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Airdrop hunters plough $345m into fledgling blockchain to get new token

Airdrop hunters plough $345m into fledgling blockchain to get new token
Manta Pacific's airdrop is the latest in the layer 2 space. Credit: Andrés Tapia
  • Manta Pacific's TVL spiked 1,250% in December.
  • It is now the seventh biggest layer 2 blockchain network on Ethereum.
  • Other layer 2s are also ratcheting up airdrops.

Crypto airdrop hunters have deposited $345 million into Manta Pacific, Manta Network’s Ethereum layer 2 blockchain, since December 14.

Why the sudden interest?

Because of an airdrop expected in early 2024.

Airdrop hunters have deposited Ether and stablecoins into the blockchain to obtain rewards scheduled for distribution in January.

Manta Pacific’s TVL has skyrocketed 1,250% in December. This spike has made Manta Pacific the seventh largest Ethereum layer 2 blockchain per total value locked, according to data from Ethereum layer 2 tracking portal L2Beat.

TVL is a metric that tracks how much crypto is locked up in a DeFi protocol’s smart contracts, or in all DeFi protocols running on a given blockchain.

Promising signs

For Kenny Li, co-founder of blockchain developer p0x Labs and Manta Network contributor, the TVL growth is encouraging.

“These early promising signs mean that a new contender is emerging from DeFi to challenge the likes of zkSync and Base,” Li told DL News.

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Base and zkSync are also Ethereum layer 2 blockchains.

Smart contracts

The smart contract that holds these deposits is not verified on Ethereum blockchain explorer Etherscan, so it’s difficult for independent security experts to determine its safety.

Manta’s team says the contract has been reviewed by security experts.

“The contracts have been audited by Veridise,” Li said.

“At the moment, the audit is unverified on Etherscan as the contract is not open-sourced but we plan on having these verified in the future.”

For risk-tolerant crypto degens, the unverified contract has not proved to be an issue as they’ve run up nine-figure dollar deposits.

Investors were driven to deposit these funds as part of Manta’s New Paradigm campaign.

It promises five layers of rewards for early investors, including an airdrop of 50 million Manta tokens. Manta isn’t trading yet, so those 50 million tokens do not yet have market value.

Getting a STONE token

This TVL growth is most likely driven by the promised airdrop because the project’s canonical bridge has attracted only $28 million in deposits since its creation three months ago.

Manta airdrop hopefuls receive a token called STONE in exchange for their locked Ether deposits in the blockchain.

STONE is a so-called yield-bearing token, according to Manta’s documentation. Airdrop hunters will be able to redeem STONE for Manta tokens in January.

As a yield-bearing token, airdrop hunters can use STONE to earn points on protocols within Manta Pacific that support the token. By doing so, investors can farm more STONE tokens and potentially increase their promised Manta token airdrop.

Depositors also earn NFTs, which can be sold on Element, a multichain NFT marketplace.

Participants are also hunting for NFT combinations that will yield even bigger airdrop rewards, a process that requires them to acquire six different NFTs from the campaign that can be combined to get a premium NFT that offers greater rewards.

$1 billion in investments

Manta is only the latest in a growing trend of projects enticing significant early backing with the promise of rewards early next year.

Blast, a planned Ethereum layer 2 blockchain project, managed to attract about $650 million in barely a week after it was announced in November. The project now sits on top of over $1 billion in investments.

Like Blast, Manta Pacific is also invite-only with prospective new entrants requiring invite codes from existing investors.

Manta Network did not immediately return requests for comment.

This article has been updated to include comments from Manta Network core contributor Kenny Li.

Osato Avan-Nomayo is our Nigeria-based DeFi correspondent. He covers DeFi and tech. To share tips or information about stories, please contact him at