Solana is one of the most popular and fast-growing programable blockchain platforms with a strong focus on scalability. Compared to Ethereum, Solana has a much better transaction speed set to scale at a whooping 710,000 transactions per second and is, therefore, touted as a more suitable platform for DeFi applications.
The Solana blockchain is designed with a unique proof of stake consensus protocol that also combines a proof of history cryptographic clock, thereby providing a better way to achieve distributed trust at high speed and scale.
The platform is currently being used by some popular projects in the blockchain industry such as Project Serum, Parrot Protocol, Raydium, etc. Solana also has a very strong developer community with over 350 projects benefiting from its open-source blockchain.
At the moment, Solana has a transaction fee of 0.00001 SOL per byte and doesn’t require any gas. Plus, Solana’s network speed is designed to increase with an increase in the number of validators making Solana a very good investment for the future.
With all these features, Solana has become a top pick for developers and investors looking to get into the DeFi space.
Here’s a list of the top 10 projects on Solana:
Founded in 2019 by FTX, Alemeda Research, and their partners including the world’s youngest billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried, Serum is a non-custodial decentralized derivatives exchange (DEX) built to achieve low fees and speedy transactions.
It is one of the first projects to launch on Solana and is by far one of the most valuable projects on the Solana ecosystem boasting a DEX that is capable of running fully on-chain. Serum’s DEX also features a matching engine and a central limit order book that allows for easy exchange of liquidity among its users and gives institutions as well as retail customers functional a variety of market-based capabilities.
Compared to decentralized exchanges such as Uniswap which are based on an automated market-making protocol, Serum features support for cross-chain swaps and offers solutions to challenges such as impermanent loss. Serum’s protocol uses a decentralized order book that utilizes smart contracts to give users total control over their private keys without compromising on the speed and security of transactions.
This DEX platform is also community-governed as its native token can be used to grant voting rights, incentivize traders, and pay for fees. At the moment, Serum has one of the most value-locked amounting to about $197 million.
Similar to Serum, Raydium is a decentralized finance protocol built on the Solana blockchain that allows users to trade a variety of assets in a single place. It has a very user-friendly interface and also offers staking and lending services.
Raydium’s native token, RAY, is used to pay fees on the platform and can also be staked to earn rewards. However, unlike Serum, Raydium’s DEX features an automated market maker with a TVL (total value locked) of $183.69 million.
Even so, Raydium still uses Serum’s decentralized central order book to facilitate speedy transactions, and access pooled liquidity among other additional functionalities. Compared to most AMM DEXs, Raydium stands apart as it can access a deeper pool of unlike most AMM DEXs that only have access to their local liquidity pools. This enables Raydium users to enjoy an AMM DEX with lightning-fast transaction finality at low fees.
Founded by AlphaRay, Raydium has a strong working relationship with Serum and aims to give traders more access to cross-chain asset trading.
This project started as a lending platform on Solana before eventually evolving into a fresh and juicy decentralized exchange that offers traders a whooping 20X leverage on specific trading pairs. Thanks to the fact that it’s built on Solana, Mango’s DEX is capable of fast, permissionless, and cheap transactions. DeFi natives can use Mango Markets to trade, swap, and borrow digital assets across the Solana Ecosystem.
Mango’s decentralized exchange is also non-custodial as it uses smart contracts that give users full control over their private keys and assets. In addition to this, Mango’s DEX comes with other features such as an on-chain order book similar to centralized exchanges but with the benefit of decentralization.
Mango Markets is popular in the Solana ecosystem for being the first project to launch a token using a fair IDO (Initial DEX offering) model that is now popular with other projects on Solana. From its humble beginnings, Mango Market managed to raise $70 million last year through the sale of its MNGO token and has now grown to include a DAO. According to the creators of the project, the DAO is set to help Mango achieve censorship resistance.
Formerly known as SolFarm, Tulip Protocol is Solana’s yield aggregation platform built with auto-compounding vault strategies designed to take advantage of Solana’s highly efficient and low-cost blockchain. It features speedy transactions, high APYs, leveraged yield farms, and supported vaults on popular Solana DEXs such as Raydium, Orca, and Saber. This aggregator is designed to streamline trading on DEXs, and even though most of its code is still experimental, it offers a “set and forget” strategy that gives traders lucrative interests on their investments.
