Avalanche Does What? A Few Things I Learnt About The Protocol.

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Like I said last week, I stumbled across Figment Learn and started working on the Avalanche pathway. It was an interesting — if elementary — tutorial (more advanced ones are coming soon), which I quickly finished and I then had to decide on whether I wanted to put in a lot of time and energy into learning the protocol. After all, there are a lot of blockchain and blockchain projects out there, each one of which claims to be the second coming of sliced bread. Projects have been launched to bring blockchain to social media, web search, insurance, video streaming, and even a useless machine — I mean, I can’t say what Pi is good for — are just a few examples. So I tend to be a little skeptical whenever I learn of new projects — they are a dime a dozen, literally.

Avalanche, on the other hand, is more than just a blockchain. It is a “network of blockchains”, which seems like a fancy way to say “blockchain of blockchains”. While I have come across such blockchains before, they are not so common that one would dismiss a new one immediately, so I decided to take a closer look, and this, dear reader, is what I found.

Like I said earlier, Avalanche is not a blockchain, but a network of blockchains. Avalanche was built to enable others to easily build their own blockchain using the Avalanche platform. It is a platform that makes it easier for others to build secure, fast, scalable, and sustainable.

Anybody building on Avalanche gets to choose what features they want, the characteristics of the tokens, whether the network would be private or open, and how large it can grow!

The custom networks — known as subnets — are customizable, scalable, and interoperable. They are also required to have validators that would create a consensus, as well as to create custom incentives for the validators. Each Subnet has a Primary network, which consists of three blockchains

1. Platform Chain (P-Chain): This is a metadata chain. It coordinates validators, keeps track of subnets, and also makes it possible to create new subnets.

2. Exchange Chain (X-Chain): This is the default asset chain. It allows the creation of new assets, makes exchanging between assets possible, and makes cross0net transfers possible.

3. Contract Chain (C-Chain): This is the default smart contract chain, and enables the creation of Ethereum-compatible Smart Contracts.

The Avalanche Protocol is a DAG-Optimized consensus protocol. It has a high throughput, is parallelizable, and is simple to prune. It is used on the X-Chain.

Snowman, on the other hand, is based on the Avalanche protocol. It is a chain-optimized consensus protocol with high throughput.

Since Avalanche uses the subnet model, there little to no network congestion. This is one of the reasons why the Avalanche has such a high throughput (averaging 4500–6000 transactions per second, at least 3 times that of Visa!) — as well as such a low transactional finality time (usually a lot less than 3 seconds). These numbers are even more impressive when you compare those of Bitcoin (~7 transactions per second, 60 minutes transaction finality time) or Ethereum (14 transactions per second, 6 minutes finality time).

Avalanche is looking at the $800 Trillion asset markets and has features built-in that make it very easy for any users to easily create their own Subnets. It refers to itself as the “internet of assets” and if it succeeds in making accessible to everybody even just a fraction of that market, you can be sure it would have helped achieve the dream of democratizing finance for the world.

Avalanche is obviously an extremely exciting platform, and it looks like one that would open blockchain to thousands of more users, developers, and organizations. I am currently learning how to build and deploy on it, please keep an eye open for stories of my adventures.

Software Developer researching and developing blockchain projects.