ICO Analysis: Solana

Scalability, scalability, scalability.

Scaling blockchain for the next level of (mass) adoption is the name of the game these days.

Solana is yet another contender to jump into the fray to become the most scalable blockchain and boasts the capability to handle 710,000 transactions per second with normal, off-the-shelf hardware and no features like sharding (a popular scaling proposal which proposes splitting a blockchain into shards or pieces that can process transactions simultaneously instead of having one, overloaded blockchain).

Here’s how.

Proof of History

The staple of Solana that will allow for unparalleled speed is Proof of History. Proof of History timestamps transactions in the blockchain so that nodes can verify the time and order of transactions without witnessing them firsthand.

This has the end result of optimizing Solana’s processes drastically by greatly reducing messaging between nodes and making the processing of transactions separate from consensus.

Here are some other features of Solana:

Sub-Second Confirmations

Older projects like Bitcoin not only have lower transaction rates but also have slow finality or confirmation of transactions as transactions have to be confirmed multiple times before becoming finalized.

Similar to project Perlin, Solana uses the Avalanche consensus protocol, which will allow for transactions to be fully confirmed within seconds, if not less. No more waiting minutes, hours, or days to pay for that coffee using crypto.

Proof of Replication

As of writing, the Bitcoin blockchain is nearly 180 gigabytes. Not everyone has that amount of storage capacity. Solana’s solution for ledger storage is Proof of Replication, which makes it so that not every node has to storage a full copy of the blockchain. Instead, each bit of Solana’s data is replicated to a dedicated storage node.

This means that the network can prove that a node you don’t trust is using its resources to store part of the Solana ledger. The end result is that the network is like a torrent, with no one node holding a full copy of the ledger yet a copy of the ledger is always available.

Broad Smart Contract Language Support

Instead of limiting developers to a single smart contract language, Solana will support any language supported by LLVM, starting with Javascript and Solidity.

Usage by the Next Generation of DApps

Thanks to Solana’s high transaction throughput, Solana could become the platform for the next generation of DApps that process tons of transactions like decentralized exchanges, payment platforms, decentralized cloud storage and web services, decentralized ad exchanges, and prediction markets.

Token

Details on Solana’s token and its token sale are sparse.

For the token itself, since Solana is aiming to be a platform like Ethereum or EOS, it’s assumed that Solana’s token usage will be similar to that of the aforementioned projects.

As for the token sale, interested investors can submit their interest in contributing via Solana’s presale interest form.

Team

CEO Anatoly Yakovenko – Yakovenko created Solana and has deep tech experience, having led operating system development at Qualcomm, compression at Dropbox, and distributed systems at Mesophere. Other achievements include being a core kernel developer for BREW (powered every CDMA flip phone – 100m+ devices), holding 2 patents for high performance operating systems, and leading development that made Protect Tango (VR/AR) possible on Qualcomm phones.

CTO Greg Fitzgerald – Fitzgerald is Solana’s principal architect and also worked at Qualcomm at the Office of the Chief Scientist.

Head of Growth Hsin-Ju Chuang – Chuang leads Solana’s community and growth efforts. Her track record is pretty solid, having been the former Head of Growth at Stellar, a top blockchain project.

Partnerships, Biz Dev Alan Yu – Yu is in charge of Solana’s business relationships and comes from Google, where he spent 10 years in sales and marketing and won various awards for his performance.

Partners

Solana’s partners include the following:

  • globaliD – globaliD is an identity provider, which has venture support from the likes of 500 Startups.
  • Hard Yaka – Hard Yaka is an investment fund with investments in companies like Coinbase, Ripple, Filecoin, ShapeShift, AngelList, twilio and exits from companies like Square (IPO), Twitter (IPO), Authy (twilio acquisition), and more.
  • Helium is the world’s first decentralized, blockchain-powered machine network with investment from the likes of GV (Google Ventures) and Marc Benioff, founder, chairman, and CEO of Salesforce.

Verdict

Below is a breakdown of the risks and growth potential of Solana.

Risks

  • Bold claims re: scalability and throughput. The team has claimed to have achieved hundreds of thousands of transactions per second on their testnet but the testnet isn’t public (-1)
  • Details on token and token sale not released yet (-0.5)

Growth Potential

  • Strong team and partnerships (+3)
  • Github work impressive (+2)
  • Solid hype and social presence (+2)

Disposition

  • Solana is a project with a lot of potential. Though tons of blockchain projects claim that they’re going to fix blockchain’s scalability woes, Solana might just have the actual team and partners to make that vision a reality. For now, we recommend keeping an eye out for further developments.
  • Solana receives a 5.5/10

Investment Details

  • Type: Unspecified – presumably utility
  • Symbol: Unspecified
  • Platform: Unspecified – presumably Native
  • Crowdsale: TBA
  • Minimum Investment: Unspecified
  • Price: Unspecified
  • Hard Cap: Unspecified
  • Payments Accepted: Unspecified
  • Restricted from Participating: Unspecified

For More Information

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.