How to create a token on Solana

In this guide you will learn step by step how to create a new SPL token on Solana with the Token Extensions program and its token metadata extension. If you want to use the base SPL Token program and Metaplex metadata instead see the Metaplex documentation.

NOTE: The steps in this guide only apply to SPL Token Extensions, ie. program id TokenzQdBNbLqP5VEhdkAS6EPFLC1PHnBqCXEpPxuEb, and not SPL Token, ie. program id TokenkegQfeZyiNwAJbNbGKPFXCWuBvf9Ss623VQ5DA. The token metadata extension is not available in SPL Token.

Installing Solana Tools #

First we need to download Solana tools to our system. Follow this Follow this guide to install the Solana CLI.

Create folder and keypairs #

Open a new terminal and create a new folder:

mkdir nice-token
cd nice-token

First we create a new keypair that will be the owner of our token:

solana-keygen grind --starts-with key:1

This will generate a keypair for you where the public address starts with "key". Note that the more letters you add the longer it will take to generate the key. Four is still ok, but five will already take a long time.

For me it created this keypair:

keyH23FC3gG4miLPCTTDWuD9PDX6E6V9kBk681ZnvQm.json

You will need to replace this with your own keypair in the following steps Then we configure the the Solana CLI to use to use the keypair we just created:

solana config set --keypair keyH23FC3gG4miLPCTTDWuD9PDX6E6V9kBk681ZnvQm.json

Make sure to keep the contents of the keypair file safe. Whoever owns the key will be able to control the token mint and be able to mint tokens, update metadata and potentially freeze token accounts. From now on, all commands you run in the CLI will use this keypair by default. You can see the current configuration by running:

solana config get

Then we create a nice account address where our token mint will be saved:

solana-keygen grind --starts-with nic:1

In my case it created this keypair: niceG6oxHmPcXVdNaUoECzWXn8Jz8fA5Q99QauJ4Gun.json

Make sure to replace this with your own keypair in the following steps.

We will also set the Solana CLI to use devnet for this example:

solana config set -ud

This will set the default RPC cluster to Solana devnet https://api.devnet.solana.com. From now on all commands will be executed on the devnet. To release your token on mainnet you will need to perform all step from here again but set the cluster to mainnet using -um flag instead of -ud.

Fund the account #

For Solana devnet we will just be able to get some free SOL from the faucet. If you get rate limited you can follow this guide to get devnet SOL.

solana airdrop 2

For mainnet you will need to fund the account with SOL. You can buy SOL with regular currency in places like centralized exchanges, crypto on-ramps, or swap other tokens for SOL on decentralized exchanges. You can find the address of your account by looking at the file name of the keypair that starts with "key" in your nice-token folder or by running:

solana address

Creating the token mint #

Solana does not use floating point numbers internally. This is why every token has an actual max supply represented by an unsigned integer of size 64 bytes called a u64. The maximum number results to 2^64 – 1 = 18446744073709551615. You can however set a decimal point for the token. For example USDC has 6 decimals which means that each USDC can be split into one millionth of a USDC.

Depending on your needs, you can configure different decimals for your token by adding the --decimals 6 flag to the command. If you do not set it the default is 9.

Now we will create the token mint with the metadata extension enabled. By adding our grinded keypair (nice...4Gun) at the end, the Solana CLI will actually use that address as the mint account for our new token:

spl-token create-token --program-id TokenzQdBNbLqP5VEhdkAS6EPFLC1PHnBqCXEpPxuEb \
 --enable-metadata niceG6oxHmPcXVdNaUoECzWXn8Jz8fA5Q99QauJ4Gun.json

This is also where you would be able to add additional token extensions to your token to have extra functionality, like transfer fees for example. You will not be able to add more extensions to your token mint after you created it.

Create and upload metadata #

Next we will create the off-chain metadata for our token and upload it somewhere accessible on the rest of the internet (like a decentralized storage provider). This off-chain metadata is usually a .json file containing name, symbol, and uri in the following format:

{
  "name": "",
  "symbol": "",
  "image": ""
}

The metadata we will save in a decentralized storage solution.

First we need to create an icon for the token. I used ChatGPT to generate an image and then uploaded it to a decentralized storage solution.

Where to upload metadata #

There are several places you could upload your off-chain metadata. While some may opt for more centralized storage solutions (like AWS, GCP, or GitHub), others may chose a decentralized provider (like Arweave or IPFS). The important thing is that the metadata file should be upload to a place that is accessible to others on the internet and meets your tokens needs.

