Breakpoint Vibes - Day 1

Breakpoint is on day 2 but really the 3rd if you include MEV day on Sunday. MEV day was hosted by Jito (the MEV & liquid staking network) and included talks mostly from DeFi teams like MarginFi, Jito, Ellipsis, Mango and more. The most interesting talk to me was the discussion around fee markets.

While we hear a lot about Solana’s isolated fee markets and things like priority fees, the reality is that the implementation falls far behind the actual design. Transaction inclusion in Solana is mostly random and even paying a high priority fee doesn’t guarantee that your transaction will land before another with no priority. This is something that needs to be improved before Solana’s fee markets can be determined robust. Then the coversation moved towards dynamic base fees and pricing compute units. With Solana’s fixed fees, someone taking up 50% of the block with compute pays the same as someone taking up <1%; again, something that is incorrect as it is not aligned with resource consumption and presents a DoS vector. The discussion then got into app-specific fee markets and whether or not they should be implemented. Do app-specific fee markets move Solana more towards an app-chain type model and stray from the original Solana pitch (Max from Mango’s view)? There’s a lot more to be discussed, tweaked & iterated on over the next months and years and will be an important discussion to follow. The more complexity you add to fee markets, the more of a burden you put on validator clients and the larger surface area for bugs; there’s somehting nice about simplicity.

The first official day of Breakpoint was Tuesday. People seemed to be in good spirits and there’s been a noticable energy in the room. The price of SOL has also gone up a lot over the past 2 weeks so this is quite the coincidence. The conference is definitely a smaller venue than ETHCC but it also makes it feel a bit more intimate. With ETHCC you have builders from basically every ecosystem; Breakpoint is Solana and Solana bulls (i.e. the manlets). I spoke with someone from Aptos who worked for Solana Foundation prior… they told me there were 4k attendees last year and 3.5k this year. I can’t verify, but if true, being ~flat given everything that’s gone on over the past year is a good sign to me. Somehow Breakpoint atendees, SOL/USD & SOL/ETH are all basically flat YoY. Did anything happen?

The big announcements from day 1 were Backpack launched a regulated CEX in Dubai, Google adding support for BigQuery, Jito’s StakeNet and Firedancer’s Frankendancer live on testnet. Let’s talk about Frankendancer.

Firdeancer is of course the most anticipated infra-level upgrade coming to Solana over the next couple years. Built by Kevin Bowers and the team at Jump crypto, it is expected to increase Solana’s throughput by 10-100x & increase client diversity. However, what is on testnet is not Firedancer, it’s Frankendancer. Frankendancer is the networking component of Firedancer. This means stuff like QUIC, receiving and propagating transactions, etc. The runtime (SVM) and Consensus use the Solana Labs code. The runtime will be the hardest to develop and estimates are 1H2024 for Frankendancer and 2H2024 for Firedancer. However, if I was a betting man, which I am, I wouldn’t count on the full Firedancer until 2025.

That was basically day 1. There are three more days left and I’m expecting a few token announcements to be made. There have already been teams like Pyth and Jupiter teasing on twitter. I’m sure we’ll get some other surprises as well. And oh, 2024 will be in Singapore.

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great recap. felt like i was there. also 3.5k headcount sounds promising

Other than infra-level updates, what's the mood like around uses cases on Solana? DePin, gaming, DeFi, cNFT applications et al -- What are teams working on and excites the community?

there’s not really a single focus. would say there’s good energy around defi and a lot of people expecting momentum to keep up along with token launches. drip is doing an all day thing today, they’ve integrated solana pay into the vending machines which is cool. just tap your bracelet and have a usdc payment on-chain. went to a firedancer talk with kevin bowers yesterday, ngl a lot was over my head but these guys are truly the gigabrains of the industry imo.

As someone that never gets to these, I love these recaps.

Great recap, thanks Ceteris.