Jupiter Infrastructure AMA Series with Solana Labs (Austin Federa, Matty Taylor, Chase Barker)

Jupiter Infrastructure AMA Series with Austin Federa, Matty Taylor, Chase Barker from Solana Labs(3/2/22)

Solana Labs is a technology company working to help advance the Solana ecosystem. The Solana blockchain is a new architecture for a high-performance blockchain. Up to 710,000 transactions per second on a 1-gigabit network without data partitioning.

AMA Transcription

[00:00:00] Ben: Hi, welcome to Exploring Solana with Jupiter. I’m Ben Chow, one of the co-founders of Jupiter and the host of this podcast. For those who don’t know, Jupiter is the key swap aggregator and infrastructure on Solana, giving you the best price swaps for any token and with almost 10 billion in trade volume and representing 2% of Solana’s daily transactions.

[00:00:22] We are one of most popular DeFi protocols on Solana. So in this AMA series, we’ll talk with key crypto folks in the Solana ecosystem and deep dive into the important topics, prompt and stories of the day.

[00:00:34] Just a heads up. I’ve never hosted a Twitter Space before. So bear with me.

[00:00:39] Matty: Yeah, that’s fine.

[00:00:39] Ben: This is the first time for me.

[00:00:40] But great, man. I’m so happy to kick off our new infra AMA series with you guys. I love first and you guys are awesome, man. So excited.

[00:00:49] Chase: Thanks for having yeah.

[00:00:50] Matty: Excited to be here.

[00:00:51] Ben: So just kind of to set the context a little bit, we’ve just did an announcement recently about how we see Jupiter as building swap infrastructure. And, um, you know, we’ve launched our SDK and we’ve been working on an API, I’ve been working with a lot of projects. And personally, I think that, you know, a lot of the new projects coming on online, share a similar sort of mentality around, you know, being infrastructure. For example, we spoke with Zeta a few weeks ago. And, you know, they also have an SDK and they’re working with other projects to kind of really build composability into what they do, you know? And I think you guys are the ultimate OGs of Solano side. It’d be great to hear from you on how you guys have built this wonderful, awesome, vibrant ecosystem of developers.

[00:01:33] I think to kick it off, maybe for people who don’t know, do you mind giving a bit of your backgrounds and sort of what you do and the Solana ecosystem?

[00:01:41] Chase: Um, I’ll go ahead and go first. So this is uh Chase, um, Developer Relations Lead at a Solana labs. I actually came a little bit later than Austin and Matt here, but my background is just general, uh, traditional web to development for about 12 years and four years. I joined another crypto project doing developer relations. Kind of learned how to speak with engineers and kind of liaison between core engineers and developers building with SDKs. And then early last year, I think sometime around May, um, I joined Solana to do the same thing and like there was already a massive community out there.

[00:02:16] Matt and Austin had already been working on some previous hackathons that were kind of doing a really good job of funneling developers in. So the big problem was that it was really hard to develop on Solana at the time considering there was really just our core docks(?) and then the Poll Access Code tutorial was most people at most developers on this call now.

[00:02:34] So, we’ve really just personally just been spending a lot of time building out developer education and content and Solana cookbook and all these things that make it easier to onboard. And like, that’s kind of been primarily my focus for at least the last six months; is just making it easier to onboard, to Solana as a developer.

[00:02:51] Austin: Um, I am Federa. I run communications and work across a bunch of our strategy and product work here at Slump Labs. I joined previously from Bison Trails where I ran product marketing until the acquisition by Coinbase; Bison Trails was a blockchain infrastructure company. So I’ve worked with about 20 different protocols on various levels of support.

[00:03:11] And kind of one of the funny stories is so, Ben, who’s the head of BD at Solana labs. Um, we used to work together at a company called Republic. Which was a non-accredited, uh, investment platform, both for equity investments and for crypto investments. And then after Bison, Charles got acquired and he was like, “Hey, like you should come work for Solana.”

[00:03:28] I was like, “I dunno, man, like Bison Trails, we supported the Solana. It was the protocol we talked to lease. Like, no one knows what’s going on over there. It’s just a bunch of nerds building stuff.” And he’s like, “Yeah, that’s the point.” Uh, and so, you know, I was like very much expecting to go to go work for like a, at the time, a more established, more higher market cap, vertical, but like talking with an, a totally and Raj and Ben and everyone just really, really sucked me in.

[00:03:53] So it’s been a, it’s been an amazing place to be in the community here is like the secret sauce of like what actually makes everything work. Like the actual work from the foundation and labs is maybe 5% or less of what’s going on in the ecosystem. So, uh, it’s just a lot of really dedicated and talented developers.

[00:04:10] Matty: Yeah. And I’m, I’m Matty uh, I’m the Head of Growth at Solana labs. Previously, I worked for about four years at Square, a payments company, and then I jumped to Zero-X, which is a decentralized exchange protocol on Ethereum. And I think there’s a lot, actually a lot of overlap between kind of what Jupiter is working on in terms of aggregation and a lot of the, the tooling and, and products that , that Zero-X made in the Ethereum ecosystem.

[00:04:37] And so, um, yeah, worked there for a couple of years leading marketing, and then I jumped to Solana labs about two years ago. Um, and primarily, I mean, I guess I wear a lot of different hats over the years, but, um, one of the main initiatives that I’ve been working on recently are, um, Small Plug. If you’re a developer out there and want to join a hackathon right now, um, we have one called Riptide running until March 17.

[00:05:03] So, um, yeah. Sign up if you haven’t done so.

[00:05:07] Ben: Jupiter is actually run by a boomer fun fact.

[00:05:11] Yeah, it’s true. It’s true.

