Cornell Cryptocurrency Professor Launches Ava Testnet, Challenges Visa
Emin Gun Sirer, one of the world’s leading academic experts on blockchain, is launching his own cryptocurrency.
Sirer is the co-director of the Initiative for Cryptocurrencies and Smart Contracts at Cornell University. In addition, Sirer founded Ava Labs Inc., a blockchain group that is currently developing the Ava network and cryptocurrency. In February, the startup reported raising $6 million from a host of big-name investors, including Polychain and Andreessen Horrowitz.
Now, Sirer looks to throw his name into the ring of major coin projects by launching the Ava currency. The group reported its first official testnet release on May 17 based on what it’s calling the ‘Avalanche Protocol,’
Ava’s target is on designing a network that will be out-of-box ready to scale to levels required for massive adoption. Scalability has continued to plague the cryptocurrency industry as one of the major hurdles to be overcome in mainstream use for the technology. According to Sirer, the Ava network will offer faster transaction confirmations and be capable of handling larger network volumes than what the current industry is capable of. In addition, Ava will support network applications, such as supply-train tracking and the ability to integrate securities and gold.
Compared to Bitcoin and other store of value cryptocurrencies–which billionaire investor Mike Novogratz recently questioned as reaching the extent of their potential as ‘digital gold’–Ava is specifically focusing on creating a currency that can compete with VISA in transactions per second (tps) and a confirmation latency of 1.35 seconds. Given the emphasis on scaling existing cryptocurrencies, with Bitcoin pursuing lightning network and Ethereum undergoing a Proof of Stake 2.0 overhaul, Ava may find a substantial investment market if it can solve the transaction demand issue.
Sirer believes the future is integrating the world’s economies on blockchain, including the proposed tokenization of securities and traditional assets. Such a process would require a substantial amount of network volume to be processed, including transactions that can compete with the current ease of Visa. Speaking in a recent interview, Sirer said,
“Every certificate will one day be represented on the blockchain. Every dollar bill. We are trying to create the correct foundation for making that vision happen.”
Ava’s testnet, which held its debut earlier today, is the prelude to the official launch of the cryptocurrency expected to occur later in 2019. According to the testnet report, Ava’s network is executing the Avalanche protocol, an innovative mechanism for verifying and executing transactions on blockchain that seeks to outcompete industry-leading Bitcoin.
The network is also going to support cross-chain transactions on top of the Ava coin, which Sirer detailed as a priority for his development team,
“You can create a digital asset on top of Ava, a coin X. And then you can say, I want my coin to support Bitcoin transactions as well as Zcash –- you can mix and mash features from different languages. And I want these features to be supported on this set of nodes.”
Ava will look to compete with other network-based currencies such as TRON, EOS and Ethereum, with the latter rolling out its massive 2.0 update over the course of the next year.