Anatoly Yakovenko talks decentralization, developer community @ UDC 2021 (2024)

Solana Labs co-founder and CEO Anatoly Yakovenko is tired of the comparisons to Ethereum.

“I hate the Eth-killer thing,” he said during a virtual talk at the 2021 Upbit Developer Conference in Seoul. “I’m an open source developer… The biggest misconception that people have about open source projects is that you can kill them.”

It was just one of many questions Yakovenko answered during his half-hour appearance, where the topics ranged from Solana’s competitive advantage to who Solana Labs views as their competitors in the space.

Here are the highlights.

These quotes have been edited for length and clarity.

How Anatoly thinks of decentralization

Co-founder and CEO Anatoly Yakovenko:“Decentralization is a very multifaceted term. What does that mean to us? Because the use case we mostly care about is on this global network that information gets propagated to everybody at the same time.

“Literally the goal of Solana is to carry transactions as fast as news travels around the world — so speed of light through fiber. Who we’re competing with is NASDAQ and the New York Stock Exchange. So if some important event happens in Seoul that has importance to markets, that newswire needs to propagate to a marketplace in New York, so that trader looking at that Bloomberg terminal is gonna look at it after that speed of light delay. By the time you look at the market, that price should already be reflected on bothSerum(or markets like Serum) and the New York Stock Exchange. For that to happen, information in the network needs to be guaranteed to propagate as fast as possible.

“The only way to do this without centralization is to optimize this thing calledthe Nakamoto coefficient, which is the minimum set of nodes, up to 33%, that can propagate the data around the network, at the same time to all the nodes. That really requires more hardware, more bandwidth… there’s no other way to implement it.

“It’s not even a tradeoff. Either you have this feature, you’re able to propagate information simultaneously around the world and anyone in the world has fair access to marketplaces, or you don’t.”

How Solana and Ethereum can evolve together

Yakovenko:“I hate the Eth-killer thing. I’m an open source developer. I grew up in the time when Linux was fighting Microsoft. The big misconception that people have about open source projects is that it’s possible to kill them. Well, if there are developers that are just having fun working on this thing over the weekend, it’s impossible to kill them! There’s no way to kill Ethereum. That’s basically not something we think about.

“Our goal — and I think we’ve succeeded there — is to make Solana an open source project that people just have fun building on the weekend or in their free time — so also unkillable.”

“The second goal — and really the advantage — of what we’re working on is that we are 100% focused on making sure these order books that are running on Serum can be competitive with not Ethereum, but with the New York Stock Exchange, with NASDAQ, with the biggest retail exchanges with equities. If we can accomplish that, as a decentralized open source project —it’s justa bunch of code at GitHub! — I think that’s a veryinterestingoutcome. It’s worth trying.”

Solana as an operating system

Yakovenko:“Solana is an operating system in the general sense.Neonis an EVM virtual machine — an interpreter of EVM bytecode that runs as a Solana program. It is the same thing as running Java on Windows, on Linux, as a virtual machine. Because Solana is generic enough to be an operating system, you can do things like this. You can run EVMs and other virtual machines.”

Solana’s unique developer community

Yakovenko:“If you really look at other networks that are building competitive platforms, they are designed as a faster version of Ethereum — but not really focused on a differentiated use case that opens up a whole new thing.

“Because central order books and that level of fine print finance was really a core to what we were doing, the kind of developers that we started seeing in the Solana ecosystem specifically were folks that had like, 5+ years working at a Chicago options trading firm in C++. They’re very naturally engineers that can switch to Rust in about a weekend. They already know what they want to build, and the only place they could have built that was on Solana, using Serum, working withJump TradingorAlamedaor a liquidity provider. There was just no other place for them to go.

“We were able to open up that new set of developers to come in and kickstart the ecosystem. That was really the tip of the spear. Once you have a group of people who are coming in, having fun, building products, and launching really quickly, other use cases that you could launch on other chains but also work great on Solana are just gonna hop along and start building as well.

“...A lot of the success there builds a lot of the user-facing tools that people need for everything else. It becomes very easy to adopt to any other application — gaming and NFTs included.”

Anatoly Yakovenko talks decentralization, developer community @ UDC 2021 (2024)


Who is Anatoly Yakovenko founder and CEO of Solana? ›

He has almost two decades of experience building high-performance operating systems, including leading OS development at Qualcomm and holding engineering roles at Dropbox and Mesosphere. Yakovenko has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Who made Solana? ›

Solana was launched in 2020 by Solana Labs, which was founded by Anatoly Yakovenko and Raj Gokal in 2018.

Who is the CEO of Solana Foundation? ›

Anatoly Yakovenko - Solana | LinkedIn.

Which country did Anatoly Yakovenko come from? ›

Anatoly Yakovenko is a co-founder of Solana and the CEO of Solana Labs. I was born under Soviet rule in modern-day Ukraine. We moved to America when I was 11.

How much is Anatoly Yakovenko worth? ›

As of 2023, Anatoly Yakovenko had a net worth of approximately $69 million. However, this has since multiplied, with his net worth now closer to $500 million.

How tall is Anatoly? ›

He's 5'11", so pretty light for his height, especially considering he's ALL muscle.

Did Solana make millionaires? ›

Solana (CRYPTO: SOL) has minted a lot of millionaires since its launch in 2020. The cryptocurrency started trading at $0.95 and hit its all-time high of $260.06 on Nov. 6, 2021 -- which would have turned a $10,000 investment into $2.74 million.

Is Solana a real project? ›

Solana comes in to tackle this drawback with an open-source project that deploys a high-speed, permissionless layer-1 blockchain. It is highly functional and scalable, processing significantly more transactions per second at much lower costs to solve Ethereum's scalability issues.

How does Solana make money? ›

The value of Solana's native SOL cryptocurrency is derived from its utility. SOL can be used to secure the network through staking, either as a validator node or a delegator. This is a profitable choice for SOL holders as stakers receive half of transaction fees and most of the emission of new tokens.

Who is funding Solana? ›

Solana is funded by 48 investors. Cynegetic Investment Management and AngelDAO are the most recent investors.

Who is selling Solana? ›

Where do I buy Solana? You can buy, send, and receive Solana using various crypto exchanges and wallets, including Coinbase and Coinbase Wallet.

What language is Solana written in? ›

Is Solana a good investment? ›

With its high throughput and low transaction costs, Solana provides a compelling platform for NFT activities, positioning it as a strong contender for leading the market in 2024.

What is the old name of Solana? ›

Why did Solana change its name? Originally meant to be called Loom, the protocol changed its name to avoid being confused with an Ethereum-based project launching around the same time.

How many people have Solana? ›

There are currently 9,154,449 wallets that hold Solana (SOL), according to The ownership is highly fragmented, with no single wallet owning a dominant share of the total supply.

Who is the CEO of Solana Ventures? ›

Anatoly Yakovenko - Founder & CEO @ Solana - Crunchbase Person Profile.

What is the career of Anatoly Yakovenko? ›

Anatoly Yakovenko is the CEO and Co-founder of Solana. Prior to Solana, he was the team leader for developing operating systems at Qualcomm, distributed systems at Mesosphere, and compression at Dropbox (service).

Who is the co-founder of Solana Raj? ›

Raj Gokal is the co-founder of Solana and president of Solana Labs. He also serves on the board of the Solana Foundation. He was previously focused on startups in behavioral health.

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