As the blockchain industry descended on the Bay Area for San Francisco Blockchain Week, Solana HQ provided a welcome home for many of the world’s most innovative decentralized technology startups to connect and learn. With three events over the course of the week that featured everything from panels to live podcast recordings and breakfast mimosas, Solana invited participants from Skale Labs, MakerDAO, 0x, dydx, DDEX, and Hummingbot to share their take on current happenings in the blockchain space.
The Layer 1-centric event that kicked off proceedings on Wednesday with presentations and a panel featuring Alexander Skidanov — CEO of NEAR, Jan Xie — Architect & Researcher of Nervos, Evan Shapiro — CEO of CODA, Rongjian Lan — CTO of Harmony, Stephen Akridge — Principal Engineer of Solana. After the panel and presentations, we ended the night with a spirited debate between Stephen Akridge, Principal Engineer & Co-Founder of Solana and Alexander Skidanov, Founder of Near. Both the Near and Solana teams have built industry-leading approaches to scaling, but opinion between the two is divided over the efficacy of using database sharding techniques when scaling blockchain platforms. However, both participants exhibited a strong commitment to working together to grow the industry despite differences in the tech stack of their respective projects.
Later in the week, a live recording of the No Sharding podcast featured Skale CEO Jack O’Holloran in discussion with Solana CEO Anatoly Yakovenko on a wide range of subjects. The pair discussed the cooperation and sense of community in the growing blockchain industry and a frank analysis of the state of blockchain as it relates to the history of the internet. And yes, Anatoly is dressed as a unicorn — it was Halloween!
Check out some highlights from the live podcast recording below…
“We’re all part of a community. I see a lot of people in this room all over the world. A lot of the people in the Ethereum and broader blockchain worlds, although we’re competing, we’re all friends,” explained O’Holleran. “We all hang out together in every city we do events in. I think everybody realizes that a rising tide lifts all boats. The amount of people working [in this space] is so small, that everybody is really going to benefit by partnering.”
“I think the rising tide goes back to this growth curve. We really need to get the world to adopt these technologies to get that saturation point,” countered Yakovenko. “In the 90s, I was a teenager programming, and I remember that there were 40 million estimated people on the internet in 1996. I think the estimates for number of wallets in the space right now are around that 40 million mark. But if you look at the actual transaction flow on public chains, there’s maybe a million monthly active accounts. That’s our addressable decentralized market space.”
“When the internet hit the 200–300 million numbers in the 90s, this thing came out of nowhere called Friendster, and everybody needed to be on that network,” Yakovenko continued. “No one could have predicted that the most important thing out of a global internet is the social network that glues the people on top. No one saw that coming. I’m excited to get to see us get to that point: 200 million custody wallets with humans behind them. I have no idea how to predict what that application will be.”
Completing out Solana’s involvement at San Francisco Blockchain Week was ‘The Future of DeFi’ closing party. The biggest event of the week’s programming, the party also featured some notable announcements. For example, MakerDAO announced that multi-collateral DAI will launch on November 18th, while Hummingbot annnounced liquidity mining and launch partners. The event culminated with a Fireside chat featuring Solana, 0x, and Chainlink.
Throughout the week’s events, a running theme of cooperation imbued the discussion taking place on stage and also throughout the crowd. Although many blockchain projects are taking on highly differing approaches to solving the challenges our industry faces today on the path to global user adoption, the culture of coopetition that has embedded itself is surely a positive sign. Thank you to everyone who attended Solana HQ during SFBW, and in particular the panel and fireside participants who showed the exciting state of blockchain as we head into 2020.