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Solana vs. Ethereum: Similarities and Differences

July 16, 2022 - 7 min read

There are differences between Solana and Ethereum’s consensus mechanisms. Ethereum uses Proof of Work (PoW), resulting in a more decentralized but less scalable network. Proof of History (PoH), which Solana uses, is less secure but more effective, resulting in fast and inexpensive transactions.

In the realm of blockchain technology, new innovations are being created every day. Its decentralized approach to advancements in tech is set to influence countless industries in the years to come. Blockchain’s introduction paved the way for the creation of NFTs, decentralized finance, cryptocurrencies, and many other innovations. However, as the need for layer one blockchain platforms has grown steadily over time, so has the rate at which these solutions have developed. These programs are built on a specific blockchain platform, of which Ethereum and Solana are some of the most well-known.

Ethereum: The Gateway to DeFi

Ethereum has accessibility to digital currency and data-friendly services, regardless of background or location. It is a community-developed technology that supports the cryptocurrency Ether (ETH) and the dozens of applications that many of us use today. Ethereum is the runner-up and one of the most popular blockchain platforms for developing decentralized apps. Ethereum has created an open economy by giving its coinage and a development environment for decentralized applications.

Introducing smart contracts gives rise to a significant portion of the crypto space’s current functionality. Without the technologies introduced by Ethereum, neither decentralized applications (dApps), non-fungible tokens (NFTs), nor decentralized finance (DeFi) would be possible. Through the ERC-20 standard, the Ethereum blockchain is capable of hosting alternative cryptocurrencies known as “tokens.” Ethereum will have many features and advancements with Ethereum 2.0.

Solana: A Scalable Blockchain

Solana is an open-source project that leverages the decentralized nature of blockchain technology to create DeFi solutions with a primary emphasis on speed and low cost. Even though initial development on the project began in 2017, the crypto community finally got a glimpse of Solana in March 2020 when the Solana Foundation formally introduced it. Solana is an open-source project that leverages the decentralized nature of blockchain technology to create DeFi solutions with a primary emphasis on speed and low cost. Even though initial development on the project began in 2017, the crypto community finally got a glimpse of Solana in March 2020 when the Solana Foundation formally introduced it.

Solana is one of the fastest blockchain platforms, processing approximately up to 3,000 transactions per second, but it can handle up to 50,000 to 65,000 transactions per second. It has an efficient ecosystem and is a fast blockchain platform for developers to use to be able to construct scalable apps. Solana focuses primarily on scalability and user-friendly applications and now has more than 400 DeFi, Web3, and NFT-related dApps.

Solana vs. Ethereum Blockchain Infrastructure

From the perspective of the end-user, Solana and Ethereum are comparable to public, open-source blockchains compatible with smart contracts. Comparing Solana and Ethereum’s blockchain infrastructures reveals a vast array of technological improvements and developments. While both blockchains attempt to achieve the same result, each project achieves so in a unique method. Among these are programming languages, consensus models, and development tools.

  1. Consensus Mechanism

A consensus mechanism is a technique that all blockchain nodes must perform to reach a consensus on the current state of the network. Ethereum currently employs the Proof of Work, or PoW, consensus process, which draws its power from a global network of miners actively participating in the consensus. Proof of Work consensus necessitates substantial computational power, hence limiting user participation. Even though Proof of Work contributes to ETH’s security and complete decentralization, there are worries about its performance.

The Solana blockchain adds something novel to the table regarding its consensus method. The network employs an array or list of calculations to discover the optimal approach for time gap verification between two distinct occurrences. Interestingly, the Solana blockchain uses a single cryptographically secure algorithm for output prediction.

The blockchain platform uses a hybrid consensus process that combines the advantages of Proof of Stake with Proof of History. The mixed consensus on the Solana blockchain allows for greater flexibility in arranging transaction orders. As a result, the blockchain platform’s consensus process enables it to conduct nearly 65,000 transactions every second.

