Scalability is one of the major issues that affects blockchain technologies and it refers to the ability of a network to grow thereby accommodating an increase in demand. It is the ability of a blockchain network to handle more transactions as it grows.
Solana(SOL) is an open source project that implements a high-performance, permissionless blockchain.It is permissionless in the sense that it requires no permission to join and interact with.
Anatoly Yakovenko,founder of Solana(2018)
Anatoly Yakovenko was a former Dropbox Engineer and founded Solana in 2017 in partnership with Greg Fitzgerald and Eric Williams.
Yakovenko intended to create a highly scalable blockchain platform, and so the Solana ecosystem makes use of an open infrastructure to offer significantly more scalability than its contemporary blockchain protocols like Bitcoin.
SYSTEM OF OPERATION OF SOLANA
The Solana ecosystem introduces a number of new and efficient technologies to create an efficient blockchain.The blockchain network makes use of the Delegated-Proof-of-Stake (DPoS) consensus mechanism.
The DPoS mechanism was developed by an AmericanBlockchain Entrepreneur and Software developer, Daniel Larimer in 2014.
DPoS blockchains are much swifter than PoS blockchains; the Solana blockchain network takes about 2.34 seconds to produce a new block, which is multiple times faster than most of its peers.
DPoS blockchain is similar to the PoS blockchain, two positions on the blockchain can be gotten from staking the native SOL token either as a Validator or as a Delegator. A Validator is someone who is responsible for verifying transactions on a blockchain just like a banker who verifies every incoming transaction. A Delegator is a token holder who cannot or does not want to run validations themselves.
Validators are needed to process the transactions made on the chain. Investors or people who hold more native coins on the network have higher chances of getting the post of a validator, so the people who are truly invested in the network are prioritized. The validators earn rewards in the form of yet more native tokens once they validate transactions and add more blocks on the chain.
In order to become a validator, you are required to stake a sizable amount of Solana token which many cannot afford, so becoming a delegator is an alternative and this is done by delegating the SOL you hold to a validator of your choice.
An edge of being a delegator is that you get to decide which participants on the network are most fit to become validators, and lend your support to them.
Solana Clusters are dedicated groups of computer networks committed to serving client transactions and maintaining the integrity of the Ledger. Several Solana clusters co-exist and are utilized whenever users want to preserve certain events or records on the blockchain, or go back and trace previous activity on-chain.
THE SOLAR BRIDGE
The SOLAR Bridge is a new innovative feature designed,funded and constructed by Bering Waters as a commitment to the Solana and Arweave blockchains. Bering Waters Tech was created by Bering Waters which is an investor in blockchain.
The purpose of Bering Waters Tech is to build bridging functions for blockchains to scale with interoperability. Bridging simply involves connection of two separate networks as if they were a single network.
The Solana blockchain produces blocks approximately every 400 milliseconds and since its launch in March 2020, Solana has produced over 50 million blocks which is more than that of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Polkadot, Algorand and Cosmos in summation.
The Solar Bridge has been implemented in aiding the Solana blockchain maintain and expand its transaction capacity and also cater the needs of global financial networks. Although Solana currently facilitates 80 millions transactions a day as at the time of writing this article and it has the capacity to facilitate five times this much.All these transactions sum up to a sizable amount of data which is where Arweave comes to play.
Arweave is a dedicated storage network for Solana which allows data to be stored permanently, immutably and reliably.Here, Users pay a one-time transaction fee for data storage and are rewarded for storing and recalling data over longer periods. Arweave uses innovative blockchain-based solutions to bring a new dynamic to data storage.
KEY FEATURES OF SOLANA
The Solana team has eight core technical features to help the blockchain match the capabilities of a centralized system and these features are :
- Proof of History (PoH) mechanism :- Proof-of-History (PoH) is derived from Proof-of-Stake (PoS) and can be considered to be one of the inventions of Solana.The Proof of History is a high frequency Verifiable Delay Function. A Verifiable Delay Function requires a specific number of sequential steps to evaluate, yet produces a unique output that can be efficiently and publicly verified.What this does is it applies timestamps to every transaction approval. These timestamps in turn allow the nodes on the network to find out the right sequence of events. So the Proof of History protocol essentially plays the role of a cryptographic clock on the Solana blockchain.
- Tower BFT (Byzantine Fault Tolerance):-This is an upgrade of PBFT (Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance) system employed by other DPoS blockchains. This system allows Solana Validators vote on the state of the ledger thereby making the responsiveness better.It also keeps record of the previous votes instead of running the whole transaction process which then speeds up the validation process.
- Gulf Stream mechanism :- What this mechanism does is that it increases the Solana blockchain’s speed by getting rid of the mempool. On a regular blockchain, a mempool is where transactions gather before a node selects them to be validated and put into a new block.Thus, Gulf Stream allows the network to send new transactions to validators even before all the transactions on the current block are approved.
- Sealevel system :- This is used by the Solana blockchain network to develop smart contracts that can run parallel and are also capable of using the same protocol.Using this approach, thousands of smart contracts can run at the same time without slowing down the Solana blockchain’s speed.
- Pipelining :- Pipelining is an appropriate process when there’s a stream of input data that needs to be processed by a sequence of steps and there’s different hardware responsible for each.It transaction processing unit that acts to minimize the block validation times.
