We live in a highly competitive landscape driven by technology that offers a lot of options for almost everything. One such field is blockchain which offers the developers a number of chains to choose from — Elrond, Polygon, Cardano, Solana, Polkadot, etc. At times, it can be difficult to make a choice since every chain has its own set of benefits and advantages. This is where developers find themselves in the middle of nowhere and what we call “A Developer’s Dilemma.”
Despite such high competition, Solana is somehow managing to become the developers’ preferred choice — and for all good reasons. This blog helps you take a deep dive into how Solana is setting itself apart, making it the solution for any developer needing speed. We will also shed some light on why you should build on Solana. And yes, it does offer a lot more than just massive throughput and scalability.
What Is Solana?
If you have made it to this point, we assume you already know a bit about Solana, like it is a type of blockchain. Solana is often hailed as the “Ethereum Killer.” In 2021, it established itself as a fast, secure, and censorship-resistant protocol. It is one of the rising stars in the blockchain space, with its Total Value Locked (TVL) from $144 million to $11 billion over the last nine months — just nine months. The credit for this 8X rise in TVL goes to the growing dApp and the quick adoption of Solana for token development.
Major Projects Built on Solana
Projects like Raydium, Serum, and Saber chose to create a token on the Solana. Why? Because Solana offers 50,000 transactions per second (TPS) and uses the environment-friendly Proof of Stake (PoS) mechanism. All these tokens are:
- Fungible tokens developed on the Solana blockchain
- Called Solana Program Library (SPL) tokens.
Also, you can store these tokens on Solana compatible sollet.io only.
Come and Break Solana — Open Challenge
As we mentioned, Solana is capable of an impressive 50,000 TPS. What sets it apart is that it offers this transaction speed while delivering 400-millisecond block times. Solana is so fast, and the company is so sure of its abilities that it actively challenges users to “come and break” Solana.
The company has developed a formidable technological approach to decentralized finance (DeFi), attracting a huge number of programmers to make Solana the backbone of their Web 3.0, DeFi, and gaming platforms. The company claims that Solana is the fastest blockchain in the world and the fastest-growing ecosystem in crypto, with thousands of projects spanning DeFi, NFTs, Web3, and more.
Key Features of Solana
Understanding the features of the Solana blockchain is crucial to understanding why you should consider building on this blockchain. Here are some of the key features of Solana that set it apart from other chains in the market and differentiate its technology from other blockchains:
- Proof of History (PoH)
PoH helps the participants in the network to reach a consensus on time. The PoH mechanism plays a key role in helping Solana create a historical record that leverages a Verifiable Delay Function (VDF). A VDF helps prove that a particular event happened at a specific time.
Sealevel is nothing but the parallel execution of smart contracts. Most other smart contract verification systems, such as EVM and WASM-based runtimes are single-threaded, i.e., not more than one smart contract can modify the blockchain at one time. In contrast, with Sealevel from Solana, you can have tens of thousands of smart contracts modify the blockchain simultaneously. What would possibly beat that?
- Tower BFT
Solana uses a practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance (BFT) consensus mechanism turbocharged by the PoH timing mechanism. It leverages this pBFT as a clock to reduce messaging overhead and latency, making PoH the network clock of Solana.
It is a means of maximizing the hardware resources within the Solana network. The four-stage pipeline encompasses:
- Data fetching at the kernel level;
- Signature verification at the GPU level;
- Banking at the CPU level; and
- Writing at the kernel space.
Turbine is the block propagation protocol that is very similar to BitTorrent. It is optimized for streaming data and helps group validators into communities known as neighborhoods for even greater speed.
It is a horizontally scaling accounts database that plays a vital role in maximizing hardware utilization, allowing SSD drives to operate at a capacity similar to that of RAM-like speeds, and hence bringing significant speed advantages.
- Gulf Stream
Gulf stream is a memepool management system that allows the users to make up to 100,000 transactions. With Solana, you can process the memepool transactions within seconds since the Solana blockchain can manage 50,000 TPS.
Replicators or archivers in Solana ensure the probity of the network by maintaining a distributed ledger store for petabytes of blockchain data storage.
Some Other Significant Features of Solana
There are many other significant allures outside of Solana’s technology stack that tempt developers to choose the lightning-quick blockchain, such as the strong community built by the company, comprising tens of thousands of members with representatives from 35 countries.
- Currently, the Telegram community has 73,000+ members.
- The company also has a Discord community reaching 20,000+ and over 138,000 people following on Twitter.
All of this reflects something developers may wish to reflect upon and the huge buy-in that Solana has already acquired.
5 Reasons Why SPL Token Development Matters
Expected to become a trend in 2022, the SPL token development has played a major role in the growth of the Solana ecosystem. Token development on the Solana blockchain is not the same as that of developing ERC-20, BEP-2, or BEP-20 tokens because these tokens represent the monetary value of the underlying protocol.
Below are the top 5 reasons why we (as a seasoned token development company) propose developing a token on Solana. And since we already visited the main benefits offered by Solana, it would be easier for you to understand the reasons as we will be using the keywords here.
- Protocol Advantage
Solana blockchain uses a combination of PoS and PoH consensus. PoS for the security and environmental friendliness of the blockchain and PoH for higher network efficiency and a higher throughput rate. Having a separate consensus that keeps a historical record of events allows the dApps on top of Solana to track transactions easily. This unique way of combining and using two consensuses will continue to grow and stay on trend in 2022.
