While Bitcoin is up 72% in 2023 and Ether celebrates double-digit year-to-date jump, a shyer cryptocurrency, Solana, has surpassed both. SOL, the native token of the Solana blockchain, has shot up 133% since trading at just $10 on Jan. 1, continuing to shrug off any reputational hit from being associated with Sam Bankman-Fried. 

Despite its market capitalization sinking to $5.3 billion the day after FTX declared bankruptcy, SOL has since recovered 72% to $9.1 billion. It was up 3% over 24 hours on Friday afternoon, trading at $22.86. Bitcoin and Ether were both down about 1%, at $29,300 and $1,800, respectively, according to CoinMarketCap.

The number of successful transactions on the Solana blockchain rose to 713 million in March—the most since October—according to data tracker FlipSide. The total number of transactions is still down year over year largely due to a lagging bear market.

A large reason behind Solana’s success is its pitch as a faster and cheaper alternative to the Ethereum blockchain, still the most popular for decentralised apps such as NFT marketplaces and financial applications.
That isn’t to say however that the cryptocurrency hasn’t suffered its setbacks. In February, a performance disruption resulted in issues with transactions and caused validators, who verify transactions on the blockchain, to restart the network to resolve the problem. Solana also faced a setback in the NFT space earlier this year when two of its most popular collections, y00ts and DeGods, left the blockchain.

However, the currency recovered several months later thanks to a new project, Mad Lads. The collection, created by the Web3 company Coral—cofounded by Solana developer Armani Ferrante—launched this week and has already become the most traded NFT with the highest sales volume over the past seven days. According to Crypto Slam, compared with $11.4 million for Yuga Labs’ Bored Ape Yacht Club collection, Mad Lads generated $17 million in sales over the last seven days. 

It appears that Mad Lads’ launch is proof that Solana’s more flexible NFT technology is a boon for entrepreneurs and creators.

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