Founded by an anonymous team in 2021, Tulip Protocol managed to raise $5 million during its private token sale in a funding round that was led by VC firms such as Alameda Research and Jump Capital. The project also boasts of winning the Solana Season Hackathon in June last year, thus establishing itself among the top projects in Solana’s ecosystem. Currently, the project’s TVL is set at $131.23 million and has a native token with a market capitalization of $5.5 million.
Saber is an AMM DEX platform and liquidity pool on Solana, built to enable easy trading of stablecoins on Solana’s ecosystem. It features an extremely efficient trading system that prevents opportunity costs and slippage when trading these pegged and bridged assets. Compared to early AMM protocols on Solana such as Raydium, Saber boasts a much lower slippage rate and zero impermanent loss, especially during large transactions. It comes with a native token called the SBR token, which is used as a utility token as well as a governance token for the Saber DAO. In addition, Saber’s market maker uses a cross-chain strategy that is compatible with popular blockchain networks such as Ethereum, BSC, Celo, and Terra to mention a few. Saber’s cross-chain capabilities give it concentrated liquidity, thus facilitating efficiency on its AMM DEX.
The Parrot Protocol was founded by an anonymous team to unlock the value of LP tokens across the DeFi landscape. In most cases, liquidity providers across multiple DeFi systems have billions of dollars worth of value locked up in these protocols. With every asset locked in a DEX or AMM protocol, the liquidity provider is given LP (liquidity pool) tokens as a reward or representation of their contribution. However, LP tokens have limited utility outside of their respective systems and are often difficult to trade.
The Parrot Protocol comes in to help these LPs by providing a decentralized liquidity pool that allows users to unlock the value held in LP tokens. The project has established a liquidity and lending network backed by these LP tokens as collateral. Parrot Protocol comes with its stablecoin API that is pegged to the US dollar, thus enabling users to borrow from lenders without losing the position of their locked liquidity. Using Parrot Finance’s governance token, anyone can access the platform’s stablecoin loans similar to how Ethereum DeFi users can access loans on Maker DAO. So far, it is reported that the project has managed to raise $84 million in two IDOs.
Larix is the first-of-its-kind metaverse-based finance protocol on the Solana blockchain ecosystem. With a total market value of $49.69 million, Larix kicked off by enabling mortgage lending through auto compounding. The platform has now evolved beyond typical lending and now offers capital-efficient risk management lending pools with dynamic interest rates with a wider range of supported collateral types. Simply put, Larix allows users to lock up their digital assets (NFTs, synthetic assets, stablecoins, etc.) as collateral and receive a loan with lower interest rates. The project is partially open-sourced and is the lending gateway of platforms such as Serum and Raydium.
Dexlab is a decentralized token minting lab and exchange that serves as a one-stop shop for projects in the Solana ecosystem. Through this platform, users can mint tokens for various projects, and token issuers can use the platform as a launchpad as well as a DEX for listing Solana-based tokens. Thanks to Solana’s high scalability and low transaction fees, Dexlab is capable of enabling its users to experiment with minting NFTs, creating digital assets, and building DeFi protocols that leverage Solana’s features. For a long time, building SPL(Solana Program Library) tokens and digital assets on Solana had developers tackle bottlenecks such as the lack of tools to manage environment settings, view token sale data, and market listing. With Dexlab, developers and platform users can manage these settings and more.
For those looking for a user-friendly AMM protocol and decentralized crypto exchange on the Solana blockchain, look no further than what ORCA can offer. This is a DEX that offers the lowest latency, and even lower fees thank to Solana’s high transaction throughput. The platform’s human-centered design not only enables simplicity but also emphasized composability with a spot-swapping feature and price indicator. Founded by Grace Kwan and Yutaro Mori, two experts who both share an extensive background in retail-friendly dApps, ORCA launched with the aim of providing DeFi and crypto natives with a profitable and intuitive protocol.
To close up our list is SarosSwap which is an AMM protocol that takes after Uniswap’s conventional X*Y=K formula. This DEX offers access to liquidity for developers, thereby giving them room to worry about the development of their dApps. SarosSwap has a pretty intuitive user interface and offers a staking program that rewards Saros token holders for providing liquidity across the Solana ecosystem. So far, SarosSwap has received the backing of well-known venture capital firms such as Alameda Research.
The Solana ecosystem is just getting started. Despite suffered several aspects in the past, the ecosystem has managed to attract some of the most promising projects in the DeFi and NFT space. With its high TPS, Solana is slowly but surely cementing its place as one of the most promising enterprise-grade blockchain protocols.