How to use Avalanche for the first time
January 22nd, 2022

Following this Tutorial, you will:

  1. Have checked out the Avalanche wallet
  2. Added Avalanche Network to your MetaMask wallet
  3. Sent AVAX from Binance to MetaMask wallet
  4. Have swapped AVAX to PNG
  5. Staked or pooled PNG

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Why use Avalanche?

Avalanche is fully compatible with Ethereum assets, so you can use Ethereum Dapps without paying the high Ethereum gas fees. Transactions on Avalanche are fast, and the fees are incredibly low. A proof-of-stake consensus mechanism secures the blockchain.

Although the usage of Avalanche feels like using an L2, it’s not. Polygon, one of the L2s for Ethereum, secures the transactions regularly on Ethereum Mainnet (L1). This regular inscription into Mainnet is what makes Polygon safe. But Avalanche is its own mainnet. It’s a new blockchain, and therefore, we don’t know much about its safety yet. But time is, for now, the only advantage that Ethereum has over Avalanche. So we’ll see how this new blockchain will evolve.

Now, let’s use it together!

1) Set up your wallet

a) Avalanche wallet?

You can easily set up your Avalanche wallet (keep your seed phrase safe!).

But there is no browser extension, so you can only access your wallet in a browser window. Additionally, it’s not secured with a password. After logging out, you need to type in your seed phrase to reaccess your wallet, if you don’t (like me) have a Ledger. This made me feel uncomfortable, so I don’t want to use the Avalanche wallet for now.

However, if you want to use Avalanche Wallet, you can achieve assets from Ethereum addresses because it is EVM compatible. You can convert your address into the proper format directly in the Avalanche wallet using the C-Chain address.

Avalanche wallet transforms your address into EVM compatible format
Avalanche wallet transforms your address into EVM compatible format

The transactions on the Avalanche network are cheap. And when you send assets, the Avalanche wallet shows very clearly how much fees you need to pay, which is sometimes a bit cumbersome in MetaMask.

transaction in Avalanche wallet
transaction in Avalanche wallet

b) Set up a MetaMask wallet

Avalanche is Solidity compatible, so we don’t necessarily need an Avalanche wallet but can use MetaMask and add the Avalanche network. Some Dapps that we can use with the Avalanche Network even require a MetaMask wallet. So if you don’t have one yet, you should think about getting a MetaMask wallet first.

Keep your seed phrase safe, and never give it to anyone. Especially not to supposedly customer support people who ask for it! No one needs your seed phrase to help you with your wallet. But you will need it to restore your wallet, for example, on a new device. Everyone who has your seed phrase has full control over your wallet.

c) Add Avalanche Network to your MetaMask wallet

The process to add the Avalanche Network is the same for every other network. So if you want to add Polygon or Harmony, for example, you need to do the same steps, but each with the network-related information.

  1. Open your MetaMask and click on “Add Network” at the bottom.

2. Type all the Avalanche information, as written down here:

copy information from website:
copy information from website:

Always use the information from original sources! In this case, from the Avalanche website.

→ Adding chain explorer is optional, but only if you do it, the transitions will be visible on the Avalanche chain explorer (Snowtrace).

3. Choose “Avalanche Network” at the top, where you see “Ethereum Mainnet”

→ You can se that your wallet address doesn’t change. It’s the same for Ethereum Mainnet, Avalanche Network, or other networks like Polygon (Matic Mainnet).

2) Get AVAX tokens in your wallet

There are two options on how to get AVAX into your wallet:

 a) you can bridge tokens and swap them to AVAX, or

 b) someone sends you AVAX from another wallet.

Getting the first crypto tokens into your wallet is the most complicated. The easiest is when someone pays you in crypto and sends the tokens directly to your wallet.

The other option is to buy your first tokens with fiat money. Therefore, you need an account in a centralized exchange like Binance.

If you don’t have Binance, but ETH in your MetaMask wallet, then you can bridge your tokens to the Avalanche Network and get AVAX.

a) Bridge your tokens

You can visit the Avalanche Bridge to bridge your tokens. But be aware: briding costs Ethereum fees! It was $12,11 just in fees to get about $30 in Wrapped ETH when I tried. That is too much, so I rejected the transaction.

If you still decide to bridge your tokens, despite fees, you shouldn’t forget that you will need AVAX in case you want to get your money back to Mainnet at some point, because bridging back costs fees in the native currency of the network.

But let’s go for the cheap version now:

b) Buy AVAX on Binance and send them to your MetaMask wallet

If you don’t have Binance, you need to set up an account. This will require you to have a passport, a bank account, and an address matching your passport or bank account (same for Coinbase or other centralized exchanges). I know, that sucks. So if you can’t or don’t want to set up a Binance account, you need to get crypto directly to your wallet, for example, by working in a DAO or for someone who pays in crypto.

  1. Buy AVAX on Binance (create a market order). The pairs are, for example, AVAX/BUSD or AVAX/USDT. So if you don’t have those you need to change to those first (in. my case I first exchanged USDC to BUSD.)
  2. Withdraw AVAX from Binance & send to your MetaMask wallet

→ click on AVAX

→ click on Withdraw

→ copy your MetaMask address

→ choose AVAX C-Chain

→ send a small amount as test transaction! to feel comfortable (if the minimum amount lets you do this)

→ click on Withdraw

Check this video for an extra explanation on how to send AVAX from Binance to MetaMask.

Yey! Now that you have AVAX in your MetaMask wallet, we can finally go to a Dapp that supports Avalanche network to use it!

3) Use Pangolin, the DeFi app

Now that we finally have AVAX, we can Launch the App, and connect our wallet. Let the App switch to the right network, if you haven’t done it yourself before.

a) Swap AVAX to PNG

The first thing we’ll do is swap some tokens. It’s fast and cheap. When you swap tokens on Ethereum Mainnet, you need to pay high fees each time. You can check every transaction on the Avalanche explorer Snowtrace. My transaction cost $0.34 (which actually is high for the amount that I switched.)

b) Play around with Pangolin

You can now play around with Pangolin, and, for example, stake or pool your PNG to earn more.

I hope this was helpful. Have fun with Avalanche!

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