[00:05:13] Uh, I was just saying that, uh, I think a great question and something you highlighted Austin was, you know, giving credit to the, the great developer ecosystem. Like people just taking their own initiative.

[00:05:23] Do you think there was things that, that you guys did to help to help do that? You know, cause I feel like in the very beginning, and this is something that, you know, we’re seeing a lot of the relationships that we have with our developers. It’s more of a support role, right? Helping them kind of get started, helping them, you know, understand how to build on Solana.

[00:05:42] They’ll build with Jupiter. How do you, how do you kind of encourage developers or other ecosystem to kind of step up and, um, maybe help others?

[00:05:51] I wanna get Chase’s take on this real soon, but, you know, one of the interesting things about Solana is like, before Chase joined and before developer relations was really a thing, there were building on Solana right?

[00:06:02] That’s how Serum got started, a ton, a ton of these things got started, but there really wasn’t any program from labs or foundations to make it easy. And one of the really, I would say impressive pieces is just like demos that were done, right? Break was like the first, the first thing that really existed on Solana. The main net, this on a test net, which was just a, an application itself.

[00:06:24] Where you go and you can smash your keyboard and you can see the transactions confirming in real time on the blockchain and the early devs who were building on Solana, both pre-made net and pre sort of like, I’d say, main, main launches or of the network. Um, they were just building on this promise of an incredibly strong technological platform.

[00:06:43] And so, you know, you didn’t see the sort of like, BSC clone projects popping up because it was really hard to build on Solana, you know, 18 months ago. And so it’s like the culture of the network is such like hard grit, chewing glass developers because it used to be difficult. There just wasn’t great documentation and tooling and, you know, obviously Chase and his team has done really amazing work, changing that over the last year.

[00:07:08] Chase: To piggyback on that, um, just like if you’re saying like, did we do anything for that? Honestly, I think at the core of this, it was a bunch of nerds that saw a really cool technology and they wanted to figure out how to build on it. And that kind of, is really like early guys, like the PSI options team and Mango. And like, I know Daffy in the early days spending a ton of time just hanging out with the core engineers in Discord. And like, that was pretty much the primary way to learn Solano was to get in there and just ask questions. Um, that’s changed over time, but, but honestly, outside of that, um, I think what the, the labs team and foundation and this community has really done, and it kind of came top down from Anatoly was just, it’s kind of weird to say, and maybe a little bit cringe, but it’s like it’s Anatoly sets a pretty, pretty solid vibe for the community.

[00:07:56] It’s about helping others and always kind of focusing on the tech. Not spending your time bashing other projects. It’s like, just get out there and build real cool shit that helps people do more cool shit. And then that message kind of like went from the top down and then I started doing it and then really kind of pushing the community to like, “Hey, you want to get involved in this? Go write a tutorial, go build a cool tool, help somebody.” I mean, eventually these guys get hired almost immediately when people see what they’ve done. Which is awesome too, but that, that vibe just kind of just, um, it just goes outwardly to the rest of the community and it’s just stayed that way since the beginning. Like I see MINU obviously have blockchain wars going out there and maybe there’s some non-dev community members, but the majority of the Solana community in general, I think spend most of their time helping each other and building really cool things and sharing really cool things and not wasting any sort of their, their brain power on arguing, um, with people on Twitter. So I think that plays a big part and to what attracts a lot of developers. Cause I do get a lot of DM’s occasionally that are like, "Hey, like I I’ve seen everybody in on Solana and all Solana labs and all these different ecosystem projects. That’s really what attracted me to this, this community.

[00:09:07] It’s just a lot of people out there helping. And I think we might’ve burned. Anatoly probably lit a fire and then we kind of helped put some oxygen on that fire. But from then it kind of just organically grew into what it is today.

[00:09:18] Ben: Wow. That’s that’s, that’s an incredible thought if I could sum up what you guys said, um, I’d love to hear what you think too, Matty.

[00:09:25] It sounds like just having this cultural vibe of, of building, you know, get out there and build, and, and also maybe even it’s it sounds like having a challenge, you know, the fact that it was really hard to build in the beginning, kind of attracted a certain type of person.

[00:09:41] Matty: Yeah. I mean, I think another thing, um, around when I joined the, that was really impactful was that we had a really strong validators, community, um, from the get-go. Um, even before there were any sort of application, totally formed applications built on top and these validators like Everstake and a few others, that really helped build out some of the, to help kind of like developers along the path of, of creating a fully formed application on top of the Solana. And so, yeah, I just wanted to call that out as well, in addition to what Austin and Chase said.

[00:10:15] Oh, that’s really interesting. And, and what. What, what do you think? Uh, I mean, how, how did you get you get a strong sort of validated community? How did that get started?

[00:10:23] Yeah, I think, I think that just kind of goes back to the core team and, and totally, um, you know, kind of laying out the vision for what a scalable, you know, you know, blockchain could look like with a billion concurrent users. Um, and I think that kind of caught the imagination of a lot of these folks who were already starting to run some proof of stake validators, um, for other chains. And, you know, I think they really bought into, bought into the vision from the start. And I think that’s kind of where it started.

[00:10:55] You know, what’s really cool to me hearing this is that I feel like a lot of what people talk about today is sort of a lot of like the gamified incentives. And what’s cool to hear about everything that you guys shared so far is more about like something more fundamental, you know, which is like a cool vision, uh, a cool vibe, you know, just gathering people who sort of vibe with you or who share your values. And it seems like, I mean, I think we see the same thing. Uh, it’s something that we’ve focused on. And it’s just instead of kind of token incentives, it’s, it’s really about finding people who really like what you’re doing and building on top of that.

