Web3-Scale Blockchain That Powers Decentralized Applications and Marketplaces.
Solana (SOL) Fact Sheet
- Solana is a public, open-source blockchain network with smart contracts and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) support and has become the home of hundreds of decentralized applications (dApps).
- The Solana blockchain is a new architecture for a high-performance blockchain, supporting up to 710,000 transactions per second on a 1-gigabit network without data partitioning.
- The native cryptocurrency that powers the Solana network is the SOL token, which provides network security through staking and serving the role of a transfer of value on the network.
- Solana was created in 2017 by Anatoly Yakovenko and Raj Gokal. Yakovenko is the Founder & CEO and comes from a background in IT system design, while Gokal is the Co-Founder & COO.
- Solana is a high-speed blockchain network with a reputation for its transactions-per-second (TPS) throughput. On average, it processes 2,536 transactions per second but has a theoretical chance of reaching over 65,000 TPS.
- Solana utilizes a consensus mechanism dubbed "Tower BFT '' on top of Proof-of-History (PoH) as well as Proof-of-Stake (PoS), which uses the synchronized clock allowed by PoH to reach consensus on network transactions.
- Solana is managed by Solana Labs, headquartered in San Francisco, California, USA, and Solana Foundation, headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
Solana (SOL) Historical Data Price Chart in the U.S. Dollars (USD)
Solana (SOL) Historical Data Price Chart in the U.S. Dollars (USD). Source: TradingView
What is Solana (SOL)?
Solana is a decentralized public blockchain system that aims to operate in an open-source way. The primary method through which it achieves its consensus is utilizing a unique consensus mechanism known as Proof-of-History (PoH) and Proof-of-Stake (PoS). Solana can theoretically regulate the peer-to-peer (P2P) network transactions with a cryptocurrency known as the SOL coin, and it can theoretically achieve 65,000 transactions per second (TPS).
It's a censorship-resistant network with support for smart contracts and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which has led to the creation of a vast ecosystem of decentralized applications (dApps) that live and operate on top of the Solana blockchain.
Proof-of-History (PoH) is a clock used before consensus that solves the time problem within decentralized systems.
In most developed blockchain networks, the transactions get grouped within a block. The block is then written to the blockchain. With this specific architecture, you can tell that one group of transactions came before or after another. However, it is impossible to discern which transactions came first or last within that block.
As such, the key that allows Solana to process thousands of transactions per second is a "leader" found within the Solana network, which regularly changes and orders and writes transactions on the network as quickly as possible. The only limitation here is the speed of the leader's hardware.
This technology introduces an interesting feature: the faster the hardware becomes, the more transactions per second can become possible within the broader Solana network.
Under this "leader," there are the verifiers, which as Proof-of-Stake (PoS) nodes, are responsible for ensuring that the leader is only writing valid transactions on top of the blockchain, which leads to decentralization.
Suppose two-thirds or even more of the verifiers conclude that the leader is maliciously acting. In that case, they can replace him with another one of the verifiers, which means that the verifiers can then take turns being a leader.
Users are essentially staking their Solana (SOL) cryptocurrency to become a verifier, where they can earn staking rewards.
Because the Solana blockchain is fast, it can support various projects. For example, decentralized exchanges (DEXs) work great on Solana due to the high speed, throughput, and low fees.
How is Solana (SOL) Used?
SOL is the native cryptocurrency token used to power the Solana (SOL) blockchain. Users can utilize SOL as a cryptocurrency to run a verifier node, which can earn a staking reward for being a part of the ecosystem. Furthermore, there is no minimum requirement for staking, as anyone can begin the process. However, the more SOL a user ends up staking, the more likely they will be periodically selected to become a leader.
Additionally, SOL is also used as a means of transferring value across the Solana network, where users can send SOL from one cryptocurrency wallet to another or use it for online payments when it comes to buying products or getting services from vendors or eCommerce shops that accept the cryptocurrency as a payment option.
Use-Cases of Solana (SOL)
Solana has its native cryptocurrency, the SOL token, that provides an additional level of utility across the broader ecosystem. Users can pass the SOL token to nodes within the Solana cluster, where they get rewarded in exchange for running on-chain programs or validating their outputs.
Another way through which SOl is utilized is to perform micropayments, which are known as lamports.
