As AVAX, the native token of smart contract platform Avalanche, continued to soar in price over the weekend, a debate on the persistently high fees on the Ethereum (ETH) network is (re)heating up in the cryptoverse.
The latest discussion on Ethereum and its fees started when Zhu Su, co-founder of crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital, wrote on Twitter this weekend that he has “abandoned Ethereum despite supporting it in the past.”
The major reason cited by Zhu for abandoning the project are the high fees on the blockchain, which he suggested is not addressed by developers and the community because they are “already far too rich to remember what they originally set out to do.”
Perhaps not surprisingly, the tweet from the popular crypto investor caught the attention of many in the community, with some saying they agree with him, and others coming to Ethereum’s defense.
Among the many joining the discussion was Antonio Juliano, founder of the decentralized exchange dYdX, which is built on Ethereum. Commenting on Zhu’s harsh take on Ethereum, Juliano wrote: “This is said much harsher than I would put it, but I somewhat directionally agree.”
Coming more strongly to Ethereum’s defense, however, Chris Burniske, partner at the crypto venture fund Placeholder, said on Twitter that his firm is “not abandoning ETH,” although they “fully expect a multichain world.”
“Ethereum has a plan to lower fees for a global base of users, while preserving credible neutrality. While many alt-L1s [alternative Layer-1 protocols] are cheaper now, because they are much less used, for most I don’t see similarly sophisticated plans. We’ll see,” Burniske wrote.
Layer 1 refers to the Ethereum blockchain, while Layer 2 is any protocol built on top of Ethereum.
However, and possibly triggered by the massive amount of attention generated by his initial outburst, Zhu Su came back with another tweet in which he walked back some of the harsh criticism, saying “abandon is the wrong word.”
He added that “there are great teams working on scaling Eth on [Layer 2],” although he said that he would have preferred a greater focus on “users rather than holders.”
And while the debate around Ethereum continues, Avalanche with its native AVAX token is increasingly positioning itself to become a viable alternative for Ethereum users frustrated with the high fees.
The AVAX token is among the few cryptoassets that have risen over the past week, even as other major assets like bitcoin (BTC) and ETH have fallen around 10% each along with many other coins.
Moreover, the AVAX token had entered the top 10 list of the most valuable cryptoassets today, but failed to hold on to its place by the time of writing. At 12:44 UTC, it boasts a market capitalization of USD 29.53bn, above the recently hot meme coins shiba inu (SHIB), but below dogecoin (DOGE) and smart contract competitor polkadot (DOT).
Avalanche also boasts far lower fees than Ethereum, with transfers typically costing under USD 1 and with near-instant settlement. By comparison, the average transaction fee on Ethereum stood at USD 45.68 today (7-day simple moving average), according to data from BitInfoCharts.
The chain has also seen a surge in total value locked (TVL) in decentralized finance (DeFi) applications on its platform as of late. As of Sunday, the TVL had reached a new all-time high of USD 12.42bn, up from less than USD 8.5bn at the beginning of the month.
Avalanche total value locked:
Zhu Su and his firm Three Arrows Capital are major holders of AVAX tokens and have also invested in Blizzard, a USD 200m fund dedicated to the development of Avalanche.
AVAX is up by 39.2% in the past seven days and down 2.6% over the past 24 hours to a price of USD 133.63. Meanwhile, ETH is trading at USD 4,211, down 9.5% over the past seven days and 3.4% in the past 24 hours.