Solrise — A Decentralized Fund Management and Investment Protocol on Solana — Serum Stories #5

Project Serum
Aug 9, 2021 · 8 min read

We should say for the record that our achievements and successes are (almost) matched by our number of painful failures, but that’s kind of what it means to be a serial entrepreneur. Building awesome products and growing together as friends and a team is pretty much what we’re about.

Welcome to Serum Stories #5

There are many teams building exciting things in crypto, but unmatched are those willing to be pioneers of a growing ecosystem.

This week we are joined by the one and only Solrise — an established brand among the Solana community. Their commitment to the ecosystem is underscored by a clear history of execution, with the successes of Solflare, a user-friendly non custodial wallet that allows you to trade on Serum, and Solana Beach, a Solana explorer built in conjunction with Staking Facilities, complete with network and transaction analytics.

Today, they are celebrating the release of their cross platform relaunch of Solflare. We recommend checking it out!

In this week’s installment, we welcome Vidor, Matt, and Filip, co-founders of the Solrise team. They shared with us their founding story and memorable moments as veteran builders in the Serum and Solana ecosystem.

What’s up Next

1. — What is Solflare?

2. — The founding story

3. — Experience as builders

4. — Challenges

5. — Solflare X

6. — Memorable Experiences

Interview

1. For many, Solflare has become the gateway for new users in the Solana Ecosystem. It was one of the first building blocks on Solana and has really set the bar high for what we can expect out of well designed applications in this ecosystem.

Since then, not only have you built critical infrastructure with the success of Solana Beach, you’re also launching Solrise Finance — a decentralised fund management platform with big ambitions to shake up traditional finance.

For the audience who may not be familiar with Solflare and your suite of products, what is your elevator pitch for new users?

Well, to put it as simply as possible, we want Solflare to be the only wallet you really need to do everything on Solana.

What this means is making Solflare into a truly universal, multiplatform wallet that can serve as part of the backbone of the Solana ecosystem as it blossoms in the coming months and years.

We want new users entering the Solana ecosystem to be able to hit the ground running and get active on the chain as fast as possible. This means making the UX and overall experience super slick, making the effort to build out our guides and supporting materials for new users, and providing a clear fiat on-ramp.

At an ecosystem level, we want to build out a set of services that offer mass-appeal to retail users coming to Solana. Solrise is the key part of this vision in the medium term — we believe that allowing users to pool their investments behind talented fund managers will allow “non-traders” to access some of the best returns in DeFi, while allowing professionals (and talented amateurs) access to a totally new source of fund capital.

2. You mentioned that members of the core team are long time friends, and that you met playing counter strike in your younger years — that’s awesome!

Tell us more about this story and the background of how you came to build in DeFi on Solana.

We’ve all been working together for a very long time. Vidor and the rest of our core dev team first met playing Counter Strike back in 2007. We were all kids then — our first project together was building CS plugins for server monitoring. Then we started hacking other gaming services together — mostly small stuff, but it was a nice side hustle. Most of us went on from there to study CompSci. And, well, we kept building and building on innovative tech.

Vidor bought his first BTC in 2011. We still have screenshots somewhere of Boris, our lead dev, telling him to sell at $12, which we laugh at to this day. He started building in crypto in 2016.

This was how Vidor met the other two co-founders of Solflare/Solrise — Matt and Filip. Matt originally hired Vidor as a contractor back in the day to build a credentials-tracking blockchain for the NHS on behalf of a UK-based medical startup, and they liked working together so much that Matt quit his job at the time and started building new projects with Vidor. A few months later, Vidor met Filip on another project, where Filip had been brought in to structure their token metrics — and again, they loved working together so much that they clicked immediately and ended up collaborating.

So we’ve had the whole gang together for a little over 3 years now. We got into Solana very early — we were super impressed by the level of developer support available from the start, and it gave us the sense that it was likely to go a lot further than some other new chains. And that’s how we ended up releasing the original version of Solflare, and things kept rolling from there.

3. As a team, it sounds like you’ve been hacking your way through the tech scene for quite a number of years and searching constantly for the ‘next big idea’.

Would you mind expanding on some of the achievements you made as a team before Solflare and how you think those experiences set yourself apart from other teams in the industry?

We’ve been hacking for about 10 years now. We participated in a lot of early development on Ethereum. A couple of our earliest pieces of audit work managed to save a few smart contracts from losing hundreds of thousands in ETH value, which I guess is now worth an enormous amount. That was when we started to realize how huge the impact of good on-chain dev work could be.

