CoinDesk's "Real World," segment takes a closer look at real people using digital money and crypto products.
On this segment called Real World. We take a look at real people who are using digital money and crypto products because believe it or not, those people are out there today. We are talking all about the Solana phone 2024 has seen a lot of buzz around Solana its first mobile phone saga and the upcoming Salana Saga two. So what's all the hype about? We tracked down our next guest who is one of the many folks who bagged a Salana Saga and is on the list to receive the Saga two joining us now to discuss is Nick Dimonte with Discover Crypto. Hey, Nick. Hey, good morning. All right, let's talk all about this Solana phone. I have never put my hands on one. So let's just start with the ex with why, why did you get the Solana phone? Yeah, so the phone for me was, you know, I in my job, I use a lot of the tech, a lot of hardware wallets, a lot of software wallets. Um But it was just like, it's crazy to see a crypto project go all in on a cons like a very consumer facing product. And I, I had been kind of like flooding Solana for a while because they're kind of like the brunt of a lot of jokes last year with all their downtime and whatnot. But they did the community just kept on roaring back. And I'm like, OK, you ever, I need to check my pride here for a second and like, do a little buy in. And then when I saw that the, they came preloaded with uh the Bonk meme coin which essentially paid for the phone. I was like, ok, fine. So you were one of the DJ S who went out and got the phone because of the bunk airdrop. So I'm assuming that was late last year. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, I got the bunk and then li the, the thing just like prints money, I just get airdrops all the time. I did the Jupiter airdrop through it. Um It's, it's been a very interesting experience so far with, with the saga. I, I've been on my own saga as it were. Are you able to tell us how much money worth of meme tokens you've received? Because you've owned the saga, like in dollar terms? Yeah, I mean, literally dozens of dollars. Uh besides the bon uh the bon was definitely the biggest one. There is an interesting one. non meme Token. Um I signed up for the Helium mobile phone service and you get paid in um Mobile Token as you help geo ma the Helium Network. So that's actually been quite profitable. That's really interesting when the phone launched. Uh, I used to co-host on a show called The Hash Rest In Peace. That shows no longer on Coin Desk. But I, I thought, you know, who's going to go out and get this phone. It sounds like if you get the Solana Saga, you're going to need to have your other phone that you do. You know your web two apps and your phone calling on. Did you find that is Solana your primary phone? So it could be, I bought this one as more of just a device to have. I, I, I'm, I'm not much of like a cell phone snob or power user. Like it's, it is what it is. I'm not precious with my technology, but I use this as more of a business phone. Uh and like a definitely a pure D gen phone because that's part of the, the, the difference of this phone is, it makes the crypto experience so much, so much more seamless than just on a regular phone. And what kind of dps are you using on the phone? All of them? Um Mostly uh the Salana dps that are on the Saga. There's, they have their own depth store. Um And the Phantom wallet is fantastic. That's the wall that they want you to use when you set it up. Uh You can use whatever wallet you want. But um your seed phrase and everything is tied to your fingerprint. So you're able to just like, fly around the different daps and while it's kind of at will, whereas on like an iphone or regular Android, it definitely like some swiping back and forth, some two fa some blah, blah, blah, all your two fa and everything is handled within the phone hardware itself. So it's extremely seamless to actually like do crypto, you sound like a little bit of a salon ad gen and I won't hold that against you. But do you have any friends who are normies who don't operate in the web three ecosystem who have tried to use the phone or if you put yourself in their shoes, would it be as easy to use as you're explaining it to me now? So as far as it being an Android phone, which it is, it's, I would say it's like it's a mid tier Android phone. You could buy it and never use any of the crypto stuff and it would be a perfectly functional Android phone. It does give you that gateway to having just a better crypto experience than a again, like on an iphone where you're kind of in this like two factor authentication, hellscape swiping back and forth between apps. So if, if you talk to someone, if you hand them a saga