Cardano vs. Solana: Which is Better?

Cardano vs. Solana: Which is Better?

Both of these Ethereum Killers have made a killing for your wallet, but which is poised to do better in 2022?

Cardano vs. Solana: Which is Better?
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Published Dec 22, 2021Updated Dec 22, 2021

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Cardano (ADA) and Solana (SOL) are considered to be the cryptocurrencies that will “kill” Ethereum. Both projects aim to improve upon the original premise of Ethereum to create practical use-cases for blockchain beyond just “internet money.”

Both Solana and Cardano are focused on making an environmentally conscious, scalable and efficient blockchain. Cardano made headlines a few years back for its founder Charles Hoskinson leaving the Ethereum project to focus on building Cardano, a Proof-of-Stake blockchain that would combat Ethereum’s huge environmental impact. Solana was created by computer science veteran Anatoly Yakovenko as a means to solve Ethereum’s slow network transaction times and high transaction costs known as “gas fees” through Solana’s Proof-of-History consensus mechanism. 

Both of these projects have had massive returns this past year, and for good reason. Since so many people are using the Ethereum blockchain to mint and buy NFTs, the crypto community is expressing concerns with the blockchain’s environmental impact. Cardano and Solana aim to solve these problems and create more efficient blockchains for the future—which also could help make you some extraordinary returns. 

Let’s dive into how the two blockchains compare.

Cardano vs Solana Summarized

In the CoinDesk 20 list published by leading crypto news outlet CoinDesk, Cardano and Solana rank in the top 10 most valuable coins by market cap. 

Here’s how the two compare. 

(Note: We used data sourced at the time of writing, but prices change literally from second to second. Always do your research before you make any investments, and keep crypto holdings to a small percentage of your overall portfolio.)

 Cardano (ADA)Solana (SOL)
Price$1.24$175.24
Historical Returns656.098% (YTD)↑ 8124.3% (YTD)
Market Cap$42.1 billion$54.6 billion
Circulating Supply33 billion ADA 

308 million SOL


 

FoundersCharles HoskinsonBilly Markus and Anatoly Yakovenko
Use CasesSmart Contracts, Store of Value, Exchange of ValueDefi, NFTs, Store of Value, Smart Contracts, Exchange of Value
Defi CompatibilityYesYes
Eco-Conscious?Yes, through its Proof-of-Stake validating mechanismYes, through its Proof-of-History validating mechanism 
Influential SupportersLex Fridman, Justin Roiland and Gene SimmonsAndreeson Horowitz, Chamath Palihapitiya, Michael Jordan, Melania Trump
Tech Built OnProof of StakeProof of History
Maximum Supply45 billion ADANo maximum supply, but fixed issuance (1.5% inflation annually)
Smart Contract CapabilityYesYes

Mainstream Adoption


 

Minimal Minimal widestream uses, but popular for NFTs

Sources: Coinbase, CoinDesk, CoinMarketCap, Cardano.org, Solana.com

 

What is Cardano?

Cardano was created by a co-founder of Ethereum to be a more environmentally conscious blockchain with capability for smart contracts, DeFi, and decentralized apps. In September of 2021, it unveiled an update to allow for NFTs to be built on its platform. 

Cardano’s consensus mechanism is the Proof-of-Stake, meaning that when blocks are added to the Cardano blockchain it is more environmentally sustainable than the Proof-of-Work model that Bitcoin is minted on.

Cardano’s cryptocurrency is known as ADA (named after Ada Lovelace, a beloved historical figure who was daughter of the poet Lord Byron and recognized as the first computer programmer).

Cardano Use Case

Notably, the Cardano blockchain has the capability for smart contracts, leading to increased attention surrounding NFTs and decentralized finance (DeFi)—especially as Ethereum’s costly gas fees (transaction fees) go higher and higher. And like all cryptocurrencies, Cardano’s ADA can be used to send and receive funds, as well as store value.

Cardano Market Cap

Cardano sits at a $42 billion market cap at the time of writing this article, making it one of the biggest Proof-of-Stake blockchain projects on the block.

Cardano Mainstream Adoption

Cardano’s blockchain is powerful, but it lacks major present practical use cases. It was not NFT-capable until September of 2021, which means that it missed out on being a first mover blockchain for NFTs, which were literally the word of the year. 

The Cardano blockchain has many different capabilities, but most of these applications are still unused in the present market. In 2021, Cardano unveiled its smart contract capabilities. However, we’re still waiting for major mainstream applications for the Cardano blockchain.

Why You Should Invest in Cardano

Cardano is being talked about as a more environmentally sustainable alternative to Ethereum, and one of the major projects in Web 3.0. It also has a reputable founding team, strong ties to the crypto community, and a partnership with Ethiopia.

Why You Shouldn’t Invest in Cardano

Cardano is an “Ethereum Killer” but many don’t want Ethereum killed. Ethereum has plans to undergo a major update in 2022, where it aims to become a Proof-of-Stake blockchain. This will hurt Cardano’s biggest selling point, that it is the environmentally conscious blockchain.

What is Solana?

Solana is a blockchain project made by long term computer programmer, Anatoly Yakovenko. Yakovenko realized that one of the biggest problems that faced the two biggest crypto projects, Bitcoin and Ethereum, was their lengthy transaction times.

This is where he came up with the idea for Proof-of-History. This complex provided a totally different way of validating transactions, making the Solana blockchain somewhat revolutionary for cryptocurrency. Remember: At the end of the day, the crypto has to be useful and scalable. 

Solana is incredibly fast at processing transactions. Solana takes 400 milliseconds for a transaction. It can handle up to 50,000 transactions per second (TPS). To put this into perspective, Ethereum takes 10 to 15 seconds to process one transaction and can only handle 15 to 45 TPS. Pretty bananas.

