Solana CEO Anatoly Yakovenko: Crypto Is Not in a Bubble
You know what man, what an exciting time for solana like last time we spoke on the show, were doing a solano 101. I think youre in like lake tahoe somewhere. I dont even know what was going on and were solano was at, like 25 were at like 115. Today, solana is on a tear. What do you attribute that to yeah? You know no clue right the like its really hard to understand how these markets move or or who makes a move and for what reason um in the ecosystem. What weve seen, though, in the last couple months, is the explosion of nfds on solano, so theres a lot of small projects that were just artist driven organic folks that were able to launch using this framework called metaplex, which is a shopify style like you know, build Your own nft airdrop uh, an nft drop mechanism and 90 000 nfds, have been minted and dropped through this process and i think the nft as a as a kind of like component of cryptocurrencies or uh as a a new. I guess market or vertical encrypt appearances. I dont even know how to think of a social movement. I guess it brings a lot of users with it and thats really, i think key driver of anything right its. How do we get humans to use any of this stuff, so nfts? Look we sold nfts and we understood about nfts. You guys are just really quick.
Just to compare this to f. Obviously, is the thing that everybodys comparing everything to um. Besides, you know, bitcoin uh ca, their gas prices are cheaper. Obviously, uh things move a lot faster. Obviously um so thats a big, you know benefit for solana, but what else is solana doing besides nfts is nfcs and solana a one trick pony, or is there other things going into solana right now, because look we see the same thing with um ethereum i mean Last time it came up, it was like oh ip, im, sorry, icos and stos, and then it was d5 and now solana we see pumping with nfts what else is going on. So you know us as labs. We dont even get to do any of this fun stuff right were working on the majority of our time to spend working on, like you know, boring sounding optimizations to databases and operating systems, but the tools that have been created in the community have really empowered people To self serve and go self create and go start this stuff. So its really for us to say its uh one trick pony, i think, would be really short sighted, because the artists that have been able to um start their communities and create generate these artworks and really get themselves going. I have now like a new source of uh revenue right, its really hard for an artist to come up with a new way to make money like that.
That basically never happens right, like youre youre, starving artists until you die, and then somebody sells you paintings for a lot of money, um that i think this explosion of digital art across ethereum and now in solana, has been just amazing to uh to see how many Artists have now been self funded, im excited to see what they come up and build next um one project thats related to the space star atlas, just um they didnt go, live but part of their economics, its a basically, you know think massive multiplayer game. Like eve online everquest world of warcraft style, but space themed all of their items, currencies everything is uh unchained. So its a this really ambitious, a effort to go, build um a game, but because everything is real value is now its own digital space right, its not metaverse its play to earn its nfts its cryptocurrencies, its everything between all in one game. So those guys just launched their appearances and had like a tremendous launch as well um. That was just last week, but since we spoke, i dont know if you remember, the mango idea was elected. Almost uh used up half of the usdc that was available on solana as part of their auction, just pretty crazy to see the projects that were in the hackathons from the last time we talked are now all launching and if i had to attribute the growth of The network from an economic sense, it would be from those people like the fact that they, you know they went from idea to product to now product market fit.
I had something on the show and i just wanted to just you know, comment on what you said about artists and i think thats, just the most amazing thing, thats happening when it comes to nfts right now is. I was talking to this artist um, probably about maybe a year ago or more on the show, and he just started getting into nfts making art on nfts and he was in mexico city and he had a full time job and then, after a while, he quit His full time job, he has four kids. I found out hes taking care of his whole family and then he just paid off his moms house all by quitting his job, making art and nfts, and i think that is absolutely amazing. What you guys have built for artists and community members to to build off of and build on, and you know, just live their lives – the best lives that they absolutely can you. You mentioned your rpgs and other uh massive games like that. What other aspects or other? I guess maybe products that are coming out in solana that you is going to be a direct competitor, either to whats happening in on other blockchains or that youre very excited about um. You know like i think it its were kind of at this place. I think both the salon and ethereum and uh cryptocurrencies in general that um just people are shipping everything where this is so different, whats, so different about this cycle than the previous one is that were not talking about white papers and people raising capital to to go.
