Want to build lightning fast dApps, but struggling with Ethereum’s high fees and congestion? There’s a better way – harness the speed of Solana for your next smart contract project.

With transaction speeds up to 50,000 TPS and low fees, Solana provides the ideal blockchain for scalable dApp development. But writing smart contracts on this new network can seem daunting, especially if you’re used to Solidity.

Solana has has some crazy growth over the past few years. In fact, the total value locked in Solana DeFi grew from $1 million in January 2021 to over $7 billion by November 2021, enabled by the rapid growth of Solana smart contracts.

In this step-by-step guide, you’ll learn how to write your first Solana smart contract in Rust from start to finish. We’ll cover installing the tools, coding the contract logic, deploying to devnet, and calling the contract from a test app. By the end, you’ll have the hands-on experience needed to build sophisticated dApps on the Solana blockchain.

So if you’re ready to take advantage of Solana’s raw speed, join us and start writing lightning fast smart contracts today!

Solana Smart Contract - cryptosuss.com

TLDR; How to Write a Solana Smart Contract

  • Solana offers high speed and scalability advantages for dApps vs Ethereum
  • Smart contracts on Solana use Rust and separate on-chain logic from off-chain state
  • Install Rust language and Solana CLI developer tools
  • Write a simple “Hello World” smart contract in Rust
  • Compile and deploy the contract to the Solana devnet
  • Clone a Solana boilerplate app and configure contract ID
  • Add Moralis API key to enable Web3 functionality
  • Click “Run Program” button to trigger calling the deployed contract
  • Sign transaction with Solana wallet to execute the contract
  • See the “Hello World” response proving the contract has been executed


What is a Solana Smart Contract?

To understand Solana smart contracts, it helps to first have a basic grasp of the Solana blockchain itself. Solana is a high-performance, open source blockchain network that was designed with a central focus on scalability and speed.

The network uses innovative methods like proof-of-history and proof-of-stake consensus to achieve much higher transaction speeds compared to networks like Ethereum. Solana claims it can handle up to 50,000 transactions per second, with 400ms block times and low fees. The native cryptocurrency of the network is SOL.

With this powerful underlying blockchain infrastructure, Solana aims to support the rapid development of decentralized applications, or dApps. This is where smart contracts come into play.

Smart contracts are simply programs deployed on the blockchain that execute automatically when predefined conditions are met. For example, a smart contract could automate the transfer of SOL tokens between addresses when payment is received. The key is that the logic executes autonomously, without intermediaries.

On Solana, developers can write smart contracts using the Rust programming language. These Solana smart contracts are deployed and run on the Solana blockchain, inheriting the benefits of speed, scalability, and low costs.

So in summary, a Solana smart contract is a program written in Rust and deployed to the Solana network, enabling developers to create decentralized applications with high performance. The contracts execute deterministically based on programmed logic.


Solana vs Other Smart Contracts

Solana Smart Contract 2 - cryptosuss.com

There are a few key differences between Solana smart contracts and smart contracts on platforms like Ethereum.

Firstly, the architecture separates contract logic from contract state. The logic, written in Rust, is deployed on-chain. The contract state lives off-chain in user accounts, avoiding blockchain bloat.

Secondly, Solana smart contracts emphasize speed and scalability. Solana claims throughput of 50,000 TPS, compared to 15 TPS on Ethereum. This drastic difference enables entirely new dApp scenarios that can’t be supported by Ethereum today.

Finally, Rust is the primary language used for Solana smart contracts, rather than Solidity on Ethereum. Rust is blazingly fast and highly secure, making it well-suited for blockchain applications. But it has a learning curve for those used to Solidity.

These architectural differences allow Solana smart contracts to maximize performance. The tradeoff is some additional complexity in managing on-chain logic separate from off-chain state.

However, for developers wanting to build high-throughput applications that can process tens of thousands of transactions per second, Solana’s strengths make it a compelling smart contract platform. By embracing Solana’s unique approach, you can create dApps that would be impossible on congested networks.

So in summary, Solana smart contract development requires adjusting to the architectural changes, but in return you gain an immensely scalable platform for executing complex dApp logic at lightning speeds.


Writing a Solana Smart Contract

Solana Smart Contract 5 - cryptosuss.com

Writing a complete Solana smart contract involves three main steps – installing the necessary tools, coding and deploying the contract, and creating a simple testing application to call it:

Installing Rust and Solana CLI – Rust is the main language for writing Solana contracts. And the Solana CLI allows you to interact with the network.

Creating and Deploying Smart Contract – This involves coding contract logic in Rust, compiling it, and deploying it to the Solana devnet for testing.

Calling Smart Contract from Testing App – You can call the deployed contract from a basic Solana app using boilerplate code and a Web3 wallet.

For the testing application, we can leverage a Solana boilerplate app from Moralis that includes Solana/Web3 integration out of the box. After cloning the boilerplate, we just need to add our contract’s program ID and a Moralis API key.

