Analysis

Will Solana’s Rough April Turn Around?

Rising SOL catalysts are going up against congestion issues.
David C David C Apr 10, 20244 min read
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Will Solana’s Rough April Turn Around?

Solana's April has certainly been... turbulent thus far.

But despite a SOL price plateau and some severe congestion issues that have caused widespread transaction failures, there are still reasons to be bullish, with a handful of positive catalysts standing ready to turn April around for Solana.

A jam-packed airdrop schedule this month is continuing to bring new capital into the ecosystem, and bullish narrative developments from protocols like Zeus and Jito are giving airdrop participants reason to stick around.

Today, let's take a look at just how much airdrop stimmy is landing in the Solana ecosystem and examine some hot protocol developments that may draw more attention to the network and greatly expand its reach 👇


🪂 SOL's Airdrop April

April started awfully strong for airdrops. Wormhole brought around $2.5B into the market with Tensor following this past Monday and (initially) bringing in roughly $230M.

Deployed as SPL tokens, these drops circulated liquidity back into the ecosystem, whether people used their stimulus to secure profits or fund their memetic ambitions.

Wormhole and Tensor only mark the first half of confirmed airdrops in April.

Next comes Parcl, a real estate perpetuals platform; Kamino, a DeFi suite; and Zeta Markets, a derivatives platform – which together will likely bring over $300M to Solana. Combined equates to at least $3B in stimulus for the Solana ecosystem. Additionally, the end of these reward programs signals the start of new seasons and campaigns that could attract more farmers to the ecosystem. 

What happens will be based on the rewards these additional airdrops bring, indicating whether they are worth pursuing.


Solana Tokens Tap into Major Narratives

While some flows from these airdrops may move into memes, the tie-ins of two other tokens to dominant narratives this cycle and their strong price action could also attract investment and new attention to the Solana ecosystem. 

Zeus, a BTC communication layer, and Jito, a leading liquid staking solution, stand poised to be top performers in the ecosystem, capitalizing on two dominant narratives this cycle – BTCfi and restaking.

⚡️ Zeus Network

One of two projects from Jupiter’s LFG launchpad, Zeus Network provides a bridge-less “communications layer” between the Bitcoin and Solana ecosystems, potentially unlocking over a trillion in capital for the latter.

Backed by Solana and Stacks’ (a leading Bitcoin L2) founders, Zeus Network intends to build an ecosystem connecting these two chains. The first product will be Apollo, a Bitcoin staking protocol to earn yield currently in testnet. There will also be a native, Bitcoin-backed stablecoin, cross-chain NFT tools between Bitcoin and the Solana ecosystem, and lending/borrowing applications connecting the two ecosystems. 

With the halving approaching, Bitcoin NFTs standing strong, and BTCfi continuing to gain steam, if Zeus develops their ecosystem well, they could benefit significantly from Bitcoin’s momentum and unlock a whole new market for Solana. 

🥩 Jito and StakeNet

Recent outstanding price performance from Jito has returned attention to the airdrop that started it all, especially as restaking summer approaches and parallels between the two are drawn. 

In January, Buffalu, Jito’s founder, announced Stakenet, a decentralization primitive for liquid staking protocols, oracles, and restaking. It's that last function that has drawn significant attention recently, especially given Jito’s continued growth and share of all liquid staking on Solana in the wake of its airdrop.

While restaking protocols like Picasso Network already exist on Solana, Jito’s overall dominance has prompted Picasso’s founder to declare they would integrate into Stakenet. Statements and discussions like those just mentioned, coupled with the fact that Jito does not appear to have any token unlocks until Dec. '24, have added significant fuel to Jito’s resurgence as a core Solana ecosystem play. 

If its restaking narrative catches on – especially given Pendle’s success in recent months as exposure to EigenLayer – Jito will strongly benefit and tie Solana broadly into another leading narrative this cycle.


What's Next

As we venture further into April, it becomes clear that substantial airdrop stimuli and potential narrative alignments could catalyze strong performance for Solana and the Solana ecosystem. 

In less than a week, two airdrops have brought ~$3B to the network, with more to come over the next few weeks. The potential surrounding Zeus and Jito, fueled by their ties to dominant narratives, expands the scope of what value and attention Solana can capture.

Overall, with the BTC halving on the horizon and ETH's restaking summer close behind, these projects may draw significant capital to the Solana ecosystem and retain it. 

However, as April drags on, the true measure of success, especially as the network faces congestion challenges, will hinge on its ability to sustain and capitalize on this momentum, not just to attract it.

David C

Written by David C

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David is a writer/analyst at Bankless. Prior to joining Bankless, he worked for a series of early-stage crypto startups and on grants from the Ethereum, Solana, and Urbit Foundations. He graduated from Skidmore College in New York. He currently lives in the Midwest and enjoys NFTs, but no longer participates in them.

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