  1. Programming Language and Virtual Machine

Platforms for smart contracts enable programmers to create applications that run on the decentralized blockchain network. Each network node contains a virtual machine where instructions are executed when they are added to the digital ledger. The programming languages and virtual machines that a smart contract platform offers affect the security of the smart contracts it supports.

Developers are less prone to commit errors in languages with which they are more experienced. Therefore, a virtual machine with a long history may be more stable and contain fewer mistakes. Ethereum employs the purpose-built Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), and the majority of its smart contracts are written in proprietary languages, such as Solidity (influenced by C++), Vyper (Pythonic language), Yul/Yul+ (intermediate language for EVM), and Feather (based on Rust and Python).

Solana, in comparison, generally uses more recognized programming languages such as C, C++, and Rust. However, Solana’s architecture for running its applications is significantly more complicated, including support for multithreading and using the Gulf Stream transaction forwarding system instead of mem pools. Many Ethereum smart contract vulnerabilities result from developer inexperience with Solidity and the EVM and the specifics of how they operate. Even though Solana uses more proven languages, its complicated design can pose security risks.

  1. Transaction Speed

In terms of transaction speed, Solana does very well. Solana is also one of the fastest blockchains in the game regarding executing transactions. This is related to network architectures. Ethereum emphasized decentralization, while Solana emphasized throughput. Examining the numbers is the next step.

The Proof of Work (PoW) mechanism of the current version of Ethereum can process 12 to 15 TPS. Compare this to Solana, which can process more than 50,000 TPS without crashing. Hence, the numbers are beginning to converge. 

  1. Architecture

The architecture is another key component that developers examine. Architecture describes the state of a blockchain network and whether or not it can adjust variable values. Ethereum is unquestionably one of the greatest stateful architectures among its competitors, which is why it is extensively adopted for developing blockchain-based applications. The platform logs all transactions in their current state, and duplicates of the most recent transactions are promptly generated to reflect the most recent transactions. As a result, it is an efficient network, albeit slower than stateless networks.

Solana is based on a cluster architecture that is compatible with Solana clusters. It is a set of validators that address client transactions and ledger upkeep. Each cluster has its own validator, and the duties of each validator rotate continuously. Using PoH consensus, the cluster leader will construct and timestamp the transaction. It is a stateless architecture. Hence the entire state of the Solana architecture does not need to be updated constantly. This is why Solana is able to be efficient and offer speedy transactions.

  1. Decentralization

One of the founding ideas of blockchain technology is decentralization. The purpose of the blockchain is to move away from systems in which an individual or group wields disproportionate influence. This protects against power misuse, increases resilience, and has additional benefits.

Commonly, blockchain systems struggle to preserve decentralization. In Proof of Work, the introduction of mining pools allowed a small number of cooperating parties to control the blockchain potentially. In Proof of Stake, the parties with the largest stake also receive the largest stakes, and this “rich get richer” arrangement might lead to the eventual concentration of power.

The consensus is that Ethereum is more decentralized than Solana. In Solana, the top 50 validators hold more than 35% of the total stake, while the largest validator, Everstake, controls more than fifty percent of the network’s validators combined.

Final Thoughts

From investors and businesses to the general public, blockchain use cases attract interest — most people who know about the crypto realm desire to take advantage of the opportunities. While the cryptocurrency market has its ups and downs, the rate of adoption is growing year after year.

Cryptocurrency trends, such as DeFi and NFTs, are two of the most popular. ETH seems to have a firm grip on the crypto, DeFi, and NFT markets. There are advantages and disadvantages to both Solana and Ethereum. To determine which blockchain community would be best for you to join or build upon, ask yourself what your long-term objectives are.

To level up and gain a deeper knowledge of all things related to the future of the cryptocurrency industry, check out the latest content in the Supra Academy section.

For informational purposes only, not to be considered investment advice of any kind.


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