REAL CLEAR CRYPTO: Solana | Survive & Advance


By Evan LaMontagne, Blockchain Analyst at Sarson Funds

With price rocketing from an $8 December low to $25 on 4/17/23, what do Solana investors know that the rest of us are missing? Why are major projects announcing their intentions to move to a blockchain that seemed destined for extinction?

Solana as a blockchain has already endured the ultimate test that all emerging technology hopes it can survive. The fall of FTX in November of 2022 is one of the largest financial entity failures in history, rivaled only by the collapse of Bernie Madoff’s ponzi scheme. This test of resolve falls on the chain as a large proponent of FTX, and likewise, FTX was a proponent and early investor in Solana. This did not bode well in the short term following the collapse of the industry giant.

This test of fortitude, value and relevance has shown that the chain itself, its community, and developers can withstand scrutiny, external pressure, and still deliver. The updates shared below could be the segway to a new era set for the average crypto user, especially in this new mobile world.

The Solana Foundation is leading the industry in three categories:

Mobile First: Solana Saga Phone

Solana is building out one of the first novel native blockchain integrated phones; The Solana Saga. This phone was built with the priorities of security and mobile usability. The Saga is utilizing the security of a brand new feature known as Seed Vault. This feature allows your private keys, seed phrases and passwords to be stored securely on your phone via a separate operating system that applies cold wallet technology to add an additional safety barrier, and is accessed with limited safety concern anytime you go to approve a transaction or verify ownership of any assets within your wallet. This feature alone exponentially improves safety concerns for newer users that might otherwise fall victim to keylogging, phishing or other social engineering tactics that scammers have become well versed in.

Outages and Security: Firedancer Upgrade

Another large scale update to the security of the chain comes in the form of an additional validator client. This major upgrade is known as Firedancer. Firedancer is being undertaken by the one and only _Jump within their crypto branch known as _Jump Crypto. The addition of this validator client will not only improve the efficiency and transactions per second of the chain overall, it will almost entirely eradicate the downtime that the chain faces on occasion. The “frequent” downtime of the chain has been a hot topic since its release, and a main reason why users have hesitated adopting it as a multi-chain contender. These downtimes however have been fewer and far between in recent months as we have only seen one major outage so far in 2023, and only a few sprinkled throughout 2022. The development team at the Solana Foundation does not let the same issue occur twice, allowing for a slow rollout into this new era that Solana will soon find itself in with multiple validator clients, failsafe protections, and new major applications migrating or choosing Solana as their home due to the cheaper fees and large scaling opportunities.

Mass distribution fee structures: NFT Compression

With the rise in general popularity due to the low cost to transact, build protocols, participate in markets, and send small payments, Solana has been an incubator for technology innovation. We have received a recent update known as NFT Compression; reducing the cost of large scale NFT distributions by up to 100x compared to what it was a year ago. We have already seen this in action with a test of 1 million NFTs only costing about $100 to distribute compared to $2500 about 4 months ago. These updates provide promise for ecosystems like Helium and their 1 million active IOT hotspot miners that will be migrating here soon, and for projects like the Render Network that will also be migrating later this year with their decentralized image and video rendering network. Solana is being crafted to scale to the maximum efficiency that current hardware allows, and as hardware continues to improve, more will be possible.

Solana has proven that it stands strong outside the walled garden known as the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) ecosystem. This does not mean they have closed all doors to the possibilities there however. When speaking with Sarson Funds at ETH Denver, Phantom — the leading wallet provider for Solana, laid out a vision for additional cross chain functionality. This, in conjunction with Magic Eden creating more Ethereum and Polygon based offerings within the Solana-dominated NFT marketplace could be a large step in creating the cross-chain harmony that we identify as an inevitability.

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