[00:11:31] Yeah. And you know, I think one thing that just is worth noting, especially given, given where we are in the world now is the initial validator community for Solana. Um, very Eastern European heavy, right there, there is this sort of like Eastern European, like w we joke there’s like the Eastern European mafia. Right. Which is like, all these amazing crypto founders have come out of, you know, Russia or former Soviet states and Ukraine and that whole area. And many of those groups, like they’re just some of the really early strong believers in it. And, you know, and, uh, totally, uh, being, being from that region originally have always been in, even in the U S since about 1992 or so. Um, you know, there’s a really strong connection still within the whole blockchain industry to Eastern Europe in that region. Um, but especially with Solana, like that’s where so many of the early validators that’s, wherever stake is based, that’s where a bunch of these other groups are based. So I want to just make sure we’re also, uh, highlighting the contributions of that part of the world is made to the entire crypto industry, given our only happening over there.

[00:12:31] Ben: Yeah. Do you, I mean, do you want to talk a little bit about that?

[00:12:33] Matty: Um, uh, you know, I think, I think a lot of, I think it’s been really cool and, and on a personal level, working with some of the other founders of projects, who are super, like there they’re personally involved and close to it has been really awesome to see, you know?

[00:12:49] Yeah. I don’t want to derail our, too much away from promo. We’re kind of here to talk about, but one of the things you saw, um, Sergei and Everstake launch is uh Ukraine.sol, which is a, a DAO, but a really a DAO just focusing on a multisig treasury, that’s been endorsed by the government of Ukraine. There’s a new sort of front end to this, which is nation, which is nation.io/dow/ukraine. And it’s an aid for Ukraine. Project is about 1.4, $5 million raised so far from the Islamic community. It accepts any SPL tokens. Uh, or NFTs as well, which will then also be, be sold to, to raise funds here. Um, and this is, you know, really Sergei is, a brainchild and project. And because it’s built on Solana that the transaction fees are absolutely minuscule. So, um, you know, it really is, I think from a capital efficiency standpoint, one of the most efficient fundraisers ever in the terms of, uh, you know, even the credit card fees, when you donate to a nonprofit or are orders of magnitude higher than what it is when you, when you send transactions on Solana that obviously has major implications for how something like Jupiter is able to build what you guys have built. But, you know, you also see that in a situation where just more money donated is getting to, to the people in need. So if you want to check that out, uh, you know, Ukraine.sol is the, is the, the, the bumping and naming service resolvable address, or, um, you can find aid for Ukraine on, on Twitter, but really just Sergei’s Twitter and Everstake’s twitter is probably the best place to, to get a quick plug into that.

[00:14:23] Awesome. Awesome. Yeah, no, I, I, I, uh, I don’t see it as, as sort of a sidetrack because I feel like, it seems like, you know, this, uh, the values of this ecosystem are strongly aligned to this kind of stuff, you know, really, really cool. Really. Um, just, you know, I feel a lot tackling these problems with, with other products. I think it brings everyone closer together. So it’s really cool to see.

[00:14:48] Yeah. And also kind of worth noting is that like, this was built on SPL governance and then you have the bone feed named service. So just like, speaking of composability like, this is kind of just an option of composing some pieces together to, to make a really cool, um, donation tool.

[00:15:05] Yeah. I can’t think of a better reason to kind of kickstart or accelerate more composability in the ecosystem. So I think that’s great.

[00:15:13] I’m curious. One of the things I feel like people don’t share as much is, um, uh, especially in the early days of things, you know, w what do you think were like the hardest challenges? You know, in, in the beginning or when you guys were getting started and, and, uh, maybe even share like, uh, where there things that, you know, you try that, you know, kind of really didn’t work versus like things that kind of really work or took off.

[00:15:35] Austin: So I’ll kind of give my perspective. I was actually, I didn’t start until last May, but I had been kind of following along with Solana for awhile. And one of the things that I, that I would constantly see was there was definitely a lot of fun, like, around the ambitions of the project itself. So like you have to overcome that, like, as, as much as it doesn’t really matter, it matters a lot, I think, um, in terms of just convincing people to use it, build on it, et cetera. There was, there were tons of threads, like in 2020 that like nobody will ever use Rust. Nobody will ever build on Solana. Like it’s, it’s impossible. You’ll never acquire the amount of users and like looking at the electric, um, capital sort of a developer trajectory like Solana’s and uhm, I believe in the top three, I could be somebody correct me if I’m wrong, but like our developer trajectory is as super high. So overcoming the challenge of basically building a system and a language that’s somewhat considered, um, niche and, and building an entire, um, one of the fastest growing ecosystems around that language and making it work. And then also, um, just Bartusch and Jordan, or last year, and in a matter of weeks, Created the first version of metroplex, which allowed Solana to basically capture all that value that came from the whole NFT craze. Um, and, and those challenges, we, it was basically, they were overcome by people just building very quickly and just doing, getting it done. And like, I think from my perspective, that was probably one of the harder challenges, just overcoming the, the creating a new blockchain and a brand new language, um, and, and getting people to, to make the genre so familiar with, which is mostly solidity, obviously, and the space so.

[00:17:18] Ben: Great answer Austin, Matty uh, you have to have perspective.

