What is Solana?

Solana is a third generation Proof of Stake (PoS) blockchain with ambitions to become the go-to platform for decentralised apps (dapps).

Fast and low-cost, this public blockchain is targeting dapp developers in a rapidly evolving playing field—encompassing not only crypto finance, but crypto gaming and media too.

Specifically designed to scale with growth, Solana claims to be the fastest growing ecosystem, continuing to develop tools and networks for others to build on to.

Proof of History, fast speed, low fees

Solana’s Proof of History (PoH) greatly reduces the time it takes to confirm a new block. This method for determining the time and order of a transaction is entirely different to Bitcoin’s Proof of Work (PoW).

Using its SHA256 hash function, all events and transactions are “hashed”. This process produces a long unbroken chain of hashed transactions with a verifiable order. Without the need for a timestamp, a validator can add this order to a block. Together with PoS, this leads to less time needed by nodes to validate the order of transactions. Subsequently, the network chooses a new validator in a much shorter time.

This is how Solana has been able to achieve impressively fast transaction speeds and incredibly low fees (less than a cent). Compared to the claimed maximum throughput of more than 50,000 TPS, Ethereum’s current 10 to 15 TPS looks quite bleak (albeit at present—moving to PoS is a top priority of Ethereum too).

Solana empowers developers through composable building blocks combined with a scalable and censorship-resistant blockchain network. Without having to deal with issues due to sharding or fragmented layer 2 systems, developers can rapidly experiment and deploy apps using composable building blocks, while having ease of mind that the network will remain open and uncongested.

Metaplex: the Shopify for NFTs”

Solana’s entry into NFTs marketplaces occurred with the recent launch of Metaplex. Powered by Solana and Arweave, Metaplex once again underlines the Solana ethos. Apart from being compared to Shopify, it has also been called the WordPress of NFTs, as it enables independent creators of crypto art to reinvent the way that their NFTs are minted, sold and used. The entire listing process takes place on-chain, and perpetual royalties are hard-coded into NFTs. Grammy Award-winning artist RAC was one among many celebrity and business endorsements, saying “Metaplex will do for NFTs what Shopify did for commerce, but takes it one step further by not acting as the middleman.”

The SOL token

Solana’s native token has performed well since the start of 2021. Users can use SOL to pay transaction fees, interact with smart contracts and take part in staking tokens as part of the PoS consensus mechanism.

What’s the future of Solana?

Launched in 2017 by co-founder Anatoly Yakovenko, Solana is still a relatively new project where the level of adoption, usage and range of use cases still has some way to go before its true impact can be assessed. Watch this space!

Photo by Hitesh Choudhary on Unsplash


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