Velas: Understanding the Gulf Stream Mempool-less Transaction Forwarding Protocol


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Technology, Engineering 9 min reading


Teriano Porter

27 Mar 2024



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Welcome to the latest edition in our series, Exploring Velas' Innovative Technologies. Throughout this series, we delve into the cutting-edge technologies propelling Velas forward as a leading blockchain platform, reshaping the landscape...


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Welcome to the latest edition in our series, Exploring Velas' Innovative Technologies. Throughout this series, we delve into the cutting-edge technologies propelling Velas forward as a leading blockchain platform, reshaping the landscape of decentralized applications (DApps) and pushing the boundaries of blockchain innovation.

In this article, our focus turns to Solana's Gulf Stream protocol and its pivotal role in transforming mempool management—a fundamental component of blockchain networks. But before we delve into the specifics of Gulf Stream, let's take a moment to understand why efficient mempool management is crucial in the realm of blockchain.


Blockchain technology has undergone significant evolution, offering unparalleled levels of transparency, security, and decentralization. However, as blockchain networks continue to expand in complexity and scale, they encounter challenges in efficiently handling the ever-growing volume of transactions. One such challenge lies in managing the mempool—an essential temporary storage area where pending transactions await confirmation and inclusion in a block.

Traditional approaches to mempool management often struggle to keep pace with the increasing demands of blockchain networks, resulting in congestion, delays, and inefficiencies. These limitations hinder the scalability and performance of blockchain platforms, impeding their ability to support real-world applications and achieve widespread adoption.

Solana's Gulf Stream protocol represents a significant advancement in mempool management as it optimizes transaction processing, reduces confirmation times, and enhances overall network efficiency through its innovative techniques. By overcoming the limitations of traditional mempool management systems, Gulf Stream plays a crucial role in empowering Velas to reach new heights of scalability, throughput, and reliability.

In the following sections, we will embark on a journey to unravel the power of Gulf Stream and explore its transformative impact on blockchain technology, particularly within the Velas ecosystem.

Understanding Mempools and Their Limitations

The evolution of mempools traces back to the early days of blockchain technology, with Bitcoin pioneering the concept as part of BIP 35 (Bitcoin Improvement Proposal No.35). Initially conceived as a means for outside nodes to access transaction data, the mempool quickly became an essential component of blockchain networks. It serves as a "waiting room," where transactions queue up before being processed and confirmed, playing a crucial role in the overall efficiency and reliability of blockchain operations.

A mempool, short for "memory pool" or "transaction pool," forms a vital part of blockchain technology, acting as a temporary storage area for unconfirmed transactions. Every node on a blockchain network maintains its own mempool, ensuring that transactions are not lost or double-spent before being added to the blockchain. When a user initiates a cryptocurrency transaction, such as sending bitcoin to another user, the transaction enters the mempool, where it awaits validation and inclusion in a new block by miners or validators.

However, despite its significance, the mempool is not without limitations. Mempool congestion and backlog are common challenges that arise when the demand for transactions exceeds the available block space. Factors such as network congestion, significant events or news, and network upgrades can trigger sudden spikes in transaction volume, leading to delays in transaction processing and increased gas fees. Managing transaction priority and fees becomes paramount in such scenarios, as users must navigate a competitive market within mempools to ensure timely confirmation of their transactions.

To better understand how mempools work, let's consider a simple analogy involving two individuals, Alice and Bob, who wish to send each other cryptocurrency. Imagine Alice wants to send 1 BTC to Bob. She initiates the transaction, and it enters the mempool—a virtual "waiting room" where pending transactions queue up. Similarly, Bob decides to send 0.5 BTC to Alice, and his transaction also joins the mempool queue.

Now, suppose there is a network congestion due to a sudden surge in transaction volume, due to a rush hour traffic jam on a busy highway. As a result, the mempool becomes congested, and transactions like Alice's and Bob's may experience delays in being processed and confirmed. Miners prioritize transactions with higher fees attached to them, analogous to cars paying tolls to use express lanes during traffic jams. In this scenario, transactions with lower fees may get stuck in the mempool backlog, leading to longer confirmation times and potential frustration for users.

This simple analogy illustrates how mempools function as crucial components of blockchain networks, facilitating the smooth flow of transactions. However, it also underscores the limitations that arise when the demand for transactions exceeds the available block space, emphasizing the importance of effective mempool management strategies to mitigate congestion and ensure optimal network performance. In the following sections, we will delve deeper into these limitations and explore strategies for navigating mempool challenges in blockchain ecosystems.

The Birth of Gulf Stream: Solving the Mempool Problem

The evolution of blockchain technology has brought forth various solutions to the challenges posed by traditional mempool management systems. One notable advancement is Solana's Gulf Stream protocol, designed by Solana Labs to address scalability and latency issues that have long plagued blockchain networks. Gulf Stream represents a paradigm shift in mempool management, fundamentally altering how transactions are processed and confirmed.

Gulf Stream eliminates the need for a traditional mempool, which typically stores and manages unconfirmed transactions before they are added to a block. Instead, it leverages innovative techniques to advance transaction caching to the network's edge. This means that validators within the Solana network receive transactions directly, caching them locally to predict which transactions will be included in the next block. By bypassing the traditional mempool model, Gulf Stream significantly reduces latency and optimizes transaction processing.

One of Gulf Stream's key features is proactive transaction forwarding where validators forward transactions to each other based on a set of heuristics that optimize transaction propagation. This proactive approach minimizes latency and ensures that transactions reach a majority of validators in a short amount of time, thereby improving overall network efficiency.