[00:17:22] Matty: So one of the, you know, I can, things that didn’t go well is hard to talk about because largely speaking, we didn’t really try them. Like we, we, who we were as a, as an organization, like Solana labs has been pretty good at trying to figure out like what’s likely to work and what’s not likely to work. But one of the main strategies from really early on is like blockchain organizations, whether it’s the nonprofit foundation or if it’s the thing like Solana labs, which is simplified a development arm, um, for the organizations it’s not built like a traditional company. And that is everywhere from like the way that management has done in the hierarchy internally and all these sorts of things. Um, you know, The goal is not to have a vertically integrated organization, right? The goal for us, I think for, for me, for Chase, for Matt for every day is in some ways to do as little as humanly possible, right? It’s to it’s the get out of the way of the community of developers, of things being built on Solana as much as possible and provide support only where it’s like a real, a real value add for, for folks. So a great example of this. So many projects that have become the basis for other things on Solana start as reference implementations, and they end as reference implementations. Right? So like one of the easiest examples of this is, you know, on every blockchain, uh, the core code for a wallet and usually built by the foundation or a small set of employees. But, you know, there was never, it was created by, uh, Solana labs of the Solana foundation, right? But that same core wallet code is deployed and do all the different wallets that are built on top of, of the network. The same way that the validator code is, you know, uh, originally built by a few, uh, you know, a few folks or a few organizations, but then becomes this decentralized activity. Um, that’s like at the most basic level, moving up from there, eating something like Mediplex right where meetups started as a, uh, a framework project by two engineers at Solana labs. Um, that was like, what would it look like for NFTs to be on Solana? What are the characteristics of the Solana network that make it something that, uh, we can do NFTs in a totally new and different way. So that includes things like on chain royalties that includes like, you know, the idea of collections. There’s a ton of implementations that are possible because of the way that the Solana network works… Um, but Neta Plex was not created by the Solana foundation or by Solona labs. Mediplex was created by an, an external team that saw this code and was like, Hey, we want to build like a whole product and launch a blockchain protocol on top of this. And, you know, part of the power of the model that’s Solana’s taken with development here is that it’s not dependent on like, “Oh, this organization is going to build everything from the top down.” Like, uh, you know, uh, day in and day out like Matt and Chase and I, and everyone else who works, who works on this, on this network. We’re trying to put ourselves out of jobs by handing over more and more to the community, to developers, to, you know, a true decentralized ecosystem. And, uh, you know, that’s kind of the model we take through, through everything that’s being done here. It’s not like Mediplex is just one example of this. It’s the, the, you know, some of the core code that Serum ended up getting built on, right? Like, uh, the, the core oyster lending code that like a bunch of the borrow lend protocols are dealt on. Like, it’s build those, those, like the smallest amount possible that needs to be built by, you know, engineers who are willing to take a risk and are willing to finance stuff that, you know, maybe it’s not ready for a, uh, you know, an entrepreneuring developer to come in and launch a protocol on yet. But if only these two or three pieces of infrastructure existed, suddenly you can build, you know, all the different exchanges, dApps, wallets, et cetera that you’ve seen on the network.

[00:21:11] Uh, I agree with everything that Austin and Chase said. Um, and just to kind of, I guess, double click on, on that last piece is that like it’s a lot more effective for the whole community and the network at large to grow. If, you know, Solana labs are the foundation, isn’t kind of driving things forward from, from the start to the end. Um, you know, there’s, there’s only, you know, we can’t really scale up our organization to, uh, to, to develop all the things that, that need to get developed on the network. And so the community and, you know, the developers that are external, that are really driving this thing are, are doing a much better job than we could ever do. Even if we tried. And so I think. You know, that that goes from, you know, evangelism to education, to building products, to, to everything. Um, and I think that’s really core to kind of our philosophy on how, how the network’s going to continue to grow.

[00:22:07] Ben: I think that’s really interesting. Austin, I love what you said about, you know, getting out of the way. 'Cause I think that’s really, it’s kind of NG you say that. Because it’s both, it feels like it’s both, kick-starting like building the pieces that are fundamental for, for other people to build on, but also like letting them, you know, take it in.

[00:22:26] Austin: It’s really funny because like, you know, the sort of foundation again, Swiss foundation, like very strict charter on what it’s able to do. Are they able to do, but like, you know, I have friends who work for we’re print on profits and like they’re they’re jealous of how much we want to get out of the way. Right? Like, like the Solana, the foundation, literally it’s like, you know, in a traditional nonprofit, like there’s all of these procedures in place where it’s like, “Oh, but you know, how do we approve something like for a grant?” Right? Like if you’ve ever applied for a grant, like, from a non blockchain organization, it’s an incredibly bureaucratic process. There’s all these checks. They need to make sure that, you know, all these things aren’t going to happen or go wrong or something along those lines. And like, you know, the, the, the approach taken by the Solana foundation is really like, this is money for the community and the community. It is spent on ways that’ll increase community growth and help the protocol develop. And, you know, just like a VC. Uh, you, the VCs only expect, you know, a very small percentage of the things that they grant or invest in to really have a massive return on investment. Obviously, the, uh, the, the ROI calculation, when you’re looking at the Solana foundation’s is a little bit different because it’s not, you know, making money off of the things that it grants to. But like, it really is a, an approach that says like the foundation does not pick winners and losers, right. The foundation is there to support ideas that have potential; and if they don’t work, that’s okay. Cause maybe some small part of the code that was developed out of one project will end up getting picked up by another project. And you know, we see this all the time, which is like the stuff that like our team at labs is excited about. I would say only 50% at the time that the stuff that ends up being a breakout, like. Th we don’t pretend special insights into what’s going to happen. It really is just like looking at the community, listening to the community, listening to developers door, to call that and seeing areas where like, “Oh, here’s a, here’s a common pain point that a lot of people are experiencing. Is there a role for, for labs to play here or the foundation to play here in, in solving this pain point?” You know, more times than not the answer is, no actually, there’s someone already in the community working on it and we just need to, you know, make sure people are aware of the work that they’re doing. And I have a lot of my job and that’s all, that’s a lot of Matt’s job too. It’s like making sure that there’s good information flow on what people are building so that, you know, people aren’t reinventing the wheel every time they try and build something and, you know. Chase, maybe this is a great place to talk about like Cookbook and some of the educational initiatives too, because those are all right in that same.

