The Avalanche Platform — A Tech Primer

Collin Cusce
Apr 7, 2020 · 6 min read

This primer serves as an initial resource for developers and systems designers interested in breaking into the Avalanche community, informing new users how Avalanche could be leveraged in new products.

Why Avalanche?

What is Avalanche?

Avalanche is powered by the Snow family of consensus protocols, outlined by the Team Rocket paper in 2018. This protocol uses random repeated sub-sampling to achieve consensus across the network extremely quickly. This new class of protocols was vetted and analyzed by a team of PhD researchers from Cornell university who were happy to report that the protocol works! This launched Ava Labs in late 2018 as they began work creating the Avalanche Platform.

How Avalanche Compares

Avalanche provides all of the advantages and none of the downsides of existing protocols. It even is resilient to 51% attacks!

Avalanche Platform Core Concepts

Consensus Engines

Avalanche — DAG-optimized consensus first outlined in the Team Rocket paper. High-throughput, parallelizable, simple to prune.

Snowman — Chain-optimized consensus first created by the Ava Labs team. High-throughput, totally-ordered, great for smart contracts.

Consensus is separate from the underlying data structure, so one could create a UTXO-based or Account-based Snowman blockchain.

Virtual Machines (VMs)

Chains

Subnets

The Avalanche Subnet

The Avalanche network is a subnet that has three chains: P-Chain, X-Chain, and C-Chain. Every validator on the Avalanche platform must validate these chains. For additional chains, first create a new subnet using the P-Chain, then add chains to the subnet, also through the P-Chain.

The X-Chain is for the Avalanche token and creation of new asset classes. It uses a DAG with a UTXO model which is highly parallelizable and easily pruned. This enables fast exchange of assets throughout the Avalanche ecosystem.

The C-Chain is a clean state copy of the EVM. This enables smart contracts to by providing you with a full Geth node using Snowman consensus instead of Nakamoto.

The Avalanche subnet is not optional to validate in the Avalanche platform. Staking in the main subnet enables validators to participate in other subnets. This also enables cross-chain commitments between subnets. By having a common group of validators, Avalanche ensures the safety of the subnets are rooted in the P-Chain.

Tools of the Trade

Gecko

Avalanche.js

Avash

Avalanche Wallet and Faucet

Important Resources

Code Repositories

Developer Guides

About Avalanche:

Website | Whitepapers | Twitter | Discord | GitHub | Documentation | Explorer | Avalanche-X | Telegram | Facebook | LinkedIn | Reddit | YouTube

Avalanche

Blazingly Fast, Low Cost, & Eco-friendly

Avalanche

Avalanche is the fastest smart contracts platform in the blockchain industry, as measured by time-to-finality, and has the most validators securing its activity of any proof-of-stake protocol.

Collin Cusce

Written by

Avalanche is pretty cool.

Avalanche

Avalanche is the fastest smart contracts platform in the blockchain industry, as measured by time-to-finality, and has the most validators securing its activity of any proof-of-stake protocol.