Solana (SOL) Review 2021
Since the introduction of bitcoin in 2009, over 9000 other cryptocurrencies have been released, aiming to dethrone the granddaddy of crypto. Every new coin that comes out claims that it possesses the secret ingredients to become the ruler of them all.
But Solana, together with its SOL currency, seems to have found the perfect mixture. The SOL crypto project has introduced somewhat of a novelty in the blockchain space: A reference to time and a network-wide decentralized clock.
About Solana (SOL)
Solana is a decentralized and open-source blockchain network developed with speed and cost-efficiency in mind. The SOL coin focuses on all three pillars of an efficient blockchain: scalability, security, and decentralization.
The name Solana might sound familiar to you. That’s because the project was named after a California beach located near San Diego. San Diego is the headquarters of the telecommunications giant Qualcomm where Solana founder and its CEO, Anatoly Yakovenko, worked as a software engineer for mobile phones for almost 13 years.
Before creating the SOL currency project, Anatoly briefly mined bitcoin, but he didn’t have a high opinion on it all. That is until one day, he realized that he could take blockchain technology to a new level by introducing a decentralized clock and timestamping transactions. Syncing all the network participants to one network-supported clock would increase scalability and transaction throughput without weakening the decentralization element and the overall network security.
Mr Yakovenko put his thoughts in writing. In November 2017, Solana and its native SOL coin were presented to the general public in the official Solana whitepaper. The project conducted an ICO where it raised over $25 million across multiple sale rounds. The SOL crypto mainnet became operational in March 2020, but the project is still officially in beta as of May 2021.
Solana (SOL) Team
Solana was created by a team of developers and engineers who have years of experience working for various tech giants. Some of these include Qualcomm, Intel, Microsoft, Google, Twitter, Dropbox, etc. The whole team is gathered around the Solana Foundation tasked with developing and funding the SOL crypto ecosystem.
The team is led by Anatoly Yakovenko, who is the company’s CEO. He was the lead operating systems engineer at Qualcomm for over a decade, and he holds two technology patents. His goal for Solana is to become a highly scalable but secure decentralized system.
Greg Fitzgerald is the CTO of Solana. He worked with Anatoly at Qualcomm, where he was a software engineer. He has worked on various open-source projects throughout his career. He is experienced with coding in Python, TypeScript, and Rust. Greg is a privacy-focused individual interested in valuing personal data and anonymity.
Stephen Akridge is the third team member with a history of working at Qualcomm. He is one of the co-founders of the SOL currency project, where he works as a software engineer. He brings with him over 10 years of experience in optimizing GPU technology.
Other Noteworthy Mentions
Some other team members worth singling out include Hsin-Ju Chuang. She is an entrepreneur, mentor and works as the Head of the Growth division in Solana. Jeffrey Levy is an operations consultant regarding legal, financial, and business matters at Solana Foundation.
Raj Gokal is a developer and COO of the company. He is an experienced investor, coder and consultant. Rob Walker has 25 years of experience working as a software engineer for mobile applications, cryptocurrencies, and operating systems. He was the Principal Engineer for the SOL coin for two years.
Solana (SOL) Roadmap
The first private testnet for the SOL currency was released in Q1 of 2018. During the testing phase, the developers managed to achieve a throughput of 250.000 transactions per second. In Q2 of 2018, another test round was performed in a multi-node environment that showed that the network's performance doesn’t slow down with additional validators. During 2019, further scalability improvements were made that resulted in the network becoming capable of facilitating over 500.000 transactions per second.
Below are a few more highlights from Solana’s roadmap:
Tour de SOL Testnet – Tour de Sol was an incentivized testing round of the SOL coin that began in February 2020 and lasted for a month. Participants in this round identified several critical bugs and were rewarded with SOL tokens for their work.
Mainnet Beta – Following the successful completion of its testnet, Solana launched the beta version of its mainnet in March 2020. In the same month, a token sale was held for the SOL coin, which raised around $1.8 million. Even though it was still in beta, Solana was fully functional. The network carried out transactions and supported smart contract operations.
Solana Mainnet – The team behind Solana were planning to release its mainnet at the beginning of 2021. Once launched, SOL crypto stakers will be able to take full advantage of Solana’s inflation rates to increase their share of this digital asset. The proposed plan foresees inflation rates from 8-15%, with the long-term inflation rate being 1.5%.
The Solana (SOL) Network
Solana is an open-source network that operates with a Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism. It supports decentralized applications, smart contracts and is equipped with two unique features called Tower Consensus and Proof of History. Together, these two features take advantage of a synchronized clock to timestamp all transactions and reduce the required computational power needed for verification. With the availability of an accurate timestamp, transactions from past blocks no longer need to be computed by validator nodes, which is the case with many other cryptocurrency networks.
This technology allows the Solana ecosystem to process between 50.000-60.000 transactions at maximum network load. With the advancement of computational power, the developers expect that the SOL currency could be transferred between two accounts at a rate of up to 700.000 transactions per second.