[00:24:56] You should definitely talk about that. Cause I’ve been sharing it. I think the work you’ve been doing there is pretty amazing. I just wanted to share one thing too, that I really appreciated about what you said earlier, Chase, which is, um, uh, um, you know, the tackling the thought and, and uh, I think one thing that’s been really impressive is that it seems to be that, you know, you took. Maybe that FID or like the, the fact that, you know, Rust is hard or it’s hard to develop and you turned it into like a strength, like, like the whole chewing glass sort of attribute. Uh, um, I just love how that’s sort of, uh, a property of the ecosystem or something to be proud of. You know, uh, as opposed to it being like a problem.

[00:25:41] Yeah. And I, the cool part about the whole chewing glass thing is that like the early glass chewers have basically made this, not really much of a thing anymore, because now that you have all these toolings, you can come on Solana and you can build just like the front end de-op side, where you’re kind of just communicating with programs and you’re, not everybody has to write it. And then you have Anchor who came along and Armani’s brain child, and built something that makes it even easier. So, and this was kind of my argument in the beginning, whether I set up public publicly or not, I was like, people can say all I want about how hard it is to build on Solana. What happens just like it does with composability, uh, of, of, uh, Protocols, somebody builds a tool that makes it easier. And then somebody looks at that and then they make it easier. And then it just goes on forever. This only happens if you have a large community that believes in your project, because as we’ve seen, like the Cookbook has probably 60 unique contributors, um, the Solana cookbook, and really, we just, we just, we built this, my, my team, my, uh, the, like our team, our developer relations team. They had an idea for this place where they were going to bootstrap this thing called the Solana Cookbook with some coding examples. Um, and then we were going to make a project board and offer up places for people to contribute. And I mean, I think, I don’t know the exact numbers. I think it’s probably over 60, uh, unique contributors. I think I see Jacob Creech on this call. He’s the one who manages it and he’s the one that reviews all the PRS, but it’s really just been a community. Effort to build out all these reference examples. And now if you want to get started on Solana, you can, honestly, if you want to, just to get quick start, you can go just copy and paste some code and just run it and see, watch it work. And that’s super inspirational to a lot of people just to be like, wow, I just talked to a blockchain and this is super helpful for web to developers that are a little intimidated by a blockchain, not realizing that the tooling is very similar to speaking a, uh, speaking to the web to just since realized server, like you can do it very much the same way with some very similar tools outside of some concepts that are different. But yeah, the like we’re working on a handful of educational initiatives. I have about two to three full end-to-end Solana courses. And then once those are created, somebody will probably take them because there’ll be fully open source and there’ll be like, “Hey, that’s a great course. I’m going to make it better.” And then maybe they’ll go teach it in India and Africa and all over the world. And that’s the whole goal we just make, like, this is kind of goes back to what Austin says. We’re going to make the kind of, I wouldn’t call it bare minimum, but we’re going to make, like, uh, a solid version of something and we’re going to share it with everybody and then people are going to go take that and then they’re going to make it better and then they’re going to go spread it. And it’s, it’s really just, that’s how, like our strategy for scaling, like Solana education and development is to really just make something early, share it and then like let the community take it and run with it and then use it however they wish. And, and this has kind of been like what we’ve been doing for awhile and it seems to be working.

[00:28:41] Ben: I mean, yeah, like the growth in the ecosystem is so surprising. I mean, I feel like, uh, like every day I’m meeting more and more, uh, new, new developers and people building, uh, more interesting things, you know, in sort of the basic building block. Um, are there, um, so I’m kinda curious. You know, like what, what do you, what do you see or like sort of the new challenges that you guys are, are tackling?

[00:29:09] Matty: Go for it Chase.

[00:29:10] Chase: Oh, I was going to tell you to go for it. Um, cause I mean, like I, I’m definitely pretty, uh, pretty heavily focused on the educational arena right now. So I think Austin on the, on the spot here. So for this one,

[00:29:22] Austin: I can jump in. Um, I think one challenge, just like the entire crypto industry has, is like, you know, that there’s some great benefits of being kind of in a “bull market.” like we were in 2020 and 2021. Um, you know, it brings in a lot of people with, you know, an ear to listen and to learn about the technology and start building. Um, but as the market has kind of turned, um, it’s kind of reduced the amount of folks that, that are coming into the speculation and, and are willing to listen. And so I think just one thing that’s a challenge is getting people outside of crypto to, to learn about why this stuff is important and why they should start building in the, in the space generally. And so, um, you know, all we can do is to continue kind of like, you know, doing the stuff that chase and Austin are doing in terms of like educating folks on, you know, what are, what are the projects, you know, what do they do? Why is this technology interesting? Um, and so I think that’s one of the bigger challenges that, you know, not just Solana is running up against, but all ecosystems in crypto.

[00:30:29] Ben: But yeah. Curious to get your guys’ thoughts as well.

