Solana Labs Is Making a Phone, and It’s Going to Revolutionize Web3

  • Solana Labs just announced it’s building a web3 native cellphone.
  • Solana founder Anatoly Yakovenko says the phone is the first step to creating a better mobile web3.
  • 5 crypto vets share their thoughts on how the phone could impact solana’s price & the crypto market.

Solana has gone where no crypto has ever gone before, and created a cellphone.

This bold step has felt shockwaves throughout the crypto industry, with many wondering if Solana Labs — the company behind the solana cryptocurrency — actually plans to compete with tech behemoths like Samsung and Apple.

Insider spoke with several crypto experts, ranging from the founder of solana to skeptical crypto analysts, who shared their thoughts on the solana phone and what it means for the future of cryptocurrency.

Solana’s phone gamble

Up until now, crypto innovation has largely been limited to software.

While there have been some physical innovations — like more efficient energy mining and better hard wallets to protect your crypto — most crypto projects are focused on building out different ways to use the blockchain, as in the case of DeFi or NFTs.

While the new phone, which is called the Saga, will run on the Android platform when it’s released in early 2023, it’s the Solana Mobile Stack (SMS) that really brings a web3 experience to the mobile phone market.

The SMS is an Android-based developer’s tool kit for building web3 apps and software that comes complete with a decentralized app store — positioning itself as an open-source alternative to Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store.

Solana founder Anatoly Yakovenko shared his thoughts on what he wants to see from the Solana Mobile Stack.

“The real thing that we really want to unlock is the ability for developers to build these next generation, really tightly integrated applications that are delightful for users to use in web3,” Yakovenko said.

He continued: “The wallet can be tighter, and integrated into things like tap-to-pay. Having a web3 app store is necessary because the way that true digitally owned items work is very different from how you buy a movie on Amazon.”

In other words, when you purchase a copy of a movie on your phone, you don’t suddenly own the licensing rights to that movie — you’re just getting a digital copy of the film. Whereas when you buy a Bored Ape NFT, full ownership and licensing of that NFT is transferred from seller to buyer during the sale.

Right now digital ownership on mobile phones is broadly limited to purchasing in-app goods from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, both of which take a huge chunk of sales from publishers in the form of fees, and both of which retain complete control over the apps on their platforms.

But a web3-first system like the SMS could shift the narrative away from walled gardens owned by Apple and Google and towards the sort of self-custody that crypto enthusiasts love.

Reasons to be bullish about solana cell phone

As real world use cases for NFTs continue to grow, a solana phone could be seminal for solana’s adoption across the crypto ecosystem.

“We’re particularly excited about the solana phone’s launch because of its potential to further integrate NFTs into our everyday lives in both digital and in-real life spaces,” Magic Eden founder Jack Lu told Insider.

He continued: “The more NFTs become integrated, the more expansive their use cases will become — which will bolster the broader growth of the NFT ecosystem.”

Right now, NFTs are limited to primarily profile pictures; however, NFT believers think that its use cases could expand much further. For example, real estate or music ownership could be transferred as NFTs.

Caseem Ward, an advisor to crypto media company Light Node, expressed optimism about both the phone’s future and the impact it would have on the price of the solana cryptocurrency.

“Solana Mobile Stack has a chance to become the iOS or android of web3,” Ward said. “Most of the world is using mobile devices — integrating native web3 will make the experience seamless, expediting our arrival to widespread mass adoption. Solana’s commitment to build full steam ahead in this market downturn especially with this new focus on a mobile Web3 experience will translate into billions of added value to solana’s market cap.”

Causes for caution about solana’s phone

But not everyone is bullish about the prospect of a solana phone — even solana supporters.

Grit Trakulhoon, an investor at Andreeson-Horowtiz-backed investment platform Titan Invest, expressed mixed thoughts about the phone’s potential success.

“There are two main endeavors: software — Solana Mobile Stack (SMS): A toolkit enabling developers to build web3 mobile applications, and Hardware — Solana Saga: A new android mobile phone with full integration with SMS,” Trakulhoon said.

He elaborated: “From a software perspective — the platform / software developer kit (SDK) — it seems to make sense. However, hardware (the phone) is a different beast and the barrier to entry is huge. So it’s unclear whether they will succeed, but I am rooting for them.”

Right now the smartphone market is dominated by Apple and Samsung, who combined phones consistently make up well over 50% of the market share sold around the globe. Moreover, even tech titans like Google have struggled to create phones that can compete with the mobile phone market incumbents.

Matt Batsinelas, a partner at Triblock, shared Trakulhoon’s sentiment.

“While I’m bullish on the solana blockchain and other projects that solana has incubated, I don’t see a viable path for a crypto native mobile device to compete with Apple and Google,” Batsinelas said.

He continued: “The SDK could be a powerful gateway for developers to reach mobile users, but building a mobile phone is not solana’s core competence and there are likely better ways for Solana Labs to encourage mobile development.”

Yakovenko told Insider how he would define success for the solana phone.

“Selling a lot of phones is like a dream, but we don’t need to sell a lot of phones to succeed,” Yakovenko said. “There’s multiple ways that we win. One of those is that we prove out that these business models are scalable. You can actually have web3 mobile experiences without the way that the app store works today in a fair way that is still growing and economically sustainable .”

“The app stores are such a pain in the butt for developers, that if we have 50,000 dedicated web3 users that are active — with a web3 friendly app store — that’s a better distribution channel for devs than the big app stores are today,” Yakovenko concluded.

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: