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Solana: What is the right transaction commitment level for your use case?

Understanding transaction commitment levels is crucial for navigating the Solana landscape, especially when it comes to building reliable high-performance DApps. These commitment levels, namely “Processed”, “Confirmed”, and “Finalized”, serve as key indicators of transaction certainty and finality within the network.

This guide is designed to provide a comprehensive overview of these levels, equipping Web3 developers like yourself with the knowledge to operate effectively. Let’s get to it!

What are transaction commitment levels in Solana?

The role of Solana’s transaction commitment levels in ensuring the reliability and security of the network is significant. They offer a clear snapshot of a transaction’s state, empowering you as developers to make informed decisions based on your specific needs.

When interacting with Solana, transactions pass through three main commitment levels—”Processed”, “Confirmed”, and “Finalized”. Each level offers a different degree of certainty about the transaction’s status within the network. Whether you’re a seasoned developer or just starting your Solana journey, gaining a firm grasp of these commitment levels is a critical step forward.

Processed

A transaction is marked as “Processed” when it has been received by the network and included in a block. However, it’s important to note that at this stage, there’s no guarantee that the block containing the transaction is on the majority fork of the blockchain. Here are the key characteristics of the “Processed” commitment level:

  • The transaction is included in a received block.
  • The block may or may not be on the majority fork.
  • The block contains the target transaction.

Confirmed

The “Confirmed” commitment level is reached when a transaction is included in a block that has been voted on by a supermajority (66%+) of the network’s stake. This provides a higher level of assurance that the transaction is on the majority fork and is unlikely to be reversed. Here are the key characteristics of the “Confirmed” commitment level:

  • The transaction is included in a received block.
  • The block is on the majority fork.
  • The block contains the target transaction.
  • 66%+ of the network’s stake has voted on the block.

Finalized

The “Finalized” commitment level offers the highest level of certainty for a transaction on the Solana blockchain. A transaction is considered “Finalized” when it is included in a block that has been confirmed by a supermajority of the stake, and at least 31 additional confirmed blocks have been built on top of it. Here are the key characteristics of the “Finalized” commitment level:

  • The transaction is included in a received block.
  • The block is on the majority fork.
  • The block contains the target transaction.
  • 66%+ of the network’s stake has voted on the block.
  • At least 31 confirmed blocks have been built on top of the block.

How to choose the right Solana transaction commitment level?

When developing applications on Solana, selecting the appropriate commitment level based on your specific use case is crucial. Here are some guidelines to help you make the right choice:

  • For low-value or non-critical transactions, the “Processed” commitment level may be sufficient. This level indicates that the transaction has been received by the network and included in a block, but it doesn’t guarantee that the block is on the majority fork. This level is best suited for testing purposes and is therefore not recommended for use in production environments.
  • For transactions that require a higher level of assurance, such as financial transactions, the “Confirmed” commitment level is recommended. This level provides assurance that the transaction is on the majority fork and is unlikely to be reversed, as it has been voted on by a supermajority of the network’s stake. Typically, this commitment level is recommended for the majority of use cases, as it reduces block hash expirations and dropped transactions.
  • For high-value or mission-critical transactions that demand the highest level of finality, the “Finalized” commitment level should be used. This level offers the highest level of certainty, as it indicates that the transaction is included in a block that has been confirmed by a supermajority of the stake, and at least 31 additional confirmed blocks have been built on top of it. As a result, the “Finalized” level runs the highest risk of dropped transactions, especially during congestion.

Remember, the key to successful application development on Solana lies in understanding these commitment levels and leveraging them effectively to ensure the reliability and security of your transactions.

Bringing it all together

Having a deep understanding of Solana’s transaction commitment levels is an indispensable tool for developers working with the Solana blockchain. By choosing the appropriate commitment level for your use case, you can augment the reliability and security of your transactions.

The “Processed”, “Confirmed”, or “Finalized” commitment levels serve as a testament to a different degree of certainty and finality. As you navigate the world of Solana development, arm yourself with this knowledge. It will guide the way as you build robust and reliable applications that can stand up to the dynamic challenges that come with blockchain technology.

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