Solana is a high-speed and low-cost blockchain with low environmental impact. Its native currency is Solana (SOL), which is used to pay for transaction fees and staking in order to secure the network.
Core features of Solana
- High efficiency, low-cost blockchain protocol: Solana is capable of facilitating many more transactions at once than other blockchains, and at a much lower gas cost (~$0.00027).
- Solana runs in one global state, meaning it achieves scalability while maintaining composability, and does not rely on sharding.
- Low environmental impact: A single transaction uses less energy than three Google searches. [March 2022 Energy Use Report]
- Vibrant developer and creator community with programs built with Rust.
How is it different from Ethereum?
Solana is a blockchain designed for speed. Currently averaging 2,500 transactions per second (TPS), it ultimately aims to achieve 50,000 TPS. To put this in comparison, Ethereum maxes around 15 TPS, and VISA, the credit card processor, handles around 1,700 TPS.
The Solana blockchain is able to maximize its energy efficiency by utilizing a consensus mechanism called proof-of-stake (PoS). In proof-of-stake systems, participating validators are tasked with coming to a consensus on the blocks being added to the blockchain. Those votes are weighted based on the amount of tokens “staked” with that particular validator (in this case, the SOL token). Additional innovations on the Solana blockchain include proof-of-history (PoH) which embeds timestamps directly into the blockchain itself, drastically reducing the time needed to validate any particular transaction.
In Ethereum’s case, new transactions get added in "blocks" every 12 seconds. However, if there is a high level of activity on Ethereum—for example, a popular NFT collection is being released—gas prices rise due to network congestion. This may lead to users paying hundreds of dollars in transaction fees. In comparison, Solana’s block time ranges from 400 to 800 milliseconds with transaction fees averaging 0.00001 SOL.