Solana Mobile Stack (SMS) Insights w/ Steven

Solana Mobile Stack (SMS) Insights w/ Steven

Solana Mobile Stack (SMS) Insights w/ Steven

Exodus attended a Solana Hacker House recently in Stockholm, and talked with Steven Laver, the mobile engineering lead at Solana Labs. He’s at the forefront of Solana’s mobile initiative, which includes the Solana Mobile Stack and the Saga phone.

Read on to learn more about the inner workings of the Solana Mobile Stack and the future of mobile crypto.

Solana Mobile Stack w/ Steven

Steven: SMS is our dev-focused marketing term for a collection of technologies to unlock the Solana ecosystem on phones. It’s a vehicle by which we can deliver mobile-focused technologies on devices like Saga.

Saga is our stake in the ground to have a strong opinion on how the Solana network should be used on mobile devices.

Whereas, SMS is specific technologies that can be leveraged for mobile. The two examples I like to give for that are our Seed Vault and Mobile Wallet Adapter.

Seed Vault is a wallet-focused technology and all about key custody. It’s a physical secure environment built into the phone that keeps private keys separated from the application layer.

I asked myself, what is a wallet? It’s key custody, signing services, trust and safety, right? Users need to know what they’re signing, not just how to sign it.

Ash: Yea, and that’s a big thing.

Steven: It’s a huge thing. With Seed Vault, we’re trying to unbundle one particular aspect of that: the key custody, which is the most dangerous thing.

Ledger is at the top when it comes to security, and pure software custody is at the bottom and at the mercy of the phone’s operating system. We want to land somewhere in between, as close to the dedicated hardware solution as possible on a non-air-gapped device.

It means that hot wallets that are well-enough funded to manage day-to-day activities, which you would normally have on your desktop through a browser extension, all of a sudden can be used on the go safely.

Ash: So you can have a combo of cold storage and then a more secure hot wallet than is available right now?

Steven: Yea, and what I hope is a way more secure hot wallet.

Ash: For sure.

Steven: You unlock use cases on the go that people may not have been comfortable with previously, like NFT mints for high-value NFTs, payments, micro-transactions, etc.

Mobile Wallet Adapter, on the other hand, is a technology that’ll be broadly applied across Android. Just like wallet adapters on the web connect your wallet browser extension to a dApp, Mobile Wallet Adapter does the same, just for mobile devices.

Ash: How is that different from a wallet app, like MetaMask, if you’re on Android or iOS?

Steven: The composability aspect. We’re not trying to build an in-app browser into wallet apps. Instead, we want to go where the dApps are.

All dApps should be able to talk directly to the wallet on your phone, and eventually, even use Bluetooth, NFC, or QR-codes to connect your wallet to another nearby system.

A DEX with a candlestick UI is really hard to translate to a phone display, but if you have one wallet using Seed Vault, it doesn’t matter. You can switch over to your desktop to use the DEX but still use your phone to authorize transactions.

We want Seed Vault to deliver a safe signing experience wherever your dApp is. What most excites me is making the mobile screen not the only screen, but the first screen.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t use my desktop for most activities anymore. I want crypto to get to the same place. And frankly, it’s not right now.

Ash: No, it’s really not. It’s impossible to use crypto on the phone, it’s just a horrible experience.

Steven: Yea, so we’re building SMS to change that, and Saga is the vehicle to deliver it to consumers.

There’s the dApp store as well, which is all about policies and working around some of the existing restrictions that the big players in the ecosystem put out there.

Ash: Will you oversee the dApps on the store?

Steven: Initially, yes. It’s going to be curated by Solana Labs. Ultimately, we do have a goal to involve the community in some of these curation decisions, but it’s a hard thing to do.

Curating a dApp store is a substantial commitment and involves difficult decisions around how permissionless you can be, where does it intersect with regulation, how does it change with geography, is there a line to draw on objectionable content, etc.

It’s not going to be easy, but it’s about having a place to deliver dApps that don’t necessarily comply with the policies of the general App Store.

Ash: Sure. So you said the Seed Vault is only available on the Saga for now, but do you have any plans to make the tech available for other manufacturers?

Steven: Initially, only available on the Saga.

Ash: Okay.

Steven: SoC manufacturers will typically insist on keeping anything that links to their secure environment as closed source as possible.

Phone manufacturers would need to sign license agreements to get access to their source code, and then there’s also custom hardware involved.

It requires custom display drivers, custom touch input drivers, etc. So while I do want Seed Vault everywhere, it’s not an invention, but an engineering integration for sure.

Us doing Saga, it’s partly to demonstrate the value of this to consumers so they can demand it from other phone manufacturers as well.

Ash: I imagine it will only be available for Solana first, but do you have any plans to support other chains in the future?

Steven: We’ve designed all these protocols and technologies to be fairly chain-agnostic. There’s obviously specifics that need to be addressed for every chain.

We’re Solana maxis, but we wouldn’t rule out anything for the future. A rising tide lifts all ships. So if crypto succeeds, Solana succeeds.

Ash: That’s a good way of looking at it!

Steven: We already have an SDK and simulator for development so developers can preview having key custody inside Seed Vault rather than a software component they developed themselves.

There’s going to be many dApps on the platform and a far smaller number of wallets. But wallets are the linchpin that’s going to unlock mobile.

I can create enabling technologies. I need the help of the wallets to deliver it.

Ash: That’s why we’re here! I’ll pass it on to the team so they can start taking a look at it.

Steven: That’s music to my ears.

Ash: All right, it was nice to meet you. Thank you for your time.

Steven: Thank you!

Get started with Solana Mobile Stack

On the Solana Mobile website, you can join their Discord, check out the Saga phone, find the SDK, and stay up to date with the latest developments on Solana’s mobile initiative.

Get ready for the Saga phone by downloading Exodus Web3 Wallet today and setting up your own Solana address.

The Exodus Web3 wallet enables you to connect to applications on multiple chains - Ethereum, Solana, Algorand, with more to be added soon - from the safety of your Exodus non-custodial wallet.

This content is for informational purposes only and is not investment advice. You should consult a qualified licensed advisor before engaging in any transaction.

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