Build something yes, heres, a new product, heres, a new idea, heres, a new spin on how to combine maybe games and nfts or music and art and whatever, and how to build communities and its. The financial aspect of these things is happening with real life products and real life communities um. So this is really really different right, like from any other cycle and cryptocurrencies that weve seen before so, im really excited just like the next year. I think is going to be really really interesting, like what are these projects that have an opportunity to get to? I know 50 million users all using the same nft community or the same token or the same game that has crypto economics in it. I guess what im asking is: what do you see that is uh, sustainable and and im not, and i want to say that in a i dont want to make this sound offensive. Obviously uh, but you know i dont know if nfts is just a bubble like a beanie baby sort of thing and they see crypto punks are going to be an obsol obsolete in a couple months or um, or i mean i dont know if it matters. But i dont know – and i guess thats the question its like: does it matter and like are we gon na see sustainability in the the use of these platforms, or is it gon na be like this wavy thing were always going to have trend in trend out Trend in trend out well, the sustainable part is that you have creative people that come up with new ideas looking at the past and remixing them and building something new.
So if crypto punks uh take a back seat to something you know, maybe thatll be for a year, maybe itll be for a month, because theres something new, thats hot and then the next person thats creative remixes, the old back into like the the menu. So this is a really different time in the space than any other, so its not really comparing it to bubbles. You know the 2017 bubble of it came and went right, and there was three years of people building stuff right and now were at the point where weve built the intro that enables new engineers new developers to come in and quickly reiterate. And this quick iterative cycle is really driving everything in crypto right now and driving growth. What do you think about the growth in just you know: going off of growth, just the growth in market cap of solana um? Look, i dont want to talk about price or speculation. Obviously, but you know moving solana into the top 10 moves it into a radar that wasnt there before. Yes, it was. It was, but now its just like almost like you have been validated for the bullishness. You have on your product and everybodys, just like. Oh, i see it now. What do you think of this whole upward momentum that youve had since the last time we spoke uh its a lot of work, its just being open. Its pretty crazy, like i mean, were obviously super happy and super excited to to kind of see that recognition and its really benefiting all the projects in the space theyre building on solana.
You know um. What do i it its hard? I still havent wrapped my mind around it, basically like what does that mean? Why why why is it important for bitcoin to be at 50 000 versus 25 right, like does that actually mean that its generating twice as much impact or value creation in the world? Are there twice as many users using it right like or like? Are we still purely in this like speculative phase, where all the cryptos have have this potential right? That still hasnt been met? I think realistically, like what were really focused on is unblocking those dabs. Those artists that are like hey, i heard about crypto. What do i do with it like this thats, all kind of the most important part and making sure that you know they can onboard users and educate those users about cryptography and everything else like like i dont know, if you saw the there was like there was An article about metamask, three million multiactive users in d5, thats, it thats a very small number. Compare that to like any social network. You rather facebook twitter right, its a staggeringly small amount of people. I mean, but i also saw an article that said you know: openc had uh three million or three billion dollars in uh revenue in um im, sorry in transactions. It was a revenue or transactions, whatever three billion. Yes, in um in august and thats, you know stacking up more than etsy thats stacking up thats not going to put the big dogs there.
You know so i mean thats, pretty damn impressive. I guess so. What does it mean right if its a small number of users that are driving this, its crazy right, thats? What im saying and thats why i said its a trend in and out, and you said, does it really matter and thats? What im wondering is like we? This space is kind of like getting validated that these are actual things with actual use cases and actual people doing things, and if nfts go away and all of a sudden, the beanie baby bubble, bounce uh bus and everybody goes away. The critics are all of a sudden, say, oh told you again told you youre wrong again, you know, and then we have to defend the industry over and over and over again. I i think, regardless of of prices and bubbles and and those things, the economics are going to matter less, because you have so many new people that are able to ship and get to market. So whatever that fad passes theres already a hundred people literally just like what am i building in crypto, like theyre already thinking about this already started, writing that first line of code and theyre getting to market and on salon theyre getting to market with a chain that Has low fees and is able to scale, and they never have to worry about a whole bunch of issues that you see on ethereum. So you know that thats really like kind of the difference now um, but like it, really feels much closer to late.
I dont know maybe that started a curve in the internet when you started seeing a ton of projects come in um with real functioning products. Um that you could experiment and play with you know like were were maybe at the phase where, like emails, started working on the internet, you know that actually brings up a good point um because of solanos rise and its placement now in the space and and being In the top, ten is not a little thing, no matter. If were just talking about the price of the coin or the market cap, you all eyes are pretty much on those coins or those projects. Do you feel more responsibility, uh for sure right, its its like you know, if anything yeah, it just feels like the pressures on and the engineering, what kind of pressure? What is the pressure responsibility you feel? Is it uh so that you, there isnt a hack or because youre worried that you know people are buying now and is the price gon na drop? What is the pressure that youre feeling its really that theres um the opportunity, i think, to change the world and like how do we? How do we actually like make sure that this technology gets gets in front of people that they get to use it, that they see the benefits of it and find those devs one of those products its just? We were doing that before, but now it feels like we got to do 100x of that right, like it um and you know like, were lucky that its not just us doing all the stuff theres a whole community of people now that are that are part of This effort um, but it definitely feels just like theres now, a burning fire to move a lot.
