chain. The BNB Smart Chain is a platform for decentralized application (DApp) development and smart contract implementation. And since it’s EVM-compatible, it’s compatible with all Ethereum DApps.