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There's been a lot of talks around blinks and actions lately. Are they the same thing? Or is there a difference?

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Found my answer, as so often, in the solana docs. It basically boils down to every blink is a action under the hood, but not every action has to be part of a blink:

Solana Actions are specification-compliant APIs that return transactions on the Solana blockchain to be previewed, signed, and sent across a number of various contexts, including QR codes, buttons + widgets, and websites across the internet. Actions make it simple for developers to integrate the things you can do throughout the Solana ecosystem right into your environment, allowing you to perform blockchain transactions without needing to navigate away to a different app or webpage.

Blockchain links – or blinks – turn any Solana Action into a shareable, metadata-rich link. Blinks allow Action-aware clients (browser extension wallets, bots) to display additional capabilities for the user. On a website, a blink might immediately trigger a transaction preview in a wallet without going to a decentralized app; in Discord, a bot might expand the blink into an interactive set of buttons. This pushes the ability to interact on-chain to any web surface capable of displaying a URL.

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  • exactly this! turns out, the answer is often in the docs lol
    – nickfrosty
    Commented Jul 16 at 15:42
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Action: The behind-the-scenes engine for blockchain transactions on websites and apps.

Blink: A clickable link that makes those actions easier to use, like a shortcut button.

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