SMS could massively change the mobile landscape for Solana dApps.
Many have said that the future is mobile. That was 10 years ago.
Comprising over 90% of global Internet usage, mobile is obviously mainstream now.
Yet why is it that the vast majority of decentralized applications (dApps) still run on Desktop browsers? For an industry that’s supposed to be on the cutting edge of Internet innovation, we’re surprisingly behind the times; it’s embarrassing.
The truth is, many have actually tried making crypto more mobile-friendly. Most of their strategies involved creating a blockchain phone, from the HTC Exodus 1 to the Finney. Unfortunately, most of them didn’t really attract significant mobile adoption of web3 apps, probably because they failed to make it easy or feasible enough for developers.
Solana Mobile wants to take things a step further. Only this time around, it will need to somehow bypass Google Play’s walled garden.
Yes, it plans to release a smartphone called Saga, which is available to preorder and will launch on 2023. But more importantly, it has deployed a new suite of tools that actually facilitates the development of mobile web3 apps: SMS.
What is Solana Mobile Stack (SMS)?
Solana Mobile Stack (SMS) is an open-source development toolkit designed to enable developers to build rich web3 applications natively on Android mobile devices, running on the Solana blockchain.
SMS includes a mechanism that enables instant signing of transactions while isolating the private keys from wallets, apps, and the Android operating system. This comes with many game-changing perks, chief of which is the ability for crypto users to be constantly on the go.
As a software development kit (SDK), SMS provides libraries and interfaces that enable any developer to build Solana-powered applications on Android-compatible devices, massively expanding the usability of its dApp ecosystem.
- Read our Solana Deep Dive
Components of SMS SDK
The SMS dev kit initially came with preliminary features. Over time, more should be added to this list.
The Seed Vault is a security mechanism that keeps private keys, seed phrases, and other sensitive information separate from a device’s application layer while retaining the ability to interact with apps running on the device.
The Seed Vault is designed to work with the Secure Element hardware chip, which will be built into the upcoming Saga, an upcoming Android-based flagship-level smartphone being developed by Solana Mobile.
Mobile Wallet Adapter
The Mobile Wallet Adapter is a protocol that links web and native Android applications to crypto/web3 wallets on mobile devices. Ultimately, the protocol is designed to support all mobile platforms, even beyond Android, as well as work with wallet apps that offer signing services to apps running remotely, such as other mobile devices, desktops, or laptops.
Solana Pay is a decentralized payment rail that runs on Solana. Since it is embedded in the Solana Mobile SDK, mobile wallet apps will be able to use the system features of Android phones to allow payments through QR codes, NFT taps, messages, etc.
Furthermore, the issuance of instant virtual cards will enable to users to make contactless mobile payments backed by their crypto funds through traditional payment rails supported by several millions of merchants globally.
Solana DApp Store
The Solana dApp Store is a new dApp distribution system (like Google Play and App Store) on Android that enables applications that want to set up direct relationships with their customers to transact without platform fees. The dApp store can con-exist with Google Play on devices, allowing users to enjoy both web2 and web3 mobile apps.
Note that Google Play charges at least 15% (increases with higher sales volume) for listed apps while the Solana dApp Store will be free.
6 Reasons Why Solana Mobile Stack Could Be a Gamechanger
Solana Mobile Stack has received immense support across Solana thanks to its promising features, which we hope will materialize.
Improved User Experience
Since dApps can now be built natively on Android, their user experience could drastically improve. This will allow users to better manage trading risk while on the go, especially when it comes to DeFi apps that require complex functionalities that aren’t supported by most mobile phones today.
Perhaps the greatest use case of SMS is that we don’t have to be glued to our computer stations anymore. We can yield farm, lend, and do all sorts of transactions anywhere at anytime, provided that there is Internet in the area.
This is a massive pain point that is being addressed since crypto investors seldom have to leave conferences, dinners, or vacations early as they usually need to get back to their computers to do time-sensitive transactions. With SMS, this need not be the case as they’ll likely be able to do everything on mobile.
