In a recent interview with TechCrunch+, Solana co-founder Roj Gokal unveiled the company's ambitious growth strategy. Gokal said that Solana aims to expand its influence and operations by 10 to 100 times, predominantly through partnerships with small businesses and strategic infrastructure alliances.
A Focus on Small Businesses
Small businesses are uniquely poised to be nimble, flexible, and capable of making quick decisions. These traits are something that Solana is actively seeking in partners. “Solana wants partners that can move, push releases and experiments, and measure every week rather than someone really big that has an established view of what they’re looking for," Gokal said. His criticism of larger companies stems from their tendency to abandon initiatives quickly if results do not meet expectations.
One shining example of Solana's small business focus is its partnership with the San Francisco-based café chain, Boba Guys. The partnership, formed in April, explores the potential of a loyalty program built on Solana's blockchain. The idea is to utilize non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and other tokens to stimulate customer engagement and boost sales.
Solana is also proactively engaging with independent developers. The company's investment in hackathons is testament to this, with the most recent event drawing an impressive 800 submissions. Solana's "hacker houses" initiative has similarly attracted over 17,000 developers, demonstrating a healthy interest in the platform's capabilities.
Strategic Infrastructure Partnerships
Alongside small businesses, Solana is also investing in strategic infrastructure partnerships. A notable partnership was forged with Google Cloud in November. This collaboration enables users to deploy Solana nodes and allows Google Cloud to serve as a Solana validator, strengthening Solana's network infrastructure.
Gokal also hinted at Solana's interest in partnering with Stripe. The payment processing giant introduced a fiat-to-cryptocurrency onramp in December 2022. Interestingly, Gokal noted that the majority of Stripe's supported apps are based on Solana's blockchain.
Vision to become the "Apple" of Crypto
Gokal emphasized that Solana aspires to become the "Apple" of the crypto world. The comparison is not far-fetched; like Apple, Solana is focused on user experience and performance. The company's ambitious infrastructure plans include the production of a smartphone named Saga, intended to provide greater support for third-party projects.
Solana is also looking to incorporate artificial intelligence into its operations. In a separate discussion, Solana Labs co-founder and CEO Anatoly Yakovenko mentioned that the company is working on incorporating ChatGPT and AI features.
In conclusion, Solana's ambitious plans are aimed at a multi-faceted growth strategy focusing on small businesses and infrastructure partnerships. With a track record of successful partnerships and a forward-looking strategy, the future of Solana looks bright.