[00:30:33] Matty: Yeah. I mean, on a, a more, I’d say both micro and technical level. There’s a really interesting kind of push and pull that you see within the Solana community and within really like the hardcore developer world where Solana’s built on a new, totally new runtime, right. This is called C-level and what it is the process of consensus and the virtual machine into one single global state. So most people don’t really realize. EVM the Ethereum Virtual Machine is separate from Nakamoto consensus, which is the consensus mechanism that, you know, uh, you know, many different Ethereum, just being one of them. And by having those things appear at two different levels, this is A) partially why something like polygon can spin up and have an EVM compatibility layer on top of a different fundamental underlying consensus mechanism. Um, but the problem there is that that’s a pretty slow operation, right? There’s a, there’s a really nice thread that came out, I think is yesterday was Dragonfly Capital, um, examining some of the layer one performance differences. And one of their conclusions is like EVM is really hard to scale. It probably doesn’t scale on the way that folks are looking for simply because the run time wasn’t, wasn’t built for that. Um, there’s a lot of, but you know, here’s the advantage when you build on EVM runtime, and you’re, you’re trying to make it faster through something like Polygon or, you know, fill in the blank with the various EVM scaling solutions. You have a whole mess of developer tooling that’s already available to you and a whole bunch of protocol primitives that already exist. So Solana doesn’t kind of feed markets yet in any, in any meaningful way. Right? The, the, the network fees are basically fixed based on a number of compute units. That’s 5,000 LAN ports, a lot of zero decimal, a lot of zeros and a five, uh, sol. Um, so an incredibly small amount, but building on a new runtime means that there’s some very, very, very cool proposals that are built into the one nine release or future releases that are, are changing the same with uh, Mediplex. We’re able to change the way the NFTs work and expand the spec and create a lot of new opportunity doing that feed markets on Solana. Um, most of the current versions of, of that, of that work, that’s being done global and they’re not even contract specific. Right. So if you look at something like a swap on, um, you know, serum or something like that, W when fees spike on Ethereum, they spike for everybody. So gas fees are a universal constant based on transaction fees coming out of the men pool, but in a world on Solana where lock space is not up for competition and transaction throughput is not up for competition. These are both very highly available resources. What’s actually up for competition is the right space in, in program memory, for lack of a better term, to a very specific part of a very specific contract.

[00:33:34] So, what does that mean?

[00:33:36] It’s not like if you see a lot of market activity, the cost of doing a swap on Mango or Serum or Jupiter would, would increase you’d actually see fees, like just in the specific trading pair market. That there’s a high amount of demand for. So this is really interesting, especially when you’re talking about an aggregator, because what it means is that suddenly you get, like, I don’t know how many do you remember like Heroku and how Heroku was supposed to be dynamic load balancing, routing layers that literally never worked. And Heroku’s like something totally different nowadays. There’s that amazing article from like the mid two thousands on by rap genius about how they found out for Heroku was a scam, but. Basically, what this allows to do is like smart routing of orders to places in memory where there’s less of a demand for it. Um, and so, you know, there’s a lot of things that can’t be done nowadays on Solana because the fee markets don’t exist. but because we’re not building on the legacy of, of decisions made for an EVM world for, uh, for something like Ethereum, which is a wonderful blockchain, but runs at 15 transactions per second, uh, that you can do a totally new approaches to sorts of things. And that’s the stuff that I’m really excited about. It’s less than new applications that are being built on Solana, um, and it’s more, like the core underlying infrastructure work is not even close to done on the network yet. And so when you, when you extrapolate out, like what is going to be able to be built with when these new models are in place, that’s where I’m really, really excited about. And that’s kind of where, you know, a bunch of the work that like Chase and the developer relations team is doing, that’s going to take 6, 9, 12 months sometimes to come to fruition in 300 hour, you know, depth, just work for people who want to go from, you know, like, very little understanding of blockchain to being excellent developers for Solana. We’re able to look at those things and be like, these timelines are reasonable because there’s so much fundamental engineering work that’s coming. That’s gonna gonna really create even more uh, innovation on the network. So that’s the stuff I’m, I’m really excited about. And like, you know, to me or Matt, like, it is, uh, I wouldn’t say it’s nice to get a break, but there is like a little bit of relaxation where you can focus on some of this because the sort of the hyper price growth cycle is, is not currently in full swing.

[00:36:01] And remember that we’ll be, we’ll be out of Maine that beta one year after Anatoly post, his last Bernie Sanders update, your validator means so just—

[00:36:10] The official benchmark

[00:36:13] One year after the last Bernie meme.

[00:36:15] Ben: Yeah, I guess I would say by the way, Austin, that was an amazing, uh, amazing, um, uh, sharing, man. You got me all excited about, about the, the, the, the, the future of where Solona can go. So I would just say one thing that I’ve appreciated about the, sort of the downturn too, is that, um, I feel like the quality project, you know, th th th the developers who hold a longer term sort of, uh, vision for, or commitment to, to things, you know, they stick around more, you know, and, uh, it’s just, it’s just, you just, I, I just, like, I meet a lot more quality people and I enjoy like working with a lot of projects.

[00:36:54] Austin: Uh, whereas sometimes I think when it, you know, we’re in the peak of the hype cycle Uh, a question that, you know, we’re, we’re when we’re like, um, getting introduced or discovering new projects to work with. It’s like, you know, trying to suss them out. Um, especially since like, you know, even though we live in this permissionless decentralized world, uh, you know, I feel like it’s very natural, like for anyone’s community and ours in particular to, um, look to us. To, you know whether or not like, for example, if they see a token listed on Jupiter, um, you know, they sort of just assume that it’s a good token because they’ve extended their trust to us. And some, if something is on Jupiter, hence like they sort of trust that. And so, and so we kind of always get these, um, questions of like, uh, you know, “Is this a good project?” You know, as be partnering or working with them?

[00:37:49] Ben: So, so being in a downturn just seems to make it a lot easier. Uh, or I would say it down, down period or something.

