IGNITION, the third global hackathon in the Solana ecosystem, is well underway. Hundreds of projects have been submitted so far, but what do you do if you’re not sure where to begin?
On September 3rd, Solana Labs co-founder and CEO Anatoly Yakovenko and Multicoin Capital’s Kyle Samani hopped on Twitch stream with Solana Labs’ Matt Taylor to talk about the ideas they’re hoping to see come to life over the next 4 weeks.
“Gaming, I think, is the right one to start figuring out,” Yakovenko said. Star Atlas is successfully being built with blockchain technology, but that’s an AAA game — and will take some time to get started. In the meantime, there’s plenty of ways to try something new.
“If you wrote a lot of character sheets for Dungeons and Dragons,” Yakovenko said, “this is the perfect time for you to start building smart contracts.”
Primitives that exist across games. “How do you do the same thing for transfers of assets and attributes and identity between games?” Yakovenko asks. “Something between interfaces and document formats is the challenge there.”
Mini-games. “I think there's an opportunity for people that can focus on small mini-games,” Yakovenko said, “but also can you actually build these data structures that are shareable across the genre?” The smaller-scale games — or even Castlevania-style platformers — have yet to be truly explored in Solana, and can reveal patterns that are truly composable within a cryptocurrency ecosystem.
Interoperability. Samani suggested finding a way to create an item that can exist across multiple games — and potentially even render differently in a different art style. “That way you could take that item with you across multiple games without it being an eyesore.”
“I love the idea that math can be beautiful,” Samani said.
NFTs have become incredibly popular on Solana, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities for innovation — especially when it comes to the user experience.
Auction mechanics. “There’s a lot of auction mechanics that you can apply to NFTs,” Yakovenko said. Look at a trading tool like Mango Markets and apply some of the same ideas to NFTs, he suggests — and after building you could spend most of your time working on a good UI.
Fractionalization. “I feel like there’s a really interesting design space around social coordination games — around people combining pieces of data to form higher collective beauty,” Samani suggested. As Matt Taylor points out, fractionalization will “enable more liquid markets, and spread out the ability and access for people to buy these things.”
Time. The notion of time in NFTs is a pretty untapped resource, Samani pointed out. Why not create an NFT that changes or evolves as the time goes by? “You could have an NFT where the input of the NFT is some piece of entropy,” Samani said, “and therefore every time you look at the NFT it’s different."
While previous Solana hackathons have produced several decentralized finance projects, there’s still a lot of room to innovate.
Yakovenko sees there being two paths forward in the DeFi track: “You can go deep technical” and figure out where the innovations lie in a complex system, he said, or you could build something consumer-facing that gets people into cryptography, “something that humans actually want.”
New ways to build product primitives. “What I’m looking forward to is new ways to build these product primitives,” Samani said. Look at what’s being built elsewhere and see how Solana can extend it further. He suggests looking at borrow and lend pools as a good place to start.
AMM-style liquidity pools.“I think that is more of the innovation than the constant function market maker,” Yakovenko said. He suggests looking at ways to start automating the market maker using the Serum order book.
A ‘decentralized FTX.’ “Finding a way to make all of the various collateral from all of the different systems interoperate with each other is super cool,” he said. “There’s a big, big opportunity there.”
Oracles. Don’t forget to look at providers like Pyth and Chainlink, too. “There’s a couple of those half-built in the Solana Program Library repo for using oracles to trigger prediction market results,” Yakovenko pointed out.
Anchor. Finally, “if you’re purely interested in just making the developer experience better,” Yakovenko said, “just start playing around with Anchor.” It may not be the flashiest project, but any improvements will help.
Yakovenko had one piece of advice: Don’t just try to build a Web2 product in Web3.
Build something new. “We’re kind of building Web3 onto Web2 as a communication layer,” he says. “I don’t think we need to bring Web2 to Web3.” Instead of trying to “make bricks out of concrete,” make something that is unique. Don’t miss the point of the distributed crypto-ness.
Samani agrees. “Tokens are superpowers… if they are used correctly,” Samani said. “But they need to be used correctly.” He suggests making sure you know exactly why you have a token in the first place.
But Yakovenko gave an important caveat.
“If you think I’m wrong, Kyle’s wrong, that’s almost the perfect signal to go build that thing!” the Solana Labs CEO said. “Whatever you really believe should be using crypto, that’s the thing to build.”
Let's see what you build. Register to get started.