SOL, as a cryptocurrency, is also used for the payment of transaction fees and the process of staking.
An additional use-case for the SOL cryptocurrency is that it gives holders access to votes, through which they can vote for future upgrades of the overall ecosystem found within the Solana network.
Usability & Primary Features of Solana (SOL)
There are a lot of features found within the Solana blockchain, some of which are innovations that brought it to the crypto sphere first at a level unlike ever before. We will go over each of these innovations individually as we go over the Solana blockchain's protocol, ledger, and smart-contract support.
To truly understand the protocol behind Solana and how it works, we will need to individually dive into the eight core innovations that Solana brought to the table and why it is utilized so much within the sphere of decentralized finance (DeFi) today.
- Proof-of-History (PoH) - This consensus mechanism native to Solana aims to create efficient and high throughput rates within the broader network. Having historical records of events or transactions allows the entire network to securely and easily track transactions and keep overall track of the ordering of events.
- Tower BFT - This is essentially a PoH version of the Practical Byzantine Fault Toleration (PBFT) and is made to take advantage of the synchronized clock. The Tower BFT utilizes the PoH as its cryptographic clock, allowing consensus to be reached without the need to incur a massive messaging overhead, which could result in transaction latency.
- Turbine - this is essentially a block propagation protocol, which makes it easier to transmit data to the blockchain nodes. Furthermore, the turbine can break the data into smaller packets.
- Gulf Stream is a mempool-less transaction forwarding protocol that plays a significant role in pushing transaction caching and forwarding it to the edge of the network. This method allows the validators to execute transactions ahead, reducing the confirmation time, leading to faster leader switching, and reducing memory pressure on the validators from the unconfirmed transaction pool. This core technology enables large transaction-per-second (TPS) support within the Solana network.
- Sealevel - this allows parallel smart contracts runtime. This hyper-parallelized transaction processing engine is specifically utilized to scale horizontally across graphic processing units (GPUs) and Solid State Drives (SSDs). With this system implemented, the Solana network can obtain a much more efficient runtime and allow transactions to run concurrently on identical state blockchains.
- Pipeline - this is essentially a transaction processing unit created explicitly for validation optimization. It is a process where a stream of input data must be assigned to different hardware responsible for it. This mechanism allows transaction information to get quickly validated and replicated across the network nodes. Within the Solana network, this pipeline mechanism progresses through data fetching at the kernel level, signature verification at the GPU level, banking at the CPU level, and writing at the kernel level.
- Cloudbreak - this is a horizontally-scaled accounts database, which is optimal for concurrent reads and writes across the entire network.
- Archivers is essentially the data storage solution, where data on Solana offloads from validators to a network of nodes known as Archivers, and these nodes can even be lightweight. However, they are subject to a check to ensure they store the correct data.
When it comes to the ledger, there is an input of transaction to the ledger, where the leader then needs to sequence the messages, after which they can order them efficiently so that the other nodes within the network can process them.
The leader will then execute the transactions in the current state that stores the RAM. Afterward, they can publish the transactions and signatures of the final state to verifiers. The verifiers will then execute the same transactions on their copies of the state, after which they need to publish their state signatures if it receives confirmation.
Afterward, once the confirmations are published, they become votes for the overall consensus algorithm utilized on Solana.
Solana has smart contract support through the utilization of Sealevel. As previously discussed, this hyper-parallelized transaction processing engine is meant to scale horizontally. Solana can obtain a much more efficient runtime and allow transactions to run concurrently within the same state blockchains.
As a result of the support for smart contracts, Solana has become the home to hundreds of decentralized applications (dApps) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Tokenomics & Supply Distribution
It is important to note that Solana does not have an established maximum supply. Theoretically, there is no limit on how many cryptocurrencies can exist in the network.
The Solana Foundation launched the project and announced that 489 million SOL tokens would be in circulation.
As of July 15, 2022, according to data from explorer.solana, there is a circulating supply of 345.6 million coins out of 524.9 million.
When we take a look at the SOL coin distribution, we have the following:
- 16.23% of the total token supply was allocated to the Seed Sale
- 12.92% of the total token supply was allocated to the Founding Sale
- 5.18% of the total token supply was allocated to the Validator Sale
- 1.88% of the total token supply was allocated to the Strategic Sale
- 1.64% of the total token supply was allocated to the CoinList Auction Sale
- 12.79% of the total token supply was allocated to the team.