Mint NFTs Anywhere
Non-fungible token (NFT) mints normally have scheduled dates. And more often than not, minters usually have to either cancel plans or set aside a few hours to ensure that they don’t miss a mint. This is because you can’t bring a laptop to a grocery store. If it were on mobile, things would be so much easier.
Imagine being able to mint your favorite projects at anywhere and any time, while on a date, on Uber, etc.
Web3 Games on Mobile
SMS integrates crypto wallets on mobile dApps, which enables users to play web3 games on Android while keeping their funds secure on the Seed Vault.
Some might argue that there are already tons of blockchain games available on mobile. While that is true, none of them are natively built and optimized to work on mobile. In fact, you can barely find any Solana-based game that works on mobile. Most are either on Ethereum, BNB Chain, or WAX.
With Axie Infinity, you’d have to download an APK file since it is not available on Google Play. Furthermore, your crypto funds won’t be as secure as they could be since there is no separation of your sensitive data (private keys, seed phrases, etc.) from the rest of the Android operating system.
That is going to change very soon thanks to the Seed Vault. You can expect more Solana games to be available on mobile as the SDK will make it easier for developers to build.
Easy to Pay for Goods and Services with Crypto Funds
Solana Pay is another innovation on Solana that is intended to disrupt the payment processing space while taking NFTs and web3 into account. You could think of it as the PayPal of the Solana ecosystem, except that the costs are negligible since the network charges a flat fee of around $0.00025.
Merchant integration has also been made simple, requiring the creation of a Solana wallet and the implementation of a Solana Pay code on their website. Users would typically pay in USDC powered by Solana.
Token-Gated Mobile Experiences
Tokengating is a method of adding value to an NFT or cryptocurrency by offering holders exclusive access to a community, content, physical products, and many more. This includes special perks such as discounts on new products, early access to launches, invitations to holders-only events.
This is a lot easier to set up on Desktop as browser extensions, but a lot harder to do on mobile. But through the secure communications between the Seed Vault, mobile wallets, and dApps, tokengating experiences can finally be implemented on mobile.
Support from the Solana Ecosystem
And perhaps above other reasons, we think that SMS can indeed be a gamechanger not only due to the fundamentals, but also because of the extensive support from major projects across Solana, from Magic Eden, to Okay Bears, Phantom to StepN, Orca to Coral; not to mention the two Solana co-founders Raj Gokal and Anatoly Yakovenko.
Let’s here what they have to say:
We want to create the best mobile experiences for our users and are delighted that Solana’s mobile stack will unlock new potential use cases… Interacting with NFTs should not occur in a vacuum on a laptop… We’re excited to support Solana’s project with our Android app.Jack Lu, Magic Eden CEO and Co-Founder
When designing our new products, we worked with Ikonick and Shopify to ensure a beautiful token-gated experience for all of our holders. We’re excited about the Solana Mobile Stack, and its potential to help grow our Okay Bears message.Kais, Okay Bears Co-Founder
Solana Mobile Stack represents a big advancement for seed management and native transaction signing, both of which elevate the user experience on mobile.Brandon Millman, Phantom CEO and Co-Founder
Many Solana lovers, especially the founders, are excited about the apps and experiences that will be developed on mobile thanks to SMS. And with Solana being one of the prominent blockchains when it comes to practicality and usability, this technology just might be the change we need to elevate the web3 space to the next level.
With that being said, this isn’t a guarantee of success. As pointed out earlier, Solana Mobile isn’t the only entity that attempted make crypto mobile. Many have tried, including large players like HTC and Samsung, yet none have succeeded in onboarding a large enough userbase for its blockchain features.
Being a 5-year veteran in this space, I can tell you that many of the things I was genuinely excited about in the past didn’t pan out. No one can predict with certainty what’s gonna succeed in this space, especially on a micro level. On a macro level, I can say with some degree of confidence that something gamechanging always happens every year, we just don’t know what it is.
Perhaps the missing piece behind previous projects that tried mobile was support from a crypto ecosystem. That has never happened yet, until Solana Mobile.
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