- Turbine :-This is a blockchain broadcasting protocol that breaks data into smaller bits which can be sent to nodes more easily and using less bandwidth.
- Archivers :-This is a storage mechanism that gives validators quick access to transaction histories on the network and other information.
- Cloudbreak :- This is the Solana ecosystem’s account database that enables the system to read and record information simultaneously.
SOL is the native token of the Solana network. This versatile cryptocurrency enables users to earn passive rewards through the network’s delegated staking options. Notably, SOL has a circulating supply of 16 Million and is hard-capped at 489 million coins.
By staking the coin, nodes on the Solana blockchain can hold the positions of either a validator or a delegator. The Solana crypto also allows users to earn passive rewards through the delegated staking options the Solana network offers.
As of August 2020,the price of Solana waas about $2.53.Also as at the beginning of August, 2021, the price of Solana was over $25, with a market cap of about $6.7 billion. According to Solana price predictions 2021, the value of the coin is supposed to further increase in the upcoming months.
The current price of Solana as at the time of writing of this article is $38.4
A chart showing the price of Solana from August 2020 to June 2021(source: tradingview)
HOW TO STORE SOLANA (SOL)
You can store SOL tokens on the sollet.io crypto wallet (developed by Serum Academy).Trust Wallet can also be used to store SOL as specifically recommended by the project’s developers.This mobile wallet is available as a free download on both Apple and Android.
Coin98 is another recommended mobile selection that offers a bunch of cool features to simplify your storage needs. Of course, the safest option is a hardware wallet.
In case you want to stake your SOL token, the Ledger Nano S or the more advanced Ledger Nano X both support staking and storage of SOL.Y The SolFlare wallet or use Solana command-line tools could also be used, then your wallet will allow you to create a stake account and delegate your SOL tokens to a validator.
PROS OF THE SOLANA ECOSYSTEM OVER OTHER BLOCKCHAIN PLATFORMS
Scalability– This is one of the major issues of other blockchain network but Solana solves this with their technology
For example, Ethereum is usually congested and bogged down because of the numerous DeFi projects building within the ecosystem. However, the Solana blockchain uses the tools at its disposal to have the network’s transaction throughput be proportional to its bandwidth.
According to a test conducted in March, 2020, Solana proved to be capable of 56,000 TPS (transactions per second). This gives Solana a solid advantage over other popular blockchain platforms, like Bitcoin which handles around 7 TPS and Ethereum which handles about around 15 TPS
Interoperability- The Solana ecosystem has made great progress towards achieving this.This is already connected to the Ethereum ecosystem through the Wormhole bridge. Wormhole allows users to trade between Ethereum and Solana, and converts ERC-20 tokens into Solana’s own SPL standard.
Delegated Staking– As a delegated staking blockchain, users gain some major advantages over the competition. Anyone can secure a passive income by staking their SOL on the network. Staking protocols have continued to gain popularity in the market because they are easier for new users to learn, and they provide more stable rewards when compared to trading.
PROJECTS INTEGRATED WITH THE SOLANA ECOSYSTEM
Due to its scalability solutions and its interoperability, many major players within the crypto industry right now are joining hands with the Solana ecosystem. Some of the biggest projects on the Solana blockchain right now:
- Serum: Serum is a high-speed, non-custodial decentralized exchange (DEX) built on top of the Solana blockchain by FTX and Alameda Research and is completely permissionless.
- Raydium: Raydium is an AMM (automated market maker) and liquidity provider that is built on the Solana blockchain, enabling faster transactions, significantly lower fees, and enhanced scalability.
- Audius: On October 29th, 2020, Audius announced its decision to integrate with the Solana ecosystem and scale community-owned music streamingIt is a music streaming platform that puts all the power into the hands of musicians. Audius enables free streaming for users using blockchain tech. The native coin on Audius is AUDIO.
- The Graph: The Graph is the indexing and querying protocol for the decentralized web. The Graph allows developers to create open APIs, or Application Programming Interfaces, known as subgraphs.
- Oxygen: Oxygen.org is a DeFi Prime Brokerage Protocol that can aid investors in generating liquidity, earning yield, borrowing assets to go short, and getting trading leverage against their portfolio of assets.
- Frontier: Frontier is a chain-agnostic DeFi aggregation layer that has integrated with the Solana blockchain.Frontier users can participate in protocol tracking and management, staking, best-rate asset swapping, liquidity provision, CDP creation & monitoring, and more.
- Bonfida: The intention of building this platform was to become ‘the single source of truth in the cryptocurrency industry. Bonfida covers several categories, including exchange statistics, crypto company reviews and scoring, in-depth analysis on crypto trends, and notable occurrences.
- Maps.me: This is an offline mapping service. It’s useful for turn-by-turn routing, travel guides, detailed mapping, and a lot more, with the added perk that none of it requires costly mobile data.
- KIN: Kin is a cryptocurrency with an amazing array of built-in functionality and programmability. When you implement Kin, you enrich your user experience with new possibilities.
- Ramp DeFi: Ramp DeFi intends to make decentralized lending and yield farming available to non ERC-20 token holders. The protocol gives users the opportunity to draw liquidity from staked assets.
The developers behind this project succeeded in creating a network that could surpass today’s payment processors in terms of tps and functionality. As such, we can expect to see more developers make the switch over to Solana as their original blockchains continue to suffer scalability concerns