AVAX is a utility token issued by the decentralized cryptocurrency platform Avalanche in 2020. Avalanche is a groundbreaking decentralized consensus protocol sometimes abbreviated as AVA. Avalanche became the first smart contracts platform with the capability to confirm transactions in less than a second. The protocol is able to support the Ethereum development kit fully and enable millions of full block producers. The project attracted much attention in connection with the major problem of the Ethereum blockchain which is the speed of transactions. The popularity of the network is so high that a large number of transactions entail its frequent clogging. The speed of transactions processing offered by Avalanche is similar to Visa as it’s capable of processing 4500 TPS (some resources claim that this number equals 6500), while Ethereum is able to process 19 transactions a second only.
The development of the project was initiated by the AVA Labs team. John Wu, President of Ava Labs, considers that the project has a great impact on the institutional finance and the DeFi sphere.
Avalanche utilizes an open-source proof-of-stake protocol that features a high level of performance and security. One of its main benefits is the capability to scale to support millions of users. The core innovation of the project is a novel consensus mechanism which is a fusion of a directed acyclic graph structure and “repeated subsampled voting.”
Supporting application-specific sharding, the protocol empowers developers to launch apps meeting their specific demands. The programmability of application and network levels delivered by the platform gives developers the possibility to control the execution of their decentralized apps and secure management of their private data.
The platform features two consensus engines: a DAG-optimized consensus protocol Avalanche and a chain-optimized consensus protocol Snowman for smart contracts.
The architecture of the platform includes subnetwork empowered by validators who work together to achieve consensus. The subnets are uniquely tailored blockchains supported by the main network of Avalanche. They are created with a specific goal, as a rule, to meet the demands of its validators. It’s possible to launch the customized blockchains that can be either private or public. Special parameters and trading restrictions are set by a Virtual Machine that obeys them in accordance with specific demands. A Virtual Machine is a code that uses consensus for the production of a database.
The validator should be a member of the Primary Network that includes three blockchains: P-Chain (platform chain), X-Chain (exchange chain), and C-Chain (contracts chain). P-Chain coordinates validators, keeping track of subnets, and making other subnets possible. It is also in charge of the implementation of Snowman consensus protocol. X-Chain is an asset chain enabling the creation of new assets and exchange of assets and transfers between subnets. It is responsible for the implementation of the Avalanche consensus protocol.
The Avalanche platform features Byzantine tolerance. Though its certain configurations enable up to 50% of the Byzantine nodes that potentially can cause the imbalance in the network, they are still unable to do it technically.
The native token of Avalanche is AVAX with a capped supply of 720 million tokens. Half of the sum (360M AVAX) is a mainnet supply. AVAX is a utility token that is needed to pay for operations and have access to an extensive set of utility services. The system uses the token burning scheme for the balance of the network. The transaction fees are burnt thus creating AVAX scarcity. AVAX is also used as a governance token as it gives the possibility to establish the main economic parameters of the system and decide upon the staking amount and reward size.
Avalanche token sale was arranged on July 15th, 2020, and continued for a couple of weeks. Different options were offered to customers who could select the option with one-year vesting at a price of 0.50 USD per token with quarterly unlocking, 1.5-year vesting with the same terms for the 4 hours of the sale and with no locks at 0.85 USD per token. The maximum check size is limited to 25K USD and 5K USD, correspondingly. The project managed to sell all its tokens during the ICO within the first four hours and raised 42M USD, while the private sale round that took place prior to this sale, raised 12M USD.
It is worth mentioning egalitarian token distribution scheme, according to which 14% of tokens are allocated to private investors and 70% go to the ecosystem participants. It’s possible to become full block producers and validators by means of staking AVAX and getting rewards for it. It takes only 2K AVAX to become a full block producer.
Ava Labs founder and CEO Emin Gün Sirer is a professor of Cornell University, and one of the most respected critical thinkers in the cryptocurrency sphere. In 2017, he also founded bloXroute Labs, a company that offers financial services in the cryptocurrency industry. It licensed the code developed at Cornell.
The co-founders of AVA Labs are Kevin Sekniqi, CS Ph.D. at Cornell, COO of Ava Labs, and Ted Yin, CS Ph.D. at Cornell University. The advisors of the project are Maureen O’Hara, Professor of Finance at the Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University, and Adam Kravetz, COO of Seven Eight Capital, who previously worked as COO ETF Market Making and Arbitrage at Citadel Securities, and COO Global Execution Services at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch.