What are Avalanche Subnets?

Ephraim Austin

Aug. 20, 2022

As the world of blockchain games and applications expands, there is now an ever-increasing need for blockchain scaling. The increase in traffic, easy entry into the blockchain world, and the general utility games are offering run the risk of increasing gas prices and congestion.  

Avalanche has taken a unique approach to tackle this challenge; that of subnets. The idea is to divert traffic from the main road (mainnet) onto service lanes (subnets) to avoid congestion and maintain consistent gas prices. 

In this article, we will take a closer look at what Avalanche’s subnets are and the benefits they offer to the blockchain industry and Web3 Gaming

Avalanche Subnets Overview

A subnet is an independent network that outlines its rules regarding its affiliation and token economics. It comprises a dynamic subset of Avalanche validators operating jointly to agree on the state of one or more blockchains. Interestingly, every blockchain is proved by one subnet, and a subnet can have multiple blockchains. Also, a validator might become a part of numerous subnets.  

Avalanche Network was developed by Emin Gun Sirer, Kevin Sekniqi, and Mafoan “Ted” Yin, and the company launched its native token AVAX in September 2020. Avalanche lays the foundation that enables new Web3 products and economies. It can do this with the help of multiple key components and innovations in design, consensus, economics, and infrastructure.

AVAX is the native token of the Avalanche Network that is used to secure the network through staking, paying for the fees, and providing basic units of accounts between several subnets created on the platform.  

Looking deeper we can see that Avalanche features three built-in blockchains: Contract Chain (C-chain), Exchange Chain (X-Chain), and Platform Chain (P-Chain). These three chains are validated and protected by all the Avalanche validators, which form the Primary Network when combined.


What Is a Subnet?

Think of a subnet as service lanes emerging from the main road (mainnet). These subnets are sovereign roads that lead to different functions on the blockchain. Each road has its own specific performance logic, management principles, state, networking rules, and security protocols. 

In other words, there are unique governance protocols for each subnet – a unique police force that enforces the rules under the supervision of the mainnet. These roads allow the mainnet to perform as it should without congesting it, increasing latency, impacting transaction speeds, or increasing transaction costs. 

Additionally, Avalanche subnets allow different programs to exist on the Avalanche network, create their own protocols, and perform their own functions while remaining an active part of the Avalanche framework. 

Avalanche Subnets

Additionally, a subnet directs its involvement and may require that its constituent validators have specific properties. It empowers anyone to build custom blockchain networks – enhanced to follow specifically programmed rules, and subnets are interoperable with the broader Avalanche ecosystem. They don’t have to compete with other subnets for network properties and can scale infinitely.  

Advantages of Avalanche Subnets

A subnet runs its membership, can create its token finances and guidelines and may need its central validators to meet specific requirements.

Independent Tokenomics 

Interestingly, subnets can create their own token, customize their fee token and even launch with customized virtual machines. 


Avalanche’s subnet design makes governing compliance convenient by having the subnet follow specific requirements. For example,  a subnet may demand validators that meet its set of requirements; some of the requirements include: 

  • Validators need to be located in a given country
  • They must pass a KYC/AML check
  • The validator must have a specific license

Even though these are specific requirements for the subnet, they don’t affect the Avalanche Primary Network. 

Application – Precise Requests

Another advantage of subnets is their ability to conform to specific technological requirements. For example, let’s say you have an application that requires a considerable amount of RAM power. Your subnet will require that validators meet specific hardware requirements so that the application can run smoothly and its performance is not compromised. 

Assistance for Private Blockchains 

Privacy is another advantage of subnets. You can design a subnet where only specific pre-defined validators may connect and form a private subnet where the content of the blockchains is evident solely to those validators.


Avalanche validators are encouraged by subnet owners to validate their subnets. Each subnet can adapt to the encouragement. A validator needs to consider safekeeping and resource concerns before joining a subnet. 

The Impact of a Subnet on NFT Games

Subnets can help NFT games scale their user base, regulate customizable instructions for their blockchains and concentrate on gameplay. A subnet gives blockchain or NFT games the control they need along with their tailored blockchain networks. A subnet can select between shared and non-shared protection. 

DeFi Kingdoms

On March 31, 2022, the highly expected DeFi Kingdom’s DFK Chain subnet effectively went live.

 DeFi Kingdoms

Subnets are being used by DeFi Kingdoms – as the game gained popularity, the group wanted more power over the original framework and the facility to run validation and transaction fees through their tokens. Since the launch of DeFi Kingdoms, it has had over 3.38 million transactions on average every 30 days. 



Another example of a successful subnet launch is Crabada via the Swimmer Network. This subnet allowed Crabada to change its fee token from AVAX to TUS as well as control the fee scale per transaction. This reduced fees dramatically, which helped players maximize their gameplay. 

This shows just how important subnets are to ensure seamless experiences and the improved viability of blockchain games.