Then after launching the app, clicking a “Run Program” button triggers the Web3 wallet to sign a transaction interacting with the deployed smart contract. So in just a few minutes, we can go from writing a Solana smart contract to calling it live from a dApp front end.


Installing Rust and Solana CLI

Before we can develop and deploy Solana smart contracts, we need to install two essential tools – the Rust language and Solana command line interface (CLI):

  1. Rust Installation – We can install the latest version of Rust by running a quick terminal command to download and run the Rust installer script. This will download and configure the Rust compiler and package manager.
  2. Installing Solana CLI – Similar to Rust, we run a one-line terminal command to install the Solana CLI and get access to the solana command for interacting with Solana networks.
  3. Generate Solana Wallet – The Solana CLI allows us to generate a new local Solana keypair that will act as our wallet when deploying and testing contracts. We run solana-keygen to create public/private keypair files.
  4. Airdrop Test SOL – On the Solana devnet, we can airdrop some free SOL tokens to our wallet’s public key to pay for deployments and transactions. The solana airdrop command transfers test SOL.

With Rust and Solana CLI set up locally, and a funded wallet on devnet, our environment is ready for us to start writing Solana smart contracts next.

Setup Summary

In just a few quick steps, we installed the essential tools:

  • Rust programming language
  • Solana CLI for interacting with the network
  • Local Solana wallet keypair for deploying/testing
  • Test SOL tokens airdropped to our wallet

Our development environment is now ready for coding Solana smart contracts. Next we’ll cover creating and deploying a simple Solana contract!


Creating and Deploying Smart Contract

Solana Smart Contract 3 - cryptosuss.com

With Rust and Solana set up, we can start coding our smart contract:

Create Rust Project – We use the cargo init command to generate a new Rust library project containing the basic folder structure and config files.

Write Contract in Rust – Within the src folder, we code the smart contract logic in Rust. This includes importing Solana packages, defining the instruction handler, and logging a “Hello World” message.

Import Solana Program – To access Solana-specific libraries, we import the solana-program package via Cargo into our project.

Define Entrypoint – We define the entrypoint that will be triggered when the program is called, pointing to the process_instruction handler function.

Log “Hello World” – The process_instruction function contains the logic to log our “Hello World” message when the contract is executed.

Build and Deploy – With cargo build-bpf we can compile the contract into a .so shared object file. Then solana program deploy deploys it to devnet.

By following these steps, we can go from initializing a new Rust project to deploying a simple Solana smart contract on the devnet for testing in a short amount of time.


Deploying the Contract

A few key steps are involved in deploying the Solana smart contract we coded in Rust:

We use the Solana CLI’s build-bpf command to compile our Rust contract code into a .so shared object file. This builds it into a format deployable on Solana.

The solana program deploy command is then used to deploy the compiled contract .so file to the devnet. This uploads and deploys the program to the test Solana blockchain.

The deploy command will log and return the unique program ID for our deployed smart contract on devnet. We’ll need this ID later in order to call the contract from our testing app.

At this point, our simple Solana smart contract is deployed and running on the devnet. We can now interact with it by calling the entrypoint from a client application.

So in just a few commands, we went from coding our contract to having it live on the Solana test network, ready for integration.


Calling the Smart Contract

To test our deployed Solana smart contract, we need a simple client application that can call the contract and trigger execution:

Clone Boilerplate – We clone a Solana boilerplate app from GitHub that already has Solana/Web3 functionality set up, including wallet connectivity.

Add Moralis API Key – The app uses Moralis APIs under the hood, so we add our API key to the environment config.

Configure Contract ID – Next we configure the deployed contract’s program ID so the app knows which contract to call.

Launch and Test – We can now launch the React app and click the “Run Program” button which will trigger the contract call!

After signing the transaction with our Solana wallet, we should see the “Hello World” log returned, verifying that our program executed successfully.

By repurposing this boilerplate app, we saved significant development time and could focus on just customizing the contract interaction logic. The end result is a working dApp for testing our smart contract.


Wrapping Up: How to Write a Solana Smart Contract

Solana Smart Contract 4 - cryptosuss.com

This step-by-step guide walked you through the full process of writing your first Solana smart contract. We covered setting up the Rust and Solana tools, coding contract logic, deploying to the devnet, and calling the contract from a simple dApp.

With the hands-on experience from this tutorial, you now have the foundation needed to start building sophisticated decentralized apps powered by Solana’s speed. The possibilities are endless when you can execute complex smart contract applications at a rate of 50,000 TPS!

Solana provides a compelling new platform for the next generation of lightning fast dApps and tokenized systems. By embracing capabilities like Rust, rapid scaling, and unique architecture, you can stay ahead of the innovation curve. Write your first Solana smart contract today and see what you can create with this high-performance blockchain!

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