It’s true there are many blockchains that are claiming to be Ethereum killers, and it’s a fairly long list. There’s Cardano, Polkadot, Cosmos, Tron, and we’ll talk about all of them because I do personally believe that we will end up living in a multi chain world.
But today we will talk about one particular Ethereum killer project. It is a project called Solana. And Here’s why Solana has my attention. for starters? It is backed by the founders of an immensely popular exchange called FTX, and one of the founders of FTX is Sam Bankman.
He is one of the world’s youngest crypto billionaire. And of the hundreds of projects they reviewed, they pick to back Solana because of how fast it is. But more recently, Solana has been in the news because it raised something called py million dollars. That is 314,000,000 dollars. And one of the leading firms in the fundraise was A16Z, one of the world’s most popular venture capital firms. And as an Indian, Solana has my attention because one of the founders of Solana is a man named Raj Gokul.
All right, so many folks thinking that the tech behind Solana is an Ethereum killer, even though I personally don’t think Ethereum is gonna die. However, Solana is definitely worth having a look at. Like, Let’s compare some stats. First, let’s look at transactions per second, aka TPS. Well, Ethereum can do 15 transactions per second. It’s competitors like Polka Dot or Tron can do 1,000 transactions per second. That’s pretty decent competition, but Solana can do 65 thousand transactions per second.
If you thought that’s not impressive, Let’s look at the average transaction fee. So we already know Ethereum gas fees are a bit of a problem. Sometimes the fees are as high as 15, 30, 50 dollars for one transaction. Meanwhile, it’s competitors like Polkadot take around one dollar. But Solana transaction fees are as low as 0.0015 dollars. I know that sounds almost too good to be true. Usually with such scale and low fees, there has to be some trade off. Right?
But Solana claims to be the most performant permissionless blockchain in the world, and it’s managed to achieve this through several new technologies which are considered breakthrough in blockchain tech. And blockchain tech, as you know, is considered to be a breakthrough in Internet tech. And Internet tech, as you know, is considered to be breakthrough in computer tech and computer tech as well. You got the picture.
We are aware that the Ethereum developers are in the know about the fact that they’re a little slow and a little expensive, and they’re solving that issue using Sharding, Proof of Stake, and layer two solutions. But Solana uses completely different technology called Proof of History, and the team that’s built it includes former employees from Google, Apple, Microsoft, Intel, you name it. So Let’s try and understand what is the tech behind Solana. But in order to do so, we have to understand something called the Blockchain Scalability trilemma, also known as the Blockchain trilemma
Ethereum’s cofounder is Vitalik Buterin. He’s the one who coined the term the blockchain trilemma. The idea behind this trilemma is that there are three desirable qualities of any blockchain, decentralization, security and scalability. But the Trilemma claims that only two of these qualities can be maximized, and usually it’s at the expense of the third. What this means is you could have extremely high security, be highly decentralized. However, you would have to compromise on scalability, or you could have high security and high scalability, but you would be compromising on being decentralized.
So all blockchain systems, essentially have to make some sort of trade off, which depends on the application and the use of the blockchain. But Solana claims that it has actually solved the Blockchain Trilemma. It’s highly decentralized, it’s very secure, and it’s very scalable. How does it achieve this insanity? The secret lies in a whole new mechanism called Proof of History.
Now, when we trade on a stock market, it is on a centralized system and they do their own timekeeping. So we all accept it. However, on a decentralized exchange things are a little different or decentralized tech can never effectively do its own timekeeping. This is the reason why proof of stake can also not do its own timekeeping.
Proof of History
Now how do we fix it? This problem is solved by the tech that Solana is using called proof of history. What is proof of history? See, the decentralized world works because we eliminate the need to trust any party using cryptography, and the same idea can be applied to timekeeping too. Using cryptography, we can create a proof of the passage of time a.k.a proof of history. To understand how that works.
Let us take a simplified example. Suppose a person is trying to make a milkshake. The steps for making a milkshake are as follows:
Step 1 : Bring a jar.
Step 2: Add milk.
Step 3: Add bananas blueberry and some mango.
Step 4: Close the lid of the jar.
Step 5: Make the milkshake.
Step 6: Drink it.
This is a simple process which everyone is familiar with. Now to add this task on to a block chain and for us to make sure that no one mixes and jumbles the steps, we take picture while the person performs each step. We will include a timestamp to the block of each step and voila! Now we have a native timeclock added to the blockchain.
In short whatever transaction that a person makes over the blockchain. All his steps will be recorded in a specified time frame and appended to the blockchain. Now, everyone does not have to verify and sign every block. They can just run through it and check if it follows the time keeping.
Proof of History is just one way that makes Solana different from other blockchains. The other aspect is Scalability.
Solana is very fast, It is the fastest blockchain we know. But in case that was not enough, Solana cracked a hack by which they can keep getting faster without changing much of that architecture. They have made this possible by believing in something called Moore’s Law. Moore’s Law states that every couple of years the number of transistors in a circuit will double and Solana is made in such a way that it piggybacks this idea. Solana runs its processes in our computer’s GPU parallel to other processes. Which means that the core of the GPU’s keep doubling every couple of years, then Solana will keep getting faster without changing anything in their code at all.
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