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We are an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. Our goal is to help you make smarter financial decisions by providing you with interactive tools and financial calculators, publishing original and objective content, by enabling you to conduct research and compare information for free – so that you can make financial decisions with confidence.
Our articles, interactive tools, and hypothetical examples contain information to help you conduct research but are not intended to serve as investment advice, and we cannot guarantee that this information is applicable or accurate to your personal circumstances. Any estimates based on past performance do not a guarantee future performance, and prior to making any investment you should discuss your specific investment needs or seek advice from a qualified professional.
The offers that appear on this site are from companies that compensate us. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site, including, for example, the order in which they may appear within the listing categories. But this compensation does not influence the information we publish, or the reviews that you see on this site. We do not include the universe of companies or financial offers that may be available to you.
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Solana is a type of cryptocurrency or digital currency that exists exclusively online. Solana was initially released in April 2019 and started trading at less than $1 per coin. Since then, its price has risen remarkably fast, rising to above $200 before falling alongside other cryptocurrencies for most of 2022. As of September 2022, Solana traded for about $35. It’s among the top 10 largest cryptocurrencies by total value, according to CoinMarketCap.com.
Here’s what Solana is and what you need to know about how it works.
Solana is one of the most popular cryptocurrencies among more than 10,000 that currently exist. The cryptocurrency platform is called Solana, while the individual unit is called a sol.
Created by Anatoly Yakovenko, Solana operates on a decentralized computer network using a ledger called blockchain. This blockchain database manages and tracks the currency, and effectively records every transaction that’s ever occurred in it, like a long running receipt. The computer network records the transactions in the currency and verifies the data’s integrity.
This decentralized setup makes the network more robust, and users can make transactions without the need of an intermediary. Solana calls itself the fastest blockchain in the world and touts its ability to verify 65,000 transactions per second at a cost of less than a penny each.
While many people think of crypto coins as only a currency, it’s useful to think of crypto as a token that can power or enable other apps on the platform. For example, Solana can power smart contracts, decentralized finance apps, NFTs and more.
Solana can power several applications that offer a variety of features:
Again, think of Solana as a token that can power various apps rather than merely as a currency that transfers monetary value from one person to another.
As of September 2022, there were about 353 million sol in circulation. Like many coins, Solana has a limited annual issuance, as coins are rewarded to those supporting the cryptocurrency. Solana began by increasing its supply by 8 percent annually, but that figure declines 15 percent each year, until it ultimately reaches 1.5 percent annually, which is its fixed ongoing issuance.
This issuance schedule contrasts markedly with other popular cryptos such as Bitcoin, which has a total fixed supply of 21 million coins, and Dogecoin, which has no limit on issuance.
Solana uses a “proof of stake” system to verify transactions, manage its coin supply and create new coins. To participate in a proof of stake system, you need to own the cryptocurrency but then you can earn rewards for helping to operate the system. By staking tokens with a validator, you’re putting trust in the validator to authorize transactions. However, as with other proof of stake systems, stakers can lose money if validated transactions don’t meet the system’s rules.
For verifying transactions, validators receive staking rewards in the form of new coins and take a cut of the rewards as a commission. They then pass on the rest of the reward to those who have staked with them, proportionally to their ownership interest.
Solana rose quickly after being introduced, before tumbling alongside other cryptocurrencies and risky assets as the Federal Reserve started raising interest rates. Early buyers of Solana likely made money, but that’s been more of a challenge in recent months. But instead of looking at recent gains or losses and suffering from fear of missing out, it’s vital to understand what you’re buying. From that perspective, traders are buying something that’s not backed by assets or cash flow.
That’s a key difference between cryptocurrency and stocks. A stock is a fractional ownership interest in a business and its success over time relies on the growth of the underlying company. If profit grows, the investment is likely to work out well. Stockholders have a legal claim on the assets and cash flow of the business, and the business may even pay dividends to investors.
In contrast, Solana – like most popular cryptocurrencies – is not backed by any fundamental assets. What propels them is the optimism and speculation of other traders. Traders think they can sell the crypto coin to other traders later for a higher price, or what’s called the “greater fool theory of investing.” So speculation is the driving force behind the price rise in digital currencies.
If optimistic traders evaporate, cryptocurrency has nothing to buoy it. It’s a key distinction that keeps many investors, including the legendary Warren Buffett, away from cryptocurrency.
If you’re looking to speculate in Solana or other cryptocurrencies, you can trade them directly or you can invest in the companies that could profit from the growing interest in the sector.
If you’re looking to trade Solana, however, it’s important to understand the risks, and you could potentially lose your whole investment. Not only is crypto volatile, but it’s rarely backed by any assets or cash flow. So if you’re trading crypto, don’t put in money that you can’t afford to lose.
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