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Insanely fast. Shockingly cheap. Massively scalable. It’s easy to see why Solana has generated plenty of interest from crypto investors.

Founded on January 1st, 2018, by Alan Yu, Anatoly Yakovenko, Greg Fitzgerald, Raj Gokal, and Stephen Akridge, Solana, also referred to as the SOL, positions itself as an incredibly fast, secure, and scalable blockchain network.

With more than 1,100 global validators and a block time usually hovering below 1000 microseconds, Solana is fast, secure, and censorship-resistant. It offers the essential open infrastructure required to expedite blockchain’s global adoption.

The architecture of Solana allows up to 710,000 transactions per second on a 1-gigabit network without data partitioning. The network allows for maximum throughput and high availability. The Smart contracts bytecode based on Berkeley Packet Filter meets the need for fast execution. Solana’s fast streaming proof of replication enables the storage of a large distributed ledger. The transaction flow is consensus-agnostic and is limited only by hardware.

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Solana Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Solana can process a blistering 50,000 transactions per second

  • Exceptionally low fees (less than $.01).

  • High scalability with billions of users

  • Low power usage compared to Bitcoin

Cons

  • Solana has been criticized for not being decentralized enough

  • The hardware for staking SOL is expensive

  • Network experienced several notable outages

Our Favorite Crypto Exchanges for Buying SOL

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eToro

  • Great for crypto beginners
  • Solid crypto/general trading platform
  • Reliable company with solid trust in the community
  • Fully supports credit cards for deposits and withdrawals
Funding Methods e-Transfer & Wire Transfer
Cryptocurrencies 15+
Countries 70+
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Kraken

  • Exceptionally secure exchange with proof of reserves
  • Supports many different funding options
  • Accepts users from across the globe including USA and Canada
  • Very high trading volume
Funding Methods Wire Transfer, ACH
Cryptocurrencies 185+
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Coinbase

  • Beginner-friendly UI make it easy to make quick buys
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Funding Methods Debit & Credit Bank, PayPal, ACH, Bank Transfer, e-Transfer
Cryptocurrencies 100+
Countries 100+

How Solana Works

As a developer, you can get started with Solana building your decentralized app or marketplace. An application interacts with a Solana cluster by sending it transactions with one or multiple instructions. The Solana runtime then passes those instructions to programs deployed by the app developers beforehand. These instructions get executed in sequential order and atomically for each transaction.

To run a validator node to secure the network and earn rewards in exchange, you need to connect to a Solana cluster first. There are devnet clusters, testnet clusters, and mainnet beta clusters.

Solana also runs a token program. Creating tokens or accounts through this program requires the native token SOL for rent deposits and transaction fees. Moreover, if your targeted cluster offers a faucet, you can get a little SOL for testing.

The token swap program of Solana allows simple trading of token pairs without a centralized limit order book, implementing a mathematical formula called Curve that mimics normal market dynamics. Depositors in the pool provide liquidity for the token pair enabling trade execution at spot price.

In exchange, depositors receive pool tokens, representing their fractional ownership in the pool and the program withholds a portion of the input token as a fee. Solana also runs a lending protocol on its blockchain, inspired by other DeFi lending protocols such as Aave and Compound.

You can also add Solana’s native token SOL to your crypto exchange. When it comes to wallets, Solana supports several types, including app wallets or a browser-based web wallet, that offer a more familiar user experience. Advanced users or developers can leverage the command-line wallets that support the newest features available on Solana before they are integrated into third-party wallets. To receive SOL coins on the Solana blockchain, you must create a wallet.

Solana clusters work as the foundation of Solana’s overall functional architecture. A Solana cluster is a set of validators working together. They serve client transactions while maintaining the integrity of the ledger. These clusters may coexist. When two clusters share a genesis block, they either converge or ignore the existence of the other. Transactions sent to the wrong one are ultimately rejected.

Solana Ratings

Supply

  • Total Supply: 560,097,802 SOL Coins
  • Maximum Supply: N/A

Network Speed

  • Rating: Very High
  • Transactions per second: 50,000

Disbursement

  • Rating: Medium
  • Reason: A large portion of overall Solana supply was dedicated to initial investors and VCs, which has raised some questions about how decentralized the network is. In addition the number of validator nodes is low compared to Ethereum but will likely increase over time.

Liquidity

  • Rating: High
  • Reason: Ranks at number 14 on the list of 50 top-moving cryptos. You can also find Solana at a number of different crypto exchanges.

Developer Support

  • Rating: High
  • Reason: With millions of users, extremely low transaction fees, and high scalability, Solana attracts many developers. Developers have chosen Solana to build at least 8 AMMs and 16 applications to date. The Solana ecosystem also boasts 6 DEXes, 17 Exchanges, 16 infrastructural projects, and three oracles.

Where to Buy SOL

If you’re wondering how to buy Solana then you’re going to need to open an account at a crypto exchange. Fortunately SOL is a top 10 coin so it’s widely available on most crypto exchanges.

Because cryptocurrency exchanges are regulated you will generally have to provide some amount of identification (Know Your Customer) to the exchange in order to buy SOL. If you already have crypto than you could potentially utilize a decentralized exchange to acquire SOL without providing identification.

