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Thursday, November 30, 2023

A brief guide to Solana smart contracts

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Since Ethereum popularized smart contracts, it has become an integral part of the decentralized web3 world. Smart contracts simplify and automate each process and transaction that happens in a decentralized application without the need for third parties. They are codes stored on a blockchain that gets triggered when predetermined conditions are met. Like regular contracts, smart contracts outline the rules and fines around an agreement and automatically carry out those requirements. They offer trust, transparency, security and efficiency in a web3 system.

Currently, only a handful of blockchain protocols exist that do not provide smart contract functionality. Most blockchain networks, including Solana, find smart contract features especially beneficial. So, let us look into Solana smart contracts.

What is the Solana blockchain?

Solana is a programmable decentralized blockchain designed to develop scalable, user-friendly dApps. Introduced by Anatoly Yakovenko in 2017, Solana utilizes a unique consensus mechanism known as proof-of-history to validate transactions happening in the protocol. Its native cryptocurrency SOL is used for peer-to-peer transactions within the network. One of the network’s unique features is Solana smart contracts, which are different from conventional smart contracts.

Solana smart contracts

Smart contracts in Solana are known as programs. Its architecture differs from the typical EVM-based smart contracts. Code/logic and state are both included in traditional EVM-based contracts that are deployed on-chain. In contrast, a smart contract on Solana is restricted to program logic and operates in read-only or stateless mode. Once the smart contract is set up, external accounts can access and interact with it to store information on how the software interacts with the user.

This way, state (accounts) and contract logic (programs) are logically separated, a key distinction between conventional EVM-enabled smart contracts and Solana smart contracts. Additionally, there are significant differences between accounts on Solana and other blockchains (like Ethereum). In contrast to Ethereum accounts, which merely refer to users’ wallets, a Solana account holds data (such as wallet information).

Furthermore, Solana possesses a CLI and JSON RPC API to facilitate the interaction of Solana-based dApps with the network. Solana dApps can also utilize existing SDKs to communicate with the ecosystem and other programs on Solana.

Advantages of building smart contracts on Solana

  • One of the key technologies in Solana, named Sealevel, facilitates the runtime to process thousands of parallel contracts.
  • No transaction overlaps when executed concurrently.
  • The maximum number of transactions per second of Solana is about 50,000.
  • Exceptionally low fees of about $0.00001.
  • New blocks can be created every 400 milliseconds.
  • Solana has no mempool issue, which means the network adds each transaction directly to the blockchain without waiting for it to be accepted by the blockchain.

Solana smart contracts for Solana dApp development

Decentralized applications, or dApps, are automated by smart contracts. It is the same in Solana smart contracts or programs. Solana programs are integral in building powerful and innovative Solana dApps. However, if you need to become more familiar with smart contract development, Solana offers several readily available programs that you can utilize to build dApps. Solana Labs has created two sets of programs for developers to build dApps on it, which are, Native programs and Solana Program Library (SPL).

Native programs are a fundamental part of Solana, including staking, voting, and system programs. The system program is used for several purposes, including account creation and SOL transferring in the network. SPL, on the other hand, includes several programs like the Token program, enabling users to interact with tokens built on Solana, involving NFTs and even token standards. You can leverage these readily available Solana programs to build Solana dApps without any smart contract development knowledge.


Solana offers superior scalability, high performance, and other additional advantages for developers to build purposeful smart contracts and dApps. It is a highly efficient blockchain network to develop smart contracts that can power dApps like NFT marketplaces, wallets, p2p lending systems, DEX and much more. Moreover, offering a bundle of new-age resources such as SDKs, frameworks, developer tools and necessary documentation, it has become one of the favorite networks for developers to build useful applications.


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