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September 16, 2022

What Is wAXL? Identifying the Wrapped (ERC-20) AXL Token by Ticker

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Axelar Team

This post explains, briefly, how the AXL token is represented as an ERC-20 compatible token on Ethereum-Virtual-Machine (EVM) chains.

AXL token

TLDR

  • AXL is the native utility token that powers the Axelar network.

  • It’s chain-agnostic, so its ERC-20 representations will live on all connected chains, including Ethereum.

  • wAXL ticker is recommended to be used for the ERC-20 representation.

  • 1 AXL = wAXL and can be swapped by anyone via the Axelar permisionless layer via bridge front-ends such as satellite.money.

  • Native AXL addresses have the axelar prefix.

  • AXL ERC-20 address have the 0x prefix, same as other Ethereum addresses.

  • Ethereum AXL ERC-20 contract address can be verified here: https://docs.axelar.dev/dev/build/contract-addresses/mainnet.

  • AXL ERC-20 addresses for other chains can be found here: https://docs.axelar.dev/dev/build/contract-addresses/mainnet.

For more info on staking, bridging & how to convert wAXL into AXL, visit our tokenholders' guide.

Introduction

Axelar is a cross-chain communication network secured by a token, AXL, via proof-of-stake. As befits an interoperability network, the AXL token is a chain-agnostic asset that has multiple representations on multiple blockchains.

This post explains, briefly, how the AXL token is represented as an ERC-20 compatible token on Ethereum-Virtual-Machine (EVM) chains. This particular representation is significant, because some exchanges that list AXL will list the ERC-20 version of the token. It’s important for users to know which version of the token they are dealing with, when they interact with a cryptocurrency exchange.

The most important thing to know is that most exchanges supporting ERC-20 AXL are assigning it the ticker, wAXL. Meanwhile, most exchanges supporting native AXL are simply giving it the ticker with no prefix — AXL. There are some exceptions, which will be described below.

1 wAXL = 1 AXL

Most people who are familiar with cross-chain activity are familiar with bridging. Assets on a source chain are locked or burned, and representations of those assets are minted on a destination chain. Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) is probably the longest-standing example of this, in which a trusted custodian accepts bitcoin deposits and mints an ERC-20 token representing those deposits on the Ethereum chain. More decentralized and secure versions of such cross-chain representations now exist, such as Axelar’s Satellite bridge app.

The ERC-20 version of the AXL token (wAXL) is one such cross-chain representation of a token. In this case, the AXL token, natively issued on the Axelar blockchain, is held in a Gateway on Axelar, and minted by a Gateway smart contract on an EVM-compatible blockchain. Anyone can go between the two representations via the Axelar permisionless network, with no custodian in the middle. 1 wAXL ERC20 will always equal to 1 AXL on the Axelar chain.

For more info on staking, bridging & how to convert wAXL into AXL, visit our tokenholders' guide.

How do I know whether I am using wAXL or native AXL?

When the AXL token goes live, some exchanges will not list the native version of the token. Supporting a new blockchain involves some degree of complexity on the part of the exchange. Therefore, instead, they will support the ERC-20 version.

In order to prevent confusion with native AXL, most exchanges supporting ERC-20 AXL are assigning it a unique ticker, wAXL. In some cases, exchange naming conventions and/or technology will render that ticker in all caps — WAXL. There are even some cases where the exchange supports an ERC-20 version of AXL, and is representing it without any prefix, just as AXL.

For these reasons, it is important for exchange users to carefully read documentation provided by the exchange, to ensure they understand which version of the token they are dealing with. Axelar’s robust security approach ensures that wAXL will be fungible with native AXL. Most exchanges won’t allow you to send the wrong token forward by validating addresses [However, there is danger of accidental losses, if AXL tokens are sent to the wrong blockchain, or sent to an exchange that does not support that version of the token and doesn’t do proper address validation].

Native AXL addresses will begin with the axelar prefix, e.g., axelar16tevaqgshecgjwvfzczfsv00w4czh3p2vge58m.

ERC-20 AXL addresses (wAXL) are standard Ethereum addresses that begin with the 0x prefix, e.g., 0x032F81c6aE8f40e556Db04041b208ef1a3b76123. (Both example addresses shown here are generated by test wallets maintained by the Axelar team.)

Conclusion

In the cross-chain future Axelar envisions, this fragmentation of assets by blockchain and by exchange will be less and less necessary. Axelar’s General Message Passing enables application developers to go beyond bridging — by moving the program to the asset, instead of the other way around.

Security in this vision is governed by the AXL token: it provides the system of incentives and rewards for tokenholders to delegate stake to validators, who run the software that secures the network. For users of applications connected to the Axelar network, the AXL token remains in the background. Axelar converts source-chain tokens into AXL and destination-chain tokens, making gas payments seamless and simple. Read more about the AXL token, its utility and network flow, in a blog post, here.

Stay tuned for further developments on that front. Until then, if you have questions about the AXL token as it is represented anywhere beyond the Axelar network, please join our Discord server and use the #pick-a-role channel to claim the Satellite role. With this, you can join the #satellite channel and find answers to your questions among a community of bridged-token users.

For more info on staking, bridging & how to convert wAXL into AXL, visit our tokenholders' guide.

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