Amazon Web Services (AWS) has partnered with Ava Labs, the company building out layer-1 blockchain Avalanche, to help scale blockchain adoption across enterprises, institutions and governments, the two firms exclusively told TechCrunch.
“Looking forward, web3 and blockchain is inevitable,” Howard Wright, VP and global head of startups at AWS, said to TechCrunch. “No one can call the time or date or quarter that it’s going to happen and it’ll be mainstream, but we’ve seen the cycles of growth before. The velocity of this one seems like it's accelerating and we’re just excited to be a part of this.”
The partnership intends to make it easier for individuals to launch and manage nodes on Avalanche while also aiming to give the network more strength and flexibility for developers.
AWS will support Avalanche’s infrastructure and decentralized application (dApp) ecosystem, alongside one-click node deployments, through its marketplace. The affiliation will also include Ava Labs joining AWS Activate, a program that helps startups and early-stage entrepreneurs get started on its platform.
“For us this means a lot of things,” John Wu, president of Ava Labs, said to TechCrunch. “We have over 500 applications on the chain and we would love to give them a better experience and now we have a real partnership that we can direct to the Activate program. On top of that, our users are always looking for a better experience. The one-click node is an incredible way to do it.”
A number of blockchains already use AWS to power their networks — about 25% of all Ethereum workloads in the world run on AWS, according to its website. The technology itself is “natively agnostic” and supports all blockchain protocols, Wright said, though this is AWS’ first foundational partnership with a blockchain.
Ava Labs plans to add its Subnet deployment as a managed service to the AWS marketplace, so both individuals and institutions can launch their own custom Subnets easily. Subnets are a part of Avalanche’s scaling solution that divert traffic away from the main blockchain and allow projects to stake its native token, AVAX, while creating their own layer-1 or layer-2 blockchains.
“This is the beginning of something much, much bigger,” Wu said, adding that the Subnets will allow developers “to spin up their own blockchain, a full blockchain, in Amazon very easily.”
Last quarter, Avalanche started developing five to six live Subnets, Wu said. But in the testnet phase, there are over 100 Subnets that will be deployed in the next six to 12 months “at least.” “We’re looking forward to sharing this partnership with the hundreds of Subnets that will be launched this year […] so I’m excited about what this can be, not just what it is.”
Wright echoed that sentiment: “When you multiply Activate times Avalanche times Subnet, you have something that's a seminal moment. I think blockchain [technology] will become a commonplace and used in our marketplace by developers.”
Ava Labs has also become a member of the AWS Partner Network (APN), giving the firm access to deploy offerings on AWS with more than 100,000 partners in over 150 countries, Wright said. “[APN] with Ava Labs and Avalanche is the jet fuel for blockchain and crypto that will democratize access for all corners of the world.”
Avalanche is far from the first startup to come through Amazon’s network, Wright shared. “Over 200,000 startups came through our doors, so we know what excellence looks like. That’s [including] Netflix, Uber and Airbnb — they have redefined verticals and we have the audacity to think others [like them] are out there, including Ava.”
“We’re still in the early stages of enterprises and governments building on-chain,” Emin Gün Sirer, founder and CEO of Ava Labs, said to TechCrunch. But the pace of these initiatives will accelerate now that Avalanche and AWS are delivering a more complete and more reliable solution for their needs, Sirer added.
With that said, the size of this network could significantly extend the reach of the crypto-based company and its developers building on its blockchain. “The underlying technology and capabilities is something we’re trying to tap into with John and his team,” Wright said. “It comes back to ease and access.”
And the “ease and access” that both AWS and Avalanche aim to provide through the partnership is only going to accelerate adoption, Wu thinks.
“A lot of the developers and newer entrepreneurs are crossovers from web2 into web3, it’s no longer hard-core web3 people,” Wu said. “And I think with them, they already have great experience with Amazon and having Activate and Avalanche will only make it easier for the crossover and it will be an accelerator and amplifier for that.”
The two companies are also collaborating on events for entrepreneurs and developers through Avalanche Summit, Avalanche Creates and hackathons to help builders build on the blockchain.
“We aspire to be strategic long-term partners; it’s a differentiating and motivating factor for us,” Wright said. “So the complement of the Subnets and our Activate we think is the perfect time, perfect opportunity and we humbly think we’ll look back years in time and see this as a significant time for blockchain expansion.”
As for the future for AWS? It plans to be “more proximate to developers and partners,” Wright said. “Not just a Seattle headquarters […] we’re trying to bring this to the proverbial seven kids in a garage somewhere and we’re going to be more proximate and nimble with high-value partners like Ava.”
“We want to push the envelope of what’s possible,” Wright said.