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Avalanche is one of the most used blockchains in the world. But what exactly makes it special and how does Avalanche keep attracting developers? What can you even do on Avalanche? This article will answer these and more of the most common questions. Join us and learn all there is to know about this leading Ethereum-alternative blockchain.
- What is Avalanche?
- Who created Avalanche?
- How does Avalanche work?
- What is the AVAX token?
- Staking on Avalanche
- How is Avalanche different from other blockchains?
- Track the best dapps on Avalanche
- What is Avalanche: In Summary
- Keep learning about the blockchain industry with DappRadar
What is Avalanche?
The Avalanche blockchain is an open-source platform for launching decentralized applications (dapps) and enterprise solutions in one interoperable, highly scalable ecosystem. The mainnet went live in late September 2020.
It is the first smart contracts platform that confirms transactions in under one second, supports the Ethereum development toolkit, and enables independent validators to participate as full-block producers. It claims to be “blazingly fast, low cost, and eco-friendly”.
From 2022 on, after the Terra collapse, Avalanche shifted its main focus from decentralized finance (DeFi) to Web3 Gaming and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Furthermore, institutions are also on the blockchain’s radar.
The DappRadar team got to chat with Eric Kang from Avalanche in an exclusive interview about the blockchain’s projects for 2022. Check it out below!
- Curious about Avalanche? Explore the best Avalanche dapps
Who created Avalanche?
Avalanche was created by Cornell University Professor Emin Gün Sirer, Kevin Sekniqi, and Maofan “Ted” Yin back in 2018 through Ava Labs. The blockchain platform is, despite the highly qualified team, open-source and hopes to count on contributors from across the globe.
As a part of its natural development, Avalanche also has a community-centered platform called the Avalanche Hub. There, community members and AVAX token holders can be rewarded for contributing research, education, and engineering initiatives for the ecosystem.
How does Avalanche work?
Avalanche employs a multi-chain framework with three blockchains that divide critical functions–and even employ different data structures–to give developers maximum flexibility and control over their applications.
In summary, the division of the network into 3 separate processing powers or entities enables Avalanche to deliver the first smart contract platform that confirms transactions in under one second.
First, there is the Exchange Chain (X-Chain). The X-Chain facilitates the creation and exchange of assets between individuals peer-to-peer, including Avalanche’s native token, AVAX.
Second, there is the Contract Chain (C-Chain). The C-Chain is Avalanche’s default smart contract blockchain and a super-fast implementation of the Ethereum Virtual Machine.
It is fully compatible with Solidity smart contracts and Ethereum tooling so Ethereum developers are able to easily port applications into the Avalanche ecosystem.
Finally, there is the Platform Chain (P-Chain). The P-Chain is responsible for staking, coordinating validators across networks, and creating custom subnets.
Every Avalanche validator participates in staking on the P-Chain to help secure the core network, but these validators can then form dynamic or private sets of validators to operate subnets.
On these subnets, the validators have complete control over the data, economic model, virtual machine, and more.
What is the AVAX token?
The Avalanche (AVAX) token is the native token of the Avalanche platform and is used to secure the network through staking, transacting peer-to-peer, paying for fees, and providing a basic unit of account between the multiple subnetworks created on the Avalanche platform.
At the time of writing, on September 2022, AVAX was worth $17.11 – according to CoinGecko. The token reached its all-time high on November 2021, at $144.96. The historic low was at $2.80 on December 2020.
Staking on Avalanche
Staking is a natural mechanism in order to participate in an open network, and staking nodes are financially motivated to act virtuously and avoid conduct that might hurt the value of their stake.
A node wishing to enter the network can freely do so by first putting up and locking a stake that cannot be moved for a defined period of time determined by the token holder.
Once accepted, a stake cannot be reverted or unlocked to ensure that nodes share the same, stable view of the network. And better yet, for both the token holder and the network, is that the stake does not incur any additional costs.
Unlike other systems that also propose a proof-of-stake (PoS) mechanism, AVAX does not use slashing, and therefore, the total stake is returned when the staking period expires.
How is Avalanche different from other blockchains?
