The key problem of decentralized cryptocurrencies is scaling. At the beginning when Bitcoin and Ethereum were created, they were used by a small number of cryptocurrency enthusiasts who were curious to test this new technology. The networks had enough bandwidth to handle transactions back then, but recent cryptocurrency hype attracted a lot of new users and overloaded popular blockchain networks.
To handle the growing number of transactions it is necessary to roll out constant updates or even reduce to centralization. Solana (https://solana.com) developers are working on a completely new high-performance blockchain solution by fixing currently known problems of decentralized networks with future in mind. In addition, the absence of pressure from the community allows them to create what they want and how they want it. Let’s have a look at how Solana will overtake numerous competitors in the fight for the title of number one blockchain.
Solana concept and features
The innovations introduced by the developers of Solana will allow reaching the figure of 710000 transactions per second. This is 11 times more than what the Visa payment system is capable of, not to mention Ethereum and Bitcoin. The numbers are impressive, but how they can achieve this performance?
Proof of History algorithm
The first innovation is a new consensus algorithm – “Proof of History” (PoH) which will work in conjunction with the Proof of Stake (PoS). The developers have created a reliable source of accurate time and decided to record it for each transaction in the blockchain. This will allow nodes to check the sequence of transactions much quicker. According to the developers, the use of Proof of History will significantly reduce the load on the network and increase its bandwidth.
One of the nodes in the network becomes a “Leader” that arranges transactions into chains for prompt processing by other “Validator” nodes. “Validator” nodes verify transactions in the chain and confirm them.
In addition, Solana also uses the Proof of Stake to:
- confirm transactions sequence created by the “Leader”;
- vote for the next “Leader”;
- punish nodes that try to violate the rules of the network.
Solana will generate “wrong” transactions from time to time and punish those who confirm them. This will help increase the reliability of the network and cleanse it from dishonest users.
The second innovation is an improved algorithm of network information transmission – Avalanche. Increased number of nodes in the network reduces the time spent to confirm each transaction. This means that the increase in the number of users will accelerate the time of the transaction in the network. According to preliminary calculations, it will take 500 milliseconds for 10000 nodes to confirm one transaction.
Solana plans to stimulate the developers of dApps. Using the Berkeley Packet Filter will allow developers to create smart contracts in any programming language supported by LLVM. It opens the possibility to port already existing applications to Solana platform. This will lure in developers from other blockchains.
In the future, the platform will process even more transactions thanks to smart contracts that use graphics processors. Manufacturers produce GPUs with more processing cores and more computing power. This means that the number of transactions will double every two years along with the growth of graphics card performance. Users are promised high transaction speed and low fees.
Solana project team
An international team of nine developers with a clear division of responsibilities are managing the project.
Anatoly Yakovenko – General Director. He worked as Chief Engineer at Qualcomm, Mesosphere, and Dropbox. He has two high-performance Operating Systems protocols patents and led the development of Project Tango (VR/AR) at Qualcomm.
Greg Fitzgerald – Chief Technology Officer. Like Anatoly, he has 11 years of experience as Chief Engineer at Qualcomm.
Raj Gokal – Chief Operating Officer. He has over 10 years of experience in finance and product management. Used to be a venture capitalist at General Catalyst, and started a company called Sano that attracted $20 mln in investment. He also held a position of Director of Product at Omada Health and contributed to rapid growth of the company.
Eric Williams – Responsible for the token economics and data science. Has a PhD in Data Science. Worked as a Director and later as a Vice President of Data Science at Omada Health.
Stephen Akridge – Engineer. He worked at Qualcomm and Intel. Has over 10 years of experience in critical GPU optimization.
Alan Yu – Responsible for community and partnerships. He worked at Google for over 10 years in sales and marketing.
Michael Vines – Principal Engineer. He worked at Qualcomm for 14 years. During that time he was promoted from Engineer to Senior Director. Founder of Silk Labs.
Rob Walker – Principal Engineer. He started his career in software in the 90’s at Netscape. Worked 17 year at Qualcomm where he led several successful projects.
Pankaj Garg – Senior Staff Engineer. He worked at Qualcomm for 10 years as part of the Innovation Center team. Before that he led a team that designed and developed LTE modem chipsets at Motorola.
Development plans and Solana ICO
As we can see. the team has impressive experience. Most likely, they know each other for a long time, because most of them worked at Qualcomm.
The Solana project was founded in November 2017 and Whitepaper was published around the same time. In February 2018 network has been tested using one node and in June the network was tested using several nodes. The tests were successful according to the developers.
Users will be able to test Solana network for strength after the release of the test network. It is expected to go live in July (according to the official website) or in September (according to the official Telegram channel, which has 32+ thousand subscribers).
The main network is expected to launch by the end of this year. Solana ICO token sale is planned to commence in 2019. Presumably, Solana ICO will take place in the first quarter of 2019.
The Solana project is popular thanks to the publication of a prototype on GitHub. According to the results of tests using only one node, the developers managed to achieve a bandwidth of 35000 transactions per second. The test with several nodes has achieved 250000 transactions per second. Peak performance reached 400000 transactions per second. This progress was made within a couple of months.
The project has every chance of becoming successful thanks to the experienced team, a working prototype and, as a result of it all, the interest of investors. There is no official information about Solana ICO token sale just yet. For now, we will have to wait and keep an eye on the news and announcements from the developers.