What's æternity?

æternity 101

Æternity is a next-generation blockchain and development platform that offers open-source data-oriented capabilities for people from walks of life. Powered with the AE coin, it builds upon the foundation of earlier blockchain technology by enhancing scalability, privacy, and transaction speeds- allowing out-of-the-box applications across the digital world and more.

æternity’s technical advantages

Building on æternity brings many benefits. Here is a short list of the most evident ones.



No scaling limits with built-in trustless, off-chain State Channels

State channels make it possible to execute smart contracts off-chain.

The blockchain enforces the smart contract code only in the case of a disagreement between the contracting parties. Unlike most other blockchains out there, æternity’s core protocol was constructed in a very specific way — to provide for state channels on the smart contract language and protocol level. This makes it easier to devise, design, and deploy applications that can scale easily — in all directions.



Highest security standards with a type-safe VM and functional Smart Contract

Æternity blockchain virtual machine facilitates the creation of a much safer environment.

FATE VM — the Fast æternity Transaction Engine — employs a higher abstraction level and instantly nullifies errors via type checking. FATE caters for a simpler, easier, and safer programming environment — creating higher security standards and far more freedom from danger.

Also, SOPHIA — the æternity smart contract programming — is unique. This typed functional programming language makes it simple and undemanding to write accurate, precise programs while, at the same time, minimizing any and all side-effects, as well as formal verification method usage.



~3 second microblock confirmation times

The æternity blockhain is lightning fast.

Utilizing the full power of its structure, the æternity blockchain still uses the Nakamoto consensus, but it separates leader election and block production. This separation follows the introduction of two kinds of blocks — key and micro.

Key blocks, used for leader election, do not contain any transactions but do require a solution to a PoW puzzle. Once a leader is found — they can produce micro blocks that do not require PoW solutions but only need to be cryptographically signed by the current leader to be considered valid.

This allows for micro blocks to be produced in rapid succession — in under 3 seconds.



Low on-chain fees due to highly optimized consensus, VM, and native transaction types

The æternity blockchain is fully-optimized with native transaction types for managing State Channels and Oracles, to name but a few. Full optimization leads to extremely low fees — in fact, transactions and smart contract executions in State Channels do not incur any fees.

Seeing as how all smart contracts are executed via FATE VM, less gas is needed overall — for reference, a FATE contract is but a tenth the size of an EVM contract.



Built-in Naming System for human-readable names

The æternity blockchain utilizes the Æternity Naming System — ÆNS — on a protocol level to deploy human-readable names in the place of cryptic strings of letters, numbers, and signs. This elevates the accessibility levels of the blockchain itself, making it more approachable, less error-prone, and most importantly — human friendly.



Built-in Oracles for accessing external APIs and real-world data

The æternity blockchain deploys integrated built-in Oracles.
These Oracles can be set up in a way to request and provide information and data from outside providers and APIs. In this way, blockchain applications are enriched with real-world data.
Oracles being on-chain not only improves the security of the entire environment, but also caters for reduced costs and, ultimately, eliminates all needs for third-party solutions.



Zero-Knowledge Proof ready

Following the Iris protocol upgrade, more crypto primitives for BLS12-381 have been introduced. This, in turn, laid the groundwork for zero-knowledge proof. Currently, ecosystem community members are working tirelessly and diligently of making zero-knowledge proof a reality - and soon!



Generalized accounts

Plain old accounts have very little flexibility when it comes to the logic controlling them. Notwithstanding the ease of development this leads to, it ignores the fact that varying users may have varying needs when managing their accounts. The biggest drawback of this approach is the need to own a "normal" account, in order to invoke the smart contract and pay for its execution.
On the other hand, Generalized accounts, introduced primarily to improve the UX of the system, are different. Generalized accounts are a way to provide for higher levels of flexibility when it comes to transaction integrity, particularly so when it comes to signing. This is done by moving both the nonce handling and signature checking to a smart contract that is attached to the account.




Following the Generalized accounts entering the playing field, many new options opened up - especially when it comes to signing.
The SimpleGAMultiSig contract, for example, could be utilized to convert a regular, plain old account, into a MultiSig one by taking advantage of the Generalized Account feature. Specifically, for instance, by performing a GaAttachTx, a plain old account can turn into a Generalized account by deploying the MultiSig contract that contains a special “authorize” function. This “authorize” function will then always be called by the protocol to authorize future transactions of this account.

Join the community

Build the future of Blockchain along with great minds from all around the world.

Join the Community

Join the æternity Forum to get in touch with the amazing æcosystem community members, engage in inspiring discussions, and join forces so you can start developing your own æpplication on æternity. We look forward to hearing from you!

Apply for a grant

The Aeternity Foundation (AF) is very much involved with the community! It supports and promotes the open-source development of the æternity protocol and surrounding parts of the æcosystem. The ACF promotes and rewards technical excellence and user-friendly applications focusing primarily on blockchain technology.

Let us know what you wish to build!

Develop the æcosystem

Regardless of your levels of developer aptitude, knowledge, experience, or background — all you need is strong motivation. Learn more and connect with the next generation of open source blockchain contributors on the æternity Discord server and stay tuned for upcoming hackathons.

Get Æ!

There are a lot of cool ways to get Æ coins and start your æcosystem adventure. You can get Æ using Superhero, accepting P2P payments via your wallet, doing swaps, completing bounties on Zealy, or buying on centralized and decentralized crypto exchanges.

Explore all of the ways to get Æ coins right here!

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