[00:37:56] Matty: You know, it’s interesting. Wwe deal with this all the time in labs where like, there’s a certain subset of person, you know, you mentioned like, “Oh, it was a token listed. Is that an endorsement? Or is that a partnership?” Or something like that. Like, you know, you will never see labs or foundation using partner in any press release or any sort of like media on this stuff, because like, you can’t like, it’s, it’s this catch 22, right. Where it’s like, oh, like, like I personally want to catch things that feel scammy. I personally want to make sure that everyone using Solona has a great experience. But that’s also like a deep centralization thing, right? Where it’s like, you can’t really have your cake and eat it too. Like the, the stuff has to be open and permissionless and free to build on, and you have to just sort of the same way, you know, open source software. Like, it’s relying on community policing for stuff. Um, but you know, there’s no big red button. We have to like nuke a token or a nuke a program running on the blockchain. Like that’s, that’s obviously not something that’s possible on, on any decentralized blockchain. Um, but it’s, it’s, I’m actually really curious how you guys kind of navigate that internally. Like, what is your, your thought process when you’re, when you’re thinking about that stuff?

[00:39:10] Austin: Oh yeah. So, I mean, You know, this is sort of an ongoing thing that we’re constantly working on and, and, uh, uh, which is, which is, I would say in a few parts, uh, one, one is just being really clear, uh, communicating to our community what we’re doing. Right. Uh, and for the most part, you know, we’ve told everyone that, you know, we’re, we’re not really curating, right. So, so what you see there is literally. What’s being listed, um, you know, either in the token registry or, or if there’s a market out there. Uh, but I do, we do do, I, I would say we actually do do a little bit of, of, uh, filtering. So th there’s a little bit of, I would say it’s not really curation, but like we do, we look at some exchanges in some markets and we look at the liquidity in there. Uh, because there, there, there happens to be like, you know, for very low liquid tokens there, some funny stuff going on. Um, and so we have a slight bit of like filtering, uh, both, uh, for those markets and also for, um, for performance reasons, because the long tail of those markets like just blows up. And so if you actually are routing and scanning it, it actually. Uh, decreases performance quite a bit.

[00:40:37] Matty: Yeah. I think going back to your previous question about, um, like what, what were some of the challenges early on the turnout to be big benefits was? And I think it kind of speaks to this, um, notion of, I, you know, personally, I think, you know, Solanas were, was blessed with a little less scammy of projects, just due to the nature of it not being EVM compatible. You didn’t see these like, kind of copy pasta, like, you know, swap forks for instance. Um, and I think, you know, w w I think the community and the ecosystem was kind of blessed that, that the, the, the level of developer required to kind of get over that hump and like build out projects was, was very high. Um, and I think there’s, there’s still that kind of, obviously, you know, like Austin said, you know, the Solana and network is open permissionless. Anyone can build on it at this time. Um, but, you know, I think the community has been blessed by the nature of not being EVM compatible from the start and really attracting this, this really high quality, um, you know, level of developer that is willing to eat glass and create quality crop.

[00:41:43] Chase: Yeah, the long, the long tail of that, and Austin kind of mentioned this and , it’s very relevant to me particularly, is that like, if I do my job, like right now, we still have people that like, can we speak to core engineering? Which like, obviously don’t have time to help them, like people onboard because they’re building the core protocol or something like. “Hey, how do we build on Solana?” Uh, we have a look, we still have things in our Solana tech discord support, answering questions every day. Ultimately our goal on developer relations side of things is really to put ourselves out of a job. And like that’s a goal that you strive for, but probably never get there. But the goal is to where somebody can come in. Get on your website and get onboard themselves without having to ask a single question, obviously, a lofty goal, considering the fact that stack overflow and stack exchange exists, um, because people were always going to have questions, but you want to strive to make it as easy as possible so that anybody can do it. In the early days it was super helpful because we got some really, really strong engineers out of it. Um, but, um, The pull of really strong engineers that are, that are shifting over, um, into web three, right now there’s less high quality dubs in the world, just by the nature of like being an expert in something. So we need to really kind of make it easy and efficient for um, college graduates to onboard onto Solana. Um, and they’re basically being trained in strictly web two things. So we need to do a better job of reaching those groups so that they can, before they become biased on some, um, Technology that’s, that’s not blockchain. We need to make sure that it makes it’s easy for them to transition from graduating, from college directly into like coming into web story.

[00:43:32] And that’s kind of one of my, like one of our, as, as a labs and, and my team specifically is goal is to really, um, make it easy for anybody to onboard onto Solana.

[00:43:43] Matty: Yeah. And I, I mean, I, I, uh, I think to, to just add a little bit onto that, Uh, as we, you know, as, uh, as Solana becomes easier. And I think we’ve seen this and just to kind of like merge a little bit this topic and, um, and I think the, the idea of finding or figuring out whether a project is a quality project or not. Um, you know, we’ve seen like, since it was athletes become easier, it can attract, I would say like less quality, right? It’s just easier to clone things, copy things, Especially if something’s more open-source and more accessible. Um, I think internally, uh, what we’ve done to try to suss out and, you know, whether or not, um, we want to partner with a certain project or work with them is just, it’s really based. Like, it seems like, you know, so, so the more someone has put in in terms of building, you know, I feel like there’s some, there’s a level of, uh, the more effort and commitment they put into something than, you know, it’s more of an indication that this is a quality long-term project. And so before I think in the early days, just building on Solana was a lot of effort and stuff like, you know, if you can do that, great, you’re probably a great developer, a great project. Um, as things are a lot easier to do, you know, whether it’s cloning a repo or something that’s already been built. Um, you know, I, I feel like the level of effort kind of pushes up and so we try to look for, okay, well, you know, if they were building on top of this what have they done, um, beyond that? You know, to indicate whether or not, okay, this is a great project. We should work with them.

