What is Solana? Guide for Beginners

As innovative as it may be, blockchain technology faces particular challenges, including high fees, scalability issues, low throughput, and more. Several projects in the DeFi space compete to become the first web-scalable blockchain and ensure that users have the best experience by tackling these common issues. One of these, which is gaining traction in the DeFi community, is Solana. This open-source, censorship-resistant blockchain leverages a comprehensive set of technologies to amplify scalability and deliver a robust network for building decentralized applications (dApps). What is Solana? Solana is a decentralized protocol for building dApps with a reported throughput of 65,000 transactions per second (TPS) thanks to its distributed computing system. Unlike most protocols that run with the Proof of Stake (PoS) or Proof of Work (PoW) mechanism, Solana uses the Proof of History (PoH) – a new cryptographic mechanism that amplifies scalability while maintaining network security. Solana is among the few layer-one solutions capable of supporting thousands of transactions per second without having to implement second layers or off-chains. Solana’s Key Technologies Proof of History, a Cryptographic Clock PoH is Solana’s consensus mechanism. It is a sequence of computations that provides a digital record to prove that an event occurred on the network at any given time. Think about it as a cryptographic clock that gives a timestamp to every transaction in the network along with the data structure, which can be a simple append of data. PoH relies on Proof of Stake, using the Tower BFT algorithm for consensus, which functions like an additional tool to verify transactions. At its core, PoH is a high-frequency Verifiable Delay Function (VDF). A VDF is a triple function (Setup, Evaluation, Verification) to produce a unique and trustable output. It maintains order in the network by proving block producers have waited a sufficient amount of time so the network can move forward. In Solana’s case, it uses SHA256 (Secure Hash Algorithm 256-bit) – a set of patented cryptographic functions that outputs a value 256 bits long (which is also the one Bitcoin uses). The Solana network periodically samples the count and hashes of the…

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