Avalanche is an open-source platform for deploying decentralised applications in a highly scalable environment. Avalanche takes a ‘network of networks’ approach to scaling and contains from the get-go a smart contracts platform designed for global finance, with near-instant finality. The network infrastructure allows applications to maintain sovereignty on their own “subnet”, while tapping into the Avalanche mainnet for interoperability with other subnets. Ethereum developers can easily build atop Avalanche via the EVM-compatible C-Chain. Through its novel Avalanche Consensus Protocol, Avalanche is able to scale capabilities to a processing capacity of 1,500 TPS (transactions per second) in the C-chain and upwards of 4500 TPS in the X-chain. In summary, Avalanche presents a revolutionary technology both in consensus and horizontal scaling design via subnets.
The main novelty of Avalanche is its approach to scaling, which involves the concept of subnets. A subnet is a set of Avalanche validators and the assignment of one or more blockchains for these validators to validate. There is a mainnet, or Primary Network, which consists of all Avalanche validators and that are assigned the P-chain, X-chain and C-chain to validate. As mentioned before, the C-chain is the smart contracts chain that is EVM-equivalent. The X-chain is an UTXO DAG-based chain specially tailored for high-speed asset transfers. The P-chain is perhaps arguably the most important one as its job is to maintain the coordination of validators and delegators on all subnets.
Other subnets are therefore subsets of the mainet validators that are assigned additional blockchains to validate. The reasoning behind this design decision is brilliant: Instead of having one chain accomplish everything in the Avalanche ecosystem, each “sub” blockchain can specialize for a certain use case.
In the meantime, the platform is expanding and enabling developers to launch their own customizable blockchains. Distributing activity over several chains keeps the Avalanche platform dynamic and flexible, enabling it to meet the blockchain’s trinity of decentralisation, security, and scalability.
Avalanche delivers even more in terms of technology by regularly releasing open-source code in the form of VMs ready to be picked up by projects looking to jump in in the subnet movement. @DeFiKingdoms is an example of a live subnet.
Other projects in Avalanche may soon start to shift to the subnet environment. For instance, liquid staking via BenQi (sAVAX) with three more solutions coming up: Lido on Avalanche, LAVA, and Eden Network + YieldYak. There is also a competitive DeFi landscape which may do the same, with TraderJoe (DEX), Platypus (stable swap), Aave (lending) and many others.
Becoming a validator in Avalanche requires expertise and a bonded stake. It would be troublesome if being a validator on the Avalanche network was free since a bad actor might start a large number of nodes that would be queried often. A node must bond (stake) something valuable in order to become a validator (AVAX). The more AVAX bonds a node has, the more often that node is requested by other nodes. A node’s sampling of the network is not uniformly random. It is rather weighted by stake quantity. Nodes are encouraged to be validators because they get a reward if they are sufficiently accurate and responsive when validating. Chorus One behaves in this way, helping to secure Avalanche. Users can delegate to Chorus One to and share the rewards.
Validating Rights: The weight of validators is determined by the amount of staking tokens bonded as collateral.
Token distribution and inflation of 9.2%.
Reward Rate: Rewards are paid out at expiracy of the validation contract provided the validator uptime as seen by the network is above 80%.
Chorus One Commission: 2%
Staking Limits: The maximum weight of a validator (their own stake + stake delegated to them) is the maximum of 3 million AVAX and 5 times the amount the validator staked. For example, if you staked 2,000 AVAX to become a validator, only 8000 AVAX can be delegated to your node total (not per delegator)
Slashing: No slashing. A validator will receive a staking reward if they are online and respond for more than 80% of their validation period, as measured by a majority of validators, weighted by stake. You should aim for your validator be online and responsive 100% of the time.
Re-Staking: You need to withdraw rewards and re-stake them with some frequency if you want to make use of compounding returns hence, additional delegation is needed for compounding.
Staking Guide: To read a step-by-step guide on how to stake AVAX, click here