The Solana Foundation launches an AI accelerator program and increases the grant program to $10 million
As the artificial intelligence market continues to heat up, a number of crypto players – big and small – are diving in.
The Solana Foundation, the nonprofit behind the layer-1 blockchain Solana, has officially integrated AI into its network with a ChatGPT plugin developed by Solana Labs, the team told MinRegion+ exclusively. (Solana Labs is the team building products and tools for the blockchain.)
The plugin, that was teased by Solana Labs at the end of April, will initially be aimed at end users, with an emphasis on helping them get into the web3 space. It can be used to buy and list NFTs, transfer tokens, check out transactions, interpret data, and find NFT collections by rock bottom price, Solana Foundation shares.
Solana plugs ChatGPT into an RPC node that reads data from multiple sources in the chain and distributes that information to inquiring users, said Tal Tchwella, lead product at Solana Labs.
For example, users can ask the AI questions about NFT collections, which NFTs they can buy with the SOL tokens they have in their account, and so on. “There are a lot of places where this could be useful…we hope dApps will experiment more – and that’s going to be the exciting part.”
The ChatGPT plugin will initially focus on NFTs and as Solana’s NFT revenue in volume over the past 30 days has been around $58 million, the subsector is likely to be a good choice as it is already heavily used by the blockchain and its users.
But there are also developer initiatives to accelerate the growth of AI within the ecosystem, Tchwella said.
The ChatGPT integration provides a new way for Solana users and developers to ask questions to the AI service while “making the experience simpler,” Tchwella said. Unlike reading an 800-page document on a Solana-based project, the AI does it for you and can then share answers to people’s questions.
“We believe the blockchain space is way too technical,” Tchwella said. Bringing the popular ChatGPT service to Solana “offers another opportunity for people to engage with it and understand what’s really happening.”
In addition to the plug-in, the foundation also announced an AI-focused accelerator program for university students in early April and separately expanded its grant program for AI-focused projects building on Solana from $1 million at the end of April to $10 million today. In less than a month, more than 50 subsidy applications have been submitted and several companies have already been awarded funding, a spokesperson reports.
The grant program is not about coming up with ideas and trying to build them, but to show Solana the proof of concept of what really works in AI and will make using the blockchain easier, Tchwella said.
“We’re just at the beginning of AI integration,” Tchwella said. “It’s the early innings of it all.”