Avalanche is an open-source layer 1 smart contract platform for developing and deploying decentralized apps (dApps) and enterprise blockchain solutions. AVAX, the native currency of the Avalanche ecosystem, is a medium of exchange used for incentives, settling transaction fees, staking, and more.

Avalanche uses a consensus mechanism called proof-of-stake (PoS) to address the blockchain trilemma, a notion that blockchains cannot achieve decentralization, security, and scalability at the same time and must sacrifice one of the three. Avalanche aims to overcome the blockchain trilemma by using three built-in blockchains, namely Exchange Chain (X-Chain), Contract Chain (C-Chain), and Platform Chain (P-Chain).

The X-Chain is the base blockchain where assets such as AVAX are created and transacted. The C-Chain is used to create and run smart contracts, while the P-Chain handles validators and subnets. Subnets are validators that achieve consensus on the Avalanche blockchain.

The blockchain network claims to be highly scalable, and it can achieve a speed of up to 4,500 transactions per second. Avalanche’s other key features include strong security, flexibility, sustainability, interoperability, and smart contract support. Unlike some of its layer 1 rivals, Avalanche is specifically designed to reduce congestion and gas fees.

Avalanche was launched by Ava Labs in 2020.