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Advancing open source on Solana: Magic Eden’s co-founder tackles challenges & tooling improvements



Explore Solana's ecosystem and open-source collaboration. Gain insights into web3 decentralization, standardization, and regulation.

Web3 thrives on open source principles, promoting collaboration, transparency, and trust. It’s all about decentralization, standardization, and regulation, addressing socio-political matters.

During the Breakpoint 2023 event, the co-founder of Magic Eden, Rex Zhou, highlighted the need for a more open ecosystem within the blockchain. He strongly believes that nurturing openness within Solana will not only fuel innovation in the protocol but also invigorate the entire industry.

When reminiscing about his initial steps into the Solana ecosystem, Rex encountered a noteworthy hurdle—navigating the intricacies of Solana programming, especially when it came to constructing an NFT marketplace.

Feeling lost in a “dark forest” of unfamiliar concepts like token accounts and processing instructions, he found a beacon of light in someone named Paul. Paul’s ability to simplify intricate ideas into understandable nuggets of information proved invaluable. 

Rex expressed gratitude for Paul’s blog, which featured an open-source implementation of a basic Ascol program. This resource served as the foundation for creating the first smart contract for the Magic Eden NFT Marketplace.

Solana Program Library

Speaking further, Rex goes on to spotlight the significance of the Solana Program Library (SPL) in understanding the intricacies of tokens. He applauds the open-source nature of SPL, providing developers with a reliable and transparent library for building on Solana. 

SPL, or Standard Programmable Libraries, is a token standard for creating and managing non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on the Solana blockchain. It is designed to be extensible and interoperable, allowing developers to create a wide range of NFT types, including in-app items, digital art, and collectibles.

The SPL standard is maintained by the Solana ecosystem and provides a set of tools and APIs for creating, transferring, and managing NFTs on the Solana blockchain.

Rex mentions how SPL’s similarity to standard libraries in other chains distinguishes Solana’s open-source landscape.

Metaplex, programmable NFTs, and Anchor

The presentation gives a nod to Metaplex, an open-source project that Rex considers a miracle for quickly gaining adoption in the Solana ecosystem. He praised the collaboration within the community and the benefits of accessing features before their public release. 

Rex stressed the essence of the web3 ethos—open source collaboration for advancing technology, after which he also expressed gratitude to Amani, the creator of Anchor, comparing it to the solidity of Solana. 

He commended Anchor for providing a framework that simplifies the writing of Solana programs, making them more understandable and secure. Rex encourages developers to embrace and learn from Anchor’s security practices.

Challenges in Open Source adoption

Acknowledging the growing demand for open-source programs on Solana, Rex confronted the challenges, including the need for improved tooling. He critiqued current explorers for not adequately rendering source code and called for better tools to verify executable data accounts and security audit reports within the explorer interface.

Comparing Open Source figures, Rex went on to present a statistical comparison between Solana and Ethereum in terms of open source projects. He noted the need for a cultural movement toward openness and suggested that tooling improvements could be the first step in this direction.

Magic Eden’s approach

Rex also shared the journey of establishing Magic OSS, a GitHub repository by Magic Eden, focused on collaborative innovation through open-source projects. This culture of open collaboration is seen as fundamental to advancing the protocols in line with the vision of an open-source future. 

He noted that since its inception, Magic OSS has open-sourced 14 projects, including the M2 Marketplace contract and the Mmm protocol on Solana. The speaker emphasized their multi-chain approach, with open sourcing extending to EVM contracts and Bitcoin-related trading libraries, like MSER. 

He also highlighted the transparency and trust brought to customers by enabling them to inspect and understand the code they are signing for.

The M2 Marketplace contract, a central part of Magic Eden, has garnered popularity with 87 million successful transactions monthly, outpacing competitors by 20 times. 

The speaker stressed the achievement of 35 TPS (transactions per second), surpassing the combined transactions of the top four EVMs, making Magic Eden a significant player in the open protocol space. 

Rex concluded by encouraging others to embrace the open-source wave, inviting collaboration, and expressing a belief in the power of giving back to the community.

Read also; Coinbase Engineer introduces personal Open-Source project to transform Metadata in Web3


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