Solana Solstice 2022: Reasons to be excited for 2023

by Solana Foundation

Solana Solstice 2022: Reasons to be excited for 2023

If 2021 was the year that the Solana community stepped into the sunlight, 2022 was the year for shipping and scaling.

And what a year it’s been! There’s been the highs of Breakpoint and the lows of the volatile market. Throughout it all, the Solana community has only gotten stronger — and kept their heads down to keep on building.

As we once again arrive at the Solana Solstice, it’s important to take a breath, take stock of what we’ve accomplished and get excited for what’s to come.

Here’s why you should bet on the Solana community in 2023.

☀️ New protocols for real-world uses

This year, the Solana community was focused on bringing crypto into the real world. This could be typified by the introduction of two new protocols from Solana Labs that helped seed a whole ecosystem of new projects.

Solana Mobile Stack and Solana Mobile’s flagship device Saga, announced to much acclaim at a surprise event in June, aims to free web3 from desktops and make mobile a much friendlier to dApps. Saga also brings a near-hardware wallet level of security to mobile devices, uniting security and simplicity. DVT-1, the first Saga development kits, started shipping this December. Consumer units will ship in early 2023.

Solana Pay, introduced in February, has kickstarted a frictionless, permissionless payment ecosystem. It’s now being used by stores and brands alike — and will continue to grow in 2023.

☀️ Developers developers developers

The developers are here, and they’re building.

2022 was a banner year for the humble Solana dev. As of the end of November, there were 2053 total active developers working on projects that use Solana — and 1654 of those working on Solana-only projects.

This explosion in developer growth might be because what was once considered “chewing glass” is now more like surfing glass. There’s been massive growth in developer education and tooling for the Solana ecosystem, making it easier for new builders to hit the ground running and get started.

The rise of SolanaU on college campuses is not to be underestimated. SolanaU Ambassadors helped students and professors at universities from Berkeley to Belgrade. The next cohort of SolanaU Ambassadors is taking applications until December 22nd.

☀️ Mainstream adoption is coming

This was the year that traditional companies took notice of the power of the Solana ecosystem.

In a surprise announcement that took the web3 world by storm, Google Cloud said that they have been running a block-supporting Solana validator. They are also extending support for Blockchain Node Engine to Solana — so anyone in the world can run a validator in the cloud — and indexing Solana data for easier historical research in Big Query.

2022 was also the year that Brave integrated Solana into their wallet. The privacy-focused browser announced the integration at Breakpoint 2021, which would give default support to Solana dApps in their mobile and web browsers. The integration completed in 2022, making it much easier for non-crypto native internet users to get started on Solana!

Here’s just a sampling of some of the other traditional projects who started building on Solana this year:

☀️ The network keeps getting better

After a series of bugs last spring, the core Solana engineers and greater Solana ecosystem have been singularly focused on improving the network. And by many metrics, their efforts have succeeded. The Solana network is now more stable, decentralized, and faster than ever before.

In order to evaluate the progress, the Solana Foundation has been releasing a series of reports analyzing the network and identifying what areas still need improvement. Here’s what they found:

  • Solana network usage averages around 4,000 transactions per second, thousands more than the nearest competitor.
  • Solana is arguably one of the most decentralized Layer-1 blockchains. As of Dec. 21st, Solana has 1,911 independent validators and a Nakamoto coefficient of 30.
  • The average Solana nonvoting transaction uses less energy than three Google searches — far less an Ethereum transaction, even using estimates from after the Merge. The entire Solana network uses less energy per year than a single Bitcoin transaction.
  • The entire Solana network is carbon neutral, thanks to the support of the Solana Foundation.
  • Even during the collapse of FTX, a stress test of the network, Solana performed well under pressure. Average block time, or the time it takes for the network to produce new blocks, is a good proxy for the performance of the network. Even with the high volume of transactions on Nov. 8, average block time was at .61 ms, well below the historical average.

The network is set to improve even more with the release of Jump Crypto’s Firedancer, a second validator client. A new validator client, when adopted, means it’s extremely unlikely that any single bug will bring down the Solana network — making it more secure and stable. Firedancer will make Solana the only other blockchain network besides Ethereum to have more than one validator client.

And did we mention that it’s lightning fast? Firedancer will turbocharge transaction times on Solana, taking the network’s respectable TPS from the thousands to the hundreds of thousands, if not millions — Firedancer processed .6 million transactions per second in a recent live demo in a test environment.

☀️ Solana is IRL

2022 might be the year that the Solana community left the internet and started making its mark in the real world.

Solana Spaces, a company dedicated to bringing the Solana community off the internet and into retail spaces, has opened two locations in the last year. The two locations, one in New York City and their flagship Solana Embassy in Miami, showcase projects from the ecosystem and help onboard new users. And with SpacesDAO, their new decentralized approach to franchising, Solana Spaces will be coming to locations literally around the world.

Meanwhile, Solana Hacker Houses took the world by storm. More than 24 Solana Hacker Houses from Berlin to Bangalore and Seoul to Seattle created spaces for Solana developers to build, learn, and showcase their projects. Thousands attended these events even at the height of market volatility, kicking off a cottage industry of blockchain-focused spaces for builders. There are a dozen Solana Hacker Houses already open for registration in 2023.

Of course, all the real-life energy culminated in Breakpoint, the annual conference put on by the Solana Foundation. More than 3,800 members of the Solana community gathered in Lisbon — nearly double the number of attendees the previous year — to see thoughtful discussions, dig into the tech, and hear from the ecosystem about what’s coming up next year.

What are you most excited about in 2023?

Happy Solana Solstice. We can't wait to see what you build.

wagmi 💪