- Web3 venture studio SuperLayer will use Solana to launch projects that tap into the RLY Network.
- SuperLayer’s co-founders created social token platform Rally.io and the RLY Network protocol behind it.
Rally.io is a leading Ethereum-based platform for creators to launch their own social tokens, which lets social media personalities, bands, esports teams, and more engage with and monetize their respective communities. But the co-founders behind the overall RLY Network protocol have even wider aims—and those ambitions will unfold on Solana, an Ethereum competitor, as well.
Today, SuperLayer—the Web3 venture studio from Rally co-founders Kevin Chou and Mahesh Vellanki—announced that it will work with startups to launch tokenized consumer products via the RLY Network on Solana. The move comes after the RLY Network Association launched a RLY token on Solana, enabling cross-chain liquidity and functionality for the protocol.
Rally.io, which plays host to hundreds of different creator tokens, will remain on its existing Ethereum sidechain for now, although Vellanki told Decrypt that it too could expand to Solana. The platform is "very, very interested in the Solana ecosystem, as well,” he said.
What SuperLayer will focus on now, however, are larger-scale use cases targeted at reaching millions of users, via ecosystems with potentially millions of tokens. Vellanki pointed to things like play-to-earn games, community-focused engage-to-earn products, and tokenized social networks designed for larger, mainstream audiences.
“Creating those types of experiences is very challenging on a blockchain like Ethereum, due to scalability issues,” he said. “We were much more interested in Solana. They’re doing some really great stuff over there, and the ecosystem is really, really compelling. We’ve been eyeing a very big move over to Solana for a while now.”
Solana picked up significant steam in the back half of 2021, with rising developer interest, DeFi protocol usage, and NFT ecosystem growth spurring a dramatic rise in the value of its SOL cryptocurrency. Billed as an “Ethereum killer,” Solana offers much cheaper and faster transactions, plus a more energy-efficient network model.
Solana’s rise hasn’t come without technical hurdles, however. Last September, the network went down for more than 17 hours after being overwhelmed with transaction demand from bots trying to manipulate a token launch. Just this week, Solana co-founder Anatoly Yakovenko admitted that the “user experience is not what it should be today” following recent spurts of degraded performance, which he chalked up to “growing pains” amid demand.
Even when performance is degraded, however, Solana can handle far more transactions than Ethereum’s mainnet, which processes about 15 transactions per second (TPS). Solana has typically been above 3,000 TPS, but was down to about 800 TPS amid recent network issues.
Ethereum-based decentralized apps and crypto games often must turn to a layer-2 or sidechain solution (like Polygon) to scale to meet demand, thus speeding up transactions and cutting down on costs to users. The RLY Network itself started as an Ethereum sidechain to power Rally.io, but now SuperLayer is shifting its attention primarily to Solana.
Between the expanded throughput and much cheaper fees, Vellanki said that Solana provides a more compelling platform for launching tokenized economies than Ethereum at present. He also praised the tools available for the network, along with the leadership at Solana Labs, which SuperLayer is working with on this initiative.
SuperLayer was launched in October with backing from Andreessen Horowitz’s Marc Andreessen and Chris Dixon, as well as socialite Paris Hilton, rapper Nas, retired NFL star Joe Montana, and more. Vellanki and co-founder Chou—also of crypto game infrastructure startup Forte—sought to take their years of learnings building the RLY Network and condense it.
Token launches are easy, said Vellanki—building a functional tokenized economy is more difficult. Projects need to consider elements like liquidity, tokenomics, on-ramps to and from custodial exchanges, compliance, marketing, and various infrastructure components.
By tapping the existing liquidity and infrastructure of the RLY Network, SuperLayer is working directly with projects with the aim to get them launched within months, rather than years. Vellanki said that SuperLayer is currently investing time and resources into about a dozen projects, with the “majority” set to launch on Solana.
“What we're really trying to do is get the next few hundred million users into crypto through these types of Web3 experiences,” he said.