From left to right — Vidor, Boris, Akos, and Andrej, our lead developers, winning a hackathon 5 years ago with a last minute team name.

We did a lot of enterprise blockchain work after that, heavy architectural work in the last cycle — the key being that doing this over and over at the enterprise level gave us a real understanding of how to design and execute on blockchain architecture. There’s not many teams who have done this stuff over and over again, and the battle scars you get from that kind of execution really count.

After that, towards the end of 2019, we really committed ourselves to working on brand-new networks. We built on Cosmos/Tendermint, Polkadot, NEAR, and a bunch of others. Again, doing this kind of execution over and over gives some unique insight — you start to get a real sense for the tradeoffs and advantages of working on each chain.

We should say for the record that our achievements and successes are (almost) matched by our number of painful failures, but that’s kind of what it means to be a serial entrepreneur. Building awesome products and growing together as friends and a team is pretty much what we’re about.

4. Undoubtedly, being the first to build such an impressive suite of products on Solana would have meant persevering through a number of engineering challenges.

What were some of those challenges and why did you choose to back the Solana ecosystem over others despite them?

Solana is a very comfortable place to build. That’s pretty much the primary reason we chose to back Solana: it has the right tech, and it’s an incredibly friendly and supportive ecosystem. The level of developer support available pretty much blows a lot of other chains out of the water.

At the same time, we’ve tackled a lot of engineering challenges during our time on Solana. The list is pretty long. Understanding the tradeoff between performance and development time was absolutely key to our success.

While we were building the first version of SolFlare, we had to craft a standard on how staking accounts should be organized and managed. We were constantly finding ways around issues arising from rapid version changes, we had to work out hardware compatibility for Ledger devices. And yes, we remember when the Token Program ID Changed!

On Solana Beach, we really gained an in-depth understanding of Solana’s RPC architecture and its stability. Indexing data of a blockchain that can process ~50K TPS is a much bigger engineering challenge than indexing anything that operates at ~15 TPS.

We’ve developed numerous block and transaction synchronization algorithms that follow the blockchain at the speed it moves and gives us the possibility to request on-demand synchronization if the users access older data.

5. Today you’ve launched a refresh of Solflare. Can you provide a brief overview of the updates specifically and any plans you have for the products longer term?

Solflare X is definitely the biggest update in Solflare’s history. We’ve totally overhauled the UX in response to user feedback: every aspect of using the web wallet is now much easier, especially staking. We added deep NFT support, and with our audio/video playback features and support for NFT metadata, users can really get a full NFT experience on Solana for the first time.

The other really huge part is that we’re now releasing the Solflare browser extension. Again, we got a huge amount of feedback requesting this, and we hope people will love it. A mobile app is coming too in a few weeks!

We’ve got a lot of future plans for Solflare in the works. The most exciting part is probably that we’re in the early stages of looking into an NFT marketplace/gallery that will link directly with the Solflare wallet, allowing users to publicly display and sell their NFTs. And the rest…well, you’ll have to wait and see.

6. Looking back, would you like to share some of your positive or most favourite experiences so far as builders? On the flip side, what would you say the team is most excited for over the coming months?

Well, looking at the Solflare wallet stats and realizing that we had upwards of 20% of all circulating SOL being staked through our app was pretty awesome. Realizing that we had ended up with $2B in AUM on an app which we initially built to get familiar with Solana was the point at which we realized we should probably drop everything and go completely all-in on this chain!

Honestly, the single thing we’re probably most excited for is the launch of the Solrise mainnet, which is coming in September. DAWN, the Solrise testnet trading competition, was absolutely huge: we had upwards of 60K signups with verified Twitters and wallets — and that really was just a test run. We’ve got some very cool ideas in store, including a whole new trading competition to hit at mainnet launch, and we think it’s going to blow everybody’s minds.

We hope you enjoyed the interview!

We would love to continue having these kinds of conversations with all the incredible teams building on Serum and sharing them with you. Just let us know who you want to read about next!

You can keep up with Solflare and Solrise development through their Twitter (Solflare), Twitter (Solrise), Telegram (Solflare), Discord (Solflare), Discord (Solrise), Blog, and of course, their website.

Serum Stories

Insight into the new teams building on Solana

Serum Stories

Serum Stories is a community driven initiative that aims to showcase teams behind some of the up and coming projects on Solana

Project Serum

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Project Serum is a decentralized liquidity infrastructure protocol. Learn more at https://projectserum.com

Serum Stories

Serum Stories is a community driven initiative that aims to showcase teams behind some of the up and coming projects on Solana