Solana's Isolated Fee Markets in Action

Solana had its most hyped mint of the year on Friday and went off without a hitch. Compare this to even just a year ago when NFT mints and IDOs would render the chain unusable. TPS this time didn’t even flinch.

Even after the mint the chain continued to perform exceptionally well all while the NFT collection was doing numbers, at one point doing more sales volume than the next 9 projects combined. Fees stayed low and DeFi was unaffected. This is a materially different outcome than we are accustomed to seeing on other blockchains. Remember the BAYC land sale? Gas prices spiked to >$1k and rendered the chain unusable for an entire day, even sending L2 gas costs on Optimism to $50 for a brief period of time.

Priority fees worked as expected, but even still barely spiked. In a bull market we’ll get to see mints like this combined with active DeFi trading, and that’s when the true test will come and we’ll really get to see how effective Solana’s fee markets are. For now, they’re still largely not needed.

To visualize the demand further we can look no further than Tensor’s historical trade volume. Tensor is the fastest growing NFT trading platform on Solana and is quickly becoming the preferred destination to trade.

There’s a lot to be excited about with Solana. Their flagship phone Saga is starting to ship, it’s quickly becoming the chain for DePIN (Decentralized Physical Infrastructure) with projects like Hivemapper, recently migrated Helium and upcoming Render, Jump Engineering’s new Firedancer validator at the end of the year, Backpack and their new xNFT standard, and all the recent improvements over the past year like Quic, stake weighted QoS, and localized fee markets all starting to shine through.

Solana’s still looked down upon or misunderstood in the public discourse. Yes, it has high hardware requirements to validate, but no blockchain can ignore this and just needs to shift these high requirements *somewhere else* instead. I would highly recommend giving this 3 minute read from Alex Beckett at Celestia for more context. In Solana’s case, diet clients and Tinydancer are their path towards cheap verification.

I believe Solana is still largely under-appreciated for what it’s been able to achieve. It was only 4 months ago where people were legitimately saying the ecosystem was dead and would never return. Meanwhile, the people who stuck around have formed a cult like dedication to it and have been improving it day in and day out. I don’t think public perception has really changed yet, but maybe this weekend starts to shift it a bit in that direction. If I had to guess, by the back half of the year the perception around Solana will be much different. Slowly but surely people will wake up. Even if you disagree with some of Solana’s design choices, there’s a lot that other ecosystems can learn and take away from it.

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