[00:45:21] Chase: I speak to a lot of developers like that, that reach out and asking for some support. And a lot of times, um, I’m pretty lightly, lightly spread these days, unfortunately. But also fortunately at the same time as that, somebody who comes to me with like, “Hey, how do I build on Solana?” versus “Hey, I built this really cool thing. Um, will you check it out because I want to get involved.” I’m more likely to, to, to be able to put some effort into that, because just kind of going along with what you were talking about, it’s not just necessarily what they’ve built. There’s, there’s a path like you can you can have these conversations and you can see that passion and people, you can know that they’re like super motivated, and those are the types of people. That, like they’re going to be super successful in this space. Just the, the self-starters and the passionate ones that just go out there and just do things and then come and talk to you after the fact, as opposed to, um, reaching out before they’ve even read a single line of, of anything, but like, not quite the same as what you’re speaking about, but you can, you can definitely get, catch a, catch a vibe off of people for how passionate and dedicated they are, rather than just like looking for how to make some money or to, to just, um, just kind of “it’s another job” sort of thing. And this is how I personally take my approach to hiring, um, on our, on our DevRel team is looking for those ones that are out there motivated and passionate, just doing really cool things, opposed to going to LinkedIn, just searching for people who are just looking for another job. And there’s a big difference between those two people.

[00:46:56] Ben: That honestly, that’s a great thought, uh, self being a self-starter, uh, showing what you built is amazing. We’re closing up on the hour. Um, I, I just wanted to make maybe, you know, and I think this is a, by the way, a great, um, it’s been a great, uh, AMA you guys have shared some amazing stuff. Any, any future things that you guys are excited about? You know, that are coming up, whether, whether it’s, uh, a new release or, or, or just something in general you want with everyone.

[00:47:21] Chase: Yeah. I guess everybody was waiting for the next person. I think it’s obviously like 1.9 has been, um, is a big one. I don’t have all the full details right in front of me, but I’m obviously like we’re people we’re looking forward to an increased, um, compute budget, which is going to be. Like one of the next big things um coming out for, for Solano. I know lots of people I’ve had have trouble. They don’t like they, they reached those. They reached those limits that caught that poses. A lot of challenges for them. It costs extra money for that. So I think the, the increased compute budget, um, it’s not coming out now, but, um, quick, um, for everybody listening to UIC it’s, um, I’m probably going to butcher this, but Quick is basically just gonna, it’s basically something that allows for easy transaction flow. Like, obviously we’ve seen some network congestion issues in the past. Once Quick gets out, this is going to like allow for, for transactional flow to be like, routed in a way that, that we’re not going to have to worry about, um, any major issues when, like, when we saw that huge market downturn, um, for those few days, and everything just went red and, and all of the, all of the different, like, uh, liquidations happened, which just caused some issues. So all these things are coming up and some on, on, so on the more technical side, that’s, that’s something I’m pretty excited about. Um, I don’t know if Austin and Matt have anything outside of the, the deeper technical things they’re excited about.

[00:48:48] Matty: Yeah. Maybe just at a high level from, from like an ecosystem standpoint, like, I think a lot of the core primitives have kind of already been built out across like DeFi and NFTs and games. And I think soon DAOs, um, especially with the launch of nation and a lot of the work that SPL governance, um, allows for. Um, and so I think what I’m seeing now that I’m really excited about is kind of the composability of combining some of these core primitives into more advanced applications and just better user experiences. Um, that are going to basically be a lot more attractive for, for regular folks to, to use. And so, um, yeah, just super excited about the composability and that we’re kind of, I think, over the hump of the first, um, group of, of core primitives.

[00:49:38] Ben: Hey, sorry. Someone tried to call my phone and Twitter Spaces messed up for a little bit.

[00:49:42] Matty: Um, yeah. You know, like looking, looking forwards like I am really interested in how the conversation in the public and policy has changed around crypto and stable coins and like the acceptance and useful. So this stuff. Um, without getting into too much detail, like the US government’s approach to crypto is very, very, very different with Ukraine than it has seen previously. Um, there, you know, the treasury department put out a statement that they’re not worried about crypto as a risk of sanctions violations. Like I think that the policy and the policy makers. It just in the last, like six weeks, they’re starting to really catch up to how crypto can be a force for good in the world. And, you know, we’re, we’re seeing that from the way governments are talking to us, how that’s changing over the last, like just, you know, few months. And I’m really hopeful that like a lot of the idea that like the U S has been a tough place to be a crypto founder. It’s a very regulated place. I don’t think that’s going to change. I think we’re going to continue being like a fairly regulated market United States, but, but to see that softening and the acceptance in sort of more mainstream that like crypto actually can be a good force for the world. Like you just get that door open just a little bit more, and you’re going to see a ton of really exciting, uh, innovation and finally social products being able to built on crypto coming. And I think like, I think the rest of 2022 is going to be very very interesting and exciting for this space. Um, apart from just all the growth that’s happening in defy, I think you’re going to start to see like real use cases for people who are not looking for a financial return in crypto.

[00:51:28] Ben: Awesome. That was a great, that was a great point. Um, yeah, and I, I, uh, I think maybe, maybe like one of the positive things I might come out, I mean, I, I see the sort of the, you know, Russia, Ukraine situation. Um, you know, being, um, a cat, a catalyst for things too, that might accelerate that. Um, and that might be one of the positive things that come out of the situation. So, um, thanks, everyone. Uh, really this this has been an amazing AMA you guys, uh, have shared some amazing thoughts and, uh, really thankful to have you on, uh, to kickstart the series. Uh, thanks everyone for listening in, and, uh, please look out for our next RPMs. So thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Hey, Ben Chow here.

[00:52:17] You’ve been listening to exploring Solana with Jupiter, where we talk with some of the key crypto folks in the Solana ecosystem for their founder, investor, builder, community, or marketer as builders ourselves. We go behind the scenes on some of the important crypto topics, problems, and stories in Savannah.

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