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About Astar (ASTR)
Astar is a multi-chain gateway connecting multiple layer-1 blockchains to the Polkadot ecosystem. ASTR is the platform’s native token. It’s used to confer governance rights and pay for transactions. ASTR can also be staked to the protocol.
Operating as a parachain within the broader Polkadot ecosystem, Astar is a dApp hub that enables developers to build scalable and interoperable applications.
Astar’s architecture consists of two components: a Substrate-based layer-1 blockchain; and various layer 2 implementations including plasma and ZK rollups.
Independent layer-2s play host to unique dApps and work to store data before periodically uploading state transitions to Astar’s layer-1 chain, as Messari explained.
In terms of smart contract development, Astar is compatible with both Web Assembly (WASM) and the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), a framework which enables app developers to migrate and implement contracts deployed outside networks as well as create new contracts written in popular languages like Solidity and Vyper.
To help foster ecosystem growth, Astar has created a new paradigm, dApp Staking; this is also referred to as “build to earn.” The method enables users to stake ASTR tokens to specific dApps operating on the network. Billed as a “blockchain-specific monetization model for Web3,” the system sees 50% of all staking fees distributed to network stakers, while the remaining half is allocated to the application’s developers.
Another core piece of network functionality is operator trading. As noted by Messari, developers within the Astar ecosystem possess the ability to assign various tasks (for example, chain maintenance and administration) to an “operator” who in turn can sell the job to another community member for a tokenized reward.
Given Polkadot’s interoperable nature, projects built on Astar can use DOT’s Cross Consensus Message Format (XCM) to communicate and interact with other parachains within the Polkadot ecosystem.
Likewise, Astar’s sister network, Shiden, is designed to bring similar functionality to Polkadot’s “canary network,” Kusama.
As of August 2022, Astar is one of Polkadot’s most prominent projects. It now boasts nearly 500,000 community members and more than $200 million in total value locked (TVL).
When was ASTR created and how much was it worth?
Initially known as the Plasm Network, Astar was created in January 2019 by Japanese developer Sota Watanabe. A member of Forbes’ “30 under 30,” Watanabe is the former director of the Japanese Blockchain Association.
In late 2021, the project won a coveted spot within Polkadot’s interoperable parachain ecosystem. A month later, in January of 2022, Astar raised $22 million via a strategic funding round led by Polychain Capital and Alameda Research, among others. This announcement was followed, shortly thereafter, by the creation of a $100 million boost incentives program designed to cultivate network growth and support developers building on the protocol, CoinDesk said.
Astar’s first native token, PLM, was first distributed to the public via two separate “lockdrops” over the course of 2020. PLM was ultimately phased out in January of 2022 to make way for the platform’s new native asset, ASTR.
Data from CoinGecko shows that ASTR initially began trading for around $0.30 but subsequently lost nearly two-thirds of its value within a few days. Following two months of range-bound trading, the token rose to $0.31 in April of 2022. ASTR has since fallen amidst a broader market correction. As of August 2022, it was trading for around $0.04.
How is the price of ASTR determined?
It’s an inflationary asset; ASTR has no hard token supply cap. Supply is set to increase at a rate of 10% annually. According to project documentation, ASTR’s initial supply was set at 7 million tokens, 30% of which were allocated to the platform’s users and early supporters; another 20% was used to secure a spot within Polkadot’s parachain ecosystem. Some 10% of supply was set aside for protocol development and another 5% distributed to Astar’s core development team. All remaining supply was used to cover marketing expenses (5%), reward early investors (10%), and fund the Astar Foundation as well as the protocol’s on-chain DAO (15%). As of August 2022, there were 3.76 million ASTR tokens in circulation.
Why does ASTR have value?
ASTR’s value is a factor of Astar’s ability to facilitate the creation of scalable and interoperable applications. Given that Polkadot’s relay chain is non-smart contract compliant, Astar is seen as a vital piece of the DOT ecosystem. Likewise, the protocol’s Dapp staking mechanism creates a new paradigm that actively incentives both the Astar community and its cohort of app developers.
Is ASTR secure?
As part of the Polkadot ecosystem, Astar leverages DOT’s shared security model to validate new transaction proofs. This model uses a nominated proof of stake (NPoS) consensus mechanism which sees nominators bond their token stakes to independent validators operating on the protocol.
What are the main benefits of ASTR?
- Astar enables the creation of scalable and interoperable dApps.
- Astar’s dApp staking mechanism rewards stakers as well as app developers.
- Astar is compatible with both Web Assembly and the EVM, a functionality that allows developers to migrate and implement smart contracts deployed on outside networks as well as code new contracts in popular languages like Solidity.
What do critics say about ASTR?
Its performance has lagged. According to Coincodex, ASTR as of late August 2022 was trading nearly 50% below its 200-day SMA.
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