Solana founders on why the Solana ecosystem will thrive

In this episode of UpOnly, Cobie & Ledger chat with the founders of Solana, Anatoly Yakovenko and Raj Gokal, discussing Solana, what makes it different from other L1s, why they think it will last, and more.

Audio Version


Show Partner

This episode is presented by Blockfolio. Trade on an awesome mobile interface fee-free, and still get all the great portfolio tracking features you know and love:

Show Notes

Marketing Solana

– It’s hard to even define what Solana is in English so that normal people can understand what it is

– Very strong product market fit with Solana and developers

– Next step: how do you get people to understand how to custody their own assets and why that’s important?


– Anatoly: “been an engineer most of my life, started at Qualcomm, was working on optimizing AR, was aware of crypto, started mining with GPUs not being used and pulled into crypto”

– Anatoly: “had 2 coffees and 1 beer (LOL), stayed up til 4am then it hit – thermodynamics isn’t only measurable, you can measure TIME” 💥

– Anatoly: “Figured out you could trustlessly encode the passage of time then I was manic for a week… then talked to Raj and it all started”

– Raj: “I spent 7 years in healthcare, started a company there, then was introduced to Anatoly camping and knew it was the biggest swing I could take in my lifetime”

Who’s the Core Market?

– We don’t even know

– “Solana might be the go-to network to bring finance onchain in a way that finance people get”

– If we engineer and optimize well enough, Solana will be able to move as fast as news through fiber optic cables (~speed of light) ⚡️

– Was introduced to Sam – 4 weeks after he tried out Solana they had built Serum

– Everyone thought it was dumb to even try DEXs…

– “but we knew if something was gonna work with blockchain, it’s probably gonna work A LOT”

– Cobie: “I’d treat Solana as if it’s a developer platform with the core KPI as user traction” 🤳

Developer Experience

– Rust (coding language) acts as a moat

– If you have enough conviction in the vision, you eat glass to build it

– “The kid who built synthetify built it during his finals”

    – THAT’s grit 💪

– C++ people do well with Rust, and tradfi devs do well with C++, so acts as a good bridge


– “at a certain point these guys don’t see themselves as a “rust” engineer they see themselves as a “get shit done” engineer”

– Should we support Solidity? Should we support EVM?

– NAH. If you’re that good then learn rust.

Preventing Shit Projects

– Gotta just use common sense

– Lots of community review 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦

– These guys who came out of capture the flag winners, they just destroy everyone’s code

– Free audits on Solana! These guys check your code lol

Solana Timeline

– How to balance timeliness with quality?

– “Shit, that’s a hard question” 😂

– Our goal is through these hackathons, find coders that will code, no sleep, ship products, XYZ and just unblock their potential

How’s a Founder Raise Structured?

– Need the lawyer to say anything

– Cobie: “per year of lockup there is some percentage discount from the market e.g. if you lock up tokens for 4 years then you get like a 20% discount or whatever” 📆

– Your tokens are the main thing you have in your war chest

Is having a central planner, even if it’s a DAO, counterintuitive for crypto?

– When you delegate your stake to the node you don’t change custody

– but the node has full control over it

– With ETH, you kinda relinquish custody to LIDO

– On Solana you don’t have to relinquish custody

Solana Community

– SBF obviously huge

– Bahamas test – if you went to the Bahamas, how well would the project do on its own?

– Read “how to start a startup” but like how useful is that lol

– I’ve learned you gotta ship quickly, and only focus on fires when you’re steering the ship

– Optimize for shipping

– Very important that the way the chain works is as optimized as possible (speed, security, decentralization)

– It’s really hard to build tho lol

– first time we booted it up it ran for like 20 min then crashed

– Then next time ran for like an hour, then a week, then we were like holy shit it works haha

What’s Broken rn

– Rn we’re just working on optimizations mostly

– Just blood sweat and tears to make it better the core structure is good 🥵

*Solana guys sent Ledger a beanbag without any fluff inside thought it was a body bag LOL* 🧳

SOL hackathon

– $1M of prizes and seed funding 💸

– Last one, 11 teams got funded with over $1M each tho… so the money isn’t even to attract people lol

– Idea is to attract developers and forces everyone to come together at the same time, listen to the same things, form teams, and grow the overall community

– There’s also pride, if you win you had to go through the gauntlet with everyone else

New Crypto Categories

– In 2017 everyone was publishing a white paper

– None of it worked lol

– Now people are actually able to ship this stuff and it works 🎁

– The idea of a fully decentralized Discord that feels like web 2 is where a lot of the devs are working now

Will an Algorithmic Stablecoin Ever Work?

– No…lol

– Cool think about Bitcoin was getting high grade cryptography into consumer hands

– If that’s the most powerful peace of this, people will find a censorship resistant way to coordinate these things

“What do you do?” Answer

– I just say a bunch of technical words and their eyes glaze over

– I tell people I work in blockchain and it will take over

– When first looking for seed money, banks wouldn’t give a bank account when using the word blockchain

– Cobie: “I just tell people I have a trust fund” lmao

– Ledge: “I tell people I work in web stuff”

– Ledge: “The only thing worse than saying you work in crypto is saying you’re a podcaster” 🎙

– Cobie: “Only thing worse than that is saying you’re a Twitch streamer” hahhaha

Thoughts on Bitcoin

– Bitcoin good

– Self-sovereign decentralized money that’s a store of value could be a huge force of good in the world

Other L1s

– Avalanche, Cardano, NEAR, etc

– It’s all good competition

– It’s like whatever the Lakers thing of the Warriors… in the heat they’re your enemy but hanging out later they’re nice guys lol

FUD a Project

– Safemoon

– Dfinity

– ETH 😳

– Cardano


– Dogcoins are winning because money is abundant, attention is scarce and memes have value for that reason

Free Alpha

– Raj: “new normal. You wake up, Bitcoin is legal tender, just head down and stay on course”

– Anatoly: “Don’t drink to much or eat too much, work out, don’t have too much caffeine. Just use some moderation”

Notes by @cmsintern

Music by GiovanniPickle