Solana (SOL) is a fourth-generation blockchain and cryptocurrency that was built to host a wide array of scalable, decentralized apps (dApps), and its native cryptocurrency is SOL. The Solana network was founded in 2017 by Anatoly Yakovenko together with current serving board members and Chief Operations Officer Raj Gokal, Greg Fitzgerald, and Eric Williams.

At that time, blockchain transaction speeds were limited to about 15 per second. This output paled in comparison to Fintech giants Visa and Mastercard’s ability to process 65,000 transactions per second (TPS) at the time.

Additionally, users have to pay fees for every transaction they attempt on a blockchain. When blockchain networks get congested like during a popular NFT launch, these fees skyrocket to hundreds of dollars. Anatoly who is now Solana Lab’s CEO came from a system structure and design background and wanted to apply his experience and knowledge as a Dropbox engineer towards the existence and functionality of a new blockchain that guaranteed faster processing speeds and could meet demand at a global scale while also solving the problem of expensive fees as a result of blockchain congestion.

Solana now boasts a hypothetical peak transaction processing capacity of 65,000 transactions per second and has become one of the most preferred blockchains used today because of its speed and cheap transaction costs.

Solana runs on a combination of Proof-of-stake (PoS) and Proof-of-History (PoH) mechanisms. In PoS, users stake their Solana crypto for a chance to be chosen as a block validator. Validators are computers that have been chosen to add the next block of transactions on the Solana blockchain based on how much SOL their owners have staked. PoH works hand-in-hand with PoS and is used to verify the passage of time between two events cryptographically.

In the Solana blockchain, it ensures that the correct validator finds the transactions in the correct order. These algorithms contrast sharply with the Proof-of-Word (PoW) mechanisms that are used by Ethereum and other blockchains.

Summarily, PoW requires computers to compete with one another to solve complex puzzles to add blocks and transactions to the blockchain. These puzzles are remarkably complex and require a lot of computer power to solve which is why the process is commonly referred to as “mining”.

Solana’s edge over most of its blockchain competitors is that the PoS and PoH mechanisms it runs on remove these puzzles from the equation thereby saving the loss of astronomical amounts of energy. As a result, it doesn’t cause the same kind of environmental degradation, and its TPS performance is much higher.

According to the Solana foundation, 489M Solana coins will be released for circulation. With a live Market Cap of $12.30BN ($18.37BN fully diluted market cap), there are 342.64 million SOL coins in circulation with a total supply of 511.62 million, however, the max supply is unknown. SOL’s all-time high price was $260.06, its all-time low price was $0.5052 and its price today is $36.21. It has a 1.35% market dominance and is ranked #9 on CoinMarketCap.

For the SOL token distribution: 16.23% of tokens were allotted to an initial seed sale, 12.92% to a founding sale, 12.79% to team members, and 10.46% to the Solana foundation. The remaining tokens have either been sold in public or private transactions or are on their way to the market. Solana (SOL) is currently available for purchase on most of the best exchanges in today’s crypto space, Binance and KuCoin being forerunners for purchasing volume, security, and storage. You can also buy Solana from Uphold which is one of the top exchanges for the United States and UK residents.

They also offer Solana staking but Germany and Netherlands are prohibited from the platform. Storing your SOL is easy as well. The project devs have specifically recommended Trust Wallet. It is a mobile wallet available for free in both Apple and Android App stores. Coin98 is also a well-recommended app that simplifies your storage needs with its cool features.

However, the safest option will always remain a hardware wallet. The Ledger Nano S and the more advanced Ledger Nano X both support the storage of the Solana coin. They also allow you to stake your SOL directly from your hardware wallet. This provides you with the highest level of optimum security and juicy rewards for your participation in securing the ledger.

Solana network pays rewards from a portion of network inflation. The rewards per epoch are fixed and must be evenly divided among all staked nodes according to their relative stake weight and stake participation.

