What is Polkadot
Unlinke Solana, Polkadot is a “Layer 0” protocol that allows for building a network of blockchains. This allows for networks that previously could not communicate such as Ethereum and Bitcoin to send data between each other. It is designed for its speed, scalability and high security. In a future where multi chain interoperability is a must, protocols such as Polkdato are going to be essential to allow these chains to interact with each other.
Polkadots native token DOT is used for governance and staking. As a governance token it allows users to have a say in the future of the protocol, this is done via a voting system. The staking system is how the protocol verifies transactions and issues new DOT.
Due to the Polkadot protocol having to support the interactions of multiple chains, often bigger than Polkadot itself, the protocol has to boast an impressive amount of scalability. This is something that Polkadot focuses on and has successfully been able to implement. This is done by using parallel chains or also known as parachains where blockchains can be built to run alongside the main Polkadot protocol so as to spread out the use.
The Polkadot protocol is structured by having a main chain called the relay chain and then the parachains running alongside it. These parachains are built by the users. It also has a bridge chain that allows the different blockchains to transfer data and value between each other.
The reason Polkadot can manage all of this heavy traffic and keep on scaling is due to the parachains taking on the majority of the grunt work leaving the relay chain running smoothly. As the Polkadot ecosystem grows and more parachains are built by uses the protocol will scale more and more.
Transactions speed and fees
Due to Polkadot making use of these parachains the protocol is able to reach transaction speeds of 1,000 plus transactions, compare that to Ethereums 30 transaction per second and it is quite impressive.
As more parachains are created this will go up and theoretically could reach millions of thousand per second. Unlike a lot of networks and protocols where the more use and traffic they receive the more they struggle, Polkadot is the opposite. As the protocol grows and more parachains are created the transaction speeds will increase more and more.
Transaction fees are currently around 0.015 DOT on the relay chain however on parachains it can go much much lower. Each parachain can be different.
With Polkadot running so many parachains it has built itself a thriving ecosystem with some of the biggest projects being: Kusama, Moonbeam, Moonriver and more. You can check out a full list of the Polkadot ecosystem over at CoinGecko.
What is Solana
Solana is a layer 1 network focussing on low gas fees and scalability. It currently boasts transaction speeds of 50,000 transactions per second. To put this into perspective Ethereum manages about 15 transactions per second. To top this off Solanas fees are also very minimal, charging just $0.0001 per transaction, again let’s place this up against Ethereum which often charges anywhere from $10 right up to $100 per transaction.
Solana uses proof of stake (POS) as their consensus mechanism which allows miners to use existing coins to validate transactions and mints new ones. This is a much better system to use compared to what Ethereum uses which is proof of work (POW). This allows Solana to be much more scalable than Ethereum.
One of Solanas big selling points is the fast transaction speeds, combined with the clean user friendly user interface this makes for a very clean and easy to use network especially for beginners.
With the network continuously holding transaction speeds of 2,000 transactions per second and plans to scale this right up to a theoretical 700,000 transactions per second Solana is possibly the fastest network available right now.
No one wants to pay high fees when sending payments. For the mass adoption of Crypto it is going to be crucial that transactions can be sent at a low cost, this is where Solana thrives boasting a cost pre transaction of just $0.00025 per transaction.
This makes for a very cheap network to use and it is possibly the cheapest to do so. Mix these low transaction fees with the fast transaction speeds and you have a network completing millions of transactions per day.
Solana has experienced some issues with reliability over the past couple months with the network coming down a small handful of times. This is due to a couple of different reasons, one is botting. Due to the low fees Solana is a perfect environment for bots to run wild especially in the NFT sector. The developers at Solana have since made changes and placed some ant botting measures in place which has slightly helped with this problem.
Solana is still technically in beta and the team is actively pushing out a lot of updates which is a great sign. For a beta network to be handling 240 million transactions per day while still in beta is impressive.
Solana offers a handful of native wallets all with clean user interfaces that all seem to be targeting the simplicity side of the network. You don’t need to worry about changing technical settings or dealing with any “blockchain” tech.
Some of the most popular Solana wallets are: Phantom, Sollet & Solflar.
Solana is not compatible with the wallet giant Metamask.
Even during the bear market Solana is experiencing a rapidly growing wallet user base, this tells us that even during turmoil in the markets users are still using Solana not just as an investment but also as a network. This is rare in crypto and definitely not something we want to ignore.
The most popular wallet for Solana is Phantom, a browser extension and also mobile wallet with a very clean UI and smooth operating experience. From this data from Tech Dreams we can see that between January 1st 2022 and January 30th 2022 there were 6.89 million unique Solana wallets.
Both Polkadot and Solana are completely different projects offering different services. Solana is a layer 1 offering somewhere to make cheap and fast transactions offering a very user friendly UI. While Polkadot is a layer 0 offering somewhere for developers to build their projects and allow multiple protocols and blockchains to communicate and connect with each other.
The future is very much going to be multichain so why not get involved in both Solana and Polkadot. As always, do your own research.