and it's, it's a norm like they, they don't even know what a seed phrase is, right? And you say, hey, here's my Phantom all and you just tap the back with the fingerprint thing and the Phantom all loads up. That's so crazy. Like, oh, you've got 350 quadrillion bonk token or whatever. Like people love to see that kind of stuff. So it really kind of like lowers the threshold that lowers the barrier of entry for a normie to get on board. You are now getting the Solana Saga two when that's released, what was your motivator that? And what was your motivator there? It sounds like this. A lot of Saga is doing just fine. The Saga is fine. I I'm, I've kind of been big into the tech side, the hardware side of crypto. That's how I got into crypto via mining. So I also was seeing just how the Solana ecosystem is progressing, how like defiling on radium and Jupiter is just absolutely going bonkers right now. And I know for a fact that the Solana breakpoint conference is lit. So they're teasing special access for Saga holders if you go to breakpoint. And so I wanted to be a part of the inside group. OK. I'm not, I, I'm not a bag holder of anything NFT worthy. I don't get to go to all the cool board ape events or whatever. You know, I'm pretty much like, you know, a crab when it comes to this market. I'm not a shrimp, but I'm crab, but for just a couple of 100 bucks, I could get the saga to kind of really go all in on an ecosystem and, and feel what it's like. All right. Now, given your experience with the Salana Saga and your experience with just, you know, everyday, um, Android or Apple phones, do you think that a Web three phone could outperform the phones that we use today sometime in the future? Absolutely. There's, um, gadget fatigue amongst most cell phone users, there's less and less impetus to get the one with, you know, like the 19 different lenses on it or something like that or the whatever battery life or they're removing the headphone jack or whatever. So people were just kind of over it right now. There needs to be a new use case, something clever, something interesting, something innovative. And I think the saga for all of its foibles, the saga kind of keys in on that I could really see just because of the, the, the deep in infrastructure that's baked into this with hive mapper. You got the healing with the, with the mobile token, you get the access token, all that kind of deep in stuff. It would make you if you're like an Uber driver or part of the gig economy, you have just like maximized your earnings potential because you're constantly moving. So they definitely reward the more investment just your time and your actual physical movements into the salon of ecosystem because they are very are much like the be all be everywhere, very consumer facing Blockchain. And so if more blockchains, more crypto projects can be more consumer facing. Intentionally not just saying we're consumer facing, but intentionally show people, hey, here's how you can improve your life with our service. Then I think there's gonna be a definite uh sea change in the just the mobile space. Nick, you've said a lot of great things about the phone. but is there any room for improvement? What are those foibles or those finicky things that are going on with the phone? Is there anything that you wish you could change? I'd say on the hardware side, the speakers are awful. Um That's about it. Really like, it's, it's, it's a really good size. I, I'll show it off right here. It's a really good size. Um, the buttons are, are, are well laid out. Um, it's made out of metal. So it's, it's pretty hardy as far as the phone goes, it feels good in the hand. Um The, the, the software still needs help. It's still very much just an Android with some crypto apps. It needs to be more crypto forward. In my opinion. There are, there's a lot of clean up that just in general has to happen in the crypto space specifically with the Phantom wallet. Like you get a bunch of scam tokens that just like are airdropped to you that you're not wanting in any way. And so if you're a normie, you're just gonna see, like, literally, I'll wake up and there will be a dozen at the bottom of my phantom wallet of like, whatever, whatever coin. And if you're for me, I know like, ok, just remove them. If you're a normie, you're not gonna know that you're gonna be like, wow, I hit it big so that, uh, kind of front end stuff really needs to be cleaned up. and that's not just, that's not a dig against Alana. That's like all of crypto, all of web three. Nick. Thanks so much for joining the show and sharing your experience with the Salana Saga. When you get the Salana Saga too, we, we got to know how it is. We got to get you back on Real World so you can show it off. Absolutely. Thanks so much, Jen.