Staking yields are based on the current inflation rate, the total number of SOLs staked, and individual validator uptime commission. A validator’s uptime commission is the percentage fee remitted to validators from the network inflation. A validator’s uptime is defined by validator voting. A vote credit is earned for each successful validator vote and votes are collated by the end of the epoch for the calculation of reward.

Validators can earn approximately a 5% annualized reward rate. Solana’s initial inflation rate is 8% annually meaning that Solana stakes earn 8% of their stake amount annually as stake rewards. 100% of the inflationary issuance (rewards) are delivered to delegated stake accounts and validators.

Rewards are paid out every epoch (~2 days) into the stake account that earned them. Stake rewards are automatically redelegated/compounded as active stakes.

Some of the most popular projects (including, of course, NFTs) are built on the Solana blockchain. Raydium, Audius, Hedgehog Markets, GARI Network, and Star Atlas are a few fast-rising projects on the Solana blockchain.

Their utilities vary from social networking apps (Chingari developed by the GARI network) to blockchain-based music streaming (on the Audius network) to multiplayer exploration games intended to create an open economy within its metaverse (Star Atlas).

Solana’s NFT reputation is also excellent as it is ideal for various forms of NFTs because of its fast throughput and inexpensive fees. There are currently over 5.7 million and more NFTs minted with a total market cap of 970 million and an average minted cost of $1.5. SOL price’s highest climb and peak came with the launch of the Degenerate Ape NFT Collection, owing to increased dev activity in the Solana environment.

Some of the famous Solana NFTs are Metaplex, Solanart, Solsea, and more. As the non-fungible token (NFT) craze continues to gain traction, the Solana blockchain is perfectly positioned to gain from it as Solana price estimates are hot on the promising outlook, as one could expect.

On 23rd June 2022, Solana founder, Anatoly Yakovenko had a Steve Jobs moment when he stood in front of an excited audience and announced the launch of Saga, an Android web3-focused smartphone in an auditorium in New York City. Saga is designed and built by OSOM, a reputable Android development company that has also built hardware for Google, Apple, and Intel, among others.

Co-founder of OSOM, Jason Smith states “Saga is set up on the principles of forming a mobile experience for individuals, developers, and the Solana ecosystem that opens a brand new era of utility. The planet needs novel hardware to embrace Web3 as the future, and build out an ecosystem that appeals to the long run without being burdened by past legacy ecosystems”.

Yakovenko said “People will pull out their laptops while on dates so that they don’t miss an NFT minting opportunity, so I think it’s time for a crypto to travel mobile”, Yakovenko joked.
Additionally, Yakovenko shared the launch of the Solana Mobile Stack, or SMS, which is an innovative web3 layer for Solana built on the phone. Steven Laver (Solana labs mobile engineering lead) said. “[SMS] can build experiences for the community. It’ll treat SMS devices as first-class citizens on Solana”.

SMS comprises a variety of products including a seed vault, a custody solution, a mobile wallet adapter, Solana Pay for Android, and its decentralized application (dApp) store.
Buyers can pre-order effective 23rd June, however, delivery isn’t until early 2023. Pre-orders need a $100 deposit, which will be deducted from the total cost of $1,000. Developers are going to be prioritized so that they test the Solana Mobile Stack and Saga. Solana Mobile says, “Those who pre-order Saga are also eligible for Saga Pass, an NFT that comes with the first set of Saga devices and also the first tickets to influencing the direction of the SMS platform.

This particularly outstanding innovation within the fast-rising Solana network has reshaped the myopic outlook of the many people inquisitive about Blockchain and technology because it is enough proof that there aren’t any boundaries to what Blockchain tech can do or create.

Solana is one of the most advanced blockchains in operation currently and is currently regarded as Ethereum’s biggest rival in the quest for blockchain domination, functionality, and user satisfaction. The project developers succeeded in creating a network that surpasses other payment processors in today’s financial market space in terms of TPS, functionality, and low processing fees. As such, you can expect to see more developers make the switch over to Solana because it is the blockchain with the answer to the scalability issues other blockchains continue to face.

Featured image source: Medium

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