Polkadot vs. Solana: Key Differences Explained

A closer look at two of the fastest growing blockchain networks

Polkadot and Solana are among the most popular third-generation blockchain networks. They both boast outstanding scalability and efficiency without sacrificing decentralization. This article will go through multiple aspects comparing Polkadot and Solana. Hopefully, you will have a clear picture of the benefits of each chain after reading.


The rise of the multi-chain landscape

Many may know Ethereum is currently the second largest crypto by market cap. As a pioneer blockchain, Ethereum has laid a solid groundwork for various innovations such as smart contracts and NFTs. If you want to learn everything about Ethereum, check out DappRadar’s Ultimate Guide to Ethereum.

However, Ethereum still has its limitations. For example, it’s relatively slow and can only process 30 transactions per second. Moreover, it still adopts a proof-of-work model, meaning it’s energy-intensive. 

As a result, competitors have sprung up, looking to address Ethereum’s problems and accelerate Web3’s mass adoption. Among the most competitive candidates, we have Polkadot and Solana

This article will take a look at the differences between the two.

What is Polkadot, and what is Solana?

Founded in 2016 and launched in May 2020, Polkadot is a decentralized network connecting multiple blockchain ecosystems. 

Polkadot aims to solve blockchain scalability and interoperability issues by creating a network of blockchains. Notably, Polkadot already has over 100 chains in its ecosystem and potentially can scale up to process up to 1 million transactions per second.

Read this article to get a comprehensive understanding of Polkadot.

Solana’s origin dates back to 2017, with its mainnet beta launched in March 2020. Solana focuses on increasing network speed and substantially reducing transaction costs as a single blockchain network. 

Furthermore, Solana empowers developers with a high-performance smart contract platform, allowing them to deliver a secure, versatile, and user-friendly dapp experience. Currently, hundreds of projects in the Solana ecosystem are already available to users, supporting various features, from decentralized finance (DeFi) to NFTs.

This article can help you gain a deeper insight into Solana.

Technical highlights

Polkadot’s network features three types of blockchains. The first one is Relay Chain, which is the main chain that processes transactions. Then comes the next type, parachains. These are application-specific chains that run on top of Relay Chain, allowing the addition of new features to Polkadot.

The last type covers bridges that enable interoperability with other blockchains, such as Ethereum.

Furthermore, Polkadot adopts a Nominated proof-of-stake (NPoS) consensus model to verify transactions. It is designed with two roles, validators and nominators. In a blockchain, a validator is someone responsible for verifying transactions.

The NPoS model allows nominators to back validators with their stake. This mechanism optimizes decentralization and security based on the original proof-of-stake model.

Solana blockchain has won the hearts of many users with its outstanding efficiency and affordability, thanks to its unique consensus mechanism. Solana realizes blockchain consensus by combining proof-of-stake (PoS) and proof-of-history (PoH) algorithms. 

Specifically speaking, the PoH model organizes all the transactions into chronological order using a timestamping process, which can speed up network transmission. Once the transactions are sorted, the system will send them to validators for verification. 

Network performance comparison

Solana and Polkadot are strong competitors to Ethereum, striving to bring a better blockchain experience to users through innovation. So, let’s compare all three of them in terms of cost and speed to understand their recent performance.


The native token on Polkadot is DOT, and it has two fundamental functions within the Polkadot ecosystem, governance, and staking. DOT, as the governance token, allows holders to vote on proposals and shape the future of the network. Regarding staking, DOT is used to verify transactions and generate additional tokens. 

DOT snapshot:

  • Price: $6.95
  • Circulating Supply: 1.11 billion 
  • Market cap: $7,737,959,429. 

In Solana, the SOL token powers its ecosystem. Users can use SOL to pay transaction fees when they transfer tokens or interact with Solana’s smart contracts. Holding SOL also allows users to run on-chain programs or become validators. 

SOL snapshot:

  • Price: $31.09
  • Circulating Supply: 350 million 
  • Market cap: $10,883,247,039


Polkadot’s goal is to build a versatile multi-chain paradigm for dapps and platforms to thrive. It allows projects to either build on top of a parachain or run their own chain.

For example, Moonbeam, one of the most exciting projects, is a parachain that shares Polkadot’s interoperability nature.

DappRadar tracks the vibrant ecosystem of the Moonbeam platform. Find out what is trending on Moonbean.  

Solana is one of the fastest growing blockchain ecosystems in recent years, thriving in DeFi, NFT, and gaming. 

Zooming in onto the DeFi sector, Solana’s TVL is $1.42billion, trailing Polygon, Avalanche, Binance Smart Chain, TRON, and Ethereum. In the gaming and NFT space, Solana is also doing well. For example, the casual game platform Gameta has gained vast traction lately, sending over 270,000 monthly users to Solana. 

Also worth mentioning is Magic Eden, the most popular NFT marketplace on Solana. This relatively young marketplace is currently making a splash in the NFT space, coming in second on DappRadar Marketplace Ranking.

The dapp landscape today is evolving faster than ever. Check out DappRadar Ranking to find the hottest dapps of the moment.

Polkadot vs. Solana: which one is better?

By drawing a comparison, we can notice that both projects have their differentiations. Polkadot emphasizes tackling scalability and interoperability issues, while Solana has a greater focus on improving network speed and reducing costs.

We hope both projects will achieve more breakthroughs in the future and deliver a better blockchain experience for users.

Check out more articles below about blockchain comparison below.

DappRadar will continue monitoring the latest developments of Polkadot and Solana. Follow us on Twitter, Discord, and Youtube to keep up with the dynamic blockchain world. 

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