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What is Avalanche?

Avalanche is a programmable smart contracts platform for decentralised apps. Anyone reading this sentence naturally quickly thinks of Ethereum. No wonder, because that is exactly the platform Avalanche wants to compete with. It is also called the platform for platforms.

The word avalanche means avalanche, which is a reference to how the creators themselves saw this platform: a strong force rolling over you.

Avalanche is one of the greener players when it comes to the environment and strives to produce the lowest possible footprint.

Given the technology behind this coin, they could well succeed in doing so. A number of major players have already switched to the Avalanche blockchain.

The reason has to do with their solution to the classic blockchain trilemma, the problem proposed by none other than Vitalik Buterin, the founder of Ethereum, namely scalability, security and decentralisation.

The history of Avalanche

16 May 2018 saw the release of the white paper from "Snowflake to Avalanche". In it, "Team Rocket" shared with the world how they would give birth to a new family of "leaderless Byzantine fault tolerance protocols". About which more later.

In this document, they showed how they would get from non-Byzantine Slush, through Snowflake and Snowball to Avalanche.

Anyone who takes a look at this document cannot escape the impression that we are dealing here with rather mathematically minded individuals. That's right.

Founder Emin Gün Sirer is a Turkish-American computer scientist and his team Rocket comes from the same background.

They have a huge team that includes bright minds from the university world, as well as people with experience in big companies like Google, Microsoft and NASA.

18 September 2019 saw the release of their white paper on stablecoins, written by Sirer, Amani Moin and Kevin Sekniqi. In it, they elaborate on the pros and cons of stablecoins.

In April 2020, Avalanche launched its testnet, followed by their mainnet in September that year.

25 June 2020 followed their white paper on AVAX, their native token or ticker symbol. The above team was joined by Stephen Buttolph. This covered topics such as governance, fees and token economics.

30 June 2020 was followed by the white paper on the Avalanche platform. Here they outline their goals, consensus engine, architecture, and so on. The same four were its authors.

24 August 2020 followed another white paper, where team Rocket had expanded to include Maofan Yin and Robbert van Renesse. In it, they once again discuss the Byzantine fault tolerance protocol, going into even more depth.

The genesis block saw the light on 21 September 2020 and gave the go-ahead for the mainnet, after which AVAX could be sent.

Ava Labs is the New York-based company behind Avalanche. This company was founded by computer scientists from Cornell University, as mentioned above, and expanded to include veterans of the Wall Street scene and early Web 3.0 developers.

Ava Labs got funding from all sorts of quarters, including Andreessen Horowitz and angel investors.

They did all sorts of rounds to raise money for their project. From a private sale, they raised $18 million and later another $42 million at a public sale in 2020, which sold out within four hours.

Instead of working with a usual roadmap, Avalanche knows the principle of "develop because of necessity" and they are extremely successful at it. They have already brought thousands of subtasks to completion without any deadline

How does Avalanche work?

  1. Avalanche was created to compete with older blockchains that suffer from issues regarding scalability, security or decentralisation. It is one of the few cryptocurrency networks that manages to score high on all points of the trilemma.

    Its main opponent seems to be Ethereum, due to the fact that you can also programme in Solidity on the Avalanche blockchain. If you compare the quality of Avalanche to the older networks, you might wonder why they are still being used. Humans are creatures of habit, shall we say. Although we should add that Ethereum has since switched to proof of stake.

    Avalanche can process 4500 transactions per second and after 2 seconds, the transaction is finally processed on the blockchain. This network also takes much less energy to maintain. Nodes, which have to keep up with the network, are plentiful, so there can be no centralisation, as with large pools. You also need more than 80% of the strikes to attack the network, which may be virtually ruled out.

    The network is structured as follows:

    The P-Chain is the metadata (data about data) blockchain on Avalanche, the Platform Chain. Validators and custom subnets are maintained on this. Validators stake AVAX on the P-Chain to secure the network and validate transactions.

    A subnet on Avalanche is a separate entity and can function completely independently. It can have its own token, blockchain and consensus mechanism, even proof of work. Since it does sit in the Avalanche ecosystem, it must eventually validate everything on Avalanche's mainnet by doing all transactions over a certain period of time in one go. This keeps Avalanche's mainnet fast because most of the work is done "under the bonnet".

    You can start your own blockchain and bring it into the Avalanche ecosystem. Avalanche can interoperate with almost any kind of blockchain. Those who create such a subnet can choose how many transaction costs will be in AVAX and generally have quite a lot of freedom in how they build their blockchain.

