Everything you need to know to get started on the Solana blockchain
Getting started with DeFi dapps and crypto wallets on Solana isn’t as complicated as things sound. It also became a lot more interesting. As problems with gas fees on the Ethereum blockchain become more evident, other protocols like Solana compete with the behemoth and address these issues.
Solana (SOL) launched in March 2020 as a public blockchain platform designed to enable scalable and user-friendly dApps for everybody. It has already become one of crypto’s fastest-growing ecosystems, with plenty to offer to its users. The protocol’s main advantages include high network speeds, as well as a low cost for transacting and interacting with dApps. This makes it very attractive to the average user, even allowing them to mint NFTs at a dramatically lower gas price than on Ethereum. Not only that, minting is also possible in situations when the network congestion is high.
The platform works with a proof-of-history consensus that gives timestamps to transactions and processes them for validation in the order they were submitted. This in turn prevents other users from profiting from stacking transactions. But enough about Solana’s benefits. How do you start to use Solana and its DeFi ecosystem to your benefits? Read our Solana DeFi guide to find out.
Choosing a crypto wallet
The first thing you’ll need to do is set up a Solana crypto wallet. If you’re new to the space, a crypto wallet is an app that is used for sending, receiving, and tracking ownership of cryptocurrencies. A user’s crypto wallet contains a set of one or more keypairs: a securely generated private key and its cryptographically-derived public key.
Solana supports multiple types of wallets in its native command-line app, as well as third-party crypto wallets. The average user would fare best with the user-friendly browser-based web wallets or mobile app wallets.
There are multiple choices of web-based wallets compatible with Solana, and the best ones include:
A user-friendly non-custodial browser extension, Phantom supports secure and straightforward token sending, receiving, storing, and swapping. In addition to the use of Solana dApps, it also supports NFTs and the Ledger hardware wallet. It is available on Chrome, Firefox, Brave, Edge, and Vivaldi.
Phantom is among the most popular and integrated browser-based wallets on Solana dapps. It’s influence can be compared to that of MetaMask for the Ethereum blockchain.
Solflare is a non-custodial web wallet designed to support Solana. Like Phantom, it’s very user-friendly and available on a selection of browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Brave, Edge, and Opera.
It boasts tons of features, such as connecting to almost any Solana dApp, transaction simulations, deep staking support, comprehensive NFT functionality, an in-wallet swap for all Solana tokens (SPL), and support for the Ledger hardware wallet.
With its browser extension and web wallet interface, Math Wallet is a multi-platform, multi-chain wallet that supports sending and receiving of SOL and SPL tokens. It has an app for iOS and Android, but it is yet to support SOL and SPL tokens.
Just like Phantom and Solflare, Math Wallet allows users to connect to numerous Solana-based dapps, and interact with the protocol freely.
Mobile devices are covered by options such as:
Boasting both mobile apps and a web version, Solflare’s non-custodial wallet for mobile supports sending SOL and SPL tokens, staking, and comprehensive NFT management. In addition to passwords, the Solflare mobile apps support biometric protection.
A mobile-based crypto wallet boasting an in-built exchange, live charts and portfolio, and 24/7 human support, Exodus is ideal for beginners. It provides all the basics – support for sending, receiving, and exchanging cryptocurrency with ease on leading desktop, mobile, and hardware wallets.
A multi-currency wallet supporting (among others) SOL and SPL tokens, Zelcore provides three separate addresses for every asset. Its mobile app allows storing, transacting, and use of dApps. Zelcore supports the use of a custom Sollet-based wallet adapter that connects to all of the platform’s dApps within a single browser tab.
DeFi dapps on Solana
Once you’ve set up your wallet and transferred some SOL to it, you can start exploring Solana’s ever-growing DeFi ecosystem. These are the DeFi dapps on Solana where you can start. Pick your favorite Solana DeFi dapp and dive into the Solana ecosystem:
A central limit order book (CLOB) decentralized exchange (DEX), Serum facilitates the operation of all DeFi dapps in the Solana ecosystem, allowing any of them to share Serum’s liquidity. Instead of using liquidity pools to enable trades, Serum matches purchasers and sellers like a traditional exchange, resulting in lower slippage and fewer price fluctuations.
Another DEX built on Solana, Soldex serves as a foundation layer for settlement, liquidity, custody, and market-making. Its ultimate goal is to facilitate flexible financial markets. This way, it aims to solve the issues plaguing trustless custody within DEXs and order-matching centralized exchanges (CEXs).
Soldex and Serum are far from the only cryptocurrency exchanges built on Solana. Orca focuses on providing a user-friendly way to exchange tokens with minimal transaction fees and low latency. It also supports liquidity pools.
For those seeking to explore more advanced trading options, there’s the lightning-fast Mango. Its user interface is much like Serum’s, except that it also supports on-chain margin trading and perpetual contracts for certain assets. Mango allows users to trade with up to 5x leverage, long or short. Keep in mind, this type of trading comes with high risks and should only be done by experienced traders who can afford to lose their money.
The first automated market maker (AMM) built on Solana, Raydium is one of the most popular dapps. It was created for the Serum DEX and leverages Serum’s fully decentralized central limit order book combined with Raydium’s own liquidity pools. This way, it can find the best trade options with the lowest slippage. Thanks to its use of liquidity pools, Raydium also allows users to provide liquidity and earn interest.
An algorithmic, decentralized lending and borrowing protocol, Solend acts like an autonomous interest-rate machine. It allows anyone with an internet connection to earn interest by lending their assets or to use their deposits as collateral or borrowing.
As the leading cross-chain stablecoin exchange on Solana, Saber provides the liquidity foundation for stablecoins (cryptocurrencies with their value pegged to another asset). It supports transferring assets between Solana and other blockchains. Market makers can deposit assets into a liquidity pool and earn passive income from transaction fees, token-based incentives, and automated DeFi strategies.
Is Solana the new king of DeFi?
Despite Ethereum’s first-mover advantage and long-standing rule, Solana is already threatening to claim the top spot. And it’s easy to see why. Solana’s capacity to support tens of thousands of transactions per second puts Ethereum’s output of just 13 to shame. Additionally, gas fees on Solana are substantially lower.
Whatever the future brings, we hope our little how-to Solana DeFi guide has helped you get familiarized with this innovative blockchain so you can start making the best of it.
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