Koinos CEO Andrew Levine said Solana was down 17 hours last week. He says that when things break, these breaks often reveal interesting details about a project and its design decisions. Solana has not proven the need for historical evidence to scale blockchains’ transaction throughput. The cost of their solution is extremely high and completely misses the purpose of the blockchain! Running a node is and always will be completely inaccessible as this is a feature of Solana, not a bug.
CEO of Koinos Group, creator of the Koinos blockchain
I’m Andrew Levine, CEO of Koinos Group, whose mission is to help people use blockchain for the good of humanity. So when we saw that Solana, one of the fastest growing blockchains in space, was down for a full 17 hours, we decided to examine that log to understand what went wrong because that’s a long time for a value of $ 4 billion to be inaccessible whether or not you call yourself beta.
But remember, just because we’re looking at a negative event doesn’t mean we’re condemning the entire project. It’s just that when things break, these breaks often reveal interesting details about a project and its design decisions. Whatever went wrong with Solana, we don’t want to go wrong with our blockchain, and if, in the course of our investigations, we also find out what a project is doing right and use this information to our advantage, then everyone is better.
In the video above, I’m talking to one of my co-founders, Michael Vandeberg, one of the blockchain architects who build koinos. He shares his findings from the little research he was able to do. But remember, the value here is not based on Michael being an expert on Solana, which he is not. He’s an expert at building blockchains, and so the potential value in this conversation comes from his perspective as someone building blockchains, not a Solana expert.
Proof of history
We’re focusing on the idea of a cryptographic clock because a lot of people don’t realize that, according to the folks behind Solana, the innovation at the core of this blockchain is what they call the Proof of History, but is essentially a cryptographic clock. Their central claim seems to be that by building a separate system off the blockchain that lets users running nodes know when a transaction has been submitted, it can somehow get the high number of transactions per second for which it is have advertised.
This is not a common view of this problem, by which I mean that it wasn’t so prevalent in the blockchain space that we could never get high transaction throughput without a cryptographic clock. In other words, there was no consensus that the key to improving throughput is to add a clock to the blockchain.
After a quick look at the Solana documentation, which we found extremely flawed and confusing, we came to the conclusion that Solana has not proven the need for historical evidence to scale the transaction throughput of blockchains.
While proof of history will likely allow them to increase their throughput by practically eliminating the time it takes to apply a block, the cost of their solution is extremely high and, in our opinion, completely misses the purpose of blockchains!
If the proof of history were really a technological breakthrough, it wouldn’t impose the stringent hardware and software requirements built into Solana. In other words, Solana is simply highly optimized for transaction throughput, and evidence of history is only part of that highly optimized system.
The consequence is that it is NOT optimized for user experience, developer experience, flexibility, or upgradeability. Running a node is and always will be completely inaccessible as this is a feature of Solana, not a bug.
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