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Gate.io Blog Snowflake to Avalanche: Why is the Avalanche Eco_ Appealing?
Industry Analysis

Snowflake to Avalanche: Why is the Avalanche Eco_ Appealing?

04 October 17:21

【TL; DR】
As a new high-performing public blockchain launched in 2019, Avalanche is a popular project in the blockchain industry.
The Avalanche consensus protocol is another significant innovation in the field of distributed systems after PBFT and the PoW mechanism.
Since its mainnet was launched in 2020, the Avalanche network has witnessed a series of upgrades and features as part of a flourishing ecosystem.
All users are welcome to trade AVAX at Gate.io.
[Keywords] Avalanche, Avalanche Consensus Protocol, AVAX, DeFi, Infrastructures in Public Chains
Since the launch of BSC in February this year, a new round of "battle of the public chains" has resurfaced. Whether it’s cross-chain solutions such as Polygon and Polkadot, or the new generation of public chain infrastructure represented by Avalanche and Solana, one project after another has entered the crypto coin market as a challenger. With the explosion in the public chains’ field, the booming DeFi and NFT projects have outperformed the leading blockchain, Ethereum. The projects that stand out have high performance, low costs and strong scalability. Avalanche is among the top projects that have taken off along with this trend.

Snowflake to Avalanche
The Avalanche project got its name because of its technical basis - the "Avalanche Consensus Protocol".
In 2015, Prof.Emin Gün Sirer, from Cornell University, dropped a paper titled Snowflake to Avalanche: A Novel Metastable Consensus Protocol Family for Cryptocurrencies on IPFS, sparking widespread discussion in the crypto space. This paper introduced a new family of consensus protocols labeled the Avalanche Consensus Protocol, which is a breakthrough in the field of distributed systems.
The protocol is widely recognized by the industry as the consensus mechanism 3.0 after the PBFT and PoW. Even Vitalik Buterin, the founder of Ethereum, has publicly expressed his approval of the Avalanche consensus protocol and thinks that it’s very fair to treat ava and bitcoin as having similar levels of legitimacy.

The Avalance project went live in 2019 and the AVAX mainnet was launched on 22nd September 2020. It boasts extremely high processing capacity, as transactions can be confirmed within 10 seconds. This is 30x faster than Ether. It supports 4,500+ transactions per second, which is also far more than Ether's, which is about 14 tps. In addition, it is significantly more difficult for others to execute a 51% attack on the Avalanche blockchain. The project has caught the eye of major Venture Capital Institutions and has accumulated tens of millions of dollars in funding.

Avalanche Consensus Protocol
In distributed systems, reaching a consensus between the various parts of the system is always a problem. This was reflected by the Byzantine Generals Problem that originated from the middle ages when the Byzantine Empire had a large territory and messengers were the only medium for communications between armies. If the traitorous generals or compromised messengers sent out incorrect messages, the armies would not be able to reach an agreement on a common plan of action. In a distributed network, this problem refers to the trouble where malicious or compromised nodes affect information and communication, resulting in data inconsistency in the network.
(For more details about Byzantine Generals Problem: Byzantine Generals Problem)
The first solution to the Byzantine General Problem was proposed by Turing Award winner Leslie Lamport in 1982. It is called Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance (PBFT). In this scheme, the consensus is reached among nodes by voting in a minority-majority manner. The consistency and correctness of the system can be guaranteed as long as 2/3 of the nodes in the system are working properly. As the base algorithm of many consortium blockchains, PBFT also comes with drawbacks. For example, it has high communication costs and users can’t add or take out nodes freely.
The second solution, proposed by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009, is the Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus protocol used by bitcoin. Under this mechanism, nodes distribute bookkeeping rights among themselves according to probability by solving computational problems. This ensures a decentralized system and free access to nodes. Hackers can’t disrupt network security or release fake blocks(practices that generally outweigh the benefits they can receive) unless they have more than 51% of the computing power.
The third solution is the Avalanche consensus protocol, which brings the positive attributes of the two consensus protocols above. In principle, the word "avalanche" describes the logic of this mechanism. Every transaction is the "snowball" that drives the "avalanche". When nodes validate each other, they randomly choose another group of nodes in the system to validate. The validation is repeated several times until a final consensus is reached between the nodes. This process is like an avalanche as if the whole system is under a kind of "gravitational force" to reach a rapid agreement.
(The process by which nodes in the Avalanche system verify information, and eventually reach consensus is demonstrated in the following link: https://tedyin.com/archive/snow-bft-demo/#/snow)
Compared with the traditional PoW mechanism, there is no dedicated miner in the Avalanche protocol, so the energy consumption is extremely low. At the same time, because there are no miners or computational mining, the hardware requirements for nodes in the Avalanche system are not overly strict. To some extent, this brings the protocol many advantages in terms of decentralization. According to data from the Avalanche public account, as of August 27, 2021, Avalanche enjoys 1041 nodes.

Avalanche features 3 built-in blockchains: Platform Chain (P-Chain), Exchange Chain (X-Chain), and Contract Chain (C-Chain). The P-Chain is the metadata blockchain on Avalanche and coordinates validators, tracks active subnets, and enables the creation of new subnets. The X-Chain allows users to create and exchange assets. The C-Chain allows users to execute Ethereum Virtual Machine contracts as well as regular smart contracts.


In terms of the construction of the ecosystem, projects on Avalanche focus on DeFi, while also taking into account popular areas such as NFTs and oracles. In September 2020, the AVAX mainnet was officially launched. The Avalanche-Ethereum Bridge (AEB) launched on February 8, 2021. The next day, the first DeFi application on Avalanche, Pangolin, went live. Pangolin is essentially a replica of Uniswap on the Avalanche network. Since then, the on-chain DeFi project has flourished. On July 29, AEB was updated to the Avalanche Bridge (AB) which is built on Intel SGX Enclave technology, with stronger performance and better security. This allows users to conveniently transfer assets. On August 18, Avalanche officially launched a $180 million liquidity mining incentive program, attracting a large number of users, and since then, the price of AVAX has skyrocketed.

AVAX is Avalanche's native token with a capped supply of 720 million, half of which was initially minted and the other half will be released gradually over 20 to 100 years. Avax can be used for staking to earn revenue, paying transaction fees, and has other use cases. Currently, the AVAX price is around $64, more than four times the price two months ago.

What’s more, the Avalanche network uses a base fee burning mechanism similar to the EIP-1559 protocol on Ether. This deflationary mechanism endows the AVAX price with a huge growth possibility. With the further development of the Avalanche ecosystem, there will be a growing number of on-chain transactions, along with large amounts of burning.

All users are welcome to trade AVAX at Gate.io:

Author: Ashley. H, Gate.io Researcher
*This article represents only the views of the researcher and does not constitute any investment suggestions.
*Gate.io reserves all rights to this article. Reposting of the article will be permitted provided Gate.io is referenced. In all other cases, legal action will be taken due to copyright infringement.

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