Here’s a look at some of the more popular crypto exchanges where you can buy SOL:

Solana Advantages

Solana has a thriving ecosystem of NFTs, DeFi and staking services that very few cryptocurrencies have achieved.

You could argue that Solana has attracted the majority of its users by simply following through on the basic premise of cryptocurrency: It’s fast, easy to use and offers cheap transactions.

The two biggest coins have notable downsides: Bitcoin is really slow. Ethereum has extremely high fees during peak times. Solana doesn’t suffer from either of those problems and developers seem to have taken notice.

One striking different between Solana and other crypto networks is it doesn’t require Layer-2s like Bitcoin’s Lightning Network or Ethereum’s Optimism to scale. Everything happens on mainnet.

Solana boasts the second-largest NFT marketplace behind Ethereum. It offers a significant number of decentralized exchanges for those looking to experiment with DeFi. It offers a compelling market fit for payments. You can even stake you coins to earn interest. It all comes down to the fundamental technology behind the network.

Strong Technology

In distributed systems, agreeing on the exact execution time often becomes a matter of debate. Nodes in a blockchain network can not trust an external source of time or any timestamp that appears in a message. The proof of history or POH consensus, a key innovation of the Solana network, equips you with a trustworthy and credible timestamp that is encoded into the message. It results in a high throughput, high-performance blockchain with an enormous wealth of distributed systems optimizations at one’s disposal.

Solana is also the most performant permissionless blockchain where a network of 200 physically distinct nodes supports a throughput of more than 50,000 transactions per second.

High-performance blockchains often face the challenge of propagating large amounts of data to a large number of peers. Turbine, one of Solana’s eight key innovations, is optimized for streaming and transmits data using UDP only. It implements a random path per packet through the network as the block producers stream their data.

Solana has innovated a mempool-less transaction forwarding protocol. A mempool is a set of transactions that have been submitted to the network and are yet to be processed by the network. Leveraging its protocol, Solana validators can manage a mempool size of 100,000 without having to increase network throughput. In Solana, with a network throughput of 50,000 TPS, a 100,000 transaction mempool is executed within seconds.

With Sealevel, the world’s first parallel smart contracts runtime innovated by Solana, the network can process tens of thousands of contracts in parallel, using as many cores as are available to the Validator. To make this process possible, Solana transactions describe all the states a transaction will read or write while executing. It allows both the non-overlapping transactions and transactions that are only reading the same state to execute concurrently.

Solana Disadvantages

The decentralization of the Solana Network has been criticized by several notable crypto figures over the years.

Their argument is that Solana had significant investment from VCs in its early days and there are concerns the supply of the token is not sufficiently distributed with VCs and businesses owning a large share.

In addition the network architecture of Solana was created to scale with bandwidth and hardware. Validators can leverage GPU cores to parallelize execution and reduce verification times that makes its hardware requirements hardware more sophisticated than competitor protocols. According to estimates, a satisfactory setup costs thousands.

Solana also has the unfortunate distinction of being one of the rare crypto networks that has experienced significant outages over the years. The first big one occurred in late 2021 when the network went down for nearly a day. There were two more outages in 2022 that left the network stalled for several hours. You could argue that its just growing pains for a network that has prioritized speed and scalability but such outages are definitely unusual in the crypto space with Bitcoin going over a decade without stopping.

Solana Tokenomics

Solana allocated 16.23% of its total supply to an initial seed sale, whereas 12.92% were dedicated to a founding sale. 12.79% of SOL coins were distributed among team members, and 10.46% of tokens were given to the Solana Foundation. The remaining tokens are either already released for public and private sales or still to be released to the market.

Solana is not a hard-capped crypto and currently has a total supply of roughly 560 million tokens. It currently inflates by roughly 6% every year but that tapers by 15% every year, eventually aiming to land on an inflation rate of 1.5%.

SOL Frequently Asked Questions


Some of the best apps on Solana include Audius, Human Protocol, Rope, Civic, Kin, Phantom Wallet, Fantasy Sports, Cope, Maps, Solanaroll, Star Atlas, dFuse, The Media Network, and more.


No. Solana has an innovative Proof-of-History (PoH) timing mechanism facilitating and implemented before its Proof-of-Stake (PoS) protocol structure.


Yes. SOL is a proof-of-stake coin so you can stake it to earn rewards. SOL is actually one of the more difficult coins to act as a validator (you need high-end computer equipment and blazing fast internet) but it’s easy to delegate your SOL to other validators and earn an easy 5-10% APY on your entire SOL balance.


Solana features some of the lowest fees in all of crypto and the current transaction fee is less than 1 cent.


Solana is highly scalable. Its Proof of History consensus mechanism and several other breakthrough innovations allow it to scale at the rate of Moore’s Law. It does not need to integrate with multiple shards or layer 2 solutions.


Solana is decentralized in theory but critics argue that isn’t anywhere as decentralized as Bitcoin or Ethereum thanks to heavy investment from venture capital and the high cost of validating blocks on Solana.


Yes. Solana launched a crypto-focused phone called Saga in early 2023. It remains somewhat of a niche product with nowhere near the market share of iPhones or Pixels.


Yes there are a number of different liquid staking tokens on Solana. The most notable one is Marinade Finance (or mSOL), which makes it easy for SOL holders to earn a yield on their coins.

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