Polkadot vs Cardano vs Avalanche | Differences and How They Work

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Polkadot vs Cardano vs Avalanche

All three of the projects, Polkadot, Cardano, and Avalanche, were designed to compensate for some of the limitations of Ethereum but each has its differences which you can learn about below.  

Today’s top-performing networks illustrate how the crypto market has evolved. Learning how Polkadot (DOT) compared to Cardano (ADA) compared to Avalanche (AVAX) compares can give you a more comprehensive picture of the crypto industry’s direction. Compared to their predecessors, these highly scalable and flexible smart contract protocol technologies provide greater flexibility. We’ve put together this handy guide to help you understand Polkadot vs Cardano vs Avalanche.

What is Polkadot?

Polkadot is a smart contract programmable blockchain that was built to improve on many of the shortcomings of Ethereum. The protocol was developed by Ethereum co-founder, Gavin Wood. He left Ethereum in 2016 with the goal to create a more expansive and capable blockchain. Polkadot accomplishes this task via a sharded design and new features.

What Makes Polkadot (DOT) Special?

Polkadot differs from the competition in many ways. Primarily, it’s one of only a handful of networks that enable users to communicate actual data across independent blockchains. This approach enables an entirely new approach to Dapp creation. For example, Polkadot developers can transfer data across public, open, private, and permissionless blockchains. The network was designed to remove the technical barriers from cross-chain processes. In this way, it simplifies the most common Dapp development tasks.

What Problems was Polkadot Built to Alleviate?

Polkadot was built to provide the crypto market with an alternative to Ethereum. Wood realized early on that Ethereum’s congestion issues and developer restrictions would grow to become major issue in the future. His assumptions were correct, as Ethereum is now the most expensive network to run smart contracts on.

Polkadot - Twitter

Polkadot provides lower fees to developers. It’s cheaper to create blockchain assets, conduct transactions, mint new tokens, and build blockchains versus Ethereum. The protocol leverages a unique ecosystem to improve interoperability between blockchains. This structure enables developers to leverage data from both public and private blockchains. To accomplish this task, the network introduces bridges.

Cost Structure

Another issue that Polkadot helps to solve is Dapp operating costs. Many Dapps don’t require a constant connection to a blockchain to operate properly. For these protocols, it can be much more cost-effective to use Parathreads. Parathreads are custom-built networks that operate on a pay-as-you-go pricing model.

How Does Polkadot Work?

Polkadot leverages a different style of a multi-layered approach to accomplish its goals. The network can be broken into Parachains and Parathreads. Parachains are blockchains built on Polkadot’s infrastructure. These networks are stand-alone blockchains that have full creative control.

It’s common for a parachain to have separate consensus and governance mechanisms in use. Parachains are ideal for commercial use as they enable developers to optimize the protocol for specific use cases. These networks can have their own tokens as well. The other networks in use within the Polkadot ecosystem are called Parathreads. These are the pay-as-you-go networks.

Another cool feature of Polkadot is its bridge protocols. This system allows parachains and parathreads to connect and communicate with external networks like Bitcoin. Developers can use the best features from other networks using bridges which makes them extremely popular. This feature saves time and provides more functionality for Dapps.

What is Cardano?

Cardano (ADA) is a third-generation blockchain and cryptocurrency that focuses on Dapp development. Currently, the project is one of the most popular tokens in the market. Cardano is often referred to as the “smart crypto” because it incorporated a research-based, peer-reviewed approach to blockchain creation.

What Makes Cardano Special?

Cardano is unique because it was the first project to attempt to integrate blockchain creation with the academic sector. The entire network was built following the stringent scientific methods used when researching new theories and concepts. By utilizing evidence-based methods, the developers were able to overcome multiple problems faced by earlier cryptos. Today, Cardano stands as the first coin built on scientific philosophy, academic theory, and finalized through rigorous peer review.

What Problems was Cardano (ADA) Built to Alleviate?

Cardano was designed to solve a variety of problems that were facing developers in 2017. The network was built to “provide a more balanced and sustainable ecosystem that better accounts for the needs of its users as well as other systems seeking integration.”

How Does Cardano Work?

The Cardano Team is the group of decentralized developers responsible for keeping the network functioning properly. This group is comprised of three separate development teams. Each team operates as an independent entity when creating new Dapps. However, all the developers use preset standards to ensure that there is complete interoperability within the network.

Cardano Charts

The Cardano Foundation is the non-profit that backs the platform up. It provides financial support for promising projects or developments that considerably expand the network’s reach or functionality. They also are tasked with promoting standardization to further interoperability.

As part of its educations aspect, Cardano integrates additional steps into its processes. Researchers are academics that spend their time examining blockchain networks to discover the core concerns and how to eliminate them. For example, the group might review new consensus algorithms and privacy protocols and how they could benefit Cardano users.

