Lightspeed Newsletter: Solana transactions can now happen directly within X

Plus, a $60 million venture fund for Solana ecosystem projects


Mehaniq/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks


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To briefly continue this newsletter’s sandwich discourse: I was down in Florida for a wedding this weekend, and I went to Publix for the first time to try a Pub Sub — a regional delicacy, I’m told.

I got a chicken bacon ranch sub and saw the light. New York’s culinary scene reins supreme generally, but Florida has us beat on grocery store sandwiches, I’ll grant. Anyways: 

This morning, I bought BONK directly within my X feed, which was something I couldn’t do yesterday.

The Solana Foundation and Dialect just released actions, which deliver signable Solana transactions directly from applications to users — so you can buy a token on X without leaving the platform, for instance. These actions can be turned into shareable blockchain links, or blinks, which make it possible to interact onchain anywhere a URL can be displayed. 

With its X-centric release, blinks feel a bit like a Solana-meets-Crypto Twitter version of Farcaster Frames. Frames let developers on the crypto-native social media platform embed external apps or website actions within users’ feeds.

Actions and blinks appear to have broader ambitions though: Dialect said the tools will expand to support more internet “surfaces” in coming weeks, including Reddit and Discord.

“Blockchain protocols have always been limited by their reach,” Jon Wong, ecosystem engineering lead at the Solana Foundation, told me. Actions allow crypto transactions to happen away from crypto-aware applications, which should help with broader adoption, Wong added.

Wong said actions are an advancement on Solana Pay remote transaction technology that was developed roughly two years ago. 

Still, “Farcaster Frames definitely catalyzed some of the efforts here,” Wong said, noting that actions aim to be available on any website, as opposed to Frames which are limited to Farcaster.

But the decision to initially deploy actions and blinks on X — where much of crypto discourse still happens — may speak to some pragmatism on the Solana ecosystem’s end as well.

“X is just such a good product, and already has the network effects where all of [crypto Twitter] lives on X,” Tensor Chief Technology Officer Richard Wu told me in a DM. “Bringing what are essentially ‘Frames’ for X to the user, vs the other way around (asking users to go to [a] different app to use frames), could be the unlock to integrate crypto into our existing online lives.”

Arnold Lee, CEO of actions and blinks user Sphere, said the tools’ launch speaks to “Solana’s cultural engineering focus,” where the network’s developers think backwards from the user experience.

I asked Wong for some business lines actions and blinks might enable (other than, you know, buying memecoins more easily). 

Customers could pay with crypto at a retail store using a QR code with actions, and online content creators could receive tips directly in-platform with blinks, Wong cited alongside several other examples. (He also said readers could vote on community policies via links in newsletters — should we drop Lightspeed blinks?)

A host of protocols partnered with blinks on day one, including wallet apps Phantom and Backpack, along with notable Solana ecosystem projects like Helium, Jupiter, and Sanctum. The new feature launch also has everyone talking on my timeline in a way reminiscent of Frames’ launch — which led to a spike in Farcaster usage. 

I’ll be curious to see where blinks get deployed outside of X. Both TikTok and Instagram have tested the waters on in-app shopping — with not-always-inspiring results. Solana transactions that charge low fees and don’t require external wallet apps could be eye-catching for social giants of their ilk.

— Jack Kubinec

Zero In

$60 million

That’s the size of the venture fund Colosseum just announced for Solana ecosystem projects. 

Colosseum does venture capital in a kind of novel way: It runs hackathons and invests in the winners, while accepting some into its startup accelerator. The fund’s co-founder previously started the Solana Foundation’s hackathon program.

This $60 million fund will go entirely to Solana projects, a Colosseum spokesperson told Blockworks. It’ll be a pretty notable capital injection into an ecosystem that around a year ago was battling regulatory scrutiny and watching its native token trade in the teens.

— Jack Kubinec

The Pulse

Last Friday, Light Protocol announced ZK Compression — a new primitive to reduce token and account costs while enabling native zero-knowledge compute on Solana. ZK Compression stores only state roots on-chain, using ZK proofs to ensure state validity. This is meant to drastically cut costs while maintaining security and performance.

The announcement sparked some controversy on social media, with some accusing Light Protocol of repackaging Ethereum concepts without proper credit. Ryan Berckmans argued, “Solana’s zk compression has some features of Ethereum’s validity rollups, some features of Ethereum’s planned statelessness with verkle tries, and relies on three different kinds of offchain node software.” He called it a disguised L2 solution, prompting a heated debate. Mert Mumtaz from Helius Labs responded to the varied criticisms, stating “Solana’s decoupling of compute and data is not a thing in Ethereum […] the problem sets and bottlenecks in the different systems are completely different.”

Mert’s defense emphasized the uniqueness of Solana’s approach, further noting that “calling this a rollup or validium would confuse the shit out of literally everyone because almost nothing would apply.” Some sided with Mert, with users such as @crypto_is_good saying, “I wouldn’t listen to insecure eth maxies.” Others took a less favorable stance, with @SolarEtherPunk commenting, “Grifters gonna grift. It’s called ZK roll up you scammers.”

Despite the differing opinions, ZK Compression is set to bring even greater scalability to the Solana ecosystem. As user Bitsperity said, “Let’s focus on substance rather than semantics. This industry is divided but there will be a product fit for different stacks.”

— Jeffrey Albus

One Good DM

A message from FP Lee, co-founder of Sanctum:

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