Examining Solana’s Market Performance and Ecosystem Growth
Despite experiencing a notable 36.6% increase in value between Oct. 30 and Nov. 2, Solana’s SOL (SOL) failed to breach the $44.50 mark, which resulted in a 10% correction down to $40 on Nov. 6. This unexpected movement has sparked discussions among investors, with many questioning whether the ecosystem growth and network activity are able to support Solana’s generous $16.9 billion market capitalization.
SOL Reachest its Peak During the Breakpoint 2023 Conference
About a week before the correction, SOL reached its peak at $44.50 on Nov. 2, making it the highest it had achieved since August 2022. This coincided with the Solana Breakpoint 2023 global conference in Amsterdam. The spike in price caused even BitMEX co-founder Arthur Hayes to invest in SOL, despite previously referring to the token as “just a meme”.
Important Announcements made at the Conference
During the Breakpoint conference, the Solana Foundation unveiled the testnet launch of Firedancer, a new client aiming to enhance speed and reliability and reduce hardware requirements for validators. This change seeks to address a longstanding criticism of the layer-1 blockchain, which offers parallel computing for smart contracts. Additionally, the Foundation announced the availability of its network data set on Google Cloud BigQuery. This feature enables developers and companies to access archival data and analytical insights in a secure and transparent manner.
A Roller-Coaster Year for SOL
Despite the upbeat news, not all has been positive for Solana. On Oct. 17, Lido Finance, a decentralized liquid staking protocol, declared their decision to cease operations on the network due to unsustainable financials and low fees. This led to a community vote resulting in the service termination.
Does On-chain Activity Support the SOL Price Hike?
Amidst these ups and downs, the central question remains – does the on-chain activity and metrics related to decentralized applications (DApps) support the SOL price increase? On the face of it, Solana showed signs of weakness in September. As per DefiLlama, the network’s total value locked (TVL), the measure of the amount deposited in its smart contracts, reached its lowest level in over two years on Nov. 5. Comparatively, Ethereum’s TVL in Ether (ETH) declined by 2%, and BNB Chain’s TVL saw an 8% decrease during the same period.
The growth of Solana’s DApps lags behind its rivals too. Even though Solana benefits from low fees and continual development, it has not translated into a large number of active users. In the last 30 days, Raydium, the largest decentralized exchange (DEX) on Solana, recorded only 17,380 active addresses. This figure is dwarfed by BNB Chain-based DEX PancakeSwap, which boasted 513,060 active addresses in the same period.
Criticisms and Concerns
In addition, community members voiced their concerns regarding the requirement of Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering guidelines to become a network validator. Furthermore, it was revealed that out of 1,997 validators, 1,818 received delegations from Solana Foundation or Alameda, accounting for nearly 90% of all validators. So, concerns over centralization and displeasure among SOL tokenholders are growing. The comparatively small DApp user base in relation to other networks is another area of concern.
These concerns, coupled with the inconsistencies in on-chain activity, contradict the recent price surge and do not support any further price increases. As such, it’s crucial for potential investors to carefully consider these factors before making any investment decisions related to Solana or its tokens.