Q&A with Avalanche
In February, we announced the exciting news that the Avalanche blockchain had joined Wirex.
By adding support for Avalanche natively in the application, we’re enabled mainstream users to access DeFi more easily than ever before. Users are able to take advantage of cheaper gas fees, as well as the ability to add custom tokens on those blockchains. Both Ava Labs, the team supporting development of the Avalanche blockchain, and us here at Wirex, have worked with payment technology company, Mastercard, to help make this a reality.
We spoke to John Nahas, Vice President of Business Development at Ava Labs who helped us explore the Avalanche project in a bit more detail.
What is the Avalanche blockchain, and what makes it different to other blockchains?
Avalanche is the fastest blockchain by time to finality. It’s also one of the fastest growing protocols. Since launching in September 2020, Avalanche has gained more than $15 billion in TVL, attracted more than 400 apps, and become the go-to web3 platform for enterprises, DeFi, gaming, and a host of other use cases.
Two main things set Avalanche apart: consensus and scaling.
First, Avalanche uses Avalanche Consensus, which is just the third ever breakthrough in the field of consensus (the second was Nakamoto Consensus, the mechanism behind Bitcoin). This is what gives Avalanche unparalleled speed and security. Second, Avalanche enables infinite horizontal scaling with its novel Subnet technology. Subnets are customizable, app-specific blockchains within the greater Avalanche network. Web3 builders can tailor Avalanche Subnets to their precise needs.
Avalanche gets top speed and security from its consensus breakthrough. Subnets allow Avalanche to scale this speed and security infinitely.
How does Avalanche ensure that the project remains eco-friendly?
Avalanche was designed with a rigorous scientific approach, one channelling not only computer science but environmental science. Our team knows that in order to build the blockchain of the future, we must consider the long-term needs of our planet. As a result, our engineers at Ava Labs have designed Avalanche to not only use the more eco-friendly proof-of-stake mechanism for deterring bad actors, but also build a protocol that only works when there is work to be done.
A study by the Crypto Climate Ratings Institute found that Avalanche uses as much energy in a year as just 46 average American houses. The Bitcoin network uses as much as 8.5 million households, and Ethereum as much as 1.6 million households. This is a major difference.
Out of consideration for climate change, Ava Labs also purchases carbon offsets. All in all, Avalanche is positioned to be eco-friendly for decades to come.
What specific issues within the crypto community is the Avalanche project hoping to solve?
Avalanche is built to help businesses, creators, video game manufacturers, and visionaries of all kinds build web3 products that create new revenue streams and improve people’s lives. It fills this role by providing a platform that’s lightning-fast, fully secure, affordable, and dependable. In many ways, Avalanche clears the obstacles to creating the web3 that ambitious crypto users have dreamed of since the early days of Bitcoin.
How has blockchain technology evolved more generally over the last couple of years?
After years of promise and potential, blockchain technology is finally ready for mass adoption due to innovations like Avalanche that have enabled people to use them like never before.
Now, it has actual working ecosystems. A few years ago, there weren’t all that many apps. ICOs were the main use case of blockchain. Today, however, the story is in many ways the opposite. Thanks to the speed, scalability, and cheap transaction fees of a blockchain like Avalanche, ecosystems of apps and users have arisen across multiple verticals and use cases. I’m even more excited to see continued innovation for applications which are being built, or have yet to be built emerge.
What are the main benefits of DeFi? And how is Avalanche helping to bring these to everyday, retail consumers?
DeFi lets people earn better yields on their money in new ways, and without incumbents and intermediaries absorbing most of the yield. Avalanche brings DeFi to everyday users by providing an industry-leading platform for DeFi builders. These builders create products that users across the world can use to deploy their money, earning more than they would from a traditional financial institution. Avalanche has the speed, low transaction fees, and uptime that DeFi builders and users need.
Many of the best and most ambitious DeFi projects are on Avalanche, including Trader Joe, GMX, Platypus, Yeti Finance, DeFi Kingdoms, Aave, Curve, and several others. Also, a new generation of GameFi projects is currently in development on Avalanche.
Further, Avalanche has teamed up with fintech pioneers like Wirex to give users easy access to earning yield on crypto assets, like AVAX.
What excites you about Wirex supporting Avalanche?
Wirex has helped bring crypto to the world since launching in 2015. Today, Wirex has more than 5 million customers in over 130 countries, continues to innovate and release new products like the Wirex Mastercard debit card and Visa debit card, and brings DeFi to the masses by offering yield on more than 35 tokens.
At Ava Labs, we like to partner with similarly forward-thinking companies. Wirex has proven to be just that, and for many years. Avalanche makes it easy for people to use blockchain. Wirex makes it easy for people to buy crypto and pursue DeFi. It’s a really nice match.
And yes, we’re thrilled that Wirex customers can access AVAX.
What do you think is in store for the crypto movement going forward?
Global adoption. It’s still so early for crypto adoption, but we’re at an inflection point. It’s the end of the beginning and to truly grow this industry we have to move on from the tribalism between crypto communities and focus on welcoming the masses on-chain with innovative technologies, such as Avalanche, that empower innovation and exciting applications. User education and innovations in the user experience are the two great opportunities for crypto builders right now.
If we focus on those points as an industry, the next decade will be defined by crypto.
Where do you hope Avalanche will be in the next year or so?
In the next year or so, dozens of subnets will be live on Avalanche. The ecosystem that these subnets form will redefine what’s possible for blockchain. Subnets will spur institutional DeFi, the next wave of web3 gaming, and trailblazing insurance products. With subnets just released earlier this spring, we’re only in the first inning of what’s coming. It’s a very, very exciting time.
What’s one interesting fact about Avalanche/AVAX that we might not know?
Avalanche’s first subnet, DFK chain, does more transactions per day than multiple top 20 layer-1 blockchains. Don’t believe me? Check the chains!