An Introduction To Solana: Innovations, Characteristics, And Criticism
Will Solana be the one? The race to be the prime smart-contract-enabled blockchain is heating up. Many projects are chasing Ethereum’s tail, offering faster and cheaper transactions plus technological innovations. What does Solana offer? An internal clock. An incredibly higher number of transactions. Fees so low that are almost non-existent. The possibility to scale to global adoption in their layer 1.
Will this be enough to capture the market? Is Solana the mythical Ethereum-killer that everyone is looking for? Keep reading and get enough info to make your own mind. We’ll summarize the good, the bad, and the ugly in digestible bullet points and short text.
What Is Proof Of History And How Does It Work?
Contrary to what the name suggests, proof of history is not a consensus mechanism. Solana uses Proof-Of-Stake to validate its blocks. “The core Solana innovation is Proof of History (POH), a globally-available, permissionless source of time in the network that works before consensus,” says the following video’s information box.
To drive the point home, let’s also quote Techcrunch:
Enter Yakovenko’s big idea, which he calls “proof of history,” wherein the Solana blockchain has developed a kind of synchronized clock that, in essence, assigns a timestamp for each transaction and disables the ability for miners and bots to decide the order of which transactions get recorded onto the blockchain. Yakovenko says doing so allows for greater security and “censorship resistance.”
Solana’s creator is Anatoly Yakovenko, a San Francisco resident “who spent more than a dozen years as an engineer working on wireless protocols at Qualcomm.” He wasn’t interested in cryptocurrencies until he figured out a way to improve the system. In traditional blockchains, the blocks don’t carry a timestamp and that leads to inefficiencies. Yakovenko figured out a way to include it in the SHA-256 (Secure Hashing Algorithm 256) hash function, and the rest is history… proof of history.
Other Innovations That The Solana Blockchain Offers
This section will be the only technical part of the article, we promise. To start, we’re going to quote EVALUAPE’s analysis. They’re “a platform for demonstration and evaluation of blockchain projects.”
VDF, Verifiable Delay Function:
A function used to generate PoH. It is a collision resistant hash function. In short, this is a function that takes a bunch of data inputs and spits out an output in fixed size. The main advantage of the function is its security.
Simply speaking, since the hash value in every timestamp is calculated by the previous hash value, a long range of hash value can be broke into small partitions to be verified separately by the nodes. Each node only needs to verify a partition of hash value, and then concatenate and restore to a long hash value.
And for the next batch, we’ll quote Decrypt’s analysis of the Solana platform.
Tower Consensus, a variant of Proof-Of-Stake that:
Enables distributed networks to reach consensus despite attacks from malicious nodes, known as Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance (PBFT).Solana’s implementation of PBFT enforces a global source of time across the blockchain through a second novel protocol known as Proof of History (PoH).
This allows for a parallel smart contracts runtime that optimizes resources and ensures that Solana can scale horizontally across GPUs and SSDs, which should help the platform scale to meet demands.
Solana also completely nixes the mempool system used by other platforms, and instead forwards transactions to validators even before the previous batch of transactions is finalized. This helps to maximize confirmation speed and boost the number of transactions that can be handled both concurrently and in parallel.
Key Characteristics Of The Solana Blockchain
Powerful Allies And Co-Signs
Solana, Criticism And Scandals
A Quote To Close This
About Solana’s objectives, Anatoly Yakovenko told Techcrunch:
“Everything that we do to make this thing faster and faster results in this better censorship resistance and therefore better markets,” he said yesterday. “And price discovery is what I imagine is the killer use case for decentralized public networks. Can we be the world’s price discovery engine? That’s an interesting question to ask.”