Last week as Melbourne was experiencing unusually sunny and pleasant weather, Powerledger’s blockchain team rolled up our collective sleeves and took part in Solana’s first Australian Hacker House.
Solana Hacker House events take place in all the major cities around the globe and have been credited with the continuous and strong growth of the Solana ecosystem. Coming as it did in the aftermath of FTX collapse, this event felt a little more subdued.
That sense of a more subdued event showed in the turnout; there were 300 developers, compared to Solana’s Bangalore event a few months back which clocked in at 3,000 plus in attendance; but what it lacked in numbers it made up for with passion. Even the crypto market downturn doesn’t seem to have taken any wind out of the sails of numerous Australian projects building on the Solana infrastructure. In fact, one of the biggest, Magic Eden, an NFT marketplace, which at times surpassed OpenSea’s trading volume, proudly calls Australia home.
As John, Alejandro, Mike and I were sipping our coffee, paid for with SOL of course, on the last morning of the event, we shared our observations about the event itself, the ecosystem and the new solutions and projects that were being launched.
Powerledger team had the opportunity to use Solana Pay to pay for merchandise and coffee. Solana Pay is a new, open, and free-to-use payments framework built on Solana — the world’s highest performance Web3 ecosystem. Solana Pay is built for immediate transactions, fees that are fractions of a penny, and a net-zero environmental impact. Now any business can harness the power of the blockchain at the same speed as traditional payment networks with no intermediaries.
It’s not just about regaining control of payments. Using the Solana blockchain to connect merchant and consumer wallets creates a new communication channel. It will change how merchants and brands think about offers, rewards, and the relationship between retailers and customers. Here are three reasons we like it:
It’s fast - transactions settle immediately. Solana can process up to 60,000 transactions per second — and has been called the potential “Visa of the digital asset ecosystem”.
It’s direct - it avoids intermediaries and their high fees. Solana Pay is the first open, direct merchant-to-consumer payment rail.
It’s easy - a developer can set up the Solana Pay SDK in minutes, so a brand can start doing business with the millions who hold USDC or other Solana-based stablecoins.
It’s energy-efficient - Solana transactions use the same energy as about two Google searches (0.0006 kWh), and the entire network is carbon neutral.
So how did it feel to use it? It lived up to its promise! It was a seamless experience comparable to Apple Pay or Google Pay. It all started by installing a Phantom wallet mobile app, funding it with SOL or stablecoins, and scanning a QR code at the point of sale. The only thing that was missing for me was the satisfying “beep” when the payment goes through, but I’m sure folks at SolanaPay will add that soon. Great to see merchants offering the option to pay with tokens in the Solana ecosystem; The future is really here!
Learn more at https://solanapay.com/
Solana Crypto Phone - ‘Saga’
Solana describes its Android phone as a "premium hardware experience" and a "flagship-quality Android device purpose-built for crypto", “pure Android paired with Solana Mobile Stack powers Web3 features for DeFi pros, NFT collectors, and the most demanding crypto enthusiasts.”
The phone is designed to simplify and secure Web3 transactions and to manage digital assets like tokens and NFTs. It will have an integrated crypto wallet and will have direct access to Solana's decentralised apps (dApp) store. Solana Pay is also integrated into the phone, making crypto transactions faster and cheaper.
Solana-based companies have already announced they will participate in powering and building this mobile ecosystem. Magic Eden, the top Solana NFT marketplace, Phantom, the biggest Solana wallet provider and Orca, a decentralised finance (DeFi) platform where users can swap cryptocurrencies or participate in yield farming, have each confirmed their commitment to the Saga.
What really makes this phone stand apart is the promise that it could provide the security of the hardware wallet like Nano Ledger or Trezor with its seed vault functionality. The phone’s Snapdragon processor has security features that will enable the Solana Mobile Stack's Seed Vault. The Seed Vault keeps private keys, seed phrases and secrets separated from the application layer, but it's still capable of interacting with apps on the Saga phone or a mobile browser. This will turn your Saga smartphone into a hardware wallet.
Powerledger team attended the launch of the Saga phone, now that Australia and New Zealand have been added to the list of countries that can pre-order the phone. Yay! This was a fun event, with six Saga phones being available for attendees to play around with, and even mint NFTs with a few clicks using the Minty Fresh dApp.
The Powerledger team is very excited to see a phone that prioritises crypto self-custody while offering the core Google apps alongside the Solana dApp Store. Importantly, Solana dApp store charges no fee to dApps it lists, unlike the thirty percent charged by the Apple Store. Crypto traders have always been attracted to Solana’s low blockchain fees, and flocked there from Ethereum to trade NFTs. Maintaining that cost advantage is clearly something that the Saga phone has in mind as it aims to onboard thousands of new users to the Solana ecosystem.
Learn more at https://solanamobile.com/
Better Call Sol
One of Ethereum’s most widely adopted tools - Etherscan - offers an ability to view all traffic on the Ethereum blockchain as well as to directly interact with verified smart contracts. Solana has not had that until now. Better Call Sol, created by Lab Eleven, a Web3 development house, is a web client that allows you to easily interface with programs on Solana networks by directly sending transactions while directly taking care of the serialisation and deserialisation of the transaction data. Better Call Sol will be useful when testing on-chain programs directly from the browser, as well as sending one-off transactions easily and quickly, without having to write any client-side code.
It’s encouraging to see that technical components are being developed and launched for the Solana ecosystem even in the middle of the crypto bear market.
Learn more at https://bettercallsol.dev/
NFTs were on full display at the Hacker House; with a large spread of basic designs and exquisitely elaborate gaming characters. Our personal favourites were offered by “Gyris” a complex fantasy world combining novel NFTs and gaming.
Magic Eden is another project to watch. Founded by Australians, it’s a Solana NFT marketplace that has been described as the fastest startup to ever reach unicorn status. It operates a primary market for new NFT launches, as well as a secondary (and much larger) trading marketplace with more than 7,000 collections. Just nine months after launch, the marketplace was already receiving an average of 22 million unique sessions per month, facilitating more than 40,000 NFT trades daily and has processed a combined $1.9 billion in secondary trading volume.
Representatives from Magic Eden stated that they are seeing strong growth from mobile users, and they have plans to support the Saga phone by launching Magic Eden’s dApp.
Learn more at https://magiceden.io/
Looking back at what was definitely an inspiring week, we were thrilled to work alongside the developers and visionaries of the Solana ecosystem who all seemed highly capable. From our point of view, it reminded us of all the reasons we liked the Solana technology and chose to embed it into Powerledger’s offering. It clearly remains the fastest, easiest and most dynamic blockchain, and long may its success continue.
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