What is Avalanche?

Avalanche is a very popular token that can be found on many exchanges. The protocol was built with the goal to provide more interoperability and improve developer onboarding. Uniquely, Avalanche leverages a multi-chain infrastructure to provide a trustless framework for developers. The protocol operates as a payments system that supports the latest DeFi functionalities, including the creation of application-specific blockchains.

Avalanche (AVAX) - Twitter

What Problems was Avalanche Built to Alleviate?

Avalanche entered the market with a targeted approach. The network helps to eliminate some of the biggest issues faced by developers. For one, the network reduces centralization. For years, Ethereum was the only smart contract programmable network. Avalanche provides an alternative that is more energy-efficient, cheaper to use, and scalable.


It was necessary to ensure that Avalanche would be able to out scale early networks. The developers were able to leverage a multi-chain approach to give Avalanche unmatched scalability. Specifically, the network has been clocked at 6,500 transactions per second. This is a major upgrade from Ethereum’s 30 tps. Additionally, the unique consensus protocol enables sub-second finality.

Developer Onboarding

In the past, new networks could find it difficult for developers to convert due to new programming languages and other technical roadblocks. Avalanche eliminates this problem. The highly programmable blockchain can leverage multiple custom virtual machines. This approach streamlines Dapp migrations to the network because it eliminates the need to recode.

Avalanche makes it easy to create digital assets, networks, and smart contracts. Developers can use the network to create Dapps that cost less to operate and provide more functionality. Additionally, developers can build compliant Dapps that integrate custom rule sets to meet regulatory requirements.

How Does Avalanche Work?

Looking at Avalanche the first thing you notice is the network is composed of three separate blockchains that communicate together to improve functionality. The main component of the network is called the subnet. The Subnet is where new blockchains are built. This layer provides flexibility to developers. These networks can have unique fee structures, tokens, and even consensus mechanisms.

The next layer is the X-chain. X-chain is the layer where users mint new digital assets. Here you will find everything to create NFTs (non-fungible tokens), stablecoins, utility tokens, and wrapped tokens. These assets can leverage advanced DeFi protocols such as staking features. Staking simplifies securing consistent returns as your rewards are based on your stake and not the crypto market’s performance.

The C-chain is a unique concept to Avalanche. This blockchain was built specifically to streamline Ethereum conversion. The layer provides full interoperability with Ethereum’s top tools and features. Developers can use this layer to include more features in their protocols and build apps using the options they are familiar with. Specifically, the layer supports MetaMask, Web3.js, Remix, Truffle Suite, and Embark Platform

The P-Chain is the validation layer of AVAX. This layer maintains the network’s core functionalities. The P-chain handles the creation of subnets, monitoring existing systems, and coordinating network validators. This layer is also where users stake their tokens to secure returns.

Polkadot vs Cardano vs Avalanche Tokens

AVAX is the utility token for Avalanche. This flexible token has a capped supply of 720 million tokens. You can use AVAX to pay fees on the network or send value globally. You can also stake AVAX to secure passive returns. Users stake AVAX to become a validator on the network.

Avalanche (AVAX) vs Polkadot (DOT) Features

DOT is the utility token for Polkadot. DOT is a popular option among traders. It can be staked or used as a cryptocurrency. Users hold DOT to participate in the network’s community governance systems.

ADA is one of the most popular cryptocurrencies in the world. Cardano intends to issue 45,000,000,000 ADA in total. Notably, ADA’s name originates from the 19th-century mathematician and world’s first computer programmer, Ada Lovelace.

How to Buy Avalanche (AVAX), Polkadot (DOT) & Cardano (ADA)

Currently, Cardano (ADA) Avalanche (AVAX) and Polkadot (DOT) can each be purchased on the following exchanges.

Uphold – This is one of the top exchanges for United States & UK residents that offers a wide range of cryptocurrencies. Germany & Netherlands are prohibited.

Uphold Disclaimer: Assets available on Uphold are subject to region. All investments and trading are risky and may result in the loss of capital. Cryptoassets are largely unregulated and are therefore not subject to protection.

Binance – Best for Australia, Canada, Singapore, UK and most of the world. USA residents are prohibited from purchasing most tokens.

KuCoin – This exchange currently offers cryptocurrency trading of over 300 other popular tokens.  It is often the first to offer buying opportunities for new tokens.  This exchange currently accepts International & United States residents.

Polkadot vs Cardano vs Avalanche

Cardano (ADA) vs Avalanche (AVAX) vs Polkadot (DOT) is a common debate that traders encounter in the market. Now that you have more insight into the matter, you are prepared to make an informed decision. It’s worth noting that all of these protocols have a strong following in the market.

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