Aeternity wants to develop a uniquely efficient data oracle blockchain platform to ameliorate some of the perceived scalability obstacles experienced by the rapidly growing smart contract developer community. Consensus mechanisms are used to verify the quality of the oracle's data with state channel integration to improve privacy and and flexibility not storing smart contract code or states on-chain to improve execution and data transfer speeds. Indeed the only data that can be settled on the Aeternity blockchain is the transfer of native tokens.
In developing the Aeternity blockchain, the team attempted to adhere to a few key principles. First, safe contract execution needs an assurance that programmatic value transfers will be reliably verified and stored on-chain, which led Aeternity to develop a few languages, including Sophia, and a new virtual machine, FTWVM. In the long run, Aeternity plans to support multiple VMs.
The second principle is finding a way to execute transactionsefficiently. Aeternity believes this requires implementing state channels to use the main chain only for executing smart contracts, not storing data. It's also the reason behind Aeternity's hybrid proof-of-stake-proof-of-work (PoS/PoW) consensus mechanism. Cost is also a corollary to efficiency for Aeternity, which leaves fee determinations up to miners and users.
The security of the Aeternity blockchain is maintained by circulating a native token called Aeons (AE). All fees are paid with AE, and the initial distribution of Aeon tokens at the genesis block is controlled by a smart contract hosted on the Ethereum blockchain. ERC-20 Aeons are distributed on Ethereum with a built-in burn feature for when smart contracts are executed and tokens are exchanged for Aeternity mainnet tokens for final settlement.