Solana has been one of the year’s biggest crypto success stories. Officially launched in March, 2020 – a month synonymous with the Covid-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdowns – the high-throughput blockchain defied unfortunate timing to make an instant impression, eventually becoming a top 5, then top 10 cryptocurrency by market cap.
In under two years, the layer-1 protocol has attracted a wealth of developer talent and evolved to support over 350 projects, many of them dedicated to decentralized finance (DeFi), NFTs and Web3. Solana’s success has even caught the eye of the world’s largest digital currency asset manager, which recently launched a Solana Trust to provide wealthy clients with exposure to SOL. Amazingly, the value of Solana’s native token has soared by over $15,000 this year alone.
Solana’s success has been due to its appeal for allowing for fast transaction speeds at a low cost, especially when compared to other popular chains. Ahead of its upcoming two-year anniversary, let’s take a closer look at ten Solana projects worth watching in 2022.
A project that combines social, gaming and crypto elements, Solice is the first open world VR metaverse built on Solana. Within its immersive virtual world, players can construct and monetize mini-games, earn crypto rewards for completing quests and clearing dungeons, and sell all assets they earn and accrue via the integrated marketplace. Unlike many of its competitors, Solice features a custom SDK that enables users to create their very own NFTs for use in the game. The project’s promise was reflected by a recent funding round that saw it raise over $4m from a clutch of esteemed VCs.
A winner of Solana’s 2021 summer hackathon, Nova is a programmable asset framework that enables users to create portfolios of crypto-assets (including NFTs) that automatically generate returns via multiple mechanisms. The decentralized management layer is pitched at the wider retail audience who have largely missed out on the gains to be earned from DeFi participation thus far. Although built on Solana, Nova plans to ultimately support a wider range of assets and networks to deliver maximum value to its users. Nova will be launching their IDO on Solanium on December 09.
3. Ratio Finance
Created to help investors unlock the power of their Solana liquidity, Ratio Finance effectively aids those who want to leverage locked LP in yield farms and earn better returns. The model relies on collateralized debt positions (CDPs) in the form of a soft-pegged stablecoin, USDr, that is variously used to pay off loans, initiate investments, or cover debt for a Ratio Vault. Next year, the project will implement UX improvements while adding governance and introducing new financial products to help users de-risk DeFi.
Imagine you could earn daily rewards for interacting with your favourite businesses and businesses could benefit from real and engaging loyalty programs. That’s the idea behind Crowny, a privacy-focused solution that works for both brands and end users. Essentially, the mobile application allows consumers to control which type of content and deals they wish to see and when, while brands can reach their target audience through push notifications, geofencing and QR codes. The native $CRWNY token plays a key role, flowing into the wallets of those who participate in campaigns tailored to their area of interest.
Having just passed the $20 million mark for daily trading volume, Aldrin’s decentralized exchange is really motoring – but there’s plenty more to the platform than a slick Solana DEX. As well as a soon-to-launch centralized counterpart, the platform offers a token (RIN) designed to incentivize participation in the whole ecosystem. With RIN, users can stake to receive a portion of fees generated by the platform, as well as a derivative (sRIN) of their pledged assets. A rewards program also compensates those who facilitate trading in the orderbook DEX.
Most metaverses revolve around a dreamy fantasy-scape ripe for exploration, but with RaceFi, all virtual travel occurs on four wheels. The first AI/ML car racing game to feature on Solana, it supports several race modes (PvP, PvE, battle race) while also giving players the chance to earn by owning in-game property: garages, show-rooms, racetracks and billboards. Set to launch in Q2 of 2022, RaceFi is bringing something fresh and different to the growing metaverse sector and should appeal to crypto-loving petrolheads everywhere. In the meantime, interested parties can participate in RaceFi’s upcoming IDOs and listing happening in early December.
7. Port Finance
Developed by a team of engineers from Google, Facebook and Microsoft, Port Finance is a non-custodial money market protocol that brings elements like variable rate lending, fixed rate lending and interest rate swaps to the Solana ecosystem. Built around a baseline lending protocol that has an implementation similar to Compound Finance on Ethereum, Port Finance allows users to borrow more against less collateral while taking advantage of Solana’s lightning-fast speed. Next year the company will implement leveraged trading using the Raydium AMM with one click, as well as expand support for leveraged yield farming.
RPC node and staking protocol RunNode is committed to enticing developers from other blockchains to Solana. Equipped with in-depth analytics, automated scaling, and secure reliable connections, RunNode can be used to launch virtually any DeFi protocol you can think of: lending platforms, DEXs, NFT marketplaces, yield aggregators, memecoins and gamefi projects. Signing up for RunNode, meanwhile, is as easy as entering a username and password then choosing a plan. At the time of writing, RunNode powers over 1,200 users having recently closed a $8.1 million fundraising round. RunNode recently completed its IDO on the popular Solana launchpad Solstarter.
9. DeFi Land
Another past winner of a Solana hackathon, DeFi Land conforms to the classic yield farming template – agriculture simulation – while incorporating gamified elements like user-owned NFTs and play-to-earn. With the latter mechanism, participants can complete tasks, ‘fish’, craft, compete – activities not associated with the first wave of farming protocols. Having already integrated several other projects (SolFarm, Orca, Raydium), DeFi Land will conduct an NFT land sale early next year and roll out user governance. There are plans, too, to expand support to other blockchains.
“Are long term HODLers selling, at what prices are large players accumulating, is the market overheated with greed?” All questions that WhaleMap was designed to answer. A data-driven platform founded by a core team of physicists and designers, WhaleMap extracts raw bitcoin transactions from multiple nodes in real-time then aggregates the information (whale selling volumes, accumulation patterns, etc) into a range of analytic tools to inform the perspective of investors. Thankfully for Solana fans, Solana will be the first chain the company will expand to. Though a free membership plan is available, the deluxe package costs $99 per month. Providing its insights are put to good use, it’s a price well worth paying.
A cursory review of the Solana ecosystem certainly bolsters one’s confidence about the future of DeFi. With so many talented teams pioneering innovative use-cases and building on previous advances, there’s lots to look forward to in the year ahead.