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The cryptocurrency linked to the Solana network has jumped to the seventh spot among the world’s top 10 largest virtual coins amid optimism that the blockchain could be a long-term competitor to ethereum.

Solana’s Sol token has tripled in about three weeks and now has a market value of more than $41bn, according to CoinGecko. Proponents tout the claimed speed and lower cost of transactions on Solana for decentralised finance and digital collectibles, applications where ethereum dominates.

“Solana has a growing ecosystem, projects are being built on it and it’s benefited hugely from the mania that’s taking place in NFTs,” Antoni Trenchev, co-founder at crypto lender Nexo, wrote in an e-mail. NFTs are non-fungible tokens used to trade digital collectibles. He said the backing of crypto figure Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of crypto exchange FTX, is helping.

Solana bills itself as the world’s fastest blockchain and its website says the average cost per transaction is $0.00025. In June it announced that it had raised $314m in a funding round with investors including Bankman-Fried’s Alameda Research, venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, Polychain Capital and CoinShares. 

“Major players in the space, such as FTX and Jump, are recognising its potential,” said Alexandra Clark, sales trader at UK-based digital asset broker GlobalBlock, in an e-mail on Monday. “Not only that, but the network’s foray into NFTs with Solanart, the marketplace built on the SOL blockchain, has been instrumental in driving the altcoin’s price higher,” she said. “Sol’s current price rally is likely to continue.”

Late in August, Jump Trading-affiliated crypto market data provider Pyth Network went live on Solana’s mainnet, a development that’s expected to help bolster the world of decentralised finance. There are plans for it soon to be able to broadcast market data through the so-called Wormhole Network.

“It’s becoming too big to ignore and offers a different smart contract solution to ethereum,” Jonathan Cheesman, head of over-the-counter and institutional sales at FTX, wrote in an e-mail. 

So-called alternative coins such as the Sols, Cardano’s ADA and Binance Coin have surged in recent weeks, taking some of the limelight from top tokens bitcoin and Ether in a broad crypto revival from a May rout. Bitcoin has also rallied and came close to $52,000 on Monday.

Sceptics argue the technological upgrades propelling some tokens may not justify the scale of the rallies.

Bloomberg News. More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com


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