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What is the Avalanche Blockchain?
What is the Avalanche Blockchain?

Learn about the Avalanche Network, the home of Trader Joe.

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Written by Trader Joe
Updated over a week ago

WTF is Avalanche?

We use it everyday...But WTF exactly is Avalanche and what makes it different from other chains. Let's unpack the fundamentals of Avalanche.

In the Avalanche whitepaper it is described as a high-performance, scalable, customizable, and secure blockchain platform. Compared to many other protocols, it's not a single blockchain or a single network but rather a collection of different chains united under one technology.

The most well-known Avalanche chain is the Contract Chain (C-Chain). It runs the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), making it compatible with smart contracts written for Ethereum. C-Chain is a home for most of the #NFT and #DeFi innovation happening on Avalanche.

Exchange Chain (X-Chain) exists for easy issuance and treading of digital assets with programmable behaviours. One such asset is AVAX - the native token of the whole platform that can be used to, for example, pay fees on C-Chain.

Finally, the Platform Chain (P-Chain) coordinates the behaviour of validators and manages new and existing subnets. While the primary network exists to validate C, X and P-Chains, everyone can create their sub-network with its own set of rules and features.

Besides Subnets that enable practically infinite scaling, another important piece of the Avalanche platform is the Avalanche consensus. Consensus protocols are required for the nodes to be able to agree on the state of the blockchain.

Avalanche consensus has some big advantages over competitors. The most important one is that it doesn't require all nodes to communicate with all nodes. This allows it to onboard thousands of validators without sacrificing performance.

Thanks to the Avalanche consensus mechanism, the network is able to reach 4500+ TPS, with transactions reaching finality in seconds. All of this is possible while being able to maintain low requirements for the validator's hardware, further helping decentralisation. Avalanche consensus was originally designed for DAGs (Directed Acyclic Graphs). Its chain-optimised version is called Snowman++ and is used for both P-Chain and C-Chain.

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