The price of AVAX, the token of the Avalanche smart contracts platform, has doubled this week, reaching a recent high of $33.7 early Thursday morning.
AVAX is posting the second largest gains among all cryptocurrencies listed on Messari over the past 24 hours – 43.7% as of 7:25 a.m. ET. But the token is still well off its all-time high of $60.35, reached in February. With a market cap of $5.38 billion, AVAX is currently the 27th largest cryptocurrency.
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Founded in 2018, Ethereum challenger Avalanche claims to process transactions hundreds of times faster than its competitor, for a fraction of Ethereum’s fees. Spearheaded by a team of developers at Ava Labs, led by Emin Gün Sirer, the Cornell University computer science professor and co-director of the university’s Initiative for Cryptocurrencies and Smart Contracts, Avalanche’s main network launched in September 2020 after raising $60 million in token sales.
One of the project’s distinguishing features is the Avalanche Bridge that enables easy transfers of assets between Avalanche and Ethereum blockchains, which share a common computational background. Typically, this technology allows users to access the benefits of different networks by, for example, deploying assets hosted on one blockchain to decentralized applications on another.
Avalanche is also capitalizing on the burgeoning popularity of non-fungible tokens. On August 11, it was revealed that legacy trading cards and collectibles company Topps partnered with Avalanche to build a marketplace for NFTs and launched the first collection featuring highlights from the German football league’s 2020–2021 season.
Yesterday, the Avalanche Foundation also kicked off a new initiative titled “Avalanche Rush.” At its core, the $180 million program aims to bring DeFi applications to the network, starting with some of the largest DeFi protocols, Aave and Curve. It will do so by providing AVAX as a liquidity mining incentive for Aave and Curve users, according to the press release. Following the first phase of the initiative featuring Aave and Curve, Avalanche plans to continue integrating additional DeFi protocols on the platform.
Meanwhile, bitcoin and ether are trading slightly down on the day, largely unfazed by growing concerns that the U.S. Federal Reserve may start to reduce its $120 billion per month asset purchase program created during the pandemic and the hack of Japan’s Liquid exchange during Asia’s trading hours. The value of stolen cryptocurrencies including bitcoin, ether, XRP, and others reportedly could be north of $90 million and comes just one week following the largest theft in crypto history, a $600 million exploit of blockchain interoperability protocol Poly Network. In that case, almost all assets were returned, but it is too early to determine how things will develop in this instance. Most major altcoins in the top 10 are surging, with cardano (ADA), XRP and dogecoin registering the largest day returns of 7.2%, 4.7% and 4.7% respectively.