What is Astar Network

Crypto Fundamental

What is Astar Network

Astar is a multichain platform for smart contracts on Polkadot. The protocol aims to realize the multichain vision of the future and become a kind of dApps-hub for multiple L1 blockchains (Ethereum, Cosmos, Binance Smart Chain, Solana and others), connecting them into one network using bridges.

Astar is great for implementing DeFi and NFT applications because it allows up to 1,000 transactions per second with tiny commissions.
A distinctive feature of the protocol is support for EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine) and WebAssembly, as well as Layer 2 scalability solutions such as ZK Rollups and Optimistic Rollups.

Why you need a platform

Astar is built on the Substrat framework and is a Polkadot parachute. However, the design of the main Polkadot network (Polkadot Relay Chain) does not offer the ability to develop smart contracts (as well as most other features), its main task is to provide so-called Shared Security (common security) for the parachains connected to it.

Therefore, smart contracts development has to be complemented with a corresponding parachain. That's the niche Astar occupies.

Polkadot is essentially a zero-level (L0) blockchain, while Astar and other parachemes are specialized L1 protocols that extend the capabilities of the entire ecosystem. This architecture allows the development of specialized networks that focus on a quality solution to a single problem, rather than multiplying many of the same solutions.

What problems does it solve

Since Astar is a smart contract platform, consider this issue from both the user and developer sides.

Users will get a solution to scalability and interoperability problems.


Users will be able to conduct more transactions per second with significantly lower fees. Also, faster finality of transactions is provided, i.e. the time after which a transaction is considered (with a probability close to 100%) irreversible. Together with the shorter time between blocks (10-12 seconds), this will enable faster exchanges between network agents.

Most often users face finality when making deposits to centralized exchanges. For example, for ETH deposits, most exchanges require 12 confirmations (blocks) before crediting tokens to the account. Therefore, the wait can last for minutes. In the case of BTC, that time is even longer.


Astar will allow you to move value from one L1 blockchain to another using bridges, such as exchanging ETH for BTC. Right now, this requires centralized exchanges, which often creates a number of problems, such as the length of the process and the need for trust in a particular exchange.

With the launch of a full-featured network, this will be solved.
Since scalability and interoperability are the problems that the entire Polkadot ecosystem aims to solve (Polkadot itself is a solution to these problems), it is somewhat more interesting what additional features are provided for developers. This is where the specifics of the protocol come into play.

dApp Staking

One of the challenges for developers of decentralized applications is finding funding. Unlike regular companies, such teams do not have constant cash flows from the sale of services or goods, so the issue of development funding is quite acute.

dApp Staking is a kind of basic income for smart contract developers. Any application on the platform can receive ASTA tokens depending on usage rates (number of users, etc.) and on-chain voting results.
This system allows you to focus solely on the quality of the final product and not to think about funding sources (at least in the initial stages of application development).

Support of several virtual machines

Polkadot (Substrat) natively supports EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine). This makes it possible to port smart contracts from Ethereum to one of the parachains painlessly, with minimal (or even no) changes.
Unlike other parachains, Astar offers developers a choice of a convenient virtual machine. In addition to EVM, WASM (WebAssembly) is also available, which greatly increases flexibility and development capabilities. And inside Astar, smart contracts on EVM can interact seamlessly with smart contracts on WASM and vice versa.
Astar developers have named the technology to support multiple virtual machines as X-VM (Cross Virtual Machine).

Second-tier solutions

Since Polkadot is already a solution for increasing scalability, L2 solutions are unlikely to be in full demand in the early stages of the L2 ecosystem. However, in later stages, when the ecosystem has tens of thousands of dApps and millions of users, this issue will come up one way or another.

Astar is ready for the growth of the ecosystem and offers Layer 2 scalability solutions to developers, such as ZK Rollups and Optimistic Rollups (we'll talk about these technologies in future posts).

Interoperability with other L1 blockchains

Astar will connect major L1 networks such as Ethereum, Cosmos, Binance Smart Chain, Solana, Avalanche and others through bridges. This will allow developers to build cross-chain applications and interact with other blockchains almost seamlessly.

What is Shiden?

Shiden is Astar's canary network, Kusama's parachain network (Kusama, in turn, is the Polkadot canary network).

What does the canary network mean and why is it needed?

Basically, it's a testing ground for experimentation, research, and development. Teams can test their solutions in real economic conditions, first on Shiden, identify and fix bugs, and then transfer a fully working product to Astar.

The network provides the same set of features as Astar, but some of the network parameters have changed. For example, the duration of token withdrawal from stacking is 7 days, instead of 28 on Astar, etc. The acceleration of basic processes is necessary to increase the speed of innovation.

It is important to understand that this is not a test network. Unlike test networks, canary networks have an economic component, which allows testing in "real" conditions.
Also, we should not forget about the test nature of the network, which, in theory, increases the probability of encountering bugs.

Token and its purpose

ASTR (native Astar token) and SDN (native Shiden token) have the same use cases and parameters. The initial token issue (total supply) is 70,000,000 tokens and the annual inflation is 10%.

Tokens are used for:

- payment of intra-network transfer fees;
- payment of remuneration to the developers of smart contracts in the dApps staking mechanism;
- payment of remuneration for staking (for regular holders);
- participation in on-chain voting.
- To be able to deploy an app in a tier 2 network, developers need to deposit ASTR/SDN into the appropriate smart contract in the tier 1 network.

That's enough for now, it's time to digest what you've learned and take a rest;)

See you in the next post and good luck to you, dear friends!

Always yours C.J.

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