Happy Solstice 2021! Celebrating Solana’s sunny year
Happy Solstice! Let’s start partying.
As the Solana ecosystem celebrates the close of 2021, it’s a great time to look back and see just how far it’s come. It’s the Solana Solstice, after all — a chance to be grateful for all the progress that has been made, and all that’s coming up in the future.
Here’s a look at some of the highlights of 2021.
As the new year rolled over, Solana was already showing some sparks for its amazing year. The global state machine, which was less than a year old, already had…
- 10,000,000,000 total transactions
- $100 million TVL
- 360 global validators
- 70 projects
But the year was only just beginning. And there was much more to come.
February saw the start of some big moves. The Solana DeFi hackathon went live, launching 91 new projects in the Solana ecosystem. The Serum-led hackathon led to Solana DeFi heavyweights Mango Markets, a cross-margin trading platform, and PsyOptions, which brought American-style options to the blockchain.
The Solana validator community also voted for staking rewards to go live on the Solana mainnet beta. This allowed SOL holders to stake their tokens towards making the network more secure while also earning rewards.
March came in like a lion, and — for the Solana ecosystem, came out like one too! March saw three major projects sprout, just in time for spring: the launch of on-chain order book Raydium and user-friendly DEX Orca, as well as the beta of easy-to-use wallet Phantom.
Wow! The total value of USDT and USDC on Solana passed $1 billion on April 20th, nearly doubling from $510 million on April 2nd, 18 days before.
Things were looking bright in May — Solana Season finally arrived. The hackathon spurred the formation of 326 new projects, supercharging the growth of the Solana ecosystem to new heights.
1/Announcing the Solana Season Hackathon! #solanaszn— Solana (@solana) April 28, 2021
🏆 Up to $1 million in prizes/seed funding
🌍 Anyone with an internet connection can join
4️⃣ Additional regional tracks
🗓️ Running May 15 - June 7
🏁 Registration is live today pic.twitter.com/3yeMoW7BLy
Some notable participants include Zeta, an under-collateralized DeFi options platform, Solend, a decentralized protocol for lending and borrowing, and DeFiLand, a multi-chain agriculture simulation that gamifies DeFi.
The Solana ecosystem was looking sunny, and the world started taking notice. Metaplex, the open-source way to set up an NFT marketplace, launched with the help of partners RAC, Street Dreams, and CryptoKickers.
1/ Metaplex began with a simple but radical mission: Elevate creators and artists above the influence of traditional gatekeepers. Today we’re launching ultra-fast NFTs with insanely low minting fees on Solana pic.twitter.com/8g0zZXCZzY— Metaplex Intern (@metaplexNFT) June 2, 2021
Solana Labs raised more than $314 million in a funding round led by a16z — or, more accurately, raised pi multiplied by $100 million — to bring web3 to the masses.
The traditional finance world started taking notice as well. Solana co-founder Anatoly Yakovenko went on Mad Money to talk about the vision for Solana, and co-founder Raj Gokal joined Fox Business to explain just how fast transactions on Solana go.
Chicago, can you make some noise? Solana Summer really started up in earnest with Solana Labs’ collaboration with Lollapalooza. The massive music festival launched an NFT marketplace that allowed attendees to get a one of a kind NFT of the 1991 Lollapalooza poster.
Announcing the Lollapalooza Digital Marketplace built on @solana featuring festival collectibles including this special 1-of-1 commemorative 1991 poster! Winner receives a printed, signed poster from Perry Farrell. pic.twitter.com/s0lKveacIi— Lollapalooza (@lollapalooza) July 27, 2021
We sold out in 8 minutes. Holy Ape.— Degenerate Ape Academy 🎓 (@DegenApeAcademy) August 15, 2021
No the drop was NOT smooth. It was shitty at best. We did A LOT wrong and the team was overwhelmed with the wave that hit us in the past week. It was exponentially bigger than we thought. Please ape rage in the comments /1 pic.twitter.com/HCccxoSoQn
The dog days of Solana Summer saw a number of ecosystem projects reach new heights. Solana DeFi Hackathon winner Mango Markets were the first to use the Fair Launch protocol to run a, well, more fair token sale, raising more than $70 million. Pyth launched, bringing market data to the Solana ecosystem. And the DegenApesAcademy, that lovable band of degenerates, sold out in 8 minutes. Holy ape, indeed.
September saw Solana’s rise go meteoric. The Solana ecosystem reached 1000 global validators, decentralizing the system even more. Beloved millennial website Neopets announced they were launching NFTs built on Solana. And Wormhole launched a token bridge between Solana and Ethereum.
3… 2… 1… we have IGNITION. Solana’s third hackathon was its largest yet, with over $5 million in prizes and seed funding. It was a massive success, bringing 568 new projects onto Solana — including yield manager Katana, which won the Grand Champion prize and launched its mainnet by December!
NFTs in the Solana ecosystem also continued to take off, with a Solana Monkey Business NFT selling for $2 million. Talk about shooting for the stars.
It was the beginning of something really special. Solana Breakpoint in Lisbon was the first in-person celebration of the Solana ecosystem, and dozens of projects announced major news. Some highlights include:
- Alexis Ohanian and 776 announced a $250 million — actually, make that $500 million — fund to help spur the future of social media on the blockchain;
- Brave Browser announced it was integrating Solana and making it the default blockchain;
- RNDR, an animation company, announced it would be rendering the metaverse using Solana;
- Neon Labs announced Neon EVM, an Ethereum virtual machine.
You can watch every panel at Breakpoint here.
The spirit of Solana was still going strong. Allbridge announced a bridge from Fantom to Solana. Opera browser revealed it would be supporting Solana dApps. Mini Royale became the first multiplayer game to launch on Solana. Twitch co-founder Justin Kan launched a gaming NFT marketplace using Solana. And finally, Michael Jordan and his son came to Solana to launch the “Heir” community platform.
The community has grown so much since January. As of the Solana Solstice, Solana has…
- 1 million total NFTs minted
- 1.6 users on Phantom
- 5,985 total public repos
- $11.4 billion TVL
- $1.6 billion TVL in stake pools on Solana
- 1,135 RPC nodes
- 1,328 global validators
- 5,145 total projects in the ecosystem
- 45,500,750,478 transactions
Where will the Solana ecosystem go from here? Stay tuned — there are some very cool announcements coming soon.
Here’s to a great year. Let’s keep building together.
What were the highlights of your Solana year? Tell us on Twitter.