Developed by Ava Labs, Avalanche is a Layer-1 smart contract platform for building decentralized applications and custom private or public blockchains. With low transaction fees and fast processing times, the platform's native coin, AVAX, is designed to be highly scalable, allowing it to compete with other major blockchains such as Ethereum.
Avalanche achieves this with its unique architecture of three interoperable blockchains: the exchange chain, contract chain and platform chain. Each blockchain handles a subset of the computing tasks required to power the network with different consensus mechanisms, thus enabling higher throughput.
AVAX is used to pay network fees, for governance and staking, and as a medium of exchange between the different blockchains in the Avalanche ecosystem.