The Solana Foundation is set to double down on efforts to attract developers and startups to its ecosystem by handing over the management of hackathons and an accelerator program to an online platform called Colosseum.
The organization will run two to three annual online hackathons for the Solana Foundation and the Colosseum Accelerator, a five-week program for hackathon winners to be fast-tracked into the Solana ecosystem. Projects accepted into the accelerator program will also receive a pre-seed $250,000 investment from Colosseum.
Colosseum co-founder Matty Taylor, who spearheaded the Solana Foundation’s hackathons as its former head of growth, tells Cointelegraph that the ecosystem has made significant strides in making its technology stack more developer-friendly since Solana’s inception.
“It wasn’t initially, hence the community meme of “chewing glass.” However, over the past two years, the amount of documentation, developer tooling, and abstraction of complexity has made it much easier to deploy an app on Solana, even over a 5-6 week hackathon like Colosseum,” Taylor explains.
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Teams participating in the accelerator program will also receive ongoing developer support and benefit from mentorship, educational content and a customer base within the Solana ecosystem. The Colosseum accelerator program culminates in a demo day where founders will pitch to venture funds for further investment and support.
Taylor confirmed that Colosseum’s non-dilutive prize pool will be roughly $600,000 for winners of the hackathons. Meanwhile, winning founding teams from the hackathon accepted into the accelerator program receive a further $250,000 seed investment.
Solana’s hackathons have attracted over 60,000 participants to the eight programs that have run since 2020. Hackathon participants have reportedly launched 4,000 products and raised over $600 million in venture funding.
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As Cointelegraph recently reported, the Solana ecosystem estimates that it maintained around 2,500 to 3,000 monthly developers through 2023. Ethereum’s total monthly active developer count was estimated at 5,769 on Oct. 1, 2023, according to data from Electric Capital.
3/ Developer retention has risen over 2023 and is now over 50%, showing the commitment of new developers building on Solana.— Solana (@solana) January 8, 2024
Developers building on Solana now more likely to still be in the ecosystem, making it easier to onboard larger amounts of developers in the future. pic.twitter.com/5nWtG7YZtO
Taylor also clarified that the numbers highlighted by the foundation are open-source developers tracked on GitHub, which captures a small percentage of all developers in the ecosystem.
“Most developers building on Solana are closed source, for example, all the devs at Phantom, which is a closed source product.”
The Colosseum founder adds that its primary goal is to increase the number of developers and technical founders who can build products that operate on blockchain technology. Colosseum was co-founded by Taylor, Slow Ventures’ former principal Clay Robbins and former Stripe software engineer Nate Levine.
The Solana Foundation recently noted that its developer retention was on an uptrend toward the end of 2023, which coincided with an increase in activity on Solana’s network, as well as a significant increase in the value of Solana’s (SOL) token alongside Bitcoin (BTC).
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