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Solana Takes Action

Solana is giving crypto a glimpse of its mainstream future with Actions and Blinks.
Arjun Chand Arjun Chand Jul 4, 20244 min read
Solana Takes Action

If bringing crypto to the users where they are was a competition, Solana might just have won it with the introduction of Actions and Blinks – developer frameworks that bring crypto directly to any website on the internet.

Imagine scrolling Twitter, and spotting an NFT you've gotta have. Normally, that could set you off on a web3 odyssey where you have to step through the various unwieldy "standard" transaction steps to buy the NFT. But with Blinks, it's a single click. 

This might all seem like a small, inconsequential thing, but it's a friction-smashing superpower.

Let's take a look at how Blinks are a major step in the right direction towards making crypto more user-friendly, and why Solana leading the way in UX is a big deal👇

While Blinks are undeniably cool, they're powered by something even more fundamental: Solana Actions. Think of Actions as the building blocks for Blinks.

These Actions are essentially APIs that enable on-chain transactions to be customized into various forms such as links, QR codes, buttons, and widgets (commonly seen in crypto applications). The key advantage is that you can take the primary function of any app (like swapping or buying NFTs) and integrate it into any other front-end.

This is a great step forward, but in the open-source and composable world of crypto, integrations like this are already somewhat common. The real deal emerges when you combine Solana Actions with Blinks. Blinks, or blockchain links, take those Actions and turn them into shareable, metadata-rich links. Think of them as clickable shortcuts to the blockchain. 

Blinks let you share a specific onchain action (like buying an NFT) as a URL on virtually any website capable of displaying a URL — essentially, anywhere on the internet.

This means you can initiate actions like buying NFTs, investing in memecoins, or sending payments, all without ever leaving the app you were already using, simply by clicking on a link.

Swap SOL-BONK | Phantom
Phantom: Swap SOL-BONK.

Think about how many times you've tried to get your normie friend to mint an NFT or buy a particular asset onchain but failed. Even if they're eager to do it, they face a steep learning curve to understand how crypto works. 

Blinks are the cheat code. Share a link, they click, and boom – they've just done their first crypto thing. Easy.

Sure, there's still a learning curve (gotta have a Solana wallet), but crypto adoption will not happen overnight. We need to remove the friction step-by-step and Blinks are a big step forward.

And the early signs that features like these actually make people do more things onchain are quite positive: after Blinks launch, Solana reached an almost two-year high in the number of daily transactions processed.

Transactions on Solana show a strong uptrend in the past year. Source: Artemis

For now, Blinks are fully opt-in. To use Blinks on X, you gotta flip a switch in your Solana wallet (Phantom, Backpack, etc.).

There has been some chatter comparing Blinks with Farcaster Frames, so let’s quickly address that. Both Blinks and Frames offer a similar functionality – they let you turn regular posts on Twitter and Farcaster respectively, into onchain actions. But here's the deal:

  • Frames work only on Farcaster – you have to be on Farcaster to use Frames. This is very cool, but Farcaster has a limited reach given its relatively small and crypto-native user base.
  • Blinks work everywhere – Blinks can be integrated into any website, reaching a way bigger audience. They’re currently compatible with X, which has a much larger audience than Farcaster. Moreover, Blinks can already be supported on more platforms like Reddit, TikTok, Discord, etc.

Therefore, while the two features are conceptually similar, Blinks have a wider distribution due to their universal compatibility with any website on the internet.

One caveat: Blinks are currently a desktop-only concept, meaning they work only with desktop crypto wallets. In contrast, Frames are mobile-first all the way, and the adoption of mobile-focused crypto is expected to increase in the future. 

In general, we shouldn’t nitpick the differences and similarities between Blinks and Frames. Both Blinks and Frames are major wins for crypto in their own way. They make interacting with crypto easier for everyone. Solana or Base, who cares? The whole is always greater than the sum of its parts and we need to grow the crypto pie by building more crypto-friendly features.

Closing Thoughts

Time and again we see the Solana ecosystem come together as a well-oiled machine and just ship. The launch of Blinks was no different; the whole ecosystem was onboard from the get go – top players like Phantom, Jupiter, Helius, Backpack, Tensor and others had Blinks support on day one.

Only time will tell how successful Blinks will be. But, it's clear that Blinks is a killer feature, and the launch was exceptionally smooth – it leveraged Solana's network effects perfectly.

Mainstream adoption doesn’t happen in the blink of an eye (pun-intended). Features like Blinks move the entire crypto space forward. Kudos to Solana!

Arjun Chand

Written by Arjun Chand

17 Articles View all      

Cross-chain tech critic at LI.FI. Mostly focused on memes, passively interested in current happenings in the multi chain reality. Former XRP bag holder.

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