Such a transaction flow means that the Solana network doesn’t require second-layer scalability solutions common amongst the competitors Bitcoin (The Lightning Network) or Ethereum (Ethereum 2.0).
Solana’s average block time is only 400 milliseconds. Besides being lightning-fast, this blockchain also allows low-cost network fees. The average cost to send SOL coin is only 0.000005 SOL. That is equivalent to only $0.0002 as of May 2021.
The unique thing about Solana is that there isn’t a minimum amount of SOL tokens required to be staked to become a validator on the network. You can stake any sum you want to participate in the consensus, validate transactions, and generate new blocks. Naturally, the likelihood to create blocks rises proportionally to the amount of staked SOL.
A node that is selected to produce new blocks is called a leader. Each leader generates a series of 4 blocks which takes around 1.5 seconds before a new leading node gets picked. The quick switch between leaders is a safety feature that prevents malicious validators from attacking the network. Solana acts severely against rulebreakers. The blockchain possesses a slashing property, which in some cases envisions deducting 50-100% of the staked SOL tokens from ill-intentioned nodes.
How to Mine Solana (SOL)
Staking the SOL Coin
Solana is a PoS coin that uses delegators and validators to secure its network and create new blocks. The easiest way to earn rewards from the Solana ecosystem is by selecting a validator and delegating to it a share of your SOL. The validators with the larger pools of staked coins have greater chances to generate new blocks and earn SOL rewards compared to those with smaller stakes. Users must pay a commission from their staking rewards because validating nodes have their own expenses for keeping the ecosystem secure.
To begin the staking process, you first need to select a wallet to stake from. Solana recommends using the SolFlare.com web wallet coupled with a Ledger hardware wallet. Staking can also be performed via Solana Command Line Tools.
After selecting the appropriate software, you need to create a stake account and pick a validator to delegate your coins to. For an overview of available Solana validators, you can take a look at the Solana Beach Validator’s List.
Becoming a Validator
If you are interested in becoming a validator for the SOL crypto ecosystem, the requirements are pretty low. A reserve of 0.02685864 SOL is required to participate in consensus. An additional amount of 1.1 SOL coins is needed daily for voting rights.
The minimum hardware requirements include a 2.8 GHz CPU with 12 cores, 128GB of RAM, and at least 500GB of available hard disk space. The native Solana software runs on Ubuntu 20.04 and requires CUDA to take advantage of your system’s GPU.
Solana (SOL) 2021 Price Prediction
The SOL price hit its all-time high on 18 May 2021 when one coin was valued at around $58.30. After that, Solana entered a correction phase, and a pullback is expected in the days following the ATH. As of May 2021, the SOL coin price index shows that the asset is trading around $49.
Market analysts predict that the SOL crypto price shouldn’t drop below $39 before it starts another bull run. If the bullish signs remain, new ATHs can be expected in June/July 2021. Long-term SOL price predictions suggest a value range between $150-190/coin at the end of 2021.
2022 is expected to be primarily bullish, with Solana trading in the $200 regions. Market data shows a correction is expected in Q1 of 2023 before the SOL coin price launches for the $300/400 areas in 2024 and 2025.
How Can I Buy and Trade Solana (SOL)?
Solana (SOL) Wallets
The SOL currency can be stored in hardware, software, and web wallets.
Hardware wallets – Those who possess a Trezor One or Model T hardware device can keep their SOL crypto in its native Trezor Suite. Ledger doesn’t have a native app for Solana. Still its customers can couple their hardware devices to the SolFlare web wallet.
Software wallets – Exodus is a multi-currency desktop and mobile wallet which supports SOL tokens. Native Solana coins can also be stored on the mobile Trust Wallet available for Android and iOS. Lastly, Coin98 is another multi-currency mobile wallet that supports this digital asset.
Web wallets – when it comes to online clients, we should mention three non-custodial solutions: SolFlare, Phantom, and Sollet. MathWallet is a browser extension through which users can send and receive SOL crypto assets.
Solana (SOL) Crypto Exchanges
Solana is listed on many popular cryptocurrency exchanges. Around a third of the trading volume comes from Binance and the SOL/USDT trading pair. Besides USDT, there is also a liquid market to exchange SOL for BTC, BUSD, and BNB on Binance. You can buy SOL on ChangeNOW right away
Due to the liquidity, the SOL price varies from exchange to exchange. Solana can also be purchased on ChangeNOW, FTX, Huobi Global, Bitfinex, Gate.io, OKEx, and Bithumb Global, to name just a few.
Solana (SOL) Summary
Although Solana is still officially in a beta stage, the network is a well-oiled machine that has already completed billions of on-chain transactions. Solana's Proof of History feature, which allows the platform to timestamp transactions, has resulted in SOL crypto becoming the fastest blockchain currently in existence.
But the network is not only fast. It’s also a bargain to transact with. Moving funds through Solana costs only a fraction of a cent. One of the goals of its developers is to become the go-to blockchain for hosting decentralized exchanges. One such DEX built on Solana is Project Serum, which could be just the beginning of many more to come.