Tea or Coffee? iOS or Android? Gym or cardio? We all want what’s best for us, and as a result, it has become human nature to draw comparisons when presented with options. So why should it be any different when choosing which blockchain to use or which token to invest in?
A question we have come across often is ‘Ethereum or Solana?’ Which is the better blockchain? Trying to find the best blockchain can be difficult considering they all have their pros and cons and the answer depends on what you want to use it for. However, there are many factors to consider to answer this question. This list includes the likes of consensus algorithm, scalability, and platform age and adoption. So how do Ethereum and Solana compare against each other on some of these factors?
Blockchain consensus algorithms are like a set of steps. Participants of the blockchain take these steps to agree on the shared state of the blockchain. Ethereum is currently undergoing a transition from Proof of Work (PoW) to Proof of Stake (PoS). Solana, however, uses Proof of History (PoH) to organise transactions sequentially and Proof of Stake to validate this sequence.
Read more: Proof of Work VS Proof of Stake
Proof of Work is often considered more secure and resistant to centralization. However, due to high energy consumption, Ethereum is moving towards PoS. Solana, using the PoH consensus algorithm, creates a historical record that proves an event has occurred at a specific moment in time. This gives Solana an advantage against front-running attacks since transactions are ordered based on time of creation rather than transaction fees.
Read more: Impact of Blockchain On Society and Health
Scalability and Transaction Speed
Scalability and Transaction Speed go hand in hand. If a network has low transaction speed, it becomes increasingly difficult for more and more people to use it effectively without the use of external solutions. Ethereum can only handle 13 to 15 transactions per second at the moment. Layer-two scaling solutions like Polygon and Validium have been built since the Ethereum mainnet is not scalable. This lack of scalability is often reflected in the high transaction fees on the Ethereum Network.
Solana outperforms Ethereum when it comes to Scalability and Transaction Speed. The network can currently handle over 50,000 transactions per second. Solana achieves this efficiency by utilising a more centralised network than Ethereum. Along with faster transaction times, the Solana network has built-in scalability which divides data into smaller units, making network transfers simple. This removes the need of adding layer-two solutions to make it more scalable. Hence it’s not a surprise that transaction fees on Solana remain under $0.01.
Read more: Solana Pay
Platform Age and Adoption
Smart contract platforms are a quite recent innovation, having only been available for a little under 7 years. Because of this, many of the top smart contract platforms are still developing and maturing.
A smart contract platform’s security is significantly impacted by how old it is. More reliable smart contract systems are less likely to develop new security flaws, and they have had more time to identify and fix any existing ones. A platform that is older and has a larger community has probably undergone more security research, has a development community that has more experience using the platform and understanding its quirks, and has more resources for conducting security audits of smart contracts.
Here, Ethereum triumphs over Solana with ease. While Solana was introduced in March 2020, Ethereum has been around since July 2015. Ethereum has a lot more active users and hosts a lot more decentralised applications (dApps) as compared to Solana. As a result, Ethereum is far better understood than Solana in terms of potential smart contract weaknesses and frequent development errors.
Is One Better Than The Other?
Solana has a market capitalization of just under $20 billion. While this pales in comparison to Ethereum’s $200 billion, keep in mind that Ethereum has been around much longer. Your choice between the two blockchains entirely depends on your intended use for them. Ethereum is the more secure, well-known, and decentralised of the two. It has been around since 2014 and has a strong development community built around it. It is the go-to blockchain for the NFT space. Solana, on the other hand, is much quicker and more cost-effective.
Both blockchains have their pros and cons. To understand which is the best for you, break down what you are trying to achieve and see which solution fits your needs better!