In the last 12 months, the value of Solana’s native SOL token has seen an increase of over 5,000%. Moreover, the rapidly evolving number of Solana apps makes the Solana ecosystem one of the fastest-growing blockchain projects in the industry at present. The Solana blockchain is capable of processing more transactions than any other current active blockchain. As such, more and more developers are turning to Solana development frameworks and SDKs (software development kits) to build their decentralized applications (dApps). Furthermore, the use cases for Solana applications vary greatly. The Solana ecosystem includes dApps for social platforms, gaming, and decentralized finance (DeFi), among other things.
In this article, we are going to dive deep into the Solana ecosystem. We will explore the variety of different Solana applications that are currently live on the Solana blockchain. Moreover, we’ll look at the various Solana development tools and resources for blockchain developers to take advantage of. First, however, we’ll cover an overview of the Solana project and native SOL token.
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What is Solana Blockchain?
The Solana blockchain is run by Solana Foundation. Solana is a concept originally introduced by Solana Labs in 2017 when the whitepaper was published. In April 2020, a month following the Mainnet Beta release, Solana Foundation was formed, completing a transfer of all intellectual property and 167 million SOL tokens previously held by Solana Labs.
Solana Foundation is working toward advancing the mass adoption of “decentralized technologies as a public good”. As such, Solana Foundation is responsible for the marketing, development, and community interaction of the project. Solana Labs also still has custody of a small amount of SOL tokens for funding operations. The Solana Foundation team has headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The technical experience between the team extends to global giants including Microsoft, Twitter, and Apple. Furthermore, the Solana project has the support and funding from many renowned investors. This includes CoinFund, Andreessen Horowitz, BlockTower Capital, and crypto exchange, OKEx.
The underlying technical spec of Solana is what appears to be drawing in investors. Capable of processing an excess of 60,000 transactions per second (TPS), Solana currently holds the title of the fastest blockchain in the industry. Moreover, Solana achieves this without compromising on either decentralization or security. The team behind Solana is so sure of its infrastructure that there is a dedicated “Break Solana” page on the website. It encourages users to process as many transactions as possible in an attempt to “break” the code. No one has yet come close.
Furthermore, Solana is a smart contract-compatible blockchain with beyond-optimal scalability features. Additionally, this is possible within any involvement of layer-2 solutions, thanks to the use of various novel protocols enabling such high throughput. This includes the decentralized clock mechanism that time-stamps each transaction, previously not possible before Solana.
Solana’s native token is the SOL token, operating using the SPL token standard. The SPL token standard is similar to the Ethereum ERC-20 token standard, with a primary use for decentralized finance (DeFi) applications.
The main use case for the SOL token is to pay for transaction fees across the Solana network ecosystem. Thanks to such high throughput on the Solana blockchain, transaction fees are an average of just $0.00025 per transaction. Also, the SOL token is responsible for securing the network. Token holders have a choice of two ways to support the Solana Network.
Firstly, holders can become network validators by staking SOL tokens. In return, validators receive a portion of Solana network transaction fees. Secondly, SOL token holders who don’t reach the minimum staking requirement can delegate their SOL tokens to a particular validator. In turn, this supports the value of said validator’s stake, increasing its chances of validating blocks and rewarding delegators with a percentage of transaction fees. In both scenarios, SOL token holders have an incentive to stake their funds, with the opportunity to make a passive income with crypto. Furthermore, any validators found to be bad actors on the network will have their stake slashed. This has no impact on delegators’ funds which would be immediately returned to the delegators’ wallet in the unlikely event.
The maximum supply of SOL tokens is 488.6 million, with nearly 300 million in circulation, according to CoinGecko. In the past 12 months, the value of the SOL token has increased by over 5100%. In our previous Solana article published in February 2021, the SOL token was just over $9. Seven months forward, the SOL token saw a new all-time high of $213 on September 9th, 2021.
