Solana has developed from an initial idea of how one could timestamp events in a distributed setting (Proof-of-History) into a full-fledged, scalable smart contract platform that is able to host high throughput applications supported by an ever-growing ecosystem of validators and developers.

As one of the first validators engaging with Solana, we wanted to write a post about our view of the ecosystem and how it came to be. To do that, I’d like to begin with an anecdote:

In the summer of 2019 in Berlin, back when in-person conferences were still a thing, I was at an afterparty of ETH Berlin with some other early Solana validators including Aurel from Dokia Capital, who likened Solana to a YouTube clip of a guy starting a dance party at a festival. Now, more than a year later, it seems like that analogy is holding up well!

Rare footage of Anatoly summoning the first SOLmates (circa 2018).

Building the Team and Raising Investment (Video: 0:00 - 1:10)

In the beginning, Anatoly managed to convince his co-founders of the Proof-of-History idea. The legend says it may have been after a round of underwater hockey, or maybe surfing at Solana Beach above San Diego, which ended up providing the project’s name. Together, they raised a seed round in March 2018, which allowed them to hire a team - many of the which they had worked with before at companies like Qualcomm.

With some money in the bank, the team started to build at breakneck speed and hasn’t stopped since. The ambitious task to launch a performant blockchain that doesn’t require sharding relies on 8 core technologies, many of which had to be built from scratch.

Engaging the Validator Community (Video: 1:10 - ~1:30)

As soon as the core features of the Solana blockchain were there, the team began launching testnets. Realizing how important external validators are, the Solana team took a proactive approach and inspiration from the Cosmos ecosystem - launching a multi-staged incentivized testnet competition titled Tour de SOL. This competition has been ongoing ever since and has seen multiple attacks and bugs that were subsequently fixed ensuring that the mainnet, which launched in March 2020, became and remains a stable and secure environment for application developers to build upon.

An early Tour de SOL leaderboard (top left) versus newer Solana explorers Salty Stats (top right) and Solana Beach (bottom).

Kickstarting the Ecosystem of Applications (Video: 1:30+)

Speaking of applications, as much as we <3 validators, no blockchain is of any use if there is nothing running on top of it. Solana has from the get-go been focused on delivering something of value and engaged with projects building or seeking to build decentralized applications.

A snapshot of some of Solana’s current application-focused ecosystem partners.‌‌

One of the first projects that announced its plans to migrate was Kin. In summer 2020 the biggest news so far hit when Project Serum, an ambitious project seeking to build DeFi applications based around a CLOB (central limit order book) DEX on Solana plus a bridge to Ethereum (learn more about Wormhole here), was announced.

For a breakdown on Serum, and its role within the Solana ecosystem, check out the recent Unchained podcast episode with Sam Bankman-Fried, the CEO of FTX and Alameda Research,  and Anatoly Yakovenko,  the co-founder and CEO of Solana Labs.

How to Get Engaged with the Solana Ecosystem

Various programs including the Solana Accelerator, as well as the Solana Foundation continue to support application developers that are looking for a platform to build scalable, decentralized applications. If you plan to join the Solana ecosystem, make sure to check out the upcoming hackathon (starting Oct 28).

Information on the network can be found on explorers like our very own Salty Stats or Staking Facilities' Solana Beach. If you are planning to stake SOL, we recommend the SolFlare wallet.

About Chorus One

Chorus One is offering staking services and building interoperability solutions for decentralized networks.

Our validator node is live on the Solana mainnet. Support our work by delegating to us and make sure to earn staking rewards once they are activated. Learn more here.

Website: https://chorus.one
Twitter: https://twitter.com/chorusone
Telegram: https://t.me/chorusone

About Solana

Solana is a web-scale blockchain with speeds up to 50,000 transactions per second powered by Proof of History.

Website: https://solana.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/solana
Telegram: https://t.me/solanaio