The Solana network solves the problem of scalability for cryptocurrencies associated with order of transactions. It does so by leveraging innovative technologies such as Pipeline, Proof of History etc.
Currently, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum have limitations in terms of scalability. This is because the time required to reach a consensus on the order of transactions is un-scalable. Order of transactions may not coincide with the order of the blocks on the blockchain. Every time a user initiates a transaction, it goes into an unconfirmed pool. Transactions are added to the blockchain once the transactions are confirmed and validated. This causes two issues: double spending and multiple branches of blocks. Double spending can happen if one reference of a transaction is used to create multiple blocks by different miners. Additionally, without an order of transaction, there could be multiple branches of a transaction worked by different miners. This would create confusion about the right block for the transaction.
This is where Solana comes in. It allows to automate the transaction ordering process for blockchains. This will allow cryptocurrencies to scale beyond their currency capabilities.
What is the Solana network?
The Solana network is a public blockchain protocol that optimizes for scalability. Developers can creates scalable dApps using the Solana network. This can help dApps to circumvent around the performance bottlenecks. Solana features a Proof-of-History (PoH) timestamp system. Thus, it enables automatically ordered transactions. working as an internal clock. Not just that, Solana also uses a Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus algorithm for securing the network. Therefore, Solana allows for lower settlement times and offer lower transaction costs. Solana processes more transactions per second as compared to rival cryptos.
How does the Solana network work?
The Solana network’s highly innovative block chain is primarily built on eight innovations.
Proof of History: A pre-consensus clock
This clock enables the network to agree on the time and sequence of transactions. The Solana network does this by creating a cryptographically secure time across the network. Proof of History provides a unique output that can be publicly verified. Due to this, the nodes do not need to coordinate with the entire network but the consensus clock. Thus, reducing the transaction overhead.
Tower BFT: A PoH-optimized version of voting based consensus algorithm.
Tower BFT enables the Solana network to leverage the synchronized clock by PoH. to achieve consensus. It works by locking out nodes after voting on a form for a given period of time.
Turbine: A block propagation protocol
The Solana network breaks down blocks and communicates them between validators. In order to do this the Solana Network uses Turbine, a separate but connected protocol. Turbine optimizes for steaming and breaks down blocks into smaller packets for random validators.
Gulfstream: a transaction forwarding protocol
Gulfsteams functions by maintaining unconfirmed transactions. It pushes, cashes, and forwards transactions. Since validators know the trusted order of transactions, they can keep an eye for transactions. Thus allowing them to maintain and execute transactions ahead of time. Thus taking lower consensus times and reducing the memory pressure.
Sealevel: a super parallel processing engine
The Solana network uses Sealevel to leverage GPUs and SSDs. Unlike most single-threaded blockchains, Solana offers a parallel transaction system. Using Sealevel, Solana finds non-overlapping transactions and executes them in parallel.
Pipeline: A technique for optimizing transaction validation
The Solana network uses an optimization technique for transaction validation called Pipelining. Separate hardware gets streams of data using pipelining to process them. It helps in streamlining the process of transaction validation. This allows for quicker validation and higher performance on the Solana network.
Cloudbreak: Horizontally-scaled accounts database
Cloudbreak reduces the strains on memory due to other computation innovations. Therefore, optimizes reads and writes spread across SSDs. It aims to reduce block times and latency due to confirmation on the network.
These are nodes on the network that do not participate in validation and make sure that storage costs are low. Moreover, this enables everyone to participate in the consensus and validation. Additionally, the transactions are broken down into small parts and stored with Archivers. As a result, Solana borrows from Filecoin in terms of leveraging Proof of Replication (PoRep) Archivers are on the long term roadmap of the Solana network.
The Solana token, SOL
SOL is the native token of the Solana network. It has two primary uses on the network. First, the token owners can use the tokens to stake to help secure the network. In return the stakers get inflation rewards. Secondly, token holders can also pay transaction fees for smart contracts on the network.