After AWS Deal With Ava Labs, Web3 at ‘Inflection Point’

Large banks, entertainment companies are looking to develop Web3 strategies, AWS’ Web3 head says


Michael Vi/ modified by Blockworks


A developing and deepening partnership between Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Ava Labs is set to assist developers trying to “redefine the internet,” according to AWS’ global head of Web3. 

Jeff Hasselman, who has led AWS’ Web3’s efforts since 2017, said during a Wednesday webinar that he has had conversations over the past two years with some of the world’s largest banks and entertainment companies looking to develop their own Web3 initiatives.

Some need “101 level” education, he said, while others are further along in their digital assets journey. Either way, according to the executive, everyone is looking for the most straightforward path in doing so. 

“We’re starting to see a shift; we’re at an inflection point right now where more and more people are coming in,” Hasselman said. “How do you grab them? And how do you simplify it?”

The webinar comes a few weeks after Ava Labs struck its initial partnership with AWS. That, at the time, was said to be intended as an effort to accelerate blockchain adoption for enterprises, governments and institutions.

Ava Labs created the Avalanche blockchain. AWS offers an infrastructure platform in the cloud that powers hundreds of thousands of businesses in 190 countries.

The joint arrangement differs from the brewing NFT push undertaken by Amazon proper, Blockworks previously reported. That effort, sources then said, is not led by AWS. 

While supply-chain companies are seeking to use blockchain tech for better track-and-trace processes, AWS and Ava Labs executives said during the webinar, potential future government use cases of blockchain include digital identity and on-chain documentation. 

Ava Labs shifting focus

Nick Mussallem, head of product at Ava Labs, said the company’s focus has shifted from a single blockchain on which to launch apps, to having technology to allow for a variety of customized blockchains, which it calls subnets. 

“All of the orchestration that needs to go underneath the subnet architecture, and all the supporting services that make them work, require a very strong, flexible partner who has high availability, elastic scaling and high throughput systems,” Mussallem said on Wednesday’s webinar. “By deepening our integrations and a lot of the automation on top of AWS, we’re really abstracting a lot of the complexities associated with getting your application to market.” 

AWS supports Avalanche’s infrastructure and decentralized application (dapp) ecosystem — including one-click node deployment — through AWS Marketplace, according to a January blog post.

Avalanche node operators can run in AWS GovCloud for compliance use cases — deemed a prerequisite for certain enterprises and governments. The partnership also includes Ava Labs joining AWS Activate, which extends the benefit of AWS credits to builders in the Avalanche ecosystem.

The ultimate goal is allowing individuals and institutions to launch custom subnets “with just a few clicks,” executives said.

Ava Labs President John Wu said a company considering deploying a subnet on Avalanche had many questions — including how to select validators, as well as which wallet to use.  

“Between Ava Labs and AWS, we’re going to create this dashboard that allows people to do one click of a subnet and they can choose all their choices based on guidance from previous projects or companies and instantly come up with the answers for them,” Wu said.

An Ava Labs spokesperson declined to comment on potential other future offerings. 

This isn’t the first time AWS has partnered with a blockchain startup, considering the Amazon division teamed up with Consensys-incubated startup Kaleido in 2018 to offer simplified blockchain platforms.

Amazon Managed Blockchain, the tech giant’s blockchain-focused cloud service, already supports Ethereum and enterprise solution Hyperledger Fabric.

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