Throughout history, people have tried various methods of transferring information to each other. Mimics, paintings, hieroglyphs and ultimately, writing became an indispensable boon for the transfer of knowledge. But over time, the transfer of information in a way that is understandable to everyone led to some problems. In order to overcome this problem, humanity has also started adding passwords to messages, passwords that only allow the sender and recipient to detect the real message. But ''the ability of being a human'' comes from the infinite sense of curiosity. Therefore, efforts were made to solve the mystery under the passwords. By the end of the these long road, cryptologists had appeared, looking for the secret under each letter as if it were solving a puzzle. Such a past is finally came to end by the middle of the 20th century with the intrduction of primary computers that were ‘'mechanical integrators and calculators’'. Now as we could encrypt all information, we had very reliable, fast and useful tools to decrypt these passwords. But this situation, which looks like a breakthrough, would open up bigger things for us in the future…
By the early 2000s, humanity had more important problems than decrypting passwords. For example, your personal passwords and data records fall into unwanted hands and third parties. Mechanical vehicles managed from a single center have become the biggest threat to us, on the contrary that they are expected to protect our safety. In such an ecosystem, electronic cash, called ‘'Bitcoin’', emerged as an decentralized and reliable financial tool. In this way, the information would now be visible to everyone but only accessible to the sender and recipient. Despite the past 10 years, Bitcoin or no other networks that followed it could not be effective enough as a result of a slowdown in transactions parallel to the accumulation of work and overload in all networks. In late 2017, several idealists realizing the unsustainability of this situation drew attention to the need for a new network working with a Proof-of-History consensus, based on the idea that ‘'the entire network is moving on the same clock’'.
Solana was built with blood, sweat, tears, and experience from tech's most innovative companies
Who Is The Solana Team Made Up Of?
Led by CEO Anatoly Yakovenko, CTO Greg Fitzgerald and COO Raj Gokal, the team is also known for its activities in leading companies such as Qualcomm, Intel and Microsoft in the past. After their work in leading companies, they came together under the roof of ‘'Solana Labs’'. Even at that time Visa, a centralized payment unit, could access 65,000 transactions per second, but the capacity of decentralized applications called pioneers was no more than 15. They easily identified what needed to be done to close the 1,000-fold difference and achieve better: To make the time of all transactions on the network depend on each other and to create a common network clock.
What does common network time and Proof-of-History mean?
It is to synchronize the time of approval of orders to be entered into the Solana network and the total time that these orders will spend between different nodes for the entire network. In this way, a continuous new order entry can be provided to the network, as well as each individual order entering will be separated from the network by giving the same result at the same time. In other words, the important thing is no longer the result but the input, because each input sent to the network will come across as the same result. So how does’ Proof-of-History " literally work?
The basis of the chains we have seen so far is based on either Proof-of-Work or Proof-of-Stake consensus. But the consensus type on which the Solana protocol is based is the Proof-of-History scheme. Basically, there is progress based on the real time difference between input and output. An operation on the Solana chain is recorded until it is scheduled to be performed and then the first input is transferred to the system. In the next process, a time difference occurred until all the steps were passed. This time difference is detected by all nodes on the network at the same time, ensuring that the system remains integrated. For example, imagine that when your blood pressure rises, the entire vessel perceives it at the same time, the nerves transmit this problem to the upper centers at the same time and thanks to signals from the brain, blood pressure is restored at the same time over the whole vessel. In the example here, increasing blood pressure is the ‘'input'' to the network, while the response to regulate the pressure is the ‘'final output'' of the network. Creating intermediate decodes at the same time and moving to the next step at the same time also represents the infrastructure where the Proof-of-History consensus exists.
There are 124 ‘'Global Validators’' on the Solana network in order to ensure the continuity and approval of the network (as of the time of writing). Among them, there is no situation of superiority over each other but one of them is in the position of ‘'Leader’' and the others are in the position of ‘'Verifier’'. The node in the ‘'Leader'’ position must work in order for the transition to begin on the network. After each processes, the nodes in the ‘'Verifier'’ position continue to work in parallel with the passing process to synchronize with it. Going back to the example; the vessel that detects and reacts to the problem can be assumed as '‘Leader'’, while all other organs that function, including the main center, can be assumed as ‘'Verifier'’.
So, how do Solana detect Leader and Verifier nodes?
As I just mentioned before, if the node in the ‘Leader’ position is not working, the transaction can't progress and the output does not occur. For this reason, the node where ''input'' is sent first and often has the highest transaction and validation capacity comes across as ’'Leader". Outputs that are approved and signatured by this node are then forwarded to other nodes. Other nodes also understand that this is created by the ‘'Leader’' through the signature in the output and to ensure the continuity of the process, they also approve the process by leaving their own signature. If we return to the example; the vessel that sends the first input is the ''Leader'' one and the secretive special substances for the delivery also represent its signature. Other intermediary substances that carry a subsequent response can also be depicted as specific signatures of nodes in the remaining ''Verifier'' positions.
