The Solana Blockchain development team announced the first Web3 mobile phone the "Solana Saga" in the summer of 2022. For a year, sales remained disappointingly low. The recent rise of the Memecoin BONK, some of which was distributed to Saga owners, quickly caused the phones to sell out.
Solana Labs presented the Solana Saga mobile phone for the first time at a conference. With 12GB of RAM and 512GB of storage, native Solana applications were integrated directly into the phone and ready for use on the Solana blockchain. However, at a price of $1,000, the phone's performance disappointed many enthusiasts. Low sales forced the development team to reduce the phone's price to $600 in mid-2023. What no one knew at the time was that the Solana Saga contained BONK tokens that would soon exceed the value of the phone.
Solana Saga: the worst phone of the year?
Although the Solana Saga's hardware is comparable to flagship phones, it lags behind in most other categories. Solana Labs justified the original $1,000 price tag with Web3 functionality. The device had an additional 'secure element' built in, called the 'seed vault', which kept private keys, seed phrases and other confidential information from the application layer. These features make the Solana Saga a combination of hardware / hot-wallet and mobile phone. Despite these features, the Solana Saga did not live up to the expectations of pure mobile enthusiasts. Tech YouTuber Marques Brownlee named the Solana Saga the "worst new phone of 2023" in his year-end review.
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But even in the web3 industry, the Solana Saga had limited appeal. By August 2023, only 2,100 units had been sold. Solana Labs lowered the price to $600, but sales remained low. Two weeks ago, Solana founder Anatoly Yakovenko explained in an interview with crypto journalist Laura Shin that the development team's original sales target had been 25,000 to 50,000 units. In a somewhat subdued tone, Yakovenko suggested that the market may not even want such a device.
BONK Airdrop saves Solana phone
The unique Saga Pass NFT was supposed to save the mobile phone. Every Solana Saga owner could mint this NFT after setting up the phone. Last year, several Solana projects distributed free cryptocurrencies (Airdrops) to NFT owners, including the Memecoin BONK. Each Solana Saga owner received 30 million BONK tokens, which were worth only a few dollars at the beginning of the year. However, this value changed dramatically over the past few months.
Price of the Solana Memecoin Bonk (BONK/USDT) / Chart: Tradingview
Since mid-October, the price of the Solana Memecoin has increased by more than +10,000%. Suddenly the 30 million BONK were worth more than the $600 of the Solana Saga. It didn't take long for people to see the arbitrage opportunity. While sales at the beginning of December were sluggish at around 2,500 units, the 20,000 limited edition phones were sold out by middle of the same month. After the announcement of additional protocol airdrops, some people even bought the Solana Saga for over $4,000 on eBay. It remains to be seen whether developers will follow the hype of the phone.