You've probably heard of Solana, because in January 2021 the price of SOL was about $7, whereas today it's about $215. Damn, 30x growth in a year — what's going on? Join Hedgehog correspondent Ricky Carroll on a guided tour of the cryptocurrency's rapidly developing ecosystem...


Solana is a cryptocurrency and blockchain network that optimizes for transaction speed and throughput. Solana's goal is improved scalability without compromising security. The speed promised by Solana is 50,000 transactions per second on a single blockchain. Solana's ecosystem offers developers the chance to build dApps and smart contracts, prompting a number of DeFi and NFT projects. As in the rest of the crypto world, there is race to build and release financial projects with the potential to displace traditional financial intermediaries (like, y'know, banks).

Serum

Project Serum launched on the 31st of August 2020 and is one of the first major open-source projects to build on Solana. It is one of the most talked-about projects on the Solana ecosystem due to its unprecedented speeds and low transaction costs, of $0.00001 per transaction. Serum is a decentralized exchange (DEX) designed to be cheap and fast, using Solana's strong suits.

Serum has seen the scalability potential of Solana and intends to build an infrastructure that can handle anything imaginable on the blockchain ranging from social media to financial markets. The Serum platform also allows users more control — users do not have to deposit their coins at a centralized exchange. Instead the coins remain in users' own wallets.

The platform also offers cross-chain trading, which allows users to exchange cryptocurrencies between two different blockchains and removes the need for a third party. SRM is the utility and governance token of Serum. If you have SRM in your wallet, you will receive a discount on fees. SRM is native to the Solana blockchain but is also available on the Ethereum blockchain. MSRM (MegaSerum) is 1,000,000 SRM stacked together. MSRM is more scarce than SRM, but you will receive larger benefits for holding MSRM.

Raydium

Raydium is an AMM (automated-market-maker) solution for liquidity provision on the Solana blockchain. Automated market makers (AMMs) are a vital part of the DeFi world. They use liquidity pools and liquidity providers to enable permissionless token swaps at any time. Raydium operates on the Solana blockchain in order to offer high transaction speed and low costs. Low-cost and fast transactions are possible because Raydium uses a centralized order book for trading. Raydium is the leading liquidity provider for Serum.

The project has attracted $1.57B in liquidity, allowing Raydium to offer a wide range of benefits to its users on favorable terms. Both sides of any transaction on Raydium benefit due to the low transaction fees, with the remainder going to the general remuneration fund of Raydium token holders.

One of the most beneficial aspects of Raydium is its ability to facilitate ultra-fast token swaps and trades. In addition, Raydium is impressive in boasting advanced yield earning functions using shared liquidity. Furthermore, a great benefit of using Raydium is its ability to find the best possible prices for token swaps — through a liquidity pool or the Serum order book.

The native coin of the Raydium project is the RAY token. The RAY token is multi-purpose — you can stack it to take home a share of the protocols fees. RAY can also be used to procure new tokens. Interestingly RAY can be used to vote on governance proposals for the platform. Being a vital part of a growing project and being associated heavily with Solana has made RAY a desirable proposition for many despite the volatile crypto markets earlier this year.

Raydium has ambitious plans for the future and plans to add support for cross-blockchain swaps and margin trading. Raydium is a vital source of liquidity for the Serum project. The successful implementation of adding margin trading and support for cross-blockchain will allow Raydium the chance to flourish.

Orca

Orca is an exchange on the Solana blockchain that makes exchanging cryptocurrency easier than ever before, with lower latency and transaction fees than any competition on Ethereum. Yutaro Mori and Grace Kwan founded Orca in February this year. The involvement of Yutaro Mori in this highly regarded exchange is a fascinating one. Mori has many years of experience in crypto, most notably working on Ethereum 2.0 for a significant number of years. The vision of Orca is to build a project that is more user-centric than any competitor, making them a perfect match for the blossoming Solana ecosystem.

In late September, Orca showed its intentions to grow by hitting the headlines when it quickly raised an astonishing $18 million in a token fund round. Orca raised this amount by selling its native tokens to investors from their treasury. By acquiring this amount, Orca is in a great position to expand both its team and the Orca platform. Orca is already in the top 10 projects on the Solana ecosystem in terms of total value locked (TVL). Orca has also received funding previously from Solana, which shows the project is considered a key AMM DEX on the Solana ecosystem. Orca offers a user-friendly interface that combines well with Solana's fast processing and low costs.

DeFi Land

DeFi Land is a multi-chain agriculture simulation web game created to gamify decentralized finance. The game will contain all aspects of traditional DeFi platforms, but it will all be in one place. The unique selling point of DeFi land is that it turns investment activities into games. During the game, users can earn crypto and tokens by completing tasks and battles. The purpose of DeFi Land is to help new users understand the space and get started. According to DeFi Land, their vision is to make DeFi easy to use for everyone. The project intends to bring new masses towards decentralized finance.

The DeFi Land team have some exciting plans for the future of this project. They plan on introducing several noticeable new features on the V2 due in 2022:

  • Unions and Clans
  • NFTs
  • Lending and borrowing
  • Multi-chain support

As mentioned, some retail users are concerned with the complexity of DeFi Land. The project plans to introduce a new mode of play called education mode to alleviate any complexity concerns. The new game mode has intentions to educate users to familiarize themselves with the game by using testnet tokens or a non-crypto in-game currency. By doing this, DeFi Land is educating people on what the project offers and providing valuable lessons for new crypto users on the basics before jumping into the deeper fundamentals of DeFi concepts.

The comparisons to Farmville are inevitable — but the mission of DeFi Land goes far beyond Farmville. The game is original and innovative by having complex financial instruments in the game itself. DeFi Land has a dedicated team behind it with an exciting roadmap for the future. It's going to be fascinating to see how far this community can go.

Solana Monkey Business

Solana Monkey Business is a collection of 5,000 unique art monkey NFTs. The collection of monkey NFTs are unique to Solana and come with a clear purpose to invade the Solana blockchain. These monkey NFTs come with member-only benefits, a community wallet, and future governance, which will undoubtedly appeal to many users. The future governance system for Solana Monkey Business is a big attraction to current users and potential users. The future governance system will allow members to decide how and when to use SOL in the community wallet. By offering this, users will have a substantial say on the future of the Solana token (SOL).

Each Solana Monkey Business NFT is born from over 99 possible traits spread over six layers, giving some monkeys a rare tag. However, with random distribution and the minting cost of two SOL applicable to everyone, we all have an equal opportunity to obtain the most sought-after monkey NFTs.


Solana is an attractive option for creators who need a platform that allows their projects to scale effectively with high speed and low costs. It is possible to support over a billion people through Solana, which would help bring DeFi to the masses. Solana combining with inventive projects such as Serum or Raydium, allows DeFi to reach its true potential. New and existing crypto users are looking for more user-friendly applications. These user-friendly applications are present in the Solana ecosystem.


Check out Ricky's website, follow him on Twitter, and of course sign up for Hedgehog's weekly newsletter!

Want more right now? Ricky recently wrote about Binance Coin:

Binance Coin: What and Why
Why did cryptocurrency exchange Binance create $BNB, also known as Binance Coin, and what is it for? “As one of the world’s most popular utility tokens,” the company claims, “not only can you buy or sell BNB like any other cryptocurrency, but BNB comes with a wide range of applications
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