- 10.46% of the total token supply was allocated to the Foundation
- 39.89% of the total token supply was allocated to the community.
Team & History
Solana was initially launched in 2020 by the Solana Foundation, which has its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Solana blockchain was initially conceptualized and created in 2017 by Anatoly Yakovenko and Raj Gokal; Yakovenko is the CEO and comes from a background in system design, while Gokal is the COO.
Activities & Community
When we go over its social media activity and overall community, Solana (SOL) has over 1.9 million followers on the Official Solana Twitter page. There are over 131,350 members on the Solana Discord Channel and over 80,400 users on the Solana Official Telegram Group. The Solana YouTube Channel also has over 33,600 subscribers.
Development Activity and GitHub Repositories
Reviewing Solana’s development, we must look at the Solana Foundation Official GitHub Page.
Here, there are two central pinned repositories, including:
- Solana-Program-Library - this features a collection of Solana-maintained on-chain programs
- dApp-scaffold - this features Scaffolding for dApps built on top of Solana.
When we look at the on-chain activity for the Solana (SOL) network, when we go over the Solana Explorer, we can see that the network has a circulating supply of 345.6 million coins out of a total of 524.9 million.
There is an active stake of 394.3 million, and the cryptocurrency price is $38.06 per coin.
Furthermore, we can see that the network has a block height of 127,986,113. The live transactions per second (TPS) are at 2,536.
The Solana Blockchain Explorer. Source: explorer.solana
Another blockchain explorer, Solscan, showcases a similar story.
Here, we can see that the circulating SOL supply is at 345,708,369.7693 SOL, while the total supply is at 525,063,954.077 SOL. Furthermore, here we can see a TPS of 2,046.15.
Solana Blockchain Explorer. Source: Solscan
Data from Blockchair showcases that Solana has a market cap of $13.189 billion and a dominance of 1.34%.
Solana Explorer. Source: Blockchair
Activities and Partners
Since Solana (SOL) brought a lot of innovative features within the crypto space, there are numerous decentralized applications (dApps) and Decentralized Finance (DeFi) solutions developed on top of it. Throughout the years within the crypto space, the project has established many partnerships.
- Chainlink - Chainlink is an Oracle protocol that can be utilized as a means of trading binary options and can update every 400ms with Solana’s architecture, where developers are using it to develop DeFi assets and marketplaces.
- Audius - Audius is a decentralized music platform and moved over to Solana, after which it snowballed with over 1 million monthly listeners.
- Brave - With Brave’s 1.39 desktop release, the browser integrated the Solana ecosystem and enabled users to explore Web3 with much lower transaction fees and faster processing times.
- Raydium - Raydium is an automated market maker (AMM) built on Solana and utilizes a fully decentralized central limit order book.
References & Reports
- Terminology - Solana Documentation
- Proof of History: A Clock for Blockchain - an official Medium publication by the founder and creator Anatoly Yakovenko
- Proof-of-Stake (PoS) - Investopedia
- Peer-to-Peer - Wikipedia
- Transactions per second (TPS) - Wikipedia
- Transactions Per Second (TPS) - Binance Academy
- Decentralized Finance (DeFi) Definition - Investopedia
- non-fungible token - Wikipedia
- Web3 - Wikipedia
- Decentralization - Wikipedia
- Gulf Stream: Solana’s Mempool-less Transaction Forwarding Protocol - Solana Official Website
- Sealevel — Parallel Processing Thousands of Smart Contracts - Solana Official Website
- Pipelining in Solana: The Transaction Processing Unit - Solana Official Website
- Cloudbreak — Solana’s Horizontally Scaled State Architecture - Solana Official Website
- Tower BFT - Solana Documentation
- Turbine Block Propagation - Solana Documentation
- Ledger Replication - Solana Documentation
- Official Solana Twitter
- Solana Discord Channel
- Solana Official Telegram Group
- Solana YouTube Channel
- Solana Foundation Official GitHub Page
- Chainlink - Solana Listing
- Audius - Solana Listing
- Brave - Solana Listing
- Raydium - Solana Listing