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What is gas?

In the context of a cryptocurrency blockchain like Ethereum, “gas” refers to a unit of measurement for the computational work required to execute operations or transactions on the network. Gas is core to how transactions are processed and fees are determined on the Ethereum blockchain and other blockchains like Polygon that are compatible with Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM).

Gas is a network fee and not a protocol-specific fee. Some DeFi protocols may charge a separate fee from the Gas fee as a maintenance fee. 

Gas is based on the quantity of computational power required. Executing a smart contract, transferring tokens, or interacting with decentralized applications (dApps) all need a different level of computational power and as such will incur different gas costs.

Gas fees can fluctuate based on network demand and congestion. During times of high network activity, such as when there are many pending transactions, gas prices may increase as users compete to have their transactions processed quickly. Conversely, when network activity is low, gas prices may decrease.

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