5 Reasons to Choose Solana for Blockchain Development
For years, Ethereum has been the de facto blockchain for developers to build and launch decentralized applications (dapps).
However, Ethereum's limited block space prices out many types of applications sending developers to platforms that offer more speed and scalability.
A top choice for developers looking to build dapps outside of the EVM-ecosystem is Solana, which offers much more block space.
This article will cover what Solana is and five reasons why developers choose Solana for blockchain development.
What is Solana?
Solana is a high-performance, open-source blockchain designed to support dapps for global scale. Founded in 2017, the project currently run by the Solana Foundation based in Geneva.
Solana is known for pioneering the concept of proof-of-history (PoH), developed by its founder Anatoly Yakovenko in 2017. PoH is a proof for verifying order and passage of time between events, and it is used to encode trustless passage of time into a ledger.
As one of the world's largest blockchain networks, Solana offers developers a flexible programming environment in which developers can use familiar languages like Rust, C, and C++. This makes it an attractive platform for those looking to develop high-performance decentralized applications.
Solana’s foundation is built atop eight key technologies popularly referred to as its ‘8 pillars of innovation.’ Here's a breakdown:
What are Solana's Eight Pillars?
- Proof of History: A cryptographic clock that provides a verifiable and auditable timestamp of every event on the Solana blockchain.
- Tower BFT: A consensus algorithm that provides a high level of security and censorship resistance.
- Turbine: A block propagation protocol that reduces block confirmation times and enables faster finality.
- Gulf Stream: A mempool-less transaction forwarding protocol that reduces the time between when a transaction is submitted and when it is processed by the network.
- Archivers: A distributed storage solution that allows the state of the network to be stored off-chain while still allowing nodes to verify the correctness of transactions.
- Sealevel: A programming model that allows developers to write smart contracts in any language, enabling greater flexibility and ease of use.
- Pipelining: An optimization technique that allows for continuous processing of transactions and reduces the risk of congestion.
- Cloudbreak: A horizontally-scaled architecture that enables Solana to handle growing network demand while maintaining low latency and high throughput.
Why Developers Choose Solana
With a developer-centric programming environment, Solana is climbing to the top as people’s go-to blockchain for building dApps that scale. Here are five reasons why developers around the globe are picking Solana for blockchain development.
1. EVM Equivalence
The Solana Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) is EVM equivalent, meaning that developers can easily port their existing Ethereum dapps onto the Solana platform without having to rewrite the entire codebase.
While the native programming language on Solana is rust, with EVM equivalence developers can reap the benefits of building on a faster and more scalable blockchain without sacrificing the familiarity and convenience of using Solidity.
To bridge the gap, Solana has developed a compiler that allows developers to write code in Solidity and compile it into Rust.
This allows developers to take advantage of Solana's high throughput and low fees while still using their preferred programming language. Additionally, this compatibility makes it easier to migrate existing Ethereum-based projects to the Solana blockchain without having to rewrite them completely in Rust.
Below is an example of Solidity code and Rust code.
Both Solidity and Rust produce the same EVM bytecode when compiled.
These contracts both store a number and provide a function to add a given number to it. They are very simple, but they are enough to demonstrate the concept of EVM equivalence.
When these contracts are compiled, they will produce the same EVM bytecode (702 hexadecimal digits long).
This bytecode can then be executed on the EVM, and both contracts will perform the same function.
2. High Scalability
Solana was built from the ground up to be a scalable blockchain platform. Theoretically, it can process up to 710,000 transactions per second (TPS) by using Solana's Proof of History (PoH) consensus algorithm and its dynamic state sharding system.
PoH essentially works by generating a verifiable and immutable time record to order transactions on the chain.
This approach allows Solana to confirm transactions quickly. Note that time to full finality for Solana transactions is around 12 seconds.
What is state sharding?
State sharding is a technique that allows a blockchain to split its data into smaller pieces, or shards, which can be processed in parallel by different nodes in the network.
This approach helps to reduce the computational load on any single node and increases the overall throughput of the system.
Solana's implementation of dynamic state sharding is particularly innovative because it allows the platform to adjust the number of shards based on network demand, ensuring that the system can scale up or down as needed.
Such performance optimizations make Solana an excellent choice for developers to build and deploy high-performance dapps.
3. Low Cost
When building dapps for mass adoption, the cost of processing transactions, or gas fees, is a major factor.
If the dapps require users to make several microtransactions, the transaction fees should be negligible for the application to be user-friendly.
Solana's low transaction fees make it an attractive option for developers looking to create dapps that can be used by a large user base without incurring high fees.
One of the reasons why Solana can offer low transaction fees is its high throughput.
With the ability to process hundreds of thousands of transactions per second, Solana can handle a large number of transactions without causing congestion or delays.
Additionally, Solana's dynamic state sharding system helps to reduce the computational load on individual nodes, which further reduces the cost of processing transactions.
This approach helps to keep the fees low and predictable, making it easier for developers to budget for the cost of running their dapps on Solana.
In contrast, Ethereum's high transaction fees have become a significant barrier to entry for many developers looking to build scalable dapps.
During times of high activity and network congestion, the transaction fees on the Ethereum blockchain rise exorbitantly.
This has made it difficult for developers to create dapps that are accessible to a wider audience, particularly those in emerging markets like Africa and India, where high fees can be a significant deterrent.
Building on Solana opens up new opportunities for innovation and growth in the decentralized application space, particularly in areas where cost is a significant factor for users.
4. Thriving Ecosystem
The Solana Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports the development and growth of the Solana ecosystem, provides grants, technical support, and educational resources to developers and projects building on the Solana blockchain.
Additionally, Solana has a vibrant developer and user community who are actively discussing new ideas, sharing best practices, and helping to build the Solana ecosystem.
This supportive community provides a platform for developers to connect with each other and get help when they encounter issues or have questions while building on the platform.
Alchemy is one such Solana infrastructure provider that provides technical and operational support to projects building on the platform.
5. Built-In Interoperability
Solana has built-in cross-chain interoperability, allowing developers to build applications that can interact with other blockchains and their respective tokens.
The Solana blockchain uses a technology called Wormhole, which is a bridge that connects Solana with 17 other high-value blockchains with a single integration.
Essentially, Wormhole allows for the transfer of tokens and other assets between different networks.
When a user sends tokens or assets from one network to another, the assets are locked on the first network, and a corresponding amount of wrapped tokens are minted on the second network.
These wrapped tokens are then used to represent the original tokens on the second network.
When the user wants to transfer the tokens back to the original network, the wrapped tokens are burned, and the original tokens are unlocked.
Solana provides web3 developers with a powerful platform that is secure and scalable for building dapps.
Solana’s eight innovations make it stand out from other blockchains, allowing developers to build applications that were not possible before.
From its EVM equivalence to built-in interoperability, the Solana core development team is building the ecosystem with the future in mind. This future-proof approach will help avoid silos — a major challenge with most blockchains today.
As the Solana network grows, so will its vibrant developer community, providing support for projects creating unique and powerful applications.
Building on Solana with Alchemy is easy and free, and web3 developers should make use of the available resources.