A lot faster, try to move as fast as you can do. You feel that there is any competition coming up from uh, ada or cardano, now that they launched their smart contracts or will still on the 12th paul graham always said, dont look at the big, the big companies. The big projects always look at what the startups are doing: whats the smallest hungriest uh, like team thats executing in the space, so i id honestly be more uh. The likelihood of a i think, a another up and coming chain is probably higher than um. One of the majors that have been stuck in the top 10 for the last. You know five years of doing anything very interesting, yeah. Last question: i want to pick your brain about because look. This is something ive never got a chance to experience, uh in your in your, i guess, um level. In a certain small level i have, but i guess, thats just freedom and look with the rise of the market cap of solana. It gives you a lot of more freedom as an individual as a creative to try to figure out what your next move is and and how you want to develop, even solana, if, if solana is still your next move, what is like? What are you thinking about? Like as a person that has now a much more economic freedom, i would assume um a lot more ideas that you want to see come to fruition.
What are you like saying that this is now my goal? Uh? If i had like time, i would be working on climate change like thats like okay, and is that something that you could bridge solana into or is that a whole different other project? It would be a whole different other project. I feel like theres an opportunity for um cryptocurrencies to accelerate some of this. Its not. I dont think it means anything new. We have all the technology and the pieces to make it work. We just need to have more people that are smart and resourced, and connected and theres no more network than crypto of connected people around the world that are driven and know how to build thats. The the most hyper connected set of people so figuring out a way where we can move stuff faster would be. I think, if i had time thats what id be working on um, where, like solana, comes into play in terms of like our. What we want to do in the future, at the protocol level um its engineering work, um, its not computer, science work and its hard and its fun and its going to have a ton of impact because its going to allow these networks to scale to you know A billion people or 100 million people with 100 accounts each or whatever. However, one you want to imagine like these things, getting cheaper and start replacing web 2 services, you know its going to be you know as cheap and as fast to send 0.
002 cents on solana. As it is to see an ad on from google right and if you start getting into those uh points of inflection, where cryptocurrency and doing financial stuff in these networks is cheaper than advertisement right, then cheaper than like stealing your attention. Just all these people are gon na start figuring out new business models to get away from like the old and start building within you. So thats coming right that thats, just engineering stuff gets faster things, get optimized things, get cheaper, so thats thats, just a pretty exciting time, um and like not nowhere in not in any way uh less important than what you saw with. Like you know, 2g networks moving to lte to 5g right. It was a bunch of engineering work and it took to you know, 10 years, im hoping this is going to be five years, but it truly revolutionized everything right like that, thats the kind of stuff that im that im really excited about. I want to pop back over to climate change for a second, because i just want to rep. I just want to. I guess get your opinions like whats the best way to tackle that because look ive seen like you know, carbon credits ive seen people, but at the end of the day, its all about making actual change people changing their habits. You know um. How would you approach it to just build a decentralized uh utility global utility of shared solar power like we dont need the state? We dont need anyone else.
We have tokens, we have cryptography, we can measure exactly whos, providing energy where and this could run totally separate from anyone, elses and uh. You said: look at helium right. It was its inconceivable for somebody outside of crypto. To imagine that you could build a carrier like a wireless carrier, which is only like a t verizon everywhere else in the world. These are effectively. You know: arms of the government, the federal government in that space, like no other place in the world. That really has a ground up user supplied like just heres a heres, the hardware heres the network, heres uh, the cryptography to make sure everyones doing a good job. You can do that with energy right and, like i think these kinds of attempts are could be really impactful, because crypto is really global and moves really really quickly moves way faster than any policy decision maker ever can interesting, anatoly jakovenko creator of solana, thanks for coming On the show – and you know just well talking all kinds of things – i dont even know where we ended up at but were going to end up there with climate change, because honestly youre, a brilliant, dude, obviously a lot of ideas. I would talk to you for hours. I know that you have a meeting, probably right about now and we have to get off the phone, but i want to thank you for coming on and you know sharing those ideas with me and you know.
Congratulations all this. So uh with all the success for solana for sure um.