We said input could be any situation. So what features does ''output " have?
- In the output that occurs as a result of the entire operation, both the Leader node and the remaining Verifier nodes have their own signature on it.
- Each output has a timestamp to indicate when this result was created, as well as signatures. It represents a real time pass in each transaction.
- Every operation that occurs after the activation of the system will now occur involuntarily and progress to the result. All outputs formed at this time are prepared more durable so that the progress of the current order does not deteriorate and could be defined as ''collision-resistant''.
- As the transaction progresses, a new intermediate step that will be added to the system other than the first step will cause all future steps to change.
- No output can be predicted by looking at its input! In other words, the same increase in pressure will not always be perceived by our body the same nor will always lead to the same reaction.
How will a progressive system that depends on ''One Single Leader Node'' move faster than others?
The system scheme I have been trying to explain so far is associated with the presence of a node whose operations are approved and other nodes that follow it. But what really happens is a little different. As I mentioned earlier, you can enter any input into the system from any point and get results but not each entry will be directed to the same ''first node'’. If that were the case, the network would also be experiencing the excess workload and low speed problems that we are currently experiencing. Solana's solution in this regard is as follows: There is a highest-ranking ‘Leader’ node called ‘Main Generator’ on the network. There are also different and numerous ‘generators’ that are indirectly connected to this node and directly to each other. As a result of the presence of more than one ‘generator’, we save energy and it becomes possible to process different inputs at the same time.
If we go back to the example, we can see the node called ‘Main Generator’ as the top layer of the brain, the ‘cortex’ and the other nodes can be defined as nerve centers that depend on the cortex and exist synchronously to it. The presence of multiple centers reduces the information burden that the brain must process and also accelerates the formation of a response. So, the ''Leader" node is always the same node or can it change? The leading node is not different from other nodes in the Solana network. In other words, if the capacity of the node in the leading position is insufficient, the operating speed has decreased or a higher quality node has been created; the leading node can change if at least 2/3 of other nodes votes for it.
Is Proof-of-History alone enough?
The PoH consensus that led to the emergence of the Solana network and is known for its pioneering appearance is still not enough. The most well-known form of incompetence is the determination of the new pioneer node by choice and hence the need for Proof-of-Stake consensus. If a competitor to the pioneer node or a more qualified node is formed, it is necessary to change the pioneer with selections. In addition, as a result of using PoS, users can create revenue passively as a result of a stake to nodes in the Solana network. It will also be possible to raise this gain thanks to ‘'Inflation’' and ‘'network rewards’', which will come into force in the future. Solana, which is expected to perform more than 50,000 transactions per second, receives a commission of up to$ 0.00001 as fee from each transaction. Here, the profits will also be shared with the users who make the stake.
In addition to Proof-of-Stake integration, another integrated consensus is ’'Proof-of-Replication" to provide high-level protection, especially in potential attacks against the network. In addition, the entire integrated network stores all data individually at the same time and in response to the possible storage problems, it is to perform an accelerator function in an order designed to increase the transfer speed of all data to units called ‘'Archivers’' by an average of 100 times.
Please check the latest AMA organized with Crypto.com to learn more
Solana's native token: SOL
As of now, there are 124 global Validator nodes and the unique token of the Solana network is named SOL. In fact, when the Solana network was established in late 2017, the network was named ‘'Silk''. However, due to another project under the same name, the Solana Labs GitHub account created on March 28, 2018 and became known as Solana, not Silk. So what are the features of the SOL token?
More than 1/3 of all SOL tokens were sold with 5 separate sales. As a result of these sales, Solana team managed to raise over 10 million$ in funds. In addition, if we include 25 million$ in funding previously performed by various companies, this amount is the largest part of the trust in the project. Between January 2021-December 2022, tokens sold will be issued into circulation in parts. Below is a template showing the time when the SOL tokens which are produced in total of 500 million units, will be available for use.
The part that is not offered for sale can be examined in 3 different parts: Community, Foundation and Team. As can be seen from the picture below, about 1/3 of the tokens produced by the Solana team are reserved for re-distribution to the community. The SOL token is currently listed on many leading exchanges with various trading pairs. You can reach the SOL-listed exchanges from CoinMarketCap page.
What are the other means of using Solana Network?
If you believe that you have an innovative idea, all you have to do now is detail your idea and prove how advanced you are at the point of innovation. If you achieve this and your project is prepared in accordance with the principle of decentralization, you can easily build your platform through the document on Solana Developers. In addition, if you need funds, support or an office to implement your work, you can access all these supports thorough Solana Accelerator. If you want to look at other projects produced with the Solana infrastructure while waiting for admission to any of these programs and to follow the development of Solana, you can join Solana Forum or Discord.
NOTE: The ‘'3 key features’' mentioned in the title represent scalability, security and decentralization.
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This article contains direct translation of that Medium article which I'm the real owner of it.