Exploring Solana: A Technical Deep-Dive

by ImmuneBytes

In our previous blog, we gave you guys a comprehensive introduction to a fairly new blockchain platform in the space, Solana, and a brief overview of its various innovations.

The agenda for this blog is to take a deeper look at Solana’s technical capabilities. The blockchain network claims to achieve “Blockchain’s Impossible Triangle”!

Blockchain impossible traingle

This is where Solana has quietly been gathering momentum and support in the Crypto and Blockchain space, particularly from blockchain developers.

Let’s see how it manages to conquer it all!

Analysing Solana’s Architecture

Solana is the world’s most performant permissionless blockchain. Currently, Solana has a network of 579 physically distinct nodes at the time of writing, supporting a sustained throughput of 50,000+ transactions per second (TPS) when running with GPUs. For a blockchain to be able to achieve such high TPS levels, it surely requires the implementation of several optimizations and new technologies, the result being, a breakthrough in network capacity that directs us towards a new phase in blockchain development.

 Below is a chart that outlines the differences between BSC, ETH, and SOL:

Solana, Binance Smart Chain, Ethereum comparison chart

A high-performance permissionless network —how is that even possible?

It is made possible through the groundbreaking innovations put forth by the Solana team, each with an application to security, scalability, and decentralization. Briefly, the Solana blockchain;

  • Uses no state as part of its programs (Ethereum stores state which makes  it slower)
  • Has on-chain clock verification
  • Streams transactions without waiting for global consensus and without raising any security concerns 
  • Miniaturizes data packets and transmits them using UDP which has lower memory requirements
  • Removes the mempool; by forwarding unconfirmed transactions to upcoming validators

Besides these features, Solana also proposes an innovative hybrid consensus model

Recommend Read: Solana Architecture

The remarkable Tower BFT

Solana employs a special PoS-based consensus mechanism known as the Tower BFT. The model leverages the network’s PoH technique as a clock before consensus to reduce communication overhead and latency. This is achieved by encoding the passage of time in a simple SHA-256, sequential-hashing verifiable delay function (VDF). This hybrid consensus model of Solana enables it to push the limits of confirmation times. As a result, the network provides the effectiveness of a centralized system without having to sacrifice security or decentralization.

Despite being an unconventional consensus model, PoH has proven to be a foundational move in the right direction for the structure of blockchain networks with regard to speed and capacity.

Another important aspect contributing to Solana’s success is its clusters.

So, What are Solana Clusters?

A Solana cluster is a set of independently owned computers working together (and sometimes against each other) to verify the output of untrusted, user-submitted programs. 

A Solana cluster can be utilized any time a user wants to preserve an immutable record of events in time or programmatic interpretations of those events. The cluster produces a record of events called the ledger. It will be preserved for the lifetime of the cluster. As long as someone somewhere in the world maintains a copy of the ledger, the output of its programs will forever be reproducible, independent of the organization that launched it.

Moving on to the most important question…

How Does Solana Work?

To explain it in a very precise manner, Solana follows the following steps:

  • The input of transactions is given to the Leader.
  • The Leader then sequences the messages and orders them efficiently to be processed by other nodes.
  • The Leader then executes the transactions, in the current state that resides in the RAM. 
  • Then he publishes the transactions and signature of the final state to Validators (replication nodes).
  • The Validators will execute the same transactions on their copies of the state and publish their signatures of the state if it receives confirmation.
  • Published confirmations will then serve as votes for the consensus algorithm.
How does solana blockchain work

A little Flipside?

A potential concern for Solana could be that the projects on Ethereum can effectively copy and paste their code onto Binance Smart Chain as well as use the same tools from a Solidity environment because BSC is EVM compatible. Whereas Solana is not EVM compatible

Additional Resource: What is EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine)?

Furthermore, due to GPU requirements hardware expectations are slightly higher than some protocols. Estimated costs for a satisfactory setup are around $5,000.

Another caveat could be the programming language that Solana is written in, Rust, which has far fewer developers available than in the ETH and BSC ecosystems. 

Ditching Solidity for Solana? We say it’s worth a shot!

Key Integrations for Solana

Having such ingenious features, Solana has been grabbing the interest of small-time traders and institutional traders alike. Some of the most notable partnerships and integrations for Solana came in 2020. 

The project partnered with many notable organizations like: 

  • Chainlink
  • Serum
  • Audius
  • Arweave
  • Tether
  • Akash
  • Terra
  • Bonfida

Undoubtedly, Solana will soon roll out enough projects to flesh out an ecosystem that can go neck and neck with Ethereum and Binance Smart Chain.

Closing Thoughts

Solana solves the many traditional concerns that earlier blockchain technology experiences. It displays an altogether new structure for verifying transactions and a more efficient consensus mechanism. The platform will definitely be a strong competitor with Bitcoin and Ethereum. 

It provides a scalable, secure, and decentralized platform to develop payment networks, prediction markets, NFT marketplaces, DEXs, and much more! However, as history teaches us, the more popular the network, the higher the risk of being hacked. We hope you don’t make the mistake of going live unaudited! 

Get in touch with us to get your Solana smart contract audit done..!

About Us

ImmuneBytes is facilitating blockchain security by employing the use of cutting-edge techniques on smart contracts audit and decentralized applications security. We have a team of experienced security professionals who are adept at their niches and provide innovative solutions and consultation. So far we have worked on 175+ blockchain start-ups on different blockchain frameworks, with clients spread across the globe, and are continually unfolding ourselves to make this decentralized movement thrive.

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