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What is Astar Network (ASTR)?

What is Astar? 

Astar is a Layer 1 blockchain with an eye on the future of decentralised applications. The platform intends to streamline the development process for Web3 programmers by improving multichain interoperability and lowering costs for startups. Astar Network’s infrastructure provides compatibility with both Ethereum (EVM) and WebAssembly (Wasm) virtual machines, while removing the hurdles DeFi developers must currently negotiate so they can focus on creating innovative applications that will usher in a new era of blockchain technology and adoption. 

Astar Network, supported by core developers at Astar Foundation and their sister organization, Startale Labs, started out as a simple smart contract scaling solution on the Polkadot network. However, as the project evolved, it steered towards a more mainstream Web3 vision, with a focus on Japan enterprise and culture; and creating a sprawling ecosystem bursting with decentralised applications, creative content, and practical real-world use-cases. By offering an alternative to their primary environment in the form of a second virtual machine, Astar Network is built for scaling and offers a wide range of compatibility for developers, while simultaneously supporting cross-chain interactions. 

The Astar Network native token, ASTR, performs several functions vital to the network’s success, with Build2Earn being the most important feature, incentivising dApp developers by rewarding them with a portion of block rewards generated by network participants. Participants that support network infrastructure such as collators are also incentivised from ASTR token emissions, which are minted with each new valid new block.  

Who are the founders of Astar? 

Astar was founded in 2019 under the “Plasm” moniker. Since then, the project was rebranded to “Astar ” under the watchful eye of Japanese entrepreneur and Web3 advisor Sota Watanabe. He and his team at Astar Foundation have secured over $30m USD in venture funding to kickstart their smart contract hub. Thanks to his innovative work in the blockchain industry, Sota Watanabe was named one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in 2022 – at the ripe age of 26. 

Although Astar is Watanabe’s flagship product, it is just one element of his broader vision – “to onboard the next billion users to Web3.” Startale Labs, Astar Foundation’s sister organization, has already developed some key relationships in Japan, for example, JR Kyushu – the nation’s largest train company, Sony Network Communications, and Toyota, and plans to leverage this success to turn web3 into a global phenomenon.   

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The Tech that Powers Astar Network

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