Avalanche is an open-source platform for launching decentralized applications and enterprise blockchain deployments. The Avalanche mainnet was launched in September 2020.
Avalanche features 3 built-in blockchains: Exchange Chain (X-Chain), Platform Chain (P-Chain), and Contract Chain (C-Chain). The C-Chain is EVM-compatible and allows for the creation of smart contracts. The key difference with the other chains is that the c-chain uses an Ethereum-style address with 0x at the beginning. The P-Chain's function allows users to stake $AVAX and serve as a validator. If you are a validator or delegating to a validator, then your $AVAX rewards will be received on this chain. In addition, the P-Chain enables the creation of Subnets on Avalanche. The X-Chain is used for sending and receiving funds, however, it is not used for DeFi platforms and is an Avalanche Virtual Machine (AVM) instance. The three chains compose the Primary Network of Avalanche.
A Subnet is a sovereign network that defines its own rules regarding its membership and token economics. It is composed of a dynamic subset of Avalanche validators working together to achieve consensus on the state of one or more blockchains. Each blockchain is validated by exactly one Subnet, and a Subnet can have many blockchains. A validator may be a member of many Subnets. By definition, all Subnet validators must also validate the Avalanche Primary Network.
Subnets are independent, they specify their own execution logic, determine their own fee regime, maintain their own state, facilitate their own networking, and provide their own security. They don’t share execution thread, storage or networking with other Subnets including the Primary Network, effectively allowing the network to scale up while enabling lower latency, higher transactions per second (TPS), and lower transaction costs provided by the Avalanche Consensus.
Avalanche's Consensus mechanism is inspired by gossip algorithms. The consensus is operated through repeated sub-sampled voting. When a validator is determining whether a transaction should be accepted or rejected, it asks a small, random subset of validators whether they think the transaction should be accepted or rejected. If a sufficiently large portion of the validators sampled reply that they think the transaction should be accepted, the validator prefers to accept the transaction. Similarly, the validator will prefer to reject the transaction if a sufficiently large portion of the validators reply that they think the transaction should be rejected. This process is repeated until a confidence threshold across the network is reached.
Based on the repeated sub-sample mechanism, Avalanche has introduced two consensus protocols. First, the Avalanche Consensus Protocol is a DAG-optimised consensus that secures the X-chain. Second, the Snowman Consensus Protocol is implemented for linear chains, including P-Chain and C-Chain.
Avalanche was first conceptualized and shared on InterPlanetary File System (aka IPFS) in May 2018 by a pseudonymous group of enthusiasts named "Team Rocket." Later it was developed by a dedicated team of researchers from Cornell University. The research was led by Emin Gün Sirer, a professor of computer science and software engineer, assisted by doctoral students Maofan "Ted" Yin and Kevin Sekniqi.
In 2020, Ava Labs, the backed company of Avalanche, was founded by Emin Gün Sirer. Ava Labs received funding from Andreessen Horowitz, Initialized Capital, and Polychain Capital, with angel investments from Balaji Srinivasan and Naval Ravikant.
$AVAX is the native token of Avalanche, launched in September 2020. The Initial Coin Offering of $AVAX ended on July 15, 2020.
AVAX serves as the base unit of account on the Avalanche network, provides the base security guarantees, pays for operations, and many other use cases.
For users who want to stake $AVAX to be a validator. A minimum of 2000 $AVAX is needed per node.