    For consensus, they have set up some procedures, making it simple and unambiguous to achieve. Through Slush, they manage to arrange it so that in a short period of time, all nodes reach consensus by holding rounds of yes/no votes. Imagine 50% say yes and 50% say no, how do you reach agreement or consensus to validate a transaction? You start shuffling and make sure there is a small difference. If more than 50% of the nodes choose a certain outcome, all other nodes have to eventually agree to it.

    Snowflake is to reinforce Slush. In short, it means that a counter on a node keeps track of how many times in a row you give a certain answer, say yes. As soon as the answer is different, the counter goes back to 0. If the number gets too high, this node no longer handles Slush queries and is locked.

    Snowball is built on top of Snowflake. In this, nodes have a longer memory for choices they made in the past, where they are more likely to make a particular choice that they also made in the past.

    Together, these three procedures are called Snowman. Together, they make the Avalanche network extremely difficult to attack.

    The C-Chain also works with Snowman. This is the standard smart Contract blockchain on Avalanche and ensures that you can run any EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine) compatible application with faster transactions and lower fees. It seems clear to us that they want to compete directly with Ethereum with this.

    So you can transfer dApps from Ethereum to Avalanche if you want to bypass the high transaction fees and low transaction speed, which a number of players have already done.

    On this Contract chain, you can work with Solidity for dApps, with MetaMask for decentralised exchanges and with Web 3.0 technologies, among others. This chain gives Avalanche a high potential, which they are already fulfilling considerably given their high listing on CoinGecko.

    On their X-Chain or also called the eXchange Chain, you can create cryptocurrencies in a fairly simple way. You can think of stablecoins, utility tokens, equity tokens, NFTs and so on.

    On this chain, the Avalanche DAG (Directed Acyclic Graph, a kind of forward flow of information, see Wikipedia for more info!) consensus mechanism is used, making it fast and cheap.

    On this chain, you can also exchange assets.

    Because there are three different chains on Avalanche, this network is virtually unhackable and much more decentralised than other blockchains. By now, we can say that Avalanche is a very well thought-out concept.

    When it comes to developing projects on Avalanche, developers can use a kind of blockchain concept, where you can add parts as you wish to eventually get the things you need in your project. This makes it easy to join the Avalanche network.

How do I buy Avalanche (AVAX)?

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After a successful deposit, you can buy Avalanche (AVAX) within seconds. You have the freedom to choose where and how you want to store your coins, and you can begin trading Avalanche (AVAX) immediately.

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Extra information about Avalanche (AVAX)

Tokenomics Avalanche

The ticker symbol for Avalanche is AVAX. There will be a maximum of 720 million AVAX tokens. What is special is that transaction fees will be burnt to maintain scarcity.

Stakers will get around 10% interest. They will have to hold 2000 AVAX, which can be called hefty. Optionally, you can delegate someone to strike your coins, if you don't have tens of thousands lying around to become a staker. You will then get a lower reward, but still participate.

Validators who stake don't need heavy equipment, a reasonably normal PC will do. You also can't get fined for validating a wrong block, because the terrible Snowman prevents errors.

Stakers also get to vote on all sorts of developments on the network, such as how many coins are added per period or which networks are allowed to join.

Avalanche ecosystem

It is clear, though, that many companies and cryptocurrency projects like Avalanche. Ava Labs makes sure that creators of dApps and other projects get a nice place in Avalanche's ecosystem, where they can also possibly make a grab for the treasury to give a new project a push in the right direction.

Avalanche also provides so-called bridges, where you can send coins between blockchains, but also switch completely to the Avalanche blockchain, which is now happening more frequently. ChainLink, TheGraph, SushiSwap and Orion, for instance, have already switched, because Avalanche is now cheaper and Ethereum can be a hindrance as an underlying blockchain because of its transaction costs and slowness.

Avalanche is very useful in the areas of DeFi, government documents, CBDC, NFT, licensing, personal documents, gaming and a whole other range of possibilities. Although they have already attracted some bigger players, there is a lot of competition in this area from networks like Cosmos, Polkadot and Solana. How this battle of trilemmians will play out is hard to predict. They are all strong cryptocurrencies. Moreover, Ethereum is aware of their competition and they are not sitting still there either.

How fast is Avalanche's network?

Avalanche's network can currently process 4,500 transactions per second. In comparison to Ethereum and Bitcoin, Avalanche thus has a much faster network. In fact, Ethereum can only do 15 transactions per second. Bitcoin's network is even slower. Bitcoin can in fact perform 7 transactions per second.

How do I store AVAX?

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