Exploring Solana Development Within Solana Ecosystem
Developers can re-create the Solana user experience (UX) within their own decentralized applications (dApps) using frictionless development tools available with the Solana ecosystem. Solana development resources include a wide choice of walkthroughs, video tutorials, and courses to help developers learn how to deploy their own Solana-based dApps. Alongside this, Solana offers a range of software development kits (SDKs) and application frameworks. Plus, Solana development tools include a list of resources and reference implementations.
All project tokens within the Solana ecosystem use the same SPL token standard. Moreover, the SOL token is the unit of exchange for transaction fees across all platforms. Unlike many independent smart contract-enabled blockchains, Solana is not EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine)-compatible. Alternatively, Solana provides a two-way token bridge enabling interoperability for assets to move freely between the Ethereum and Solana blockchains. Solana apps within its ecosystem are designed and deployed using the Rust programming language, which is also used to build Polkadot and Substrate by Parity Technologies. This enables developers to create highly scalable and secure decentralized Web3 applications with sub-second transaction settlement times.
As such, Solana has seen a wave of adoption increasing each month. At the time of writing, there are over 150 decentralized Solana apps active on the blockchain. Moreover, these are not just decentralized finance (DeFi) applications (although DeFi applications do make up the majority). The Solana blockchain is additionally host to a variety of other applications, including decentralized social platforms and blockchain gaming apps. Below we outline several popular Solana applications within the Solana ecosystem.
Project Serum and its core decentralized exchange (DEX) feature, Serum DEX, is one of the most-used Solana apps within its ecosystem. Using Serum DEX, users can trade cross-chain assets from different blockchains, including stablecoins and wrapped tokens too. Moreover, as an open-source project on the Solana blockchain, the Serum DEX enables developers to design their own individual financial projects.
Also, using an on-chain order book instead of the traditional automated market maker (AMM) model, users can create fully automated order matching thanks to the decentralized automated limit order books. In turn, this gives users more choice and control over their trades. The Serum DEX user experience reflects the near-instant settlement times from the Solana blockchain. Furthermore, the average transaction cost is $0.00001, making Serum DEX the cheapest decentralized exchange in the decentralized finance (DeFi) at the time of writing.
Leveraging the liquidity from the Serum DEX is the Raydium automated market maker (AMM) platform. As another popular Solana app and decentralized exchange, Raydium recreates the user facilities from Serum DEX with added functionalities. This includes yield-earning protocols and more advanced trending tools for seasoned users looking for a more pro-level experience.
Raydium is completely non-custodial, meaning users have ownership and access to their private keys at all times. Further, the Raydium user experience (UX) aims to be as seamless as a centralized exchange. However, this comes without the vulnerabilities of centralization, such as a single-point-of-failure and censorship. Radium is a completely transparent open-source Solana application offering lightning-fast token trades with cutting-edge trading tools. Also, it allows users access to the liquidity of the entire Solana ecosystem when trading. Moreover, average trade fees are sub cents!
Positioning itself as the one-stop-shop application for decentralized finance (DeFi) services within the Solana ecosystem is Coin98 Finance. Coin98 offers users and developers a wide range of DeFi products, including yield farming, crypto incubator services, and borrowing and lending protocols. However, the core element of the Coin98 Finance ecosystem is the liquidity aggregator and decentralized exchange (DEX).
Moreover, Coin98 aggregates liquidity from multiple sources across 20 blockchains, optimizing gas fees. Alongside this, Coin98 provides educational material and analysis tools within its ecosystem. Offering a holistic DeFi service, Coin98 Network is the platform’s information hub presenting insights, resources, research, and news within the blockchain development industry.
The Solanium project and native SLIM token focus on the adoption of the Solana blockchain through its crypto launchpad and decentralized fundraising platform. With a strong emphasis on a sleek graphical user interface (GUI) facilitating a seamless user experience (UX), Solanium allows anyone the opportunity to partake in public token sales. Moreover, Solanium offers a decentralized exchange (DEX) and an in-built crypto wallet.
