Solana is an open-source public blockchain protocol initiated in Nov 2017, which aims to implement a high-performance, high-scalability, and low-cost network. The Solana Foundation is based in Geneva.
It is possible for Solana to process 710,000 TPS (transactions per second) on a standard gigabit network if the transactions are, on average, no more than 176 bytes.
Solana features a new timestamp system called Proof-of-History (PoH) that enables automatically ordered transactions. It also uses a Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus algorithm to help secure the network.
Compared with other public chains, Solana is fast in processing transactions and supports safe, concurrent execution of programs authored in general-purpose programming languages such as C or Rust.
$SOL is the native asset of the Solana blockchain. It is used for:
- Staking: Solana is in the process of enabling inflation rewards for staking$SOL in exchange for powering and supporting the network.
- Transaction fees: users can use$SOL to pay for token transactions and smart-contract executions on the network.
- Governance:$SOL will be used in governance voting.
Anatoly Yakovenko is one of the co-founders of Solana Labs. Yakovenko was born in Ukraine and immigrated to the United States in the 1990s.
Anatoly got a BS degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2003, majoring in Computer Science. He founded Alescere, a VOIP startup, while he was in college, and then closed the company after graduation.
After graduation, Anatoly worked at Qualcomm as an Engineer for nearly 12 years (2003-2016). Then, he has two short experiences in Mesosphere and Dropbox responsible for developing the distributed system (2016-2017). In November 2017, Anatoly Yakovenko published a whitepaper describing Proof of History and started his journey of Solana.
Solana's origins date back to late 2017 when founder Anatoly Yakovenko published a whitepaper draft detailing a new timekeeping technique for distributed systems called Proof of History (PoH). In blockchains like Bitcoin and Etheruem, one of the limitations to scalability is the time required to reach a consensus on the order of transactions. Anatoly believed his new technique could automate the transaction ordering process for blockchains, providing a key piece that would enable crypto networks to scale well-beyond their capabilities at the time.
Anatoly later teamed up with former Qualcomm colleague Greg Fitzgerald to build a single blockchain network in Rust that used PoH as its "internal clock." The two released the first internal testnet (with demo) and official version of the project's whitepaper in Feb. 2018. Another former Qualcomm cohort, Stephen Akridge, suggested that offloading signature verification to graphics processors could further increase transaction throughput (i.e., scalability). Anatoly recruited Greg and Stephen, and three others to found the company that would eventually become Solana Labs. The founding team included former Apple engineers in addition to the Qualcomm veterans. They initially named the project Loom but later rebranded it to Solana to avoid confusion with the Ethereum Layer-2 scaling solution, Loom Network.
Solana Labs began raising funds to build its new crypto network in Q2 2018. Between Apr. 2018 and Jul. 2019, the team raised a little over $20 million in various private token sales. They announced the sales as a single Series A in late-July 2019. The fundraising effort ran parallel to Solana's work on the protocol, which went through several permissioned testnet phases before the team announced its public incentivized testnet, called Tour de SOL, in Q3 2020. The first stage of Tour de SOL went live in Feb. 2020, and it continues to run alongside the Mainnet Beta version of Solana today.
Solana launched on Mainnet Beta in Mar. 2020, shortly after raising $1.76 million in a public token auction hosted on CoinList. The project's beta network featured basic transaction capabilities and smart contract support. But it did not include any staking rewards as Solana was still determining its ongoing issuance schedule. The current plan is to upgrade from its current beta stage to a more production-ready version in either later 2020 or early 2021.
At the moment, Solana Labs remains a core contributor to the Solana network, while the Solana Foundation helps fund ongoing development and community building efforts.