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Jito airdrop FOMO sparks $200m Solana stampede

Jito airdrop FOMO sparks $200m Solana stampede
Solana is booming after an airdrop from Jito, a liquid staking protocol. Credit: Rita Fortunato/DL News
  • Investors are stampeding to Solana after Jito’s airdrop opened on Thursday.
  • DeFi protocols expected to announce their own airdrops have been the biggest beneficiaries.
  • SOL hit a 20-month high on Friday.

Boom times have returned for the Solana blockchain.

Traders who missed an opportunity to claim thousands of dollars worth of free tokens from Jito, a liquid staking protocol that debuted in November 2022, are piling into other up-and-coming DeFi protocols on the blockchain, hoping to position themselves for future distributions known as airdrops.

Solana’s SOL token jumped 10% to $72 in the 24 hours since claims for Jito’s new token, JTO, went live, hitting a 20-month high.

Meanwhile, the total value of crypto locked in Solana’s DeFi ecosystem grew 26% day-over-day as of 2pm New York time Friday, according to DefiLlama data.

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One of the biggest beneficiaries was Kamino, a protocol where users can borrow and lend crypto assets and provide liquidity to decentralised exchanges.

Kamino confirmed Friday it will soon unveil a system for accruing points for using its protocol. Such points systems have been used to determine users’ allocations of free tokens in airdrops.

Crypto deposited in Kamino increased 63% since JTO claims went live, topping $80 million.

The value of crypto deposited in Kamino surged Thursday.

Jito’s launch prompted influencers and analysts on X, formerly known as Twitter, to share lists of other protocols they expect to announce airdrops.

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Several of those have also seen big inflows.

Almost one in five users of marginfi, a lending protocol that detailed its own points system in July, signed up Thursday, according to founder Edgar Pavlovsky.

Marginfi is a peer-to-peer lending and portfolio management protocol that raised $3 million in a seed round led by Multicoin Capital and Pantera Capital last year.

Crypto deposited in marginfi increased more than 30% in the 24 hours after JTO claims went live.

Drift and Cega, Solana protocols that have appeared on several influencers’ lists, saw crypto deposits grow by 17% and 23%, respectively.

Trading volume on decentralised exchange aggregator Jupiter — which announced its own airdrop in November — topped $700 million over the past 24 hours.

Across all blockchains, Uniswap, the largest decentralised exchange, processed transactions worth almost $1.7 billion over the past 24 hours, of which $1 billion settled on Ethereum.

“It’s great to see really strong teams like Jito finally tokenize. This is sort of what we’ve been waiting for,” marginfi co-founder MacBrennan Peet told DL News. He believes a dearth of unique tokens from quality teams has held the blockchain back.

“Very contrary to the first crop of Solana teams, which shipped subpar solutions very fast — not everyone, but a lot of them did — this newer crop of Solana DeFi teams didn’t, and that’s something that I’m happy about seeing,” Peet said.

But he’s wary of the tourists — the new users who are more interested in free money than in the protocols themselves. Projects that have hinted at future airdrops have sometimes struggled to retain users once the opportunity for a payday has passed.

“It’s easier to see who the real users are and who the airdrop hunters are,” he said. “We’re just staying focused on the real users.”

Aleks Gilbert is DL News’ New York-based DeFi Correspondent. Reach out with tips at aleks@dlnews.com.

Update, December 8: This article has been updated to add comments from marginfi co-founder MacBrennan Peet.