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What is Waves? The ultimate guide

A blockchain platform for crypto-tokens

What is Waves?

Everything you need to know about Waves, the blockchain platform for tokenised cryptocurrencies.

Designed with ease of use in mind, the Waves platform allows any of the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) or startup companies to issue their own tokenised cryptocurrencies as a way to raise funds for developing their projects.

Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrency or any specific provider, service or offering. It is not a recommendation to trade.

What is Waves?

IconSymbolInitial release dateAlgorithm typeMax. supply
WAVESJune 6, 2016SHA-256100 million

Waves is an open, decentralised blockchain platform that allows people to issue their own cryptocurrencies and build applications. As a framework, Waves is:

  • Easy to use. Available as a Chrome app or an HTML lite client, Waves provides a highly accessible user interface.
  • Ideal for crowdfunding. The Waves platform features a collection of tools designed to help users create, distribute and exchange their own crypto tokens quickly and easily. Anyone can back a project that they like by investing in that project’s unique token.
  • Capable of handling fiat transfers. Licensed gateways in and out of the Waves blockchain simplify the process of transferring funds between WAVES tokens, fiat currencies and other cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.

How is Waves different from bitcoin?

One of the most innovative things about bitcoin is its underlying technology: the blockchain. Cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin, are one kind of application made possible by the blockchain, but there are many other uses for this new technology. The Waves platform is focused on creating an infrastructure that makes it easy for developers to create all kinds of blockchain-based applications.

Is the Waves platform different from the WAVES cryptocurrency?

The cryptocurrency (WAVES) is one aspect of the larger Waves platform. Unlike bitcoin, which exists exclusively as a cryptocurrency, Waves is a software framework made up of many different tools to help developers build applications. In order to run those applications, users pay fees using the WAVES tokens.

What is the Waves Decentralised Exchange (DEX)?

Most popular cryptocurrency exchanges are centralised, meaning that all funds that are active on the exchange are stored in one place. While there are some advantages to this model, such as speed, keeping everything in one place makes assets more vulnerable to hacking, distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks and corruption. The Waves platform includes its own decentralised exchange, DEX, that allows users to trade bitcoin, WAVES or any token issued on the Waves platform directly on a peer-to-peer level. The vision for the DEX includes fast transactions, low fees and secure settlements on the blockchain.

Where can I use Waves as payment?

The Waves token (WAVES) is used primarily to finance projects that run on the Waves platform. In order to issue your own digital currency through Waves, you will need to have at least 1 WAVES token.

How to get involved

As of now, the WAVES token can be purchased with bitcoin on several cryptocurrency exchanges, including Bittrex, Tidex, and YoBit. The Waves platform also facilitates direct exchange between fiat currencies, cryptocurrencies and real-world commodities through the decentralised exchange. To store WAVES, you will need to download the official Waves client, a lightweight wallet interface designed with user experience in mind. Mobile options are available for iOS and Android.

Name Product Deposit methods Fiat Currencies Cryptocurrencies
Bittrex Global
Bank transfer, Credit card, Cryptocurrency, Debit card


Buy from one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges with a selection of over 190+ cryptocurrencies and 3 USD pairings.
Changelly Crypto-to-Crypto Exchange
Credit card, Cryptocurrency


Access competitive crypto-to-crypto exchange rates for 150+ cryptocurrencies on this global exchange.
Huobi Cryptocurrency Exchange
AdvCash, Cryptocurrency, SWIFT, Wire transfer


Huobi is a digital currency exchange that allows its users to trade more than 190 cryptocurrency pairs.
Bithumb Cryptocurrency Exchange


A global platform where users can make KRW and cryptocurrency deposits to purchase up to 15 popular cryptocurrencies.
ShapeShift Cryptocurrency Exchange
Credit card, Cryptocurrency, Debit card, Banxa


Quickly swap between more than 40 cryptocurrency assets or use your credit card to instantly buy bitcoin.
Gate.io Cryptocurrency Exchange


Finder exclusive: New users get $90 worth of Gate.IO points and an airdrop of $5 in GateTokens if trade volume exceeds $100 in their first week. T&Cs apply.
A feature-rich exchange with over 700 tokens including derivatives, yield farming and lending products.

Compare up to 4 providers

How can I get Waves?

If you choose to participate in the Waves network, you can earn tokens either by running a full node or “leasing” your WAVES to other nodes. Nodes handle processing transactions and, in return, are rewarded with WAVES tokens for their work. Leasing some or all of your WAVES tokens allows you to contribute to the network and earn rewards without actually having to run a full node. While there are no guarantees when it comes to cryptocurrencies, WAVES has experienced periods of considerable growth since the initial token release in 2016.

Waves market cap chart

Key things to look out for

To run a full node on the Waves network, you need to have at least 10,000 WAVES in your wallet.

  • While the Waves platform is active and growing, many core features are still under development and have not yet been released.
  • If you are “leasing” your WAVES to earn money from transactions fees, you cannot spend the WAVES that you are leasing. You will have to stop leasing your tokens before you can use them.
  • Since anybody can issue their own cryptocurrency on the Waves platform, investors must rely on their own judgment when it comes to choosing which projects to support.

What’s next for Waves?

  • Waves is working towards launching Tokenomica.com, a new platform that will work on top of the Waves blockchain framework to facilitate exchanges.
  • Smart contract implementation is under development.
  • Anonymous transactions are included in the Waves roadmap.

Frequently asked questions

Disclaimer: Cryptocurrencies are speculative, complex and involve significant risks – they are highly volatile and sensitive to secondary activity. Performance is unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before relying on this information. You should also verify the nature of any product or service (including its legal status and relevant regulatory requirements) and consult the relevant Regulators' websites before making any decision. Finder, or the author, may have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.

Image sources: Shutterstock, CoinMarketCap

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