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What is Solana?
Solana is a blockchain platform designed to host decentralized, scalable applications. Founded in 2017, it is an open-source project currently run by Solana Foundation based in Geneva, while the blockchain was built by San Francisco-based Solana Labs. Solana is much faster in terms of the number of transactions it can process and has significantly lower transaction fees compared to rival blockchains like Ethereum. The cryptocurrency that runs on the Solana blockchain also named Solana (SOLUSD) and using the ticker symbol SOL soared almost 12,000% in 2021, and at one point had a market capitalization of over $66 billion, making it the fifth-largest cryptocurrency by this measure. It did not escape the cryptocurrency bloodbath of 2022. By Sept. 11, 2022, SOL had dropped to about $12.4 billion in market capitalization. It also fell to ninth place in market capitalization. Besides being created as a reward for mining, bitcoin can be exchanged for other currencies, products, and services. As of February 2015, over 100,000 merchants and vendors accepted bitcoin as payment. Bitcoin can also be held as an investment. According to research produced by Cambridge University in 2017, there are 2.9 to 5.8 million unique users using a cryptocurrency wallet, most of them using bitcoin.
Solana VS Ethereum
Solana's rapidly expanding ecosystem and its versatility have inevitably drawn comparisons to Ethereum, the leading blockchain for decentralized applications (dApps). Both Solana and Ethereum have smart contract capabilities, which are crucial for running cutting-edge applications like decentralized finance (DeFi) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). But there are some fundamental differences between the two. Unlike Solana, Ethereum is a proof of work (PoW) blockchain, wherein miners must compete to solve complex puzzles in order to validate transactions, making this technology more energy intensive and hence detrimental to the environment. Much of the buzz surrounding Solana in 2021 was due to its distinct advantage over Ethereum in terms of transaction processing speed and transaction costs. Solana can process as many as 50,000 TPS, and its average cost per transaction is $0.00025. In contrast, Ethereum can only handle less than 15 TPS, while transaction fees reached a record of $70 in 2021. However, Ethereum has first mover advantage, and with its massive ecosystem, it is second only to Bitcoin in terms of market capitalization. Ethereum Eth2 upgrade, which has since been rebranded as the Merge, and its shift to a PoS model are both set for 2022; the upgrade is expected to make the blockchain more scalable, secure, and sustainable, while dramatically increasing transaction processing speed. Solana status as a newer blockchain company also came under the microscope when it suffered a network outage for more than 17 hours on Sept. 17, 2021, after a surge in transaction volume and bot activity led to excessive memory consumption. Though its SOL token initially plunged on the news, it later erased those losses, reaching a record price of over $250 in November 2021.