What are you doing to improve the Solana ecosystem?

Everyone can have a different answer, and for some, the answer may be “nothing”. Running a validator just to provide a validator to the network is of course enough justification for being a validator. And for very small validators, that may be all that they’re capable of anyway.

However, I think that there are a lot of validators who are working to try to improve the ecosystem in general, and I wonder if we can get some feedback from validators about what they’re doing above and beyond just operations?

So for me I run a bunch of “public goods” (free of charge) projects outside of just my stake pool (BlazeStake):

  • SOL Faucet: gives away 2 tx fees worth of free SOL every 24 hours (plus some ways to get more SOL if people want), used to be pretty useful for getting a bit of SOL in people’s wallets to play around with and especially helpful to pay unstake fees when accidentally staking entire wallet balance. Unfortunately now not as useful since Solana now has the rent minimum so new accounts can’t use the faucet if they don’t hold a minimum SOL balance already, but some people still use it for the free money

  • SOL Pay SDK: front-end JavaScript payments SDK for Solana (integrates with front-end browser wallets), supports a variety of features for transactions of SOL and SPL tokens (as well as various lookup methods for getting balances of SOL/tokens), signing messages from user wallet, payments streams (like streaming a few lamports per second to the website developer), stake pool deposits/withdraws, etc. all in an easy-to-use SDK, also has a simple API for verifying transaction balance changes and signatures on backend

  • RPC Status Dashboard: helps monitor RPC uptime across tons of Solana RPC providers, historical uptime data is being tracked but I haven’t gotten around to getting it displayed nicely on the front-end yet. Also unrelated to the status dashboard itself but during restarts I also have a restart percent tracker.

  • Testnet Bot: continuously sends transactions to testnet to make sure things are working alright. Currently sends to RPC so it’s a bit slow but currently working on optimizing so that it sends directly to TPU and can get more transactions through at once.

  • Validator Fee Gifts: something I’m trying to start to gift back vote fee costs to random small validator(s) each epoch. Have to see if there’s demand from validators on this yet before I launch officially.

Working on some other things in stealth, hope to announce more soon :eyes:


Zantetsu | Shinobi Systems:

  • I have been developing utility programs that I hope will have value to solana developers. I’ve been working on a sort of SDK, or at least, some degree of documentation about how to do Solana development. In particular, I am almost finished with a utility that I call ‘solxact’ that does all kinds of transaction functionality.

  • I am working on an offline signing methodology that I will turn into a wallet adapter. This would then allow users to use any defi website with their own key management methods that don’t involve using a ‘wallet’. For example, doing offline signing so as to keep keys airgapped from any web-connected computer.

  • I have been working on a gaming ecosystem that I hope to release associated with my validator. It would be Shinobi themed and provide some PvP games that are entirely on-chain. It’s still in active development but I’ve been working night and day on this for months. My hope is to bring more use to Solana by providing experiences based on Solana that people want to interact with.

  • I have been working on several PRs:

    • The timely vote credits thing that many are aware of
    • An enhancement to vote accounts that would allow validators to withdraw from vote accounts without requiring their precious withdraw authority key
    • Other minor PRs

Hey, FP from Socean here. Over the past year and a half, my team and I:

  • wrote the open-source SPL stake pool program, which the vast majority of stake pools use (Socean, Solblaze, jPool, Jito, Laine, everSOL)…

  • built unstake.it, which allows all of staked SOL to access instant liquidity.

  • wrote the Staking Alliance whitepaper and started the Stake Alliance

  • wrote the OmniSOL white paper, which allows any staked SOL to access all of Solana’s DeFi, while gaining the staking yields of that particular validator.

  • advocated for, and helped set up, single-validator stake pools (laineSOL is the first and many more will come)

We’ve not worked alone: we’ve had many fruitful discussions with jFactory, Laine, Cogent Crypto, Chainflow, and of course Solana Foundation and Labs. All this could not have been done without them. In fact, I wanted to start the Alliance precisely because of how helpful these discussions have been – I wanted to bring these discussions to the broader staking ecosystem.

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