What is Solana? The Complete Blockchain Guide

What is Solana Blockchain Complete Guide

The proof-of-stake network challenging for blockchain supremacy

Solana is no longer the new blockchain in town. Since its official mainnet launch in March 2020, the network has grown to be one of the biggest in web3. After going through challenging times in the aftermath of the FTX crash, Solana and its dapps returned stronger than ever in 2023. Let’s dive into the features, values, and top projects that make this one of the blockchains with the strongest communities in the crypto space – and one of the most promising for the next bull run.


What is Solana?

Solana is an open-source project implementing a permissionless blockchain able to achieve 50,000 transactions per second. 

Founded by former Qualcomm, Intel, and Dropbox engineers, Solana is aiming to capitalize on Ethereum’s gas fee woes. The team’s other aim is to significantly speed up transactions and reduce fees while maintaining a truly decentralized network. 

Solana Chain Stats and Data DappRadar
Source: DappRadar Solana Chain Page

In direct competition with Ethereum and BNB Chain, the Solana token boasts a Circulating market cap of around $23.22 billion. It regularly processes more than 10 million transactions every day and has more than 200,000 fee-paying daily active accounts.

To add to this, traders on Solana’s top NFT marketplace Magic Eden regularly buy and sell over $1 million worth of non-fungible tokens. Raydium, the biggest DeFi platform on the network, saw over $800,000 worth of cryptocurrency move through its exchange in the past 30 days.

All of this is to say that Solana is a serious player in the web3 world. So it’s worth knowing all about it if you’re interested in blockchains, NFTs, cryptocurrency and play-to-earn gaming. 

The team behind Solana

The project was established back in 2017 by Anatoly Yakovenko, who worked at Qualcomm before founding Solana. Before that, he worked at Dropbox as a software engineer. 

Accompanying him are Eric Williams and Solana’s CTO, Greg Fitzgerald. They created a brand new process of dealing with traditional throughput problems that existed on Bitcoin – and then also Ethereum.

Solana’s Proof of History system

Up to now, blockchains have mostly made sacrifices to achieve their desired outcome. They’ve chosen between scale, security, and decentralization. Solana claims to have solved this problem, employing a new consensus algorithm able to achieve fast transaction times without sacrificing security and decentralization. 

The Proof-of-History (PoH) system is implemented using a mechanism that originated in the Bitcoin source code, called nLocktime. Without going into the deeper technical aspects, nLocktime post-dates transactions using block height or size, which it does rather than timestamping. 

After lots of research and testing, the development team turned this into a cryptographically secure way to record the passing of time.

The entire process is aimed at creating a replicating database that maintains a high level of availability without compromising the transaction rate.

Who is Solana built for?

At its core, Solana offers scalability to web3 platforms and is capable of supporting over 50,000 transactions per second. Furthermore, transaction costs on the network are estimated to cost approximately $10 for 1 million transactions.

Based on these aspects it would be fair to say that blockchain is set up to deal with the majority of dapps tracked by DappRadar from across various categories such as DeFi, Gaming, and NFTs.

For developers, the network offers a range of features making it a desirable option to build on. Looking past the promised faster and cheaper transactions, developers can code in C, C++, Rust, and more languages.

On top of that, there’s an ambitious roadmap of virtual machine integrations lined up.

The SOL crypto token

SOL is the native token of the Solana blockchain. Users need to pay with SOL in order to process their transactions on the network.

Solana SOL crypto token
Source: DappRadar SOL Token Page

In November 2021, SOL reached an all-time high of $259.96. Since then, it’s dropped off by a big margin from those peaks.

All projects on the Solana network were affected by the downfall of the FTX exchange in November 2022. However, a year later, the SOL token recovered from it and appreciated by +336%.

You can find out how much SOL is worth now by checking on the DappRadar Token Ranking.

Top web3 wallets for Solana

Solana’s ecosystem supports a variety of wallets, each offering unique features for managing SOL tokens and interacting with Solana-based applications.

Among the most prominent is Phantom, renowned for its user-friendly interface and extensive functionalities, including secure asset management and seamless access to dapps.

Other notable wallets include Slope, Sollet, Solflare, Clover, Ledger, Solong, and MathWallet. These wallets cater to different user needs, from hardware security to mobile accessibility, ensuring users have the flexibility and security to engage with Solana’s growing network of dapps and services.

What are the best projects on Solana?

DappRadar currently tracks over 210 Solana projects on our Rankings pages. At the time of writing, there were 30 dapps with over 1,000 monthly users. Let’s get to know some of the most popular projects leveraging Solana technology below:

Games on Solana

  • Star Atlas: one of web3’s most promising and anticipated projects, a strategy game full of space exploration.
Star Atlas is one of the most promising games on Solana
Source: Magic Eden blog
  • Neopets Meta: a play-to-earn virtual pet game built on Solana.
  • STEPN: OG move-to-earn gamified fitness dapp that pays users for exercising.

Solana NFT collections and marketplaces

  • Magic Eden: the leading NFT marketplace for Solana NFTs.
Magic Eden NFT marketplace
Source: DappRadar blog
  • Mad Lads: Solana PFP collection that debunked Bored Apes volume in November 2023.
  • Okay Bears: an OG collection often described as the Solana Bored Apes.

DeFi projects on Solana

  • Jupiter Exchange: Popular Solana DeFi exchange with a range of perpetuals and more.
  • MeanFi: Self-custody crypto treasury management with real-time payment streaming.
  • Raydium: One of the leading on-chain order book AMMs on Solana.

Why was Solana affected after the FTX scandal?

The 2022 FTX scandal, involving the collapse and bankruptcy of the FTX exchange due to mismanagement and misuse of customer funds, impacted Solana as FTX and its affiliates were major holders and supporters of SOL and its projects. This association eroded trust in Solana’s ecosystem, leading to a decrease in SOL’s value and negatively affecting its projects.

Despite the challenges faced during the prolonged bear market, Solana’s dapp developers remained committed to building and improving their projects. This dedication is evidenced by DappRadar’s on-chain data, which shows a recovery in the chain and its projects a year after the fallout. Today, the Web3 community in general seems to have regained trust in Solana’s potential, reflecting its resilience and ongoing development.

Solana solves many historical problems associated with older blockchain technology experiences and has one of the best structures for verifying transactions delivered through a more efficient consensus algorithm.

Moreover, Solana boasts one of the most resilient and vocal communities in the crypto space, consistently demonstrating that faith in the technology often leads to positive outcomes.

As blockchain technology progresses, we envisage the platform maintaining its place at the top table. It’s certainly one to keep an eye on as web3 technology proliferates and improves.

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