Solstarter — Solana’s Premier Launchpad | Design Journal
Hello Solstarter community! It’s been a couple weeks since the project has been officially unveiled on Twitter and we’ve already announced several great seed partners who will be helping to bring the Solstarter vision to reality.
We thought we’d take the time here to write up a post going over a few notes on Solstarter itself, some of the general design principles we sought to execute on, and a few of the primary goals. For those looking for some more details on the platform, have no worry — we will be releasing these blog posts on a semi-regular basis to keep our burgeoning community in the know and aware of all the juicy updates.
Launchpads At Their Core
Launchpads are a bit of a mixed bag, both on a technical level as well as a general niche within the crypto ecosystem. Technically, there have been many different launchpads historically, the first of these being the Binance Launchpad, with its pilot sale BitTorrent raising 7 million in just 15 minutes of its opening.
Binance pioneered the launchpad model, taking previous decentralized token sales and running them right on their own centralized servers. The effect of this was twofold; teams no longer had to develop their own homebrew sale contracts, cutting down on developer time, in addition to the much higher throughput available on a centralized service like Binance.
Of course, the need for decentralization is one of the classic hallmarks of crypto — and teams will ever be pursuing the fabled decentralized future, where everything and anything is fully democratized and trustless. This led to the design of newer decentralized raises, the first of these being on decentralized AMMs like Uniswap, and later more dedicated swaps on platforms such as Bounce. Ultimately, the migration back to Ethereum meant an increase in gas costs, transaction times, and the introduction of frontrunning bots. This was a price the community would be happy to pay with, as DeFi taught users that moving beyond centralized services was acceptable, even if it cost hundreds of times more gas to do so.
But was that acceptable? Should users pay hundreds in fees to engage in projects they are truly passionate about? One thing was clear — though teams no longer had to create their own contracts for raises, there still remained one final obstacle that hampered progress to the fully decentralized vision. And so we arrive at current generation launchpads, you know these names; Polkastarter, Kickpad, BSCPad, and so on. These newer products offer a more user friendly experience, decentralized features and anyone can access them on chain, providing true freedom to the end user.
All’s well that ends well, right? A perfect end to things — sadly, the story doesn’t end here.
Launchpads As A Niche
Imagine it; you’re a typical DeFi user (a “DeFi Degen”, as twitter affectionately loves to call us!) perusing the latest offerings on your launchpad platform of choice. It’s been a few months since things have started, and you’ve done quite well — certainly, the ROI on these projects have proven the model as a success, and you’re ever on the prowl for more lucrative investment opportunities.
Only, things have changed a bit, haven’t they? The projects launching on the platforms aren’t what they used to be. Products running now look less like innovative new ideas that you’re happy to help bring to reality and more like fast cash grabs aimed at draining your active community of their ETH. Additionally, though it’s on all of their roadmaps, few of these launchpads are actually moving off of Ethereum, meaning you’re still having to contend with insane gas costs and all the other technical problems that using Ethereum comes with.
Something strange is happening to launchpads. The projects are getting worse and the tech is still not there yet. Even worse, most of these launchpads fail to provide an actual guarantee for your staked tokens, meaning you might not even get a chance to enter that project you’ve been eyeing for the past year. Why did we move off of centralized launchpads, again?
It’s clear that a real alternative is needed.
We’re crypto investors ourselves, which we feel gives us a certain element of insight into this issue. We are the end user here, which is exactly why we’ve built Solstarter from the ground up to address many of these problems. In the past months we’ve designed an elegant system that combines the best aspects of current launchpads while cutting the chaff, leading to a product that is an amalgamation of the greatest things these services have to offer.
Additionally, we set out a few design goals in mind when we developed Solstarter. These serve as a candid vision statement, a working philosophy that has enabled the Solstarter team to optimize for exactly the results we’re looking for. Namely, these are;
- Placing the community first, through proper token incentives, supply distribution, and a guarantee of allocation. This ensures a predictable token value model and raises expectations on token demand.
- Benefitting lower net worth individuals, by lowering barriers to entry. In pursuit of this goal, we designed two systems; one which doesn’t penalize low NW investors by requiring extremely long token lockups, and a second that allows them to enter token draws to get allocation tiers higher than their current NW would normally allow.
- Fully realizing the benefits of the Solana blockchain by taking advantage of some neat technical capabilities that are only possible on a lightning-fast chain with its general architecture. As an example, we have a token whitelisting feature that allows users to “gift” their whitelists to other users, enabling many new avenues not possible on current generation launchpads.
Building on Solana is hard. Even moreso when you’re trailblazing the platform and have as many new features as we intend to build out. That’s why it was important to us that we secure only world class developers on the team, to ensure proper feature rollout and real execution of even our most bold and daring of ideas for Solstarter.
In light of this, we are honored to be able to work with not one, but two extremely talented developer teams that will be joining Solstarter as core engineers, fleshing out the vision and realizing the true potential of Solstarter.
The first of these will be Everstake, who we’ve had the absolute pleasure of working closely with in the last period to help design the initial Solstarter contracts. Everstake themselves are the company of choice for the Solana ecosystem and their proven experience in developing Solana products gives us confidence in our ability to make a next-generation launchpad.
The second of these will be Bering Waters Tech, a well known development team who were the minds behind the Solana/Arweave bridge, aptly named SOLAR bridge. We will also be bringing them on board as core contributors and advisors to the team to help develop the codebase and bulletproof the platform.
Finally, we’d like to mention we have several auditing partners and firms in the pipeline that are signed on to secure the Solstarter dapp, though we will reserve full information on which firms we have chosen for a future post.
That’s all for now! Expect more posts shortly going over the many aspects of Solstarter as a system — the ways in which we differentiate ourselves, a few of our planned features, a technical roadmap for public review, and of course, the Solstarter whitepaper.