Solana: Everything You Need to Know About the “Ethereum Killer”

Isaiah McCall

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Solana Vs. EthereumTwitter

Earlier this week I began a new job as a lead writer for a cryptocurrency startup. There’s one guy on the project who’s insanely smart and I’m half convinced is a wizard.

He knows altcoins like the back of his hand and speaks in technical analysis like it's a second language. Whenever he talks I can feel the cogs in my brain grinding to a halt.

Thankfully, the wizard is altruistic and has pointed me to a few projects worth examining under the microscope.

The first I’d like to start with is Solana.

The Ethereum Killer

Solana is a… it’s a, *yawn,* “Ethereum Killer.”

Oh boy — here we go again.

Ethereum is like Rocky Balboa and the “killers” are those kids trying to keep up on his jog in Rocky 2. Only one, in the end, is going to get a statue built for them in front of the Philadephia Art Museum, and it isn’t going to be those kids.

So whenever something calls itself an Ethereum killer, be cautious; it’s probably going to end up a three billion dollar mistake like EOS.

Conversely, Solana has three key advantages over its competitors. Let’s break them down.

1. Proof of History

I’m not sure who’s creating these crypto buzzwords, but could they chill out? I swear cryptocurrency has more made-up words than a Tolkien novel.

Anyway, Proof of History isn’t a new consensus mechanism like Proof of Work or stake. Proof of History works in conjunction with POS.

It’s very difficult to tell time within a blockchain — as Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin found out. In a decentralized system, you cannot rely on an external clock that could be subject to manipulation or failure. The blockchain needs to run independently. This is something that Bitcoin critics don’t understand about Bitcoin mining or consensus mechanisms.

Q: Why did Satoshi Nakamoto create such an inefficient wasteful invention?
A: Mining isn’t about computation, it’s about independently agreeing on the order of things. Proof of Work mining is the clock in a decentralized system
Q: Ok, but Bitcoin doesn’t actually do anything.
A: It enables the 55 million unbanked or underbanked adult Americans and 1.7 billion people in the world to access the best financial system humans have even known
Q: Yeah, but the environment bruh (as they type away on their computer, charge their phones and make hot pockets in the microwave)

Tangent over! So, at its core Proof of History allows nodes (the individuals verifying the network) to create their own timestamps and quickly send that to other nodes. POH combines the best aspects of POS and POW.

Those who fail to understand history are doomed to repeat it; so learn more about POH here.

2. Ludicrous Speed

Ludicrous speed was too much for Dark Helmet and Col. Sanders four decades ago. Today we have finally achieved it safely.

Solana can handle 65,000 transactions per second with 400 millisecond block times. The theoretical limit is 710,000 transactions per second which is 30x that of billion-dollar financial giant Visa.

Let us not forget that Ethereum’s greatest fear is scalability.

Moreover, Vitalik Buterin and company have to fix their network while it's already up in the air flying. This makes the possibility of breaking everything and crashing much higher for Ethereum compared to other projects like Cardano or Solana, for instance.

3. It Solved the Blockchain Trilemma

Solana was founded in 2017 by former Qualcomm software engineer

Anatoly Yakovenko.

I’m a stickler for projects founded by computer science geniuses. They’re the ones, after all, who have to get in the trenches and engineer this crazy thing. It’s because of Anatoly’s background — and his stellar tech team — that they solved the infamous blockchain trilemma.

Here’s what it looks like (you can only choose two):

If you’re decentralized and more secure then you can’t scale properly. If you’re less decentralized then you can scale better. They had a similar trilemma in journalism school: Good grades, social life, or sleep (choose two).

Solana claims to be the first to accomplish them all (over much debate of course). It’s solved scalability and security no problem, but where critics take issue is with decentralization.

Like the Internet Computer Protocol, you need expensive exclusive hardware to function as a node in Solana’s network. These systems cost thousands of dollars and have made Solana’s validator pool sparse at best.

The Takeaway

Solana by far is one of the most interesting Ethereum killers on the market. Here’s the takeaway —

  • It’s faster and more scalable than any other blockchain network
  • It combines the best aspects of POW & POS
  • It’s actually operational (looking at you Cardano)
  • It has a deflationary token (SOL)
  • It has powerful backers and whales (some say too many whales) supporting the project. Solana just raised $314 million of new funding recently.

Clearly, this project is still galaxies away from Ethereum and its bustling network, but it may prove to be one of the best hedges should anything go wrong with the leading smart-contract platform.

Ever since I was a child it was my dream to become a financial advisor. Unfortunately, it never came true. Therefore I am not a financial advisor and you should do your own research and not just listen to random people on the internet. Nothing contained in this publication should be construed as investment advice.

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USA Today Reporter and Ultramarathoner. I write about Cryptocurrency, Fitness Hacks, and Greek Philosophy. Also a diehard Trekkie | mccallisaiah@gmail.com

Jersey City, NJ
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