Listed below are some different options and tools to upload your files (in no particular order):

ServiceURLDetails
Web3 Storageweb3.storageRequires signing up for a free plan; first 5Gb are free; easy to use.
PinataPinataUploads to IPFS; free with sign up for 1Gb;
AkordAkordUploads to arweave; free without sign up for 100Mb; uploads can take a while.
GitHubGitHubCreate a new repo, upload files, and use the RAW URL format: https://raw.githubusercontent.com/xxxxxxx
ShadowDriveShadowDriveThis is a Solana native storage solution.
Metaplex MetabossMetaplex MetabossMeta boss docs
Google Cloud StorageGoogle Cloud Storage-
AmazonAmazon*
Info

If you are a provider of decentralized storage solutions and want to be listed here please just open a PR using the edit page button

For this example, we will use Web3 Storage. While it requires to sign up for an account to use, they offer a free plan with the first 5Gb free and its very easy to use.

For this example, we generated an icon for our token using ChatGPT. After you have your image/icon, upload it to your desired online storage solution and get the link to it. We will need to put this link within our metadata.json file so we can then upload that.

You will end up with some link similar to this one which should directly open your icon:

https://arweave.net/itK2SKyCDAdBl-t9sHDQzeP4Roh3UgMaqnKImRXSrvo

Create a new file called metadata.json in the nice-token folder and add the following:

metadata.json
{
  "name": "Nice Token",
  "symbol": "NICE",
  "image": "https://arweave.net/itK2SKyCDAdBl-t9sHDQzeP4Roh3UgMaqnKImRXSrvo"
}

Then also upload this file to the storage provider of your choice. You will end up with a new link that now represents the metadata of your token. Make sure you copy the link directly to the file and not to the folder or a preview page.

You should end up with a link similar to this one:

https://bafybeidfm65jzvz4zeesxp6ybinkitvpd27klk6yspstrtw5fuy5w27lkq.ipfs.w3s.link/metadata.json

Now we are ready to add this metadata to our token.

Add metadata to a token #

NOTE: This step only works for tokens using SPL Token Extensions, ie. program id TokenzQdBNbLqP5VEhdkAS6EPFLC1PHnBqCXEpPxuEb, and not SPL Token, program id TokenkegQfeZyiNwAJbNbGKPFXCWuBvf9Ss623VQ5DA.

Now we will initialize the metadata for our token with the metadata we just created and uploaded.

spl-token initialize-metadata niceG6oxHmPcXVdNaUoECzWXn8Jz8fA5Q99QauJ4Gun \
  'Nice Token' 'NICE' \
  'https://bafybeidfm65jzvz4zeesxp6ybinkitvpd27klk6yspstrtw5fuy5w27lkq.ipfs.w3s.link/metadata.json'

Congratulations you created a token with metadata! You can look at your token in one of the Solana block explorers:

Make sure your explorer is set to devnet (if you are working on devnet) if you are working on devnet and replace the address to your mint address starting with "nic".

Update metadata #

At any point as long as you do not set the update authority to null you will still be able to do changes to the onchain metadata of this token.

Let's say you want for example update the uri field of the token. You can do this by running the following command:

spl-token update-metadata niceG6oxHmPcXVdNaUoECzWXn8Jz8fA5Q99QauJ4Gun \
uri https://bafybeidfm65jzvz4zeesxp6ybinkitvpd27klk6yspstrtw5fuy5w27lkq.ipfs.w3s.link/metadata.json

You can also add additional metadata to your token as a key-value pair like this:

spl-token update-metadata niceG6oxHmPcXVdNaUoECzWXn8Jz8fA5Q99QauJ4Gun niceness 100%

This is more useful for NFTs but you can also use it for fungible tokens.

Mint tokens #

Now that the token is completely set up we can mint some tokens. Let's mint 100.

First we need to create a token account to hold the tokens for our token mint:

spl-token create-account niceG6oxHmPcXVdNaUoECzWXn8Jz8fA5Q99QauJ4Gun

This will create a new token account for the account that is currently set in the Solana config. You can also specify a different account by adding the address at the end of the command.

And now we can finally mint some tokens into that token account:

spl-token mint niceG6oxHmPcXVdNaUoECzWXn8Jz8fA5Q99QauJ4Gun 100

Now you can also send the token to another owner of the tokens, for example:

spl-token transfer niceG6oxHmPcXVdNaUoECzWXn8Jz8fA5Q99QauJ4Gun 10 \
 
 
<other-owner>
 
 --fund-recipient

The --fund-recipient flag allows you to pay to create the token account (i.e. the account rent) for the other owner.

Now we are done! You created a token with metadata and minted some tokens. Congratulations!

Further reads about tokens #