For the longest time, North Carolina has been a leader in innovation and financial services in the US. So, it comes as no surprise that it was among the first states to include virtual currencies in its money transmitters legislation and develop a booming crypto market.
The Tar Heel State now abounds in residents interested in investing in cryptos like Solana. If you happen to be one of them, you’ve come to the right place. This guide will discuss what Solana is, which characteristics it boasts, and where you can buy it in NC. Keep reading to learn more!
What Is Solana?
Solana is an open-source, blockchain-based platform created with the aim to surpass all other blockchain projects in scaling throughput at a low cost. Its permissionless and high-speed layer-1 blockchain utilizes a never-used-before hybrid consensus model. Thanks to this unique system, Solana is able to support decentralized applications, non-fungible token marketplaces, decentralized financial projects, and cryptocurrencies.
The idea for Solana was born back in 2017. Anatoly Yakovenko, an ex-Qualcomm executive, published a white paper explaining the structure of this innovative blockchain. The platform was presented to the public during the Initial Coin Offering (ICO). However, it was officially launched at the beginning of 2020, after multiple testnet phases.
The architecture and the abilities of Solana’s blockchain helped it gain momentum in the crypto industry. It quickly became a strong contender among many popular cryptos, like Ethereum.
What Makes Solana Special?
To answer this question, we have to take a deeper dive into one of the biggest problems the crypto industry is dealing with today — the blockchain trilemma.
The blockchain trilemma is a term coined by Vitalik Buterin, one of Ethereum’s creators. The concept refers to the combination of challenges developers have to overcome when building new blockchains — decentralization, scalability, and security.
The best version of the blockchain platform would have all of these qualities. However, they are mutually exclusive. It’s seemingly impossible to encapsulate all three into a single project. For instance, if you build a chain that’s decentralized and secure, like Bitcoin, you’ll have to sacrifice its scalability. The same goes for other options as well.
But here’s what makes Solana unique — it has allegedly solved this trilemma through its design. This project runs on a combination of two consensus mechanisms — PoS and PoH. PoS stands for proof-of-stake, which you’ve probably already heard of unless you’re new to the industry. This mechanism facilitates message sequencing between the nodes in the network through validators. Nevertheless, PoH (proof-of-history) is a completely new concept.
It is a consensus mechanism that processes transactions by verifying the order and the time passage of events occurring on the network. In that way, PoH provides the nodes with a universal source of time. The system synchronizes the nodes and creates a transaction chain where the output of one transaction becomes the input of the next.
As a result, Solana boosts throughput and achieves high scalability without losing its decentralized nature. The project can process around 710,000 transactions per second (TPS), which makes it the fastest chain in the industry.
Solana’s native cryptocurrency is SOL. It’s a crypto with monetary value — meaning you can buy, sell, and trade it for other cryptos or fiat currencies. However, SOL is also a utility token — you can stake it to boost the network’s security and support the project’s development.
Solana’s token was launched in March 2020. It landed on the list of the top 10 most popular cryptos worldwide soon after. There are over 500 million SOL in total and more than 300 million in circulation. This crypto has no max cap, which makes it especially vulnerable to inflation. Solana’s current annual inflation rate is 8% but is set to drop to 1.5% over time. The current price of SOL sits at around $37.
While Solana has a lot going for it, it’s not perfect. This project has two prominent issues — its lack of validators and its developmental phase.
As we’ve mentioned, Solana relies on validators to add blocks to the chain. However, the complexity of this network narrows the pool of candidates who can serve as validators. Namely, only those with technical knowledge and enough computing resources can play such an important role. The lack of validators creates another problem — it directly affects the decentralization of the project.
The other downside you should be aware of is that Solana is still in its beta phase. The protocol has all its important functions and features, but it hasn’t reached its full potential yet. It’s not immune to bugs and errors and still requires further testing.
Despite these flaws, we must note that Solana has made immense progress so far. It’s become one of the most notable platforms on the crypto scene, and it continues to evolve every day.
Crypto Laws in North Carolina
North Carolina enacted the Money Transmitters Act in 2016. It was one of the first pieces of legislation in the country to recognize virtual currencies and start regulating their use. The act requires all NC companies engaging in the business of transmitting or holding money to obtain an NC money transmitters’ license. Nevertheless, individuals can legally buy or sell cryptos without having this license.
