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Earn 5.4% APY staking with Solana Compass

Help decentralize and secure the Solana network delegating your stake to us and earn an impressive 5.4% APY yield on your SOL, while supporting us to create new guides and tools.

Learn more

What makes Solana Unique? How Is it different to Ethereum?


What Makes Solana Unique?

When Bitcoin started a few years back, it addressed a seemingly tricky challenge. The problem was that strangers could not make payments for online transactions without third-party payment platforms like PayPal or Visa.

With the introduction of blockchain technology, decentralized transactions became possible, and cryptocurrencies started thriving. This technology is relevant now more than ever, making the market perfect for Solana and related blockchain technology.

However, the challenge with this technology is that it is slower compared to centralized payment networks like credit cards. Bitcoin supports barely five transactions per second, while Ethereum supports approximately 13 transactions per second. So, how does Solana stand out from the rest?

Built to Scale

One of the most exciting features of Solana is its speed and scalability. It is one of the few protocols that boast over 1000 TPS because of its genuine web-scale blockchain features. In addition, Solana supports at least 50,000 TPS, which is about 3800 times faster than Ethereum and 10000 times faster than Bitcoin.

Solana can add a new block to the blockchain within 600 milliseconds, its average blocktime. In essence, this platform has a short processing time. The reduced validation time for smart contracts and other transactions on the Solana platform is possible because of its hybrid protocols. This excellent speed has stirred the interest of several institutional bodies too.

Ultra-low Fees

The developers of Solana designed the protocol to offer fast processing and scalability without increasing the transaction cost. Solana’s transaction fees are far lower than what several other similar blockchains networks charge today. Solana’s average network fee is $0.00025 per transaction.

In essence, a $2 million transaction on Solana would cost approximately $20. In contrast, similar blockchains like Ethereum would charge almost $600,000 at $6.86 per transaction.

Incredible Performance

Solana has made impressive progress in recent months, partly due to increased NFT hypes with numerous NFTs depending on the Solana network.

NFTs are unique digital assets (or tokens) in the digital space that people can buy or sell like any other piece of art. You can view these tokens as certificates of ownership for digital assets (such as digital arts) or physical assets (such as life paintings).

Now that the NFT industry is growing exponentially and is set to reach a new high in 2021, it’s easy to understand why the blockchain networks that support them have gained attention.

Ecosystem Growth

Solana's blockchain ecosystem is quickly expanding and gaining traction. The blockchain has witnessed a 130% increase in project growth in recent months. Its entire value in smart contracts has already surpassed $3.5 billion, increasing by 200% in August.

Secure

Unlike Ethereum, which depends on Polygon's Plasma Chains, a layer-2 solution, Solana offers excellent performance without any layer-2 or off-chain solutions. Therefore, the Solana blockchain is among the few layer-1 protocols that are not vulnerable to the mass exit problem.

Eight (8) Solana Core Features

Another unique feature of Solana is its eight core innovations. We'll discuss them briefly below.

Proof of History (PoH) – A Clock Before Consensus

Solana’s PoH consensus mechanism contributes to increased throughput rate and efficiency within the network. As a result of having a database of transactions and events, the system can more readily track the sequence of events and monitor transactions.

Tower Byzantine Fault Tolerance (BFT) – Optimized version of Practical Byzantine Fault Toleration (PBFT)

The Tower BFT algorithm uses a synchronized clock. PoH serves as a cryptographic clock for the Tower BFT, allowing for consensus without imposing significantly on cost or transaction delay.

Turbine – a Block Propagation Protocol

Since the Solana consensus layer does not depend on peer-to-peer messages, the turbine protocol simplifies data transmission to individual blockchain nodes.

Turbine does this by dividing the data into smaller bits, enabling Solana to solve bandwidth problems while simultaneously increasing its total capacity to process transactions more quickly.

Gulf Stream – Mempool-less Transaction Forwarding Protocol

The Gulf Stream is another critical protocol in the Solana network. Once a transaction gets to any validator, they forward it to an upcoming leader. This enables validators to process transactions ahead of schedule, resulting in quicker leader changeover and less memory strain that unconfirmed transactions may have on validators. Solana can support 50000 TPS, thanks to this protocol.

Sealevel – Parallel Smart Contracts Runtime

While other blockchains are single-threaded, Solana remains the only chain that uses parallel blockchain transactions in one shard. This high-performance feature is possible through the hyper-parallelized transaction processing engine that the system uses to scale across SSDs and GPUs.

Pipelining – a Transaction Processing Unit for Validation Optimization

The Solana network's transaction validation mechanism makes effective use of a CPU design improvement known as pipelining.

Pipelining is the technique of assigning a sequence of input data to various hardware components. As a result, this method enables transaction data to be rapidly verified and duplicated throughout the network's nodes.

Pipelining is a suitable procedure for processing a data sequence in a series of stages with separate hardware.

Cloudbreak – Horizontally-Scaled Accounts Database

It is not sufficient to merely scale computing. Memory required to store account information rapidly becomes a barrier in terms of both access speed and size. Hence, the need for Cloudbreak, which provides the required scalability on the Solana platform. It is a data structure for simultaneous reading and writing across the network.

Archivers – Distributed Ledger Storage

A blockchain network running at 1GBPS will produce 4 petabytes of data per year for the ledger. Storing such enormous data would soon become the primary centralization vector, thus undermining the objective of blockchain deployment.

The Solana network uses Archivers to store data. The network’s data offloads from the validators to Archivers, a network of nodes. These nodes may be as lightweight as laptops or PCs that the network periodically checks to verify that they’re storing the correct data.