A key difference between Avalanche and other decentralized networks is the consensus protocol. To date, there have only been 3 approaches to the consensus problem: Classical, Nakamoto, and Avalanche.
In the aftermath of Nakamoto presenting the world with Bitcoin, the world still wanted a protocol with all of the benefits of the Nakamoto consensus such as robustness and true decentralization plus all the benefits of Classical consensus such as speed, scale, quick finality, all at the same time as achieving energy efficiency.
Avalanche takes features from both solutions, such as robustness and true decentralization, from the Nakamoto model. In addition, it taps into the benefits of Classical consensuses, such as speed, scale, quick finality, and energy efficiency. Avalanche combines these two into a new protocol.
It is yet to be proven whether it’s possible to have the best of both Classical and Nakamoto without the downsides that come with either class of protocol, but Avalanche has certainly taken huge leaps forward.
How is Avalanche different from Ethereum?
The Avalanche blockchain clearly states that they do not want to be labeled as another ‘Ethereum killer’ as many of the founding members of the team were involved with Ethereum in the early days.
When it comes to comparing Avalanche to Ethereum, Avalanche’s similarities are much more evident at a surface level. Avalanche supports the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) and its tooling–but under the hood, they approach distributed challenges in very different ways.
Now that Ethereum is a proof-of-stake blockchain, after the Merge in September 2022, the differences between these two blockchains are vanishing.
Before, Ethereum was struggling to scale participation without incurring massive fees and network congestion due to it being a proof-of-work blockchain. A proof-of-stake mechanism is much easier to sell for the booming world of DeFi builders and users.
Ethereum 2.0 helped, but it also introduced significant complexity and execution risk with its approach to scaling, “sharding”, which aims to process transactions simultaneously, rather than consecutively.
Protocols in the Avalanche family are capable of achieving sub-second finality, supporting 4,500+ transactions per second, and scaling up to millions of full, block-producing validator nodes participating in consensus.
Apps on Avalanche can run in their own independent blockchains known as subnets. These subnets are still connected to the broader ecosystem of chains on Avalanche, but now their relationships are purely value-adding rather than competitive. Not only does this enable the creation of private subnets, but it also allows developers to define the rules, economics, participants, and security of their particular implementation.
Track the best dapps on Avalanche
One of the best ways to really learn about anything is to put your knowledge into practice. So to continue our learning path on the Avalanche landscape, let’s get to know a bit more about the best dapps built on the platform.
You can visit the DappRadar Top Avalanche Dapps Ranking to explore and research on your own, but here are the most famous Avalanche dapps.
Trader Joe is a one-stop-shop decentralized trading platform native to Avalanche. Trade, Farm, Stake, Lend and Launch … All under one roof.
Crabada is an exciting play-and-earn NFT game based in a world filled with fierce fighting Hermit-Crabs called Crabada.
Step App turns fitness goals into Income Social Joy Friendly competition Powered by the leading technology in the metaverse, augmented reality, and blockchain.
A community-driven decentralized exchange for Avalanche and Ethereum assets with a fast settlement and low transaction fees.
Joepegs NFT Marketplace
Joepegs is the trusted NFT Marketplace on built on the Avalanche blockchain.
What is Avalanche: In Summary
The Avalanche protocol is attempting to cherry-pick the best aspects of current distributed ledger technology and place them within a tidy frame.
By implementing the innovations of Ethereum and the EVM, and respecting age-old systems while changing the core mechanics to achieve faster, lighter, and cheaper running costs.
The key feature of the Avalanche blockchain solution is to give the developer community a way to create their own blockchain ecosystems.
The benefits for builders are clear whilst the advantages of speed and efficiency should be well received by the community. Only time will tell if Avalanche can mount a serious challenge in the crowded blockchain space.
Keep learning about the blockchain industry with DappRadar
Knowledge is power, especially in the ever-changing blockchain industry. If you want to make confident and well-informed decisions, it’s worth knowing your way around dapps and tokens. We’re happy to be a part of your learning journey!
Now you are aware of what the Avalanche blockchain is about. If you want to dive deeper into the AVAX ecosystem, consider reading the official documentation.
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The above does not constitute investment advice. The information given here is purely for informational purposes only. Please exercise due diligence and do your own research.