- Transactional Security
Solana lays its foundation on the RUST programming language, which helps it safeguard the transactions. In addition, Solana uses the BFT algorithm, acting as a safety shield, i.e., the entire system will stay intact even if a particular Solana node fails. These features bring transactional security, ensuring that the dApps that use Solana blockchain and Solana token development won’t struggle with any downtime ever.
- Simultaneous Clearing of Memepool
Solana harnesses a unique Gulfstream system to eradicate the need for a memepool, which helps it maintain a high throughput. Memepool is more like a waiting room for all the transactions that are still supposed to be processed. A transaction is immediately moved to the validators as soon it enters the Solana network. What does that mean? It means that the previous transaction gets cleared before a new transaction is added. This feature of the Solana blockchain helps get rid of the congestion issues.
- Multiple Smart Contracts and Horizontal Scaling
In order to ensure that multiple smart contracts can run at the same time, Solana uses Sealevel technology, which helps save time and money.
Also, the horizontal scaling method of Solana helps drive scalability. Its Cloudbreak system takes care of the scalability of the entire system and ensures that the tokens and transactions that happen on top of it don’t face any throughput issues.
- Pocketing and Pipelining
Some of the other blockchains also implement the technicalities we just discussed above, but Solana offers a mixed bag of the best scaling solutions, which sets it apart. Solana segregates transactions into different task types, known as pipelining, to ensure fast transaction processing.
Not only this, but it also creates smaller pockets out of the blockchain nodes since the smaller packets of information are easy and quick to transact. This feature of the Solana blockchain ensures that the tokens developed on Solana don’t face bandwidth issues.
Solana for DeFi Product Development — A Better Choice Than Ethereum?
DeFi acts as an ideal opportunity to bring about a more resilient and transparent financial system that gives people control of their assets. With the help of blockchain, programmable smart contracts can handle digital assets and financial contracts. They can also digitize finance processes via DeFi protocols and verify how much money they have, where they spent it, and how much interest it has made instead of trusting a centralized institution for the same.
Why Are a Majority of DeFi Projects Built on Ethereum?
- 33 (~97%) of the 34 DeFi projects tracked by DeFi Pulse are based on the Ethereum platform.
- CoinMarketCap is currently tracking 42 DeFi projects, out of which 23 (~55%) are operating on Ethereum as an ERC-20 token.
Note: The above stats don’t include DeFi protocols without a native token.
Ethereum is where the overwhelming majority of DeFi users exist. Moreover, it is the most battle-tested and familiar smart contract platform on the market. There are many competing layer 1 projects that offer faster block times, lower fees, etc. But they don’t have the user base to really draw in development at the moment.
Why Is Solana Better for DeFi Product Development?
- Solana is quicker: Solana has evolved tremendously over the last two years and has been designed to scale from the genesis block.
- Solana is cheaper: Defi applications are not only processed quickly but, at times, also cost less than $1 in gas fees — Solana chain gas fee is around $0.00025 per transaction. Transaction costs on Solana are usually between a few cents to a dollar.
- Solana is decentralized: Solana MainNet has thousands of validators independent validators securing the Solana Blockchain Network, and the number keeps growing every day.
- Solana is open source: You can have your own node up and running quickly by downloading the Solana software code from Solana Lab’s Github. Refer to Solana Docs to understand how to do it.
- Solana blockchain apps use Rust: Rust is one of the fastest-growing languages. Solana used Rust to solve the issues of memory safety.
- Solana has partnered with Chainlink for DeFi Oracle data: On March 23, 2020, Solana announced integration with Chainlink in order to provide its users with high-speed Oracle data feeds to DeFi applications.
Popular Projects on Solana
As you might already know, the DeFi movement’s goal is to transform old financial products into trusted and transparent protocols. These protocols operate independently without intermediaries by leveraging decentralized networks. Mango Markets and Orca are two of the most popular decentralized trading platforms.
Stablecoins are the cryptocurrencies pegged to another commodity, currency, or financial instrument. Most popular cryptocurrencies have high volatility, which makes them less suitable for wide use in transactions. Tether (USDT) and USD Coin (USDC) are the most popular stablecoins integrated with the Salona ecosystem.
A non-fungible token (NFT) is a cryptographic asset on a blockchain. It has its own unique identification codes and metadata, distinguishing it from other cryptographic assets. Note that NFTs can’t be traded or exchanged at equivalence with cryptocurrencies. Solanart, Metaplex, and Solsea are some examples of NFTs on Salona.
Since its launch in 2020, Solana has come a long way, attracting numerous notable projects to the ecosystem, which eventually helped it increase its user base. It offers scalability, high throughput, and sub-penny fees, making it a preferred choice for product development. We discussed some of the main benefits of Solana and its other features to see why, if at all, building on Solana is a good choice. We hope this blog helps you make an informed decision.
At Rather Labs, we have a group of expert engineers with years of experience in Rust and blockchain. We have successfully deployed many blockchain projects, including Membrane, an OTC cross-blockchain trading and lending platform; Hatom, the first lending protocol in ELROND; and NRC-721, the first NFT standard in Nervos Blockchain. Our blockchain experts are well-versed in every type of blockchain and ready to work on your next big project. Get in touch with us to know more, and we will take it from there.
About Rather Labs.
Rather Labs is a Blockchain Technical partner who provides the blockchain expertise along with the partner intensity founders need.
Rather Labs is committed to work alongside our clients as a technical partner, providing insights, technical design, engineering team management, recommendations, maintenance and technology projection.
The company is led by co-founders which have been involved in blockchain projects in finance, real state, gaming, and other industries for years.