Solana SPL Token Beginner's Guide
Solana SPL tokens are tokens (also called coins) minted on the Solana blockchain. Solana SPL tokens follow the Solana Program Library (SPL), a collection of on-chain programs that govern how the tokens function. Solana SPL tokens define a common implementation for both Fungible and Non-Fungible tokens (NFTs). Solana SPL is open-source, and the code is available on Github.
Solana SPL tokens are a core component of the Solana blockchain that enables DeFi, NFTs, DAOs, and more. Solana SPL tokens are decentralized, and anyone with a Solana wallet can own and send SPL tokens. No central authority has control over Solana and SPL tokens - once the SPL tokens are created, the records are public and permanent.
Solana SPL tokens are owned by the TokenkegQfeZyiNwAJbNbGKPFXCWuBvf9Ss623VQ5DA program. Solana SPL tokens are similar to Ethereum ERC-20 tokens, because they follow a standardized convention to transfer, receive, mint, and burn tokens.
Solana wallets that hold Solana SPL tokens use Associated Token Account addresses to hold SPL tokens for a given Solana account. A different ATA address is generated for each unique Solana SPL token. The concept of ATA addresses might be confusing for beginners - a good analogy for ATA addresses is a post office with many post office boxes. When you take ownership of a Solana SPL token, you are given a post office box (ATA address) for that specific token. The post office box holds your tokens, and you can send and receive that Solana SPL token using the post office box. Associated Token Accounts are assigned the ATokenGPvbdGVxr1b2hvZbsiqW5xWH25efTNsLJA8knL program as the owner.
Solana SOL is not a SPL token. Solana SOL is the native currency of Solana, and it is not the same as a SPL token. Solana SOL is used to pay network fees, and it is used for native SOL staking with validators.
Most Solana SPL tokens use on-chain and off-chain metadata to display the token name, symbol, image, and other important information. Solana SPL token metadata were sourced from the Solana Token List through mid-2022. The Solana Token List grew rapidly to over 9,000 tokens and 3mb in size. The list was deprecated in mid-2022, and now new Solana SPL tokens must use Metaplex token metadata (similar to most Solana NFT metadata).
Solana SPL tokens have many uses - from NFTs such as Degen Ape Academy and DeGods, to stablecoins such as USDC. Solana SPL tokens can be created and used for multiple purposes. All Solana SPL tokens are created by a mint authority who sets the number of decimals and SPL token supply when the SPL token is recorded on the blockchain. The SPL token creator can choose to fix the supply at a set number, or preserve the option to change the supply in the future.
All SPL tokens are assigned various authorities who can control different aspects of the SPL token configuration:
The mint can be removed (or set to null), which is permanent and ensures that no new supply of the SPL token is issued.
An example of the USDC Solana SPL token on Solscan.io is above. The SPL token has 6 decimals, the mint authority is 2wmVCSfPxGPjrnMMn7rchp4uaeoTqN39mXFC2zhPdri9, and it has a current supply of about 5 billion tokens.
Solana is very cheap to use. While the low cost is great for users, it also means that spam Solana NFTs can make their way to your wallet too. Spam NFTs are similar to spam email - spammers send unsolicited materials to you. You can get rid of spam NFTs by burning (also known as deleting) spam NFTs using Avana Wallet. You can also send spam NFTs to burn.sol (wallet must be be able to map .sol domains).
Burning SPL tokens is performant and irreversible. Always verify before burning SPL tokens and NFTs.
Avana Wallet enables its users to swap SPL tokens in-app with Jupiter Aggregator. Jupiter aggregates SPL token liquidity from the largest Solana decentralized exchanges (dex) so users get the best price possible. Sometimes a trade may have multiple SPL token "hops" to complete. For example, a user swapping DUST to USDC (both SPL tokens) may first trade DUST to USDT, then UDST to USDC.
Creating a Solana SPL token is very easy using the Solana CLI. You can follow these steps to create a Solana SPL token:
DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations) allow members to participate in the governance of an organization, community, protocol, or product. Most DAOs require ownership of a DAO SPL token to vote on or create proposals. For example, Mango DAO members can submit and vote on proposals using Realms.
All Solana SPL tokens are supported by Avana Wallet. When you receive a new Solana SPL token, Avana Wallet fetches the on-chain and off-chain metadata for the SPL token. Avana Wallet supports most older SPL tokens that used the Solana Token List (token images, symbols, and names are pre-populated).
Many tokens are wrapped, which means they are derivatives of another token. Wrapped SOL is a SPL token form of the native Solana SOL. Wrapped SOL is nearly identical to Solana SOL, but wrapped SOL conforms with SPL token standards. Wrapped SOL's mint address is So11111111111111111111111111111111111111112. Wrapped SOL can be easily converted to and from native Solana SOL.
Many swap transactions require using wrapped SOL. Jupiter Aggregator automatically wraps and unwraps SOL when you swap SPL tokens. Sometimes one or more transactions may fail when swapping SPL tokens - as a result, you might end up with wrapped SOL. Avana Wallet enables you to unwrap SOL with a single click in-app.
Other forms of wrapped SPL tokens are derivatives of tokens on other blockchains. For example, wrapped Bitcoin and wrapped Ethereum. Wrapped Bitcoin and wrapped Ethereum are Solana SPL tokens issued and traded on Solana that represent ownership of actual Bitcoin or Ethereum on another blockchain. Typically the issuer of the SPL token owns the other currency on another blockchain, and then issues fractional ownership on Solana in the form of an SPL token.
It is important to check and verify the SPL token issuer - only trade and transact with SPL token issuers that have good reputations and can provide proof of ownership of the underlying asset on the other blockchain. It is possible for a scam token to exist that claims to have ownership of Bitcoin or another asset without actually owning the asset. Reputable SPL token issuers include Wormhole, Portal, and Sollet.
Some coins may have multiple SPL tokens for the same underlying asset. For example, two popular Solana SPL tokens for Ethereum Ether include Wormhole Wrapped Ether (7vfCXTUXx5WJV5JADk17DUJ4ksgau7utNKj4b963voxs) and Sollet Wrapped Ether (2FPyTwcZLUg1MDrwsyoP4D6s1tM7hAkHYRjkNb5w6Pxk). Both represent the same underlying Ether asset, but the Solana SPL token mints are different. The issuers of the SPL tokens are different entities (Wormhole and Sollet), so the mint addresses are different.
Below is a list of popular Solana SPL tokens:
The Solana Token 2022 Program is a new superset of the functionality provided by the SPL Token Program, deployed to all networks. The Solana Token 2022 Program address is TokenzQdBNbLqP5VEhdkAS6EPFLC1PHnBqCXEpPxuEb. Solana Token 2022 supports the exact same instruction layouts as Token, byte for byte.
The format and interface for interacting with Token 2022 is the exact same, all you need to do is change the Program address. All new instructions in Token-2022 start where Token stops. Token has 25 unique instructions, with indices 0 through 24. Token-2022 supports all of these instructions, and then adds new functionality at index 25.
New features of Token 2022 include:
The source code for Token 2022 is available on Github.
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