Avalanche Glossary

AVA:

The original name of the Avalanche network. Sometimes used as an umbrella term encompassing Avalanche, AVAX, and the rest of the ecosystem.

Avalanche:

  1. An open-source platform for creating and trading digital assets, building decentralized applications, and launching custom blockchains.
  2. A DAG-optimized consensus protocol: high-throughput, parallelizable, and simple to prune. 

AVAX (also $AVAX):

The native token of the Avalanche network.

A digital currency with limited supply that can be transferred quickly and cheaply anywhere in the world without middlemen or banks.

A medium of exchange and store of value. Sound money.

Contracts Chain (C-Chain):

The default smart contract chain on AVA. It enables the creation of any Ethereum-compatible smart contracts.

The C-Chain is an account-based linear chain.

Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG):

A graph consisting of vertices connected by edges, with each edge directed from one vertex to another without loops.

This data structure is used to process and organize blockchain information.

Exchange Chain (X-Chain):

The default asset chain on AVA. It enables the transfer of assets, creation of new assets, and exchanging between assets.

The X-Chain utilizes a UTXO-based DAG.

Non-Fungible Token (NFT):

A special type of digital token representing something unique. For example, NFTs can represent property titles or rare art.

NFTs contrast with currency tokens like AVAX, which are fungible and interchangeable.

Platform Chain (P-Chain):

The metadata chain on AVA. It coordinates validators, keeps track of active subnets, and allows for the creation of new subnets.

The P-Chain is a currently an account-based linear chain but will switch to a UTXO-based DAG in the future.

Unspent Transaction Output (UTXO):

A representation of digital money. The unspent output of a previous transaction that can be used as the input in a future transaction.

When a UTXO is spent, it is consumed in its entirety and new UTXOs are created for the recipients.

For example, let’s say Alice has a UTXO with 5 AVAX and wants to pay Bob 1 AVAX. Alice’s original UTXO with 5 AVAX is destroyed. A new UTXO is created for Bob with 1 AVAX, and another new UTXO is created for Alice with the “change” of 4 AVAX.