FTX, one of the biggest crypto exchanges, selected Solana for its decentralized exchange, Serum. The reason was explicitly performance.
FTX is focused on traders, and they could only build the order book they wanted if they had Solana’s millisecond times.
Solana has a unique Proof of Stake (POS) setup in which nodes change their role regularly. They need to stake SOL, Solana’s token. It will also be used for governance in the future.
There have been several financing rounds and an ICO. Most of the tokens are already in circulation.