Moreover, Gulf Stream optimizes validator selection by using stake-weighted metrics. This allows the protocol to prioritize the most staked validators for transaction processing, thereby maintaining a secure and reliable network. By streamlining the validator selection process and maximizing transaction throughput, Gulf Stream enables the Solana network to achieve unprecedented levels of scalability and efficiency.

Understanding How Gulf Stream Works

Imagine Alice wants to send 1 BTC to Bob over the blockchain network. In traditional blockchain systems, her transaction would join a queue in a centralized mempool along with other pending transactions, waiting for miners to confirm and include them in a block. However, Gulf Stream, introduces a revolutionary approach to mempool management.

Instead of waiting in a centralized mempool, Alice's transaction is immediately forwarded to validators distributed across the network. These validators act as distributed mailrooms, each holding onto Alice's transaction, ready to process it when the time comes. This decentralization of transaction caching ensures that transactions are distributed efficiently, reducing the reliance on a single point of failure.

Now, as Bob checks his wallet for incoming transactions, the validators, anticipating his request, already have Alice's transaction queued up and ready to go. Just like a series of efficient mail carriers ensuring prompt delivery, the validators swiftly forward Alice's transaction to Bob's wallet. This proactive approach minimizes the time it takes for transactions to reach their intended recipients, enhancing overall network efficiency.

In this scenario, validators play a crucial role as trusted post offices, carefully selected based on their reliability and stake in the network. The protocol prioritizes the most staked validators for transaction processing, ensuring that transactions are handled by the most reputable and secure entities. This optimized validator selection process enhances network scalability and resilience, making it more robust against potential attacks or disruptions.

By eliminating the need for a traditional mempool, Gulf Stream enables the Solana network to achieve higher transaction throughput. This optimization allows Solana to process tens of thousands of transactions per second while maintaining low transaction fees and high security. Gulf Stream's innovative approach to mempool management revolutionizes the way transactions are processed and confirmed on the blockchain, laying the foundation for a highly functional decentralized infrastructure on a global scale.

The architecture of Gulf Stream revolutionizes mempool management in blockchain networks. By pushing transaction caching and forwarding to the edge of the network, Gulf Stream enhances transaction processing speed, reduces confirmation times, and alleviates memory pressure on validators. This innovative protocol sets Solana apart in the blockchain space, providing blazing-fast transaction speeds and laying the foundation for a highly functional decentralized infrastructure on a global scale.

Advantages of Gulf Stream for the Velas Ecosystem

The adoption of Gulf Stream has brought numerous benefits to the Velas ecosystem, solidifying its position as a high-performance blockchain platform. By eliminating the need for a central mempool, Gulf Stream enables Velas to achieve higher transaction throughput, lower latency, and reduced transaction fees. Gulf Stream plays a critical role in mempool management by advancing transaction caching to the network's edge. This innovation ensures that block leaders have the necessary data to process transactions swiftly, bypassing the traditional mempool model. In Solana's architecture, the mempool is internal, reducing the public exposure of unconfirmed transactions and limiting Maximum Extractable Value (MEV) opportunities to those operating validators.

Velas has seamlessly integrated Gulf Stream into its blockchain architecture, leveraging its innovative features to optimize transaction processing. By dispersing transactions directly to validators and prioritizing processing based on stake-weighted metrics, Velas ensures efficient and reliable transaction execution. This integration underscores Velas' commitment to scalability, efficiency, and security, positioning it as a leading blockchain platform for decentralized applications.

Moreover, Gulf Stream's mempool-less architecture enhances the security of the Velas network by reducing the exposure of unconfirmed transactions to potential threats. With transactions being forwarded directly to validators, the risk of network congestion and transaction bottlenecks is significantly mitigated, ensuring a robust and resilient blockchain infrastructure.

In addition to its technical benefits, Gulf Stream synergizes with other technologies within the Velas ecosystem, such as Proof of History and Sealevel, to further enhance performance and scalability. The seamless integration of these technologies enables Velas to achieve unparalleled transaction throughput while maintaining high security standards. This synergy underscores Velas' holistic approach to blockchain innovation, driving the advancement of decentralized systems.


In conclusion, Solana's Gulf Stream protocol represents a groundbreaking innovation in mempool management, offering a paradigm shift in how transactions are processed within the Velas ecosystem. By eliminating the need for a centralized mempool, Gulf Stream enhances scalability, efficiency, and security, driving the adoption of decentralized applications and propelling Velas to the forefront of blockchain innovation.

The transformative potential of Gulf Stream extends beyond Velas, driving the evolution of blockchain technology as a whole. By reimagining mempool management, Gulf Stream sets a new standard for efficiency, security, and decentralization in blockchain networks. Its innovative approach paves the way for the seamless execution of decentralized applications (DApps) and fosters innovation within the ecosystem.

As Velas continues to innovate and expand its reach, Gulf Stream will remain a cornerstone of its success, shaping the future of decentralized systems and blockchain technology as a whole. Gulf Stream's ability to eliminate the need for a central mempool, optimize transaction forwarding, and enhance network security positions Velas as a leader in the blockchain space, capable of supporting a wide range of applications and use cases.

Stay tuned for the next topic in our series, where we'll explore “Velas' Sealevel Runtime Environment”. Join us as we continue to delve into the exciting advancements reshaping the landscape of blockchain technology.