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Solana vs Ethereum: What’s the Difference?

Solana vs Ethereum Mob
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Trying to find the best blockchain can be difficult considering they all have their own pros and cons. Solana and Ethereum are two of the most well-known blockchains often compared, but how do they actually differ from one another?

Solana and Ethereum differ in terms of the consensus mechanism they utilize. Ethereum follows Proof of Work (PoW) leading to a more decentralized network, but less scalability. Solana follows Proof of History (PoH), which is less secure but more efficient, leading to high-speed and low-cost transactions.

What is Solana?

Solana vs Ethereum
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Solana is a high-performance decentralized blockchain built with the goal to enable the scalability of user-friendly applications. Solana is thought to have one of the fastest-growing ecosystems in the world, with thousands of projects spanning DeFi, NFTs, Web3, and beyond.

The Solana blockchain is best known for its lightning-fast and inexpensive transactions. Solana’s scalability ensures that all transactions remain under $0.01, and transaction speeds are as quick as 400 milliseconds per block.

Of course, the Solana blockchain isn’t perfect either. In September 2021, the Solana network had gone down three times, with the entire network down for nearly 17 hours at one point as the result of a hack. More recently, a Solana bridge to the Ethereum network was also hacked, and resulted in $320 million of stolen funds.

That being said, Solana has its fair share of benefits when compared to the Ethereum blockchain.

Solana blockchain breakdown

Ethereum vs Solana
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Proof of History (PoH)

The Solana network uses a PoH consensus. Using PoH allows the Solana network to create a historical record that proves an event has occurred at a specific moment in time. PoH uses a cryptographically secure function written so that output cannot be predicted from the input, and must be properly executed to generate the output. 

Better Transaction Speeds

In reality, Solana is taking advantage of Ethereum’s slower network. Solana achieves such efficient transaction speeds by utilizing a centralized network, which comes with a concerning level of risk for its users as mentioned above.

The Solana network uses a Tower Byzantine fault-tolerant (BFT), which removes the need for nodes to communicate with each other in real-time, and the result is improved efficiency. Currently, the Solana network can process approximately 50,000 transactions per second (TPS).

Enhanced Scalability

In addition to quicker transaction speeds, Solana is known for its enhanced scalability. The Solana network is scalable at its core level, meaning it does not require layer-two solutions to increase scalability.

The technology behind the Solana network breaks down data into smaller chunks, making it easy to transfer it across the network. Another technology called Sealevel also helps the processing of transactions across GPUs and SSDs, both of these combined result in an efficient blockchain network.

What is Ethereum?

Solana vs Ethereum
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Ethereum is open access to digital money and data-friendly services for everyone – no matter your background or location. It's a community-built technology behind the cryptocurrency ether (ETH) and thousands of applications that many of us use today. 

Although Ethereum lacks the speed and cost-effective transactions when compared to Solana, it makes up for it with its mature decentralization. To compensate for this lack of scaling features at the core of its blockchain, layer-two solutions help provide enhanced scalability and throughput.

Let's review the features of the Ethereum network and what it offers.

Ethereum blockchain breakdown

Proof of Work (PoW)

Ethereum Proof of Work
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Ethereum utilizes a consensus mechanism called Proof of Work (PoW). This mechanism allows the decentralized Ethereum network to come to a consensus (an agreement) by enabling one party to prove to others that a certain amount of a specific computational effort has been expended. This prevents users from spending ETH they don’t have and ensures that the Ethereum chain is extremely difficult to attack or manipulate.

Smart Contracts

The Ethereum blockchain is largely known for its smart contract capabilities. It can support a variation in programmability, which aids in the creation of different types of smart contracts. Solidity is the base programming language on Ethereum and is used for the coding of these smart contracts.

Scaling

Currently, Ethereum can only process about 13 to 15 transactions per second. Since the Ethereum mainnet lacks scalability, layer-two scaling solutions like Polygon, Validium, and rollups have been implemented. Additionally, once Etherum is upgraded, the creator of Ethereum mentioned that transaction speeds could increase to as much as 100,000 transactions per second, while still maintaining the same level of security.

NFTs

If you use Ethereum then you have likely at least heard of NFTs. Although Ethereum wasn’t the first blockchain to offer NFTs, it has been the most successful overall and is considered to be the go-to blockchain for NFTs.

Solana vs Ethereum

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Now that we have learned a bit more about both Solana and Ethereum, we can better compare the two blockchains. We know that Ethereum is the more secure and most decentralized option out of the two, and Solana is the quicker and more cost-effective network. But which is better?

Is Solana or Ethereum better?

When deciding which blockchain is better, Ethereum or Solana, it depends on your personal goals. Do you prefer a blockchain that is more secure but costs more as a result? Or do you only care about speed and cost-effectiveness?

If you want to transact on the most secure blockchain, use Ethereum. The Ethereum blockchain is the more mature network and has been around since 2014, meaning it has had time to be optimized. If you only care about fast transactions and low-cost, use Solana. Solana was created in 2020 and is still trying to figure it all out, but, it offers users a more affordable option.

Is Solana or Ethereum more popular?

Is Solana or Ethereum more popular
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This wouldn’t be a proper VS article if we didn’t have a popularity contest between Solana and Ethereum.

Currently, Ethereum has a market cap of $353 billion, whereas Solana has a current market cap of $28 million, meaning that Ethereum is the obvious choice in terms of popularity. Also, the NFT space prefers Ethereum over Solana, as a majority of blue chip NFT projects currently live on the Ethereum blockchain.

At the end of the day, both Solana and Ethereum have their list of pros and cons. So, if you’re having a difficult time deciding which blockchain is best for you, first ask yourself what your goals are. If you still don’t know, then try both.

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