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What Is Solana Blockchain? – An Introductory Guide To The Proof Of History (PoH) Consensus Pioneer


By Damian David Feb 27, 2023


Solana Blockchain




Solana is a Blockchain framework that aims at solving the scalability problems other Blockchains face using a combination of the Proof Of Stake (PoS) consensus and the Proof Of History (PoH) consensus.


The Solana Blockchain Ledger was launched on March 16, 2020, and it is a  product of an Open source project (Solana) created by Solana Labs & Solana Foundation founded in 2018 and located in San Francisco, California and Geneva, Switzerland respectively.


At Glance


● Solana facilitates the creation of dApps and helps deploy them using its fast, cheap, secure and highly scalable Blockchain framework.


● Solana uses the Proof Of Stake (PoS) and the Proof of History (PoH) consensus mechanism to increase transactional throughput in its Blockchain, thus allowing for more efficient scalability.


● Solana has a native token tagged the SOL which once had a market cap of over $66 billion, temporarily earning its position as the fifth-largest cryptocurrency.


● The Solana Blockchain was first implemented in the C programming language by Anatoly Yakovenko, but took the advice of his friend and former co-worker Greg Fitzgerald to reimplement the project in "Rust".


● Rust programming language was suggested by Greg Fitzgerald because he believed it enhances safety and software productivity.


● Solana was first called "Loom" before it was rebranded to "Solana" to avoid misidentification with the Ethereum-based "Loom Network". 


● The name "Solana" was inspired by a beach with the same name where Anatoly Yakovenko, Greg Fitzgerald and Stephen Akridge (Three of the four brains behind the Solana Architecture) formerly lived.


● The Solana Blockchain Architecture can synchronously run 710,000 transactions per second (tps), making it effectively compatible with scaling by Blockchain projects and dApps.



How Does Solana Blockchain Work?


Solana's outstanding solution is its Proof-of-History (PoH) consensus mechanism that provides synchronous timestamps which Anatoly Yakovenko believed will yield faster throughput since nodes wouldn't need to verify their difference in time before finalizing a block.


 It should be noted that the Solana Blockchain also uses the Proof Of Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism but enhances its throughput with the Proof Of History (PoH) consensus mechanism and this is what makes it unique amongst other blockchains and also what gives it an affinity for high scalability.




Also, the Solana Blockchain makes use of Validator Clusters as opposed to other blockchains primarily using validator nodes. Validator Clusters in the Solana Blockchain are called Solana Clusters. Solana Clusters are a group of Validators that work together to accelerate or facilitate transactions and also maintain the overall integrity and security of the Blockchain. 


A cluster in the Solana Blockchain can achieve confirmation for thousands of nodes in sub-seconds. According to Solana, this means that in a matter of sub-seconds and in each of the thousands of nodes, a cluster can through a leader, timestamp a new entry to the moment when it recognizes a supermajority of ledger votes.


What Makes Solana Unique? (Features)


Solana boasts to be made for mass adoption and has some unique characteristics that set it apart from other Blockchains and they're as follows;


High throughput via Proof of History (PoH) Consensus; Solana is made to process bulk transactions faster, this is attributed to the fact that validator nodes don't need to communicate time factor between themselves before finality is achieved and this makes transactions faster regardless of quantity.


High Scalability via Open Source Smart Contract; Solana is an open-source Blockchain and thus makes it a scalable framework that can be used by multiple dApps and Blockchain projects. As it claimed to be made for mass adoption, measures have been taken to effect this claim as the Solana Labs and the Solana Foundation are mainly focused on building and developing dApps solutions and projects for the Blockchain industry. Allowing the Solana Blockchain to have a high user case and interoperability.


Highly Decentralized via Proof Of Stake (PoS) Consensus; Solana also makes use of independent validator nodes allowing for the proof of stake consensus and thus making it a fully Decentralized Blockchain providing users with all the perks of decentralization. There are around 2,398 validator nodes in the Solana Blockchain ensuring the security and integrity of assets and the Blockchain as a whole. The Solana Proof-of-Stake (PoS) also contributes to the mass and fast transactional throughput of the Solana Blockchain.


Highly Web 3.0 Influenced Via NFT and Gaming; Solana has elements of the NFT and gaming ecosystem embedded in its architecture. It is only right as it boasts to be made for mass adoption. Users can mint, sell and trade NFTs and as of February 2023 there are over 20 Million sundry NFTs on the Solana Blockchain totaling a value of $970 Million. In the gaming ecosystem, a free-to-play game called Bladerite has Solana integrated in its framework to facilitate its in-game item ownership system.


What is SOL?


SOL is the official native Coin of the Solana Blockchain. SOL use cases on the Blockchain range from economic, to governance, to staking and to NFT purposes. 


SOL has been reportedly used by Melania Trump as her first NFT sold for 1 SOL and also by Israeli-American comedic rapper Rucka Rucka for the same purpose.


The total supply of SOL is currently unknown but it has a circulating supply of  378,289,690 SOL coins all valuing a total $8,925,300,757 in market cap according to CoinMarketCap as of February 2023.




Is Solana And Ethereum Similar?


Solana was built to provide solutions to the loopholes of the Ethereum Blockchain. They're two different independent Layer-1 chains and have their own distinct community and economic system. Solana uses its native coin (SOL) and Ethereum uses its own native coin (ETH).


The only similarities they have is the fact that they provide similar deFi services and solutions although Solana has the upper hand by a good margin due to its improvements in scalability, transactional throughput and cost mechanisms.


Is Solana Reliable?


There have been at least five different times; On 14 September 2021, on the 1st of May, 2022, on the 31st of May, 2022 on the 1st of October, 2022 and the most recent being on the 26th of February 2023, the Solana Blockchain has gone completely off the grid due to different technical faults that were reported respectively. 


This phenomenon was reported as "Outages" by a number of publications and Solana has each time given a reason for it often attributed to technical faults like bugs, bots and congested transactions respectively.


This has opened an avenue for questioning the reliability and security of the blockchain framework and it has also adversely affected the price of the SOL Coin even though it still managed to maintain a Market cap of over $8 Billion as of February 2023.


The frequency of these outages and its possible interpretation by critics, however disturbing, should be taken with a pinch of salt as the Solana Blockchain is still very much effectively functional and operational. But its potential adverse effects whether now or in the future shouldn't be ignored as well.


Why Choose Solana?


Solana provides a smart contract compatible with mass throughputs combined with speed. DApps can scale on their framework to create varied blockchain solutions with their own independent ideology.  Solana modified the asynchronous and independent nature of the Proof Of Stake (PoS) consensus with a Proof Of History (PoH) consensus to make transactional processes synchronous thereby saving time and cost as well.



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