After a turbulent 2022 owing to macroeconomic headwinds, Solana’s performance improved substantially in the first quarter of the year. Data suggested that its market cap increased by more than 118% QoQ along with the broader market.
Furthermore, numerous ecosystem developments fueled fee payer and transaction activity during Q1.
Solana’s Performance in Q1
Solana’s network outages previously sparked conversations around potential insolvency. But its performance stabilized after upgrades such as QUIC, priority fees (local fee markets), and Stake-Weighted Quality of Service (QOS). In Q1, the layer one blockchain network witnessed significant growth across DeFi, NFTs, and GameFi verticals.
According to the latest Messari report, the total value locked in Solana, denominated in USD, surged by 23.5% QoQ. However, TVL denominated in SOL was down by 40.7% during the same period, indicating that “the asset price increases in USD vs. new capital inflow drove TVL.”
Liquid staking derivatives (LSDs) continued supporting the Solana ecosystem, with Marinade Finance, Lido, Jito, and JPool growing their TVL by 100% or more during the quarter. These four LSDs also managed to make it into the top 20 by TVL.
Other protocols, such as Orca, Raydium, and Solend, grew their TVL massively alongside the wider market rebound.
A similar trend was seen across Solana’s NFT ecosystem as well. Messari’s data revealed that the total number of daily new NFTs increased from 2.6 million to 2.9 million QoQ, which represented a nearly 12% surge. NFT sales volume in the secondary market denominated in terms of USD was up by almost 36%.
This is in contrast to the DeFi, as sales denominated in SOL went up by 20% before skyrocketing, essentially signaling that “sales activity was not purely accrued by asset price increases in USD.”
Meanwhile, the unique buyers exceeded the unique sellers during the first quarter. The total buyer count stood at 889,000, while sellers were recorded to be 887,000.
Aftermath FTX Implosion
Solana’s strong ties with Sam Bankman-Fried’s crypto empire – which invested in nine of its projects from December 2020 to March 2022 – turned out to be a disaster for the network. This ignited rumors of developer exodus.
But with the launch of more and more applications this year, their user base went up as well. This trend helped in increasing and stabilizing active programs in the Solana ecosystem. As such, there were 58,000 unique active programs in Q1 2022, which has increased to 96,000 in Q1 2023.
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