What is Solana, and how does it work?

solana

Solana’s ambitious design attempts to address the blockchain trilemma, but it has a number of flaws, including a susceptibility to centralization.

What is Solana?

Solana is an open source project that develops a brand-new, fast, layer-1 blockchain without authorization.

Solana was developed in 2017 by former Qualcomm CEO Anatoly Yakovenko with the goal of scaling throughput beyond what is generally possible on well-known blockchains while keeping prices low. A novel proof-of-history (PoH) method and a lightning-fast synchronisation engine, a type of proof-of-stake, are combined in Solana’s hybrid consensus model (PoS). The Solana network can therefore theoretically handle more than 710,000 transactions per second (TPS) without the requirement for scaling solutions.

The third-generation blockchain architecture used by Solana is intended to make it easier to create smart contracts and decentralised applications (DApps). The project supports a variety of non-fungible token (NFT) exchanges as well as decentralised finance (DeFi) systems.

The launch of Solana blockchain coincided with the ICO craze of 2017. The internal testnet for the project was released in 2018, and several testnet phases later, the main network was formally launched in 2020.

What makes Solana unique?

The ambitious plan of Solana is to provide a novel solution to the blockchain trilemma, an idea put forth by Ethereum’s developer Vitalik Buterin. Decentralization, security, and scalability are the three main problems that blockchain developers must address when creating their systems, according to this trilemma.

As blockchains can only ever deliver two of the three benefits at once, it is widely assumed that their design requires developers to choose between one component and the other two.

The Solana blockchain platform has proposed a hybrid consensus mechanism that compromises on decentralization to maximize speed. The innovative combination of PoS and PoH makes Solana a unique project in the blockchain industry.

In general, the more and better a blockchain scales, the more and better it can support in terms of transactions per second. However, time inconsistencies and larger throughput in decentralised blockchains slow them down, which means that more nodes must spend more time confirming transactions and timestamps.

In essence, Solana’s design addresses this issue by selecting one leader node in accordance with the PoS mechanism that determines the order of messages sent between nodes. As a result, the Solana network reaps the rewards of decreased workload and greater throughput even in the absence of a centralised and precise time source.

By hashing the output of one transaction and using it as the input of the following one, Solana also builds a chain of transactions. This transactional history lends Solana’s primary consensus mechanism its name: PoH. This idea enables the protocol to scale more easily, which improves usability.

By hashing the output of one transaction and using it as the input of the following one, Solana also builds a chain of transactions. This transactional history lends Solana’s primary consensus mechanism its name: PoH. This idea enables the protocol to scale more easily, which improves usability.

How does Solana work?

Proof-of-history, a series of calculations that provide a digital record confirming an event’s occurrence on the network at any point in time, is the central element of the Solana protocol. It can be described as a data structure that is a straightforward addition of a cryptographic clock that assigns a timestamp to each transaction on the network.

The practical Byzantine fault tolerance (pBFT) protocol, an optimised variant of the Tower Byzantine fault tolerance (BFT) algorithm, is what PoH uses. It aids Solana in coming to a decision. The Tower BFT serves as an extra tool to validate transactions while maintaining the network’s security and functionality.

PoH can also be thought of as a high-frequency Verifiable Delay Function (VDF), a triple function (setup, evaluation, and verification) that generates distinct and trustworthy output. By demonstrating that block producers have waited long enough for the network to advance, VDF keeps the network in order.

The 256-bit secure hash algorithm (SHA-256) used by Solana is a collection of unique cryptographic operations that produce a 256-bit result. According to the set of hashes present on central processing units, the network provides real-time data by sampling the number and SHA-256 hashes on a regular basis.

These hashes can be used by Solana validators to track information that was created before a certain hash index was created. After this specific piece of data is input, the timestamp for transactions is generated. All nodes on the network must have cryptographic clocks to keep track of events rather than waiting for other validators to authenticate transactions in order to reach the claimed large levels of TPS and block generation time.