How to Unwrap AVAX (and How to Swap AVAX to ETH)

How to Unwrap AVAX (and How to Swap AVAX to ETH)

Cryptocurrencies
by Julian Lopez-Acosta
99
Regarding smart contracts and blockchain technology, Ethereum remains the top dog. This isn't to say it doesn't have any rivals⁠—take Avalanche as an example.
How to unwrap AVAX

Launched in 2020 as an alternative to Ethereum’s expensive network, it has quickly garnered the attention of crypto enthusiasts and blockchain developers from all corners of the globe. And with its growing popularity, users are exchanging between AVAX and its wrapped version, WAVAX, to interact with DeFi protocols and place offers on NFTs.

The problem? Unwrapping AVAX can be confusing if you’re new to the space.

Therefore, If you want to learn how to unwrap AVAX, all you have to do is connect your wallet to Trader Joe, select the “Trade” tab in the NAV menu, then choose WAVAX to AVAX for the swap.

In the content below, I’ll be going more in-depth about AVAX, how to get wrapped AVAX, and how to unwrap AVAX.

What is AVAX?

The Avalanche network’s native cryptocurrency, AVAX, doesn’t sit as a top 20 cryptocurrency for no reason. Its fast network, eco-friendly blockchain, and low transaction fees separate it from other contenders like Ethereum. 

Let’s start with the network’s transaction speeds. Standing at around a whopping 4,500 transactions per second (TPS), Avalanche decimates Ethereum’s rather slow 15-30 TPS. Mix in Avalanche’s thriving developer ecosystem with its layer 2 blockchain capabilities (called subnets), and you have a fast and scalable network. 

Promoted as an eco-friendly blockchain, Avalanche definitely lives up to its motto. With its Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism, no mining is needed⁠. Simply, validators and delegators lock up a portion of their AVAX to help secure the network without needing high-end hardware and around-the-clock network validations.

To finish it off, Avalanche has really low transaction fees (coined “gas fees” in the crypto realm). The standard is 26 nAVAX (0.000000026 AVAX) per transaction compared to Ethereum’s 41 gwei (0.0000000547 ETH). How nice is that?

What is wrapped AVAX?

Wrapped AVAX (WAVAX) is a 1:1 equivalent to AVAX, facilitating use of the cryptocurrency across a myriad of blockchains other than the Avalanche network

In layman’s terms: it shares the same price as the network’s base currency, AVAX, but you can trade, lend, or even borrow it on other blockchain networks. You cannot do this with AVAX.

You can also make offers on NFTs and other crypto assets using WAVAX. If you’re interested in learning more about this, take a look at our “How to Bid on OpenSea” guide, where we teach you how to use another wrapped cryptocurrency, WETH, to place offers on NFTs. Although they’re different cryptocurrencies, the process is essentially the same.

How do I get wrapped AVAX?

There are two ways to get wrapped AVAX: Swapping it for another cryptocurrency or wrapping AVAX. We recommend purchasing AVAX, then wrapping it.

To purchase AVAX with fiat, you must first access an exchange.

What exchanges have AVAX?

There are currently 36 exchanges that offer AVAX for purchase. We’ll only be listing out the top 10 in terms of trading volume:

  1. Binance
  2. Coinbase
  3. Kucoin
  4. OKX
  5. DigiFinex
  6. FTX
  7. Gate.io
  8. AAX
  9. Kraken
  10. ByBit

How do I get wrapped AVAX? (continued)

In this case, we’ll be using Coinbase to purchase AVAX.

First, head onto the Coinbase website and log in. Next, click Buy/Sell (‘1’) in the top right, select AVAX from the Buy dropdown menu in the pop-up (‘2’), then choose your payment method in the Pay with option (‘3’).

Once completed, hit the Buy Avalanche button (‘4’).

To wrap AVAX, head over to Trader Joe, Avalanche’s most popular DeFi protocol. From here, click the Trade button in the top NAV menu.

Connect your wallet to the top right corner (‘1’). You will get a pop-up from your wallet asking you to confirm the connection; make sure you hit Yes or Connect. Also, don’t forget to switch to the Avalanche Chain to the left of your connected wallet (‘2’) if it doesn’t do so automatically.

Then, select AVAX in the From box (‘3’), enter the amount of AVAX you wish to swap (‘4’), and choose WAVAX in the To box (‘5’). Finally, click Wrap (‘6’), and you’re done!

How to unwrap AVAX

The solution to the question “how to unwrap AVAX” is essentially the same as wrapping AVAX, but backwards.

How to unwrap AVAX: Trader Joe unwrapping AVAX

To unwrap AVAX:

  1. Enter Trader Joe’s platform
  2. Connect your wallet
  3. Select the Avalanche Chain to the left of your connected wallet
  4. Select WAVAX in the From box
  5. Enter the amount of WAVAX you wish to swap out
  6. Select AVAX in the To box
  7. Click Unwrap

How do I switch from AVAX to ETH?

As you probably know by now, you can’t switch AVAX to ETH in one easy step. AVAX isn’t supported on the Ethereum Mainnet as it resides on the Avalanche Chain.

To switch from AVAX to ETH, you must first swap AVAX to WETH, then bridge WETH to ETH. 

To start it off:

  1. Go back onto Trader Joe’s Trade page.
  2. Connect your wallet as always, select AVAX in the From box, enter the amount you want to transfer, then select WETH in the To box.
  3. Click Swap

Now, click this link to access Avalanche’s bridge. Connect your wallet, and you’ll see this page:

In the From box (‘1’), select the Avalanche network. Next, pick WETH from the dropdown menu (‘2’), and enter the amount of WETH you want to swap for ETH (‘3’). Finally, click Transfer, and you’ve just successfully switched AVAX to ETH!

Summary

If you’re scratching your head wondering how to unwrap AVAX, follow these seven steps:

  1. Enter Trader Joe’s platform
  2. Connect your wallet
  3. Select the Avalanche Chain to the left of your connected wallet
  4. Select WAVAX in the From box
  5. Enter the amount of WAVAX you wish to swap out
  6. Select AVA in the To box
  7. Click Unwrap

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