Where Can I Buy SOL in North Carolina?
Anyone interested in buying Solana can come by this crypto in two ways — by using a crypto exchange platform or by finding an individual willing to sell their coins.
Crypto exchange platforms are marketplaces that allow users to sell, buy, and trade various cryptocurrencies. They can be decentralized and centralized. Decentralized exchanges (DEXs) don’t have a single organization in charge of their operations. They facilitate peer-to-peer transactions between users through smart contracts. DEXs don’t work with fiat currencies and have lower trading volumes than their centralized counterparts.
Centralized exchanges (CEXs) are owned and operated by an organization. They act as mediators by helping users conduct transactions among themselves. CEXs are usually registered, licensed, and regulated. They support fiat currencies and are more popular among crypto users overall.
If you lack knowledge and experience in the crypto industry, you should stick to the latter type.
Choosing the Right Centralized Crypto Exchange
North Carolina’s flourishing crypto scene has drawn many famous centralized exchanges to this state. Choosing between them can be a daunting task if you don’t know which criteria to use. To make things easier for you, we’ve come up with a list of things you should look for in a centralized crypto exchange:
- Availability and licensing — There are plenty of great crypto exchanges out there. However, some of them might not operate in NC or hold this state’s MT license. So, make sure the platform you’re considering ticks both of these boxes before you join it.
- Reputation — Make sure to also check the exchange’s reputation. The internet is packed with users’ reviews and comments. Finding out whether others are satisfied with the platform you’d like to register on should be easy.
- Security — The crypto market is not the most secure place in the world. Therefore, make sure the crypto exchange of your choice implements security measures strict enough to keep you and your sensitive data safe from cybercrime.
- Liquidity — Platforms with high liquidity allow users to sell or buy cryptos quickly without significant price changes. So, don’t forget to check what trading volume of SOL your exchange boasts before you join it.
- Ease of use — All crypto exchanges function in a similar way. Nevertheless, some of them might offer apps or websites that are easier to use on a daily basis. So, it’s wise to visit and explore the platform you’re planning to sign up with in advance.
- Payment methods — Centralized exchanges typically support a wide array of payment methods. However, it doesn’t hurt to check whether the list includes the options you tend to use most often.
- Fees — While you won’t be able to avoid fees when using a crypto exchange, you do get a say in how much you’ll pay. So, check the fees the platform you’re interested in imposes to make sure they are compatible with your budget.
Buying SOL Directly
Buying SOL directly from another user is the other way in which you can purchase this token in North Carolina. However, this is not the safest method of obtaining SOL. Crypto markets are not without scammers. So, unless you are certain you can trust the person selling the coins, there’s a fair chance you’ll get ripped off.
Therefore, you should only opt for this method if you are confident that the seller is reliable. Otherwise, it’s much better to join a crypto exchange.
How to Buy SOL Using a Crypto Exchange — Step-by-Step Guide
Once you’ve decided which centralized crypto exchange you want to use for your SOL purchase, the hard part is over. Now, all you need to do is follow our guide below, and you’ll be all set. Here are the steps you’ll have to take:
- Find a crypto wallet — Do some research on crypto wallets that support Solana, pick the one you like the most, and register.
- Choose a crypto exchange — Use the tips in one of the earlier sections to pick the best crypto exchange platform for your needs.
- Open a crypto exchange account — Visit the exchange’s official website and follow the on-page instructions to create an account.
- Authenticate your identity — Provide the documents the exchange requires for the KYC procedure.
- Top up your account balance — Make a deposit by selecting your preferred payment method and entering the amount of money you’d like to transfer.
- Purchase SOL — Find the section where you can buy SOL, select the right fiat/cryptocurrency pairing, and input the number of coins you’d like to buy.
- Stake or transfer your coins — Decide whether you want to stake the coins you’ve bought or send them to your crypto wallet to keep them secure.
Solana has become increasingly popular over the past few years. Its innovative design and functionality make it stand out from its competitors, and its future looks promising.
If you’re from North Carolina and interested in buying it, you’re in luck. The Tar Heel State happens to be one of the best US states for purchasing crypto, thanks to its highly-regulated market. So, select the way you want to buy the coins, follow our guides, and make your first purchase. Good luck!