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Announcing the Primitives Protocol

How a robust ecosystem of interoperable social applications will create immense value on Solana
Announcing the Primitives Protocol

Today, we are excited to expand the scope of our mission and announce the Primitives Protocol, a protocol and SDK for developers looking to build consumer crypto applications on Solana. We believe that a robust ecosystem of interoperable social applications will create immense value on Solana. Most importantly, we are excited to leverage our deep background building consumer social products to deliver the best decentralized social user experience the world has ever seen. The right set of delightful social experiences – ones that help people play, make money, and find love – will be the red pill that meaningfully disrupts the web2 oligopoly and brings the next billion users onchain. If you are a developer dreaming up a social product on Solana and would like easier tooling and access to an existing user base, please sign up here to be part of the early test cohort.

When we first launched the Primitives beta web app in Spring 2022, we did so because we believed everyone with internet access would one day own a crypto wallet. The idea that financially aligned communities could spin up around tokens permissionlessly was one of the many Web3 native behaviors too powerful, in our opinion, to ignore. At the same time, we knew that the existing wallet options were too complex, expensive, and skeuomorphic for mainstream adoption.

So, we built the smoothest consumer experience in crypto with the Primitives app. Primitives started as an art-collecting game where, once a user onboards with a phone number, she is assigned a non-custodial wallet, an NFT that acts as her identifier, and she is asked to collect three more NFTs, which begins to add a taste profile to her wallet. This easy onboarding takes the same time and effort as setting up a TikTok profile. Consequently, our primarily non-crypto user base minted over 150,000 pieces of artwork from their camera rolls in just under eighteen months. 

We chose Solana to build this consumer experience because Solana transactions are fast and cheap. We knew a crypto-social future was on the horizon, but out of reach if mainstream users needed to deal with the complexities of seed phrases, bridging, and prohibitive gas fees.

From here, we started ideating how we could enable countless other developers to build on an interoperable social data layer. In other words, we wanted to create the fertile soil in which thousands of flowers can bloom.

Still, building a social experience on any blockchain comes with friction. Transactions need time to settle, and congestion can occur during popular times. It became clear that a “buttery” crypto app meant taming blockchain processes outside of our core app—building infrastructure for our core app became part of our DNA. After publishing this blog post on preemptive minting, many teams on Solana reached out with questions about our infrastructure. 

We began to develop a skeleton for an SDK that would support more social applications on Solana. Our first step was opening our minting factory so that other builders could experience easy minting. Simultaneously, Solana launched Compressed NFTs, a game-changing mechanism for minting NFTs for (practically) free. 

We combined our core Primitives app, a need for better social infrastructure on Solana, and Compressed NFTs to start building an interoperable protocol on Solana where users owned their data onchain and builders could easily spin up apps, games and experiences that these users could plug into. We go into technical detail on the design of that protocol here.

David Gabeau