Conceived by software developer Anatoly Yakovenko, Solana (SOL) was launched in March 2020 as a cryptocurrency created to function like Ethereum but with improvements. Named after a small coastal city in Southern California, Solana has gained popularity and currently holds the 11th position in total market capitalization among cryptocurrencies.
What is Solana?
Solana, established in 2017, is a blockchain platform for decentralized and scalable applications. The Solana Foundation in Geneva oversees this open-source project, with the blockchain crafted by Solana Labs in San Francisco.
Known for its swift transaction processing and lower fees compared to competitors like Ethereum, Solana’s cryptocurrency, also named Solana (SOLUSD or SOL), experienced a staggering 12,000% surge in 2021, reaching a market capitalization exceeding $66 billion and securing the fifth position among cryptocurrencies.
Despite its initial success, SOL faced challenges in the cryptocurrency downturn of 2022. By October 3, 2022, its market capitalization dropped to approximately $11.71 billion, causing it to slip to the ninth position in market capitalization rankings.
How does Solana work?
Solana operates through a combination of proof-of-history and delegated proof-of-stake protocols to achieve rapid transaction processing. According to Bryan Routledge, an associate professor of finance, Solana aims to balance quick transaction speeds, often associated with centralization, with the decentralized nature of blockchain.
While traditional systems like Visa rely on centralization for speed, Bitcoin sacrifices speed for decentralization. Solana seeks to achieve both by processing transactions swiftly, akin to centralized entities, while maintaining the decentralization characteristic of blockchain technology. This speed enhances scalability while keeping environmental and monetary costs lower.
To bolster the security of its blockchain, Solana employs a proof-of-history algorithm that timestamps each block. SOL tokens are staked and serve as collateral for transaction processing on the network, covering activities such as validating smart contracts and participating in Solana’s non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace.
In August 2021, Solana gained significant traction with the launch of Degenerate Ape Academy, the first major NFT project on its marketplace. This contributed to Solana’s price surge from around $30 to $75 in the initial three weeks of that month. Solana reached its all-time high in November 2021, peaking at nearly $260 during the crypto bull run.
Solana’s Delegated proof-of-stake
Solana’s Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS) employs a blend of proven cryptographic methods and innovative approaches to tackle the limitations of early cryptocurrency solutions, as explained by Konstantin Anissimov, COO at CEX.IO. By combining proof of history and delegated proof-of-stake algorithms, Solana primarily aims to overcome Ethereum’s scalability issues.
Delegated proof-of-stake is a modified version of the traditional proof-of-stake mechanism, which involves validators in the transaction process and block creation within a blockchain.
Solana’s DPoS offers users advantages, with the proof of history algorithm enhancing network security, according to Christian Hazim, an analyst at ETF provider Global X. In essence, Solana addresses two key elements of Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin’s blockchain trilemma: security and scalability. While Ethereum is often seen addressing security and decentralization, Solana distinguishes itself by providing unique security through the proof of history algorithm and achieving increased scalability through the platform’s rapid computational speed.
Concept of Proof-of-history
Solana co-founder Anatoly Yakovenko introduced the proof-of-history (PoH) concept in a November 2017 white paper. PoH serves as proof for validating the order and timing of events, embedding a trustless mechanism for time passage into a ledger.
Yakovenko highlighted a flaw in existing blockchains at the time, where nodes operated on individual local clocks without synchronization. This lack of a standardized clock led to uncertainties when using message timestamps for decision-making, as there was no assurance that all network participants would make consistent choices.
PoH addresses this challenge by allowing every node in the network to trust the recorded time passage in the ledger, essential for the reliable functioning of the blockchain.
Solana or Ethereum? Which is better?
The rapidly growing ecosystem and flexibility of Solana has naturally led to comparisons with Ethereum, the foremost blockchain for decentralized applications (dApps):
1. Smart contracts: Both Solana and Ethereum boast smart contract capabilities, pivotal for powering advanced applications like decentralized finance (DeFi) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
2. Consensus: Solana and Ethereum share a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism, where validators stake cryptocurrency as collateral to earn rewards for supporting the blockchain. Solana enhances PoS by incorporating PoH.
3. Speed: Solana gained attention in 2021 for surpassing Ethereum in transaction processing speed and cost efficiency. With a capacity of up to 50,000 transactions per second (TPS) at an average cost of $0.00025 per transaction, Solana outperforms Ethereum, which struggles with less than 15 TPS and average transaction fees around $1.68.
What makes Solana different?
Solana achieves significantly faster transaction speeds compared to its competitors, Ethereum and Cardano (ADA), while keeping costs low, thanks to its distinctive combination of proof of history and delegated proof of stake, as highlighted by Anissimov. Unlike proof of work and proof of stake, which rely on miners or staked tokens to determine the next block, Solana’s proof of history utilizes timestamps for block definition.
This unique approach enables blockchain validators to vote on timestamps for various blocks, maintaining decentralization while facilitating faster and more secure computations on the Solana chain.
In conclusion, Solana emerges as a dynamic force in the blockchain space, offering a compelling alternative to Ethereum. Introduced by Anatoly Yakovenko in 2017, Solana addresses key challenges through its innovative proof-of-history (PoH) concept, enhancing security and scalability. The platform’s efficient delegated proof-of-stake (DPoS) mechanism ensures rapid transaction processing without compromising decentralization. Despite facing market fluctuations in 2022, Solana’s resilience showcases its potential impact. In the Solana vs. Ethereum debate, Solana’s superior transaction speed and cost efficiency stand out. With a commitment to fostering decentralized and scalable applications, Solana continues to shape the future of blockchain technology, presenting a formidable choice for developers and investors alike.
What is Solana used for?
Solana is like a playground for digital art. People use it to make NFT apps where you can create, trade, and show off digital artwork. Think of it as a space for NFT markets, where platforms like Metaplex and Solanart bring creators and art lovers together.
Is Solana a good investment?
Solana is catching the eye of big investors as the go-to altcoin. In 2023, it’s been a hit with 27 weeks of more money coming in than going out, according to CoinShares. Looks like it’s becoming a popular choice for those wanting to mix things up from Bitcoin.
Is Solana real money?
Solana has its own money called SOL tokens. People use them to pay for things like transaction fees. Started in 2017, Solana has become one of the big players in the crypto world.