Solana is a decentralized computing platform that uses SOL to pay for transactions. Solana aims to improve blockchain scalability by using a combination of proof of stake consensus and so-called proof of history. As a result, Solana claims to be able to support 50,000 transactions per second without sacrificing decentralization.
What is Solana?
Solana is a crypto-computing platform that aims to achieve high transaction speeds without sacrificing decentralization.
Like Ethereum, Solana Coin is both a cryptocurrency and a flexible platform for running decentralized apps (dapps) — everything from Degenerate Apes to the Serum decentralized exchange (or DEX). Its major innovation is speed, via a bundle of new technologies including a consensus mechanism called proof of history (PoH). Solana can process around 50,000 transactions per second — compared to 15 or less for Ethereum (the ETH2 upgrade, which is currently underway, is designed to make Ethereum much faster than it is now).
Because Solana is so fast, congestion and fees remain low. Developers hope high speeds and low fees will eventually enable Solana to scale to compete with centralized payment processors like Visa.
Solana’s native cryptocurrency is SOL, which is used to pay transaction fees and for staking. It also gives holders the right to vote in future upgrades. SOL is available to buy and sell via exchanges like Coinbase.
What makes Solana unique?
When Bitcoin was invented more than a decade ago, it solved a tricky problem: how to make it possible for strangers anywhere in the world to make financial transactions over the internet without financial intermediaries and payment processors like Visa or Mastercard assisting the transaction.
The technology that makes decentralized transactions possible — and which created the universe of cryptocurrencies we now know — is called a blockchain. But, blockchains previously had one major downside compared to centralized networks like the ones credit-card companies use: they’re slower. As of August 2021, Ethereum typically processes fewer than 15 transactions per second, compared to tens of thousands for Visa’s network.
Solana is one of many new crypto solutions aiming to make crypto networks faster and more scalable. It uses a suite of clever technologies, including a novel mechanism called “proof of history.”
How can I stake Solana?
The computers that secure the network are called validators. Participants stake their own SOL to become a validator, in exchange for a chance at earning SOL and a cut of fees. (Becoming a validator also requires a fairly high level of technical knowhow.)
SOL also serves as a “governance token,” meaning that holders also are able to vote on future upgrades and governance proposals submitted by the Solana community.
What kinds of applications run on Solana?
Like Ethereum, Solana Coin is a computing platform that can interact with smart contracts. Smart contracts power a wide range of applications, from NFT marketplaces and DeFi, to games and decentralized lotteries.
The crypto app ecosystem on Solana supports billions of dollars worth of assets. One reason a user might choose an app that runs on Solana is that speeds are high and congestion is low — resulting in lower fees.
There are, of course, risks associated with emerging crypto applications and technologies, from extreme volatility, to the potential for undiscovered smart-contract bugs to be exploited. Especially as a beginner, do your research and don’t risk money you can’t afford to lose.
Where do I buy Solana?
You can buy, send, and receive Solana using various crypto exchanges and wallets, including Coinbase and Coinbase Wallet.
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