Emin Gun Sirer
Emin Gun Sirer, director of the Initiative For CryptoCurrencies & Contracts (IC3) and founder of AVA Labs, speaks during the Token Summit in New York, U.S., on Thursday, May 17, 2018. Alex Flynn/Bloomberg

AVA Labs, the firm behind the open-source AVA blockchain protocol, will be distributing 2 million tokens during its final incentivised testnet before the official launch of the mainnet this summer, the firm said in a blog post on 29 May.

According to the announcement, participants can earn up to 2,000 of AVA’s native tokens for onboarding as validators during the so called “Denali” testnet, which is the final testing phase of the AVA network before its mainnet is launched later this year. Even though registration for the testnet has been open for only several days, it has already attracted more than 1,000 AVA followers who have signed up for the event.

As per the blog post, the final testnet will consist of three core challenges, them being launching a node, participating in a planned network upgrade, and maintaining a node for a minimum of 180 hours. The first phase of testing already began with the launch of the testnet on 1 June, and will continue until 8 June when the second phase, the network upgrade, will take place. The plan is to have the testnet run from 1 June to 15 June, and then launch the mainnet in summer 2020, though no specific date has been provided.


Specific rewards include:

  • 1,000 AVA tokens for running a node and adding a validator to the default subnet.
  • 500 AVA tokens for participating in the planned network upgrade on June 8.
  • 500 AVA tokens for maintaining a node from June 1 – June 15.

For more information about the Denali testnet, you can refer to this page.

The purpose of the AVA token is to enable the AVA ecosystem as a whole. A spokesperson for the project told The Chain Bulletin:

“The AVA token secures the network, pays for fees, and provides the basic unit of account between the multiple blockchains deployed on the larger AVA network.”

This is the second testnet initiated by AVA Labs. The first one, called “Cascade”, was launched in mid-April 2020, and was able to attract nearly 300 developers, who setup and ran validator nodes. Work on the project began in 2019, when a professor at Cornell University and a major global blockchain expert, Emin Gun Sirer, announced his plans to create a blockchain network that could run as many transactions per second as the payment giant Visa.

The mission of the project is to provide a reliable infrastructure for developers and institutions alike to create various decentralized applications. A couple of real-world examples include a developer creating a stablecoin and a group of interacting financial institutions creating a private subnet, which would speed up processes from weeks of clearance to as low as the same day.

A subnet in the AVA ecosystem is a private, public, permissioned, or permissionless blockchain that lives inside the AVA network.

Another use case the AVA ecosystem covers is building a global supply chain, again on a private subnet, where each actor in the supply chain can transparently verify and track progress at all times.

As mentioned, all of the subnets in the AVA network are connected to the same core infrastructure, but do not compete for network resources (which causes the transaction fees to skyrocket on other chains) or share data that needs to be kept private. This is a unique approach of segmentation of a DeFi framework that aims to further ease development operations.

Asking about AVA’s sharding protocol, which enables the aforementioned subnets, Kevin Sekniqi, co-founder of AVA Labs, told The Chain Bulletin:

“We don’t shard for scalability. That’s the wrong approach. We shard for application-specific needs, allowing [for] a broader set of applications that need deeper privacy [which] guarantees more flexibility.”