Solana was initially released in April 2019 at a trading price of $1. Since then it has gone up to over $200 in 2021, and it is backed by some well-known tech titans like Andreeson Horowitz.

Solana Use Case

Solana has many different kinds of potential use cases. Like all cryptocurrencies it is an exchange and store of value. It also has the capability for DeFi and NFTs—two crowd pleasers, for sure.

Meanwhile, Ethereum’s finicky gas fees may skyrocket into hundreds or even thousands of dollars at any moment—especially at times of high network congestion. Imagine being an artist who wants to make an NFT, and then realizing that the fees to list your NFT on OpenSea are higher than the cost of the art itself—talk about prohibitive. 

It’s this very pain point that’s drawn so many people to Solana. Solana’s fees are comparatively nothing, as it typically costs somewhere around 0.000005 SOL, or about $0.00025 per transaction.

Solana Market Cap

The market cap of Solana is currency hovering around $55 billion, with a cost between $168 and $184 USD per token. The current circulating supply is 307,979,460.12 SOL. Solana has no cap on how many tokens can be made, but it eventually will have a fixed issuance of 1.5 percent increase. So, unlike Bitcoin, Solana is inflationary.

Solana Mainstream Adoption

Where Solana has had the most success in 2021 in terms of the general public has been in NFTs, which exploded into a multi-billion dollar investment tool in 2021. Solana is the second-biggest cryptocurrency player in the NFT space. Solanart is a platform by which you can trade Solana backed NFTs. Some of the big names in Solana NFT world include Melania Trump, Michael Jordan, and Soulja Boy.

Why You Should Invest in Solana

In terms of its technology, Solana seems to be leaps and bounds ahead of other blockchain projects. It is low-cost, fast, and scalable—plus it has a community of new crypto enthusiasts who are cutting their crypto teeth on its blockchain.

There is a huge fanbase of Solana due to its early embrace of NFTs, and in the cryptocurrency world community is nearly everything. Due to the advanced technology and lower tax fees than Ethereum, well-known celebrities are choosing to work with Solana rather than Ethereum to mint their projects.

Solana has arguably better technology than Ethereum and provides its users with low cost, quick transactions. This, plus, having powerful backers like Andreeson Horowitz means that Solana is a strong investment for anyone looking to enter crypto.

Why You Shouldn’t Invest in Solana

Solana’s biggest criticism is actually of the so-called Solana whales who own a lot of SOL. In November, Chamath Palihapitiya and David Sacks joked about selling all of their Solana on Episode 50 of the All-In Podcast—which wasn’t exactly cute, according to crypto believers. There is a general anxiety that Solana skews in top heavy ownership by whales, making the ecosystem ripe for a “bump and dump” scheme (aka market manipulation).   

This is the duality of Solana. Much of its hype comes from having notable backers like Andreeson Horowitz, but that has isolated it from the veteran crypto people who don’t like big name Venture Capital firms stepping into a system that was created to rebel against the elites. If you’re a crypto purist and libertarian pirate at heart, maybe look to other tokens that have lower public sentiment. That way, you can potentially ride the waves from the bottom all the way up, as opposed to getting in while popular opinion is already favorable. After all, the higher the price, the harder the crash.

Will Cardano or Solana be Accepted as a Payment?

Both Cardano and Solana are likely never going to be primarily used as exchanges of value. Both cryptocurrencies are utility tokens, not coins. Coins like Dogecoin and Bitcoin exist as a means to exchange value for a good or service. Utility tokens like Cardano and Solana are more like stocks in the sense that they represent the value of their respective blockchain projects.

Price Considerations: Cardano vs Solana

Both blockchain companies will likely appreciate as long as the sentiment towards crypto and blockchain stays positive. However, they lack the community that Bitcoin and Ethereum have built from being first movers in this space. Sadly, Solana and Cardano risk depreciating quickly in bear markets—so you’ll want to keep a long-term strategy in mind.

And while we’re at it, let’s address the elephant in the room: A big concern for both Cardano and Solana is Ethereum’s forthcoming upgrade due to happen in 2022. If Ethereum becomes more akin to Cardano (aka adopting a Proof-of-Stake)—and it becomes faster like Solana—both Ethereum killers could lose their novelty.

Which Has More Room to Skyrocket: Cardano or Solana?

Cardano is a project that is still iterating. The prevailing sentiment is that Cardano is an evolving project, whose governing body often misses deadlines, but does so because it tries to be perfect. 

Solana is considered to be a better technological product, with impressive backers, but the issue is those backers potentially own too much, and can dictate the market.

What Will Cardano or Solana be Worth in 2025?

It’s kind of impossible to predict what the price for both Cardano and Solana will be down the line. 

Online projectections forecast Solana to be worth between $500 and $1,000 dollars in 2025. However, this is also speculation. Much of the current Solana supply is tied up in DeFi staking mechanisms. Something like 77% of the eligible Solana is staked, which means that when that staking period ends, investors could technically sell their Solana and cause a price drop. 

That said, it’s in every Solana owners’ best interest to make sure that the price doesn’t drop too heavily. But if those Solana whales pull out, all bets are off and someone will be left to pay the price. 

Meanwhile, Cardano is aiming to iterate like crazy, and people view its price projections with a somewhat optimistic lens. However, things changed when Solana arrived on the block, so investors need not get too excited. Niche online publications project ADA to be worth around $3 to $4 dollars per token in 2025.

Where to Buy Cardano or Solana

Both currencies are available on major crypto exchanges like Coinbase, Binance, and Gemini.

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Gemini

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