To participate in token sales, users must stake the SLIM token. The more SLIM tokens staked and the longer the period staked influences the opportunity to get a chance to invest in token sales. The distribution mechanism offers a fair and equal opportunity to access token launchpad events.
If users provide liquidity to the Solanium liquidity pools, they receive SLIM-LP tokens representing their percentage of the liquidity supplied. Then, if users choose to stake their SLIM-LP tokens, they can receive the xSLIM token. xSLIM tokens are for giving holders governing rights of the Solanium platform. xSLIM token holders are able to propose, vote, and adjust certain platform parameters. Solanium is one of the most popular crypto launchpads within the Solana ecosystem, providing users early access to new up-and-coming Solana apps.
Alongside blockchain revolutionizing finance, the technology is ameliorating centralized social media platforms. Media Network, operating on the Solana blockchain, is a perfect example of this. As a peer-to-peer content delivery network (CDN), Media Network allows users to contribute and access content with complete anonymity. Moreover, Media Network requires no sign-up or know-your-customer (KYC) procedures.
Media Network is a novel and scalable protocol, creating “a CDN agnostic system that reduces up to 99% of bandwidth costs by leveraging peer-to-peer browser functionality”. As more people join the network, the more the user experience (UX) improves, thanks to innovative infrastructure designs. Media Network provides open-source software for media streaming, web serving, load balancing, caching, reverse proxying, and much more. The Media Network project broadens the use cases for applications within the Solana ecosystem.
Mango aims to harness the deep liquidity and usability of the traditional financial world for use in decentralized finance (DeFi). Moreover, Mango serves as a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) and uses the Serum decentralized exchange (DEX) to offer permissionless spot, margin, and perpetual futures trading with minimal fees.
Furthermore, users can earn interest on deposits and use existing capital to take out an overcollateralized loan. Plus, the mango protocol risk engine makes it possible for users to withdraw borrowed capital if they need to.
Star Atlas is a blockchain-based game where factions compete for resources and territories in deep space to embark on intergalactic missions and epic battles. With multiple modes of play and an innovative in-game economy, Star Atlas combines stunning real-time graphics with advanced gaming features to provide an immersive blockchain gaming experience.
The Star Atlas game allows players to choose career paths that determine the course of their gaming experience. Also, the game features a non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace where players can buy and sell vehicles, components, resources, equipment, and more. Plus, players can recruit others for collaborative missions!
Exploring the Solana Ecosystem & Solana Applications Summary
The Solana ecosystem is host to various decentralized applications (dApps), all fully transparent and open-source using the Solana blockchain. Developers can create Solana apps that use the speed, security, and cost-efficiency of the core Solana blockchain. Thus, any blockchain developer can create a dApp with cryptographic security and near-instant transaction settlement times. Moreover, developers have access to a range of Solana development tools and resources, making the Solana development process smooth and easy to implement.
As one of the top 10 cryptocurrency projects by market cap, the Solana ecosystem is witnessing increasing community activity and development on the Solana blockchain. Also, more and more developers are creating Solana applications for use cases beyond decentralized finance (DeFi). Solana is positioning itself well within the blockchain industry to achieve mass adoption of blockchain implementation sector-wide.
Beyond decentralized finance (DeFi), social media, and gaming, blockchain use cases extend to the fashion, real estate, and insurance industries. Plus, the sports, healthcare, and music industries too. All these industries and many more have a high demand for professionals with knowledge surrounding blockchain technology. Would you like to be one of these people? If so, Ivan on Tech Academy is the best place to start! Our FinTech 101 course covers all regulations and compliances surrounding the merge of finance and technology. Or, our OriginTrail 101 course teaches students how blockchain can be beneficial in the supply chain management industry. Start your career in blockchain with Ivan on Tech Academy today! Also, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @Academy_IOT! We’d love to know your favorite Solana apps in the Solana ecosystem!