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Who Should Build on Solana?
What separates someone building on Ethereum and Bitcoin from someone building on Solana.
“Why are you building on Solana?” is a question everyone building on Solana has been asked. Generally with confused, condescending undertones. The usual answer is some combination of: composability, speed, low fees, an obsession with Rust, and the simplicity of its architecture. This brings up a point: is there a general demographic that aligns with these values?
In business, you define market segments to go after and ideal customer personas for your sales process. Cities exhibit this to an extent as well — LA attracts aspiring performers, Nashville attracts country types, Wall Street attracts finance types, Toronto attracts masochists, etc. Blockchains exhibit this too. Bitcoin attracts those obsessed with immutable money, freedom, and Satoshi. Ethereum attracts those who are interested in “moneyness” and credible neutrality. But who does Solana attract? Who should it attract?
For the longest time, I thought the answer to this question was: pragmatists. Pragmatist should build on Solana. After all Solana embodies high speeds and low fees for the end user more than decentralization for decentralization’s own sake. This doesn’t mean Solana is not decentralized, it means that it recognizes decentralization is a multi-faceted equation, of which hardware requirements are a single variable.
When you look up the definition of the word pragmatist, you get:
Pragmatist: A person who is guided more by practical considerations than by ideals.
I’d argue this does not stand true for Solana. Solana is more pragmatic than other chains, but it is not pragmatic on its own. Solana has stubborn ideals that many wouldn’t consider “practical”. Never pursuing L2s because global state is the killer feature of blockchains is one such ideal. Not reducing hardware requirements (which are relatively hefty) because bandwidth is the ultimate bottleneck is another.
If Solana isn’t for pragmatists, who is it for?
Before answering this question — let’s paint a picture of the current state of things in crypto. Crypto has long been plagued by “slowness”. Whether that is slowness of block times, slowness of app development, or the slowness of adoption, . Slowness is everywhere. If you’re impatient like me, this probably angers you. We’re in a race against time. Crypto is a movement against the status quo, against inefficiencies in our existing political, social, and technical systems. This movement pisses off many people and when you piss off many people — they start coming for you, fast.
So what do we do? We go faster. We go faster because there is no alternative. We must, otherwise we’ll run out of time. And what blockchain embodies the ethos of going faster the most? Solana.
Solana is for those are sick of the slowness in our existing systems. For those who are tired (or bored) of the status quo and want to do something about it. Those who want to ship faster. Those who want to scale faster. The future does not wait, but it is malleable. We must go for it and go for it as fast as humanly possible. Our industry depends on it.