What is Solana (SOL)? Solana is a web-scale blockchain that provides fast, secure, scalable, decentralized apps and marketplaces. The system currently supports 50k TPS (Transactions per second) and 400ms Block Times. The overarching goal of the Solana software is to demonstrate that there is a possible set of software algorithms using the combination to create a blockchain. So this would allow transaction throughput to scale proportionally with network bandwidth satisfying all properties of a blockchain: scalability, security and decentralization. Furthermore, the system able to support an upper bound of 710,000 TPS on a standard gigabit network and 28.4 million tps on a 40 gigabit network. 

Background

The Solana (SOL) platform was founded back in 2017 by Anatoly Yakovenko. Yakovenko worked at Qualcomm before founding Solana. He has a wide range of experience with compression algorithms after his previous experience at Dropbox as a software engineer. Along with Eric Williams and Solana’s CTO, Greg Fitzgerald, they created a new process of dealing with traditional throughput problems that existed in the Bitcoin and Ethereum blockchains.

They hoped to create a trustless and distributed protocol that would allow for more scalability. The team currently is backed by experiences from top organizations in the world including: Apple, Qualcomm, Intel, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Dropbox, and more. The impact that Solana has created also brought the attention of many investors that include: Multicoin Capital, Foundation Capital, SLOW Capital, CMCC Global, Abstract Ventures, and more. 

What type of consensus method does Solana use?

As one of the most performant permissionless blockchains in the world, the network has 200 physically distinct nodes supporting a throughput of more than 50,000 TPS when running with GPUs. One of the biggest challenges with distributed systems is the agreement in time. 

Unlike Bitcoin that uses the PoW algorithm as a decentralized clock for the system, Solnaa uses a Proof of History method. With Proof of History, you are able to create historical records that prove that an event occurs during a specific moment in time. The algorithm is a high frequency Verifiable Delay Function. This function requires a specific number of sequential steps to evaluate.

Transactions or events that are evaluated will be given an unique hash and a count that can be publicly and effectively verified. The count allows us to know when each transaction or event occurred, functioning like a cryptographic time-stamp. Within every node there is also a cryptographic clock that keeps track of the network’s time and the ordering of events. This allows high throughput and more efficiency within the Solana network. 

8 Core Innovations of Solana:

Proof of History (PoH) → a clock before consensus

Solana’s PoH consensus algorithm helps to create more efficiency and higher throughput rate within the Solana network. So by having historical records of events or transactions, it allows the system to more easily track transactions and keep track of the ordering of the events.

Tower BFT → PoH-optimized version of PBFT (Practical Byzantine Fault Toleration)

Tower BFT is a PBFT-like conesus algorithm that is made to take advantage of the synchronized clock. The Tower BFT uses the PoH as its cryptographic clock which allows consensus to be reached without having to incur massive messaging overhead and transaction latency.

Turbine → a block propagation protocol

The Turbine protocol makes it easier to transmit data to the blockchain nodes. Turbine is able to do this by breaking the data into smaller packets. This allows Solana to address issues of bandwidth and also increase its overall capacity to settle transactions faster.

Gulf Stream → Mempool-less transaction forwarding protocol

The Gulf Stream protocol plays an important role pushing transaction caching and forwarding it to the edge of the network. This allows the validators to execute the transactions ahead of time, reducing confirmation time, faster leader switching, and reduced memory pressure on validators from unconfirmed transaction pools. So this protocol is what allows Solana to support 50k TPS.

Sealevel → Parallel smart contracts run-time

Sealevel is a hyper parallelized transaction processing engine that is used to scale horizontally across GPUs and SSDs. With this system in place, it allows Solana to obtain a more efficient runtime and also allow transactions to run concurrently on the same state blockchains. 

Pipeline → a Transaction Processing Unit for validation optimization

Pipelining is a process where a stream of input data assigns to different hardwares responsible for it. So this mechanism allows transaction information to be quickly validated and replicated across all the nodes in the network.

Cloudbreak → Horizontally-Scaled Accounts Database

To achieve the necessary scalability on the Solana network, it requires the use of Cloudbreak. Cloudbreak is a data structure that is optimal for concurrent reads and writes across the network.

Archivers → Distributed ledger storage

We use Archivers for data storage. Data on Solana offloads from validators to a network of nodes known as Archivers. These nodes can be lightweight (ex: laptops) and they will be subject to a check, every so often, to ensure they are storing the right data.

What is a Solana (SOL) Cluster?

The Solana Cluster plays an important role in Solana software. A cluster is a set of computers that are working together. They can be viewed from the outside as a singular system. Each Solana cluster is a set of independently owned computers that usually work together (can also work against each other). The computers help verify the output of untrusted, user-submitted programs. Furthermore we can use the cluster anytime a user hopes to preserve an immutable record of events or the programmatic interpretation of the events.

Some use cases of the technology is to track which computers did work that was meaningful in keeping the cluster running. Another may be to track the possession of real-world assets. One good thing about this is that as long as someone has a copy of the ledger, the output of its programs will always be able to be reproduced and will be independent of the organization that issued it. 

How Does Solana Work?

  1. Input of transactions to the Leader
  2. Leader will sequence the messages and orders them efficiently so that it can be processed by other nodes
  3. The leader then executes the transactions on the current state that stores in the RAM 
  4. Leader will then publish the transactions and signature of the final state to Verifiers (replication nodes)
  5. Verifiers will then execute the same transactions on their copies of the state and publish their signatures of the state if confirmed
  6. Published confirmations will then serve as votes for the consensus algorithm

The Sol Token

The SOL token is the native currency in Solnaa’s ecosystem. So the token can pass to nodes within the Solana cluster in exchange for running on-chain programs or validating its output. SOL can also be used to perform micropayments known as lamports. The current circulating supply of SOL is 26 million. The maximum supply of SOL caps at 489 million SOL. SOL also has additional use cases, you can stake the token to earn additional rewards. So Staking is a good way for users to earn profit if they are just looking to hold their tokens. The process of staking is quite simple, it is as follows: 

  1. Transfer tokens to a wallet that supports staking
  2. Create a staking account
  3. Select a validator from Solana’s validators
  4. Delegate your stake to the validator

Sol

Who are some of Solana’s partners?

Solana (SOL) has quite a few partners in the crypto industry; many are the best and brightest in the crypto industry. These firms include Project Serum, FTX, Terra, akash, Chainlink, civic, dfuse, Formatic, Stardust, Kin, Tempest, and more.

Solana’s Partner that rose 1500%, Serum:

Serum has been quite hot in the news growing 1500% since its IEO. The main reason why Serum chose to build on Solana is because it offers the best of both centralized and decentralized worlds. 

It allows exchanges to be resistant to censorship, noncustodial, inexpensive and highly liquid. 

This is only achievable with Solana as it allows Serum to run on a on-chain central limit order book that updates every 400 milliseconds. 

Solana allows Serum to achieve one of the lowest latency and gas costs, hence, making it revolutionary.

Conclusion

Solana solves the many traditional issues that earlier blockchain technology experiences. Solana displays a new structure for verifying transactions and a more efficient consensus algorithm. The platform will definitely be a strong competitor with Bitcoin and Ethereum. Solana displays the fast advancements in the crypto industry in just mere 10 years. The platform will definitely be something to look out for as it continues to develop!

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