Solana launches the ChatGPT plugin to help users interact with the network
Solana Foundation Launches AI Accelerator Program and Increases Grant Program to $10 Million
As the AI market continues to heat up, a number of crypto players – big and small – are diving in.
The Solana Foundation, the non-profit organization behind the layer-1 blockchain Solana, has officially integrated AI into its network with a ChatGPT plugin developed by Solana Labs, the team exclusively told TechCrunch+. (Solana Labs is the team building products and tools for the blockchain.)
Plug-in, which was teased by Solana Labs at the end of April, will initially be aimed at end users, with a focus on helping them onboard the web3 site. It can be used to buy and list NFTs, transfer tokens, check out transactions, interpret data and find NFT collections by floor price, the Solana Foundation shared.
Solana plugs ChatGPT into an RPC node that will read data from multiple sources on the chain and disseminate that information to inquiring users, said Tal Tchwella, product manager at Solana Labs.
For example, users can ask AI questions about NFT collections, which NFTs they can buy with the SOL tokens they have in their account and so on. “There are many places this could be useful … we hope to see more experimentation from dApps – and that will be the exciting part.”
The ChatGPT plugin will initially focus on NFTs, and given that Solana’s NFT sales in volume were around $58 million in the last 30 days, the subsector is likely a good choice given that it is already widely used by the blockchain and its users.
But there are also initiatives on the developer front to help accelerate the growth of AI in the ecosystem, Tchwella shared.
The ChatGPT integration offers a new way for Solana users and developers to ask questions about the AI service, while “making the experience easier,” Tchwella said. As opposed to reading an 800-page document about a Solana-based project, AI does it for you and can then share answers to people’s questions.
“We believe that the blockchain space is far too technical,” Tchwella said. Bringing the popular ChatGPT service to Solana “provides a new opportunity for people to engage with it and understand what’s really going on.”
In addition to the plug-in, the foundation also announced an AI-focused accelerator program for university-level students in early April and separately expanded its grant program for AI-focused projects building on Solana from 1 million dollars at the end of April to 10 million dollars today. In less than a month, more than 50 grant applications were submitted, and a few companies have already been awarded grants, a spokesperson said.
The grant program is not about coming up with ideas and trying to build them, but showing Solana the proof of concept of what actually works in AI and will make the use of the blockchain easier, Tchwella said.
“We’re just at the beginning of AI integration,” Tchwella said. “That’s the early part of all of this.”