In a week that has seen a slight pull back among cryptocurrency prices and less trading volume within top Ethereum collections, there is one ecosystem that is soaring: Solana. This week, the “Ethereum killer,” once left for dead after the FTX scandal, has seen a 200% increase in trading volume, good for third overall among NFT blockchains. And there’s one collection that has performed even better than the norm.
Mad Lads, which launched in spring of 2023, has seen its floor price skyrocket. At the beginning of the week, it was around 46 SOL ($2,350). Now, it is hanging around 98 SOL, which amounts to $5,600 after you include the rise in the SOL token itself. In fact, the price soared to 105 SOL at one point, out-performing just about every NFT collection in the space.
So, what is Mad Lads and why is it booming suddenly? That’s what this article is here for.
The Dawn of a Solana Blue-Chip
Mad Lads minted on April 20th, 2023, for the price of 6.9 SOL. It quickly became the talk of the NFT space due to the unusual nature of its mint. The original mint was delayed due to an overwhelming bot attack. To circumvent this issue, the developers on the team created two separate minting addresses — one that was real and the other that was a honeypot.
It worked like a charm. The bots minted in the wrong address, pouring around $225,000 worth of SOL into that wallet, while the actual minters paid their money and received the NFTs they desired. It is notable that the team reported extortion threats and a DDOS attack around the time of the mint as well.
For a Solana collection in the middle of the bear market, some news-worthy events were happening. Soon, people were celebrating Mad Lads’ success, including the remaining big-time Solana NFT collection teams. Dust Labs’ y00ts and DeGods had just left the ecosystem, a cold shoulder to the ecosystem that had done them well.
But it turns out, all the events surrounding the mint were just the beginning for this collection.
What Makes Mad Lads Interesting
At its surface, Mad Lads is just another 10,000 PFP set. The art features humanoid characters with a variety of attributes. These include weapons, accessories, and clothing — all designed to give a unique twist on each character. The art is fun, but edgy at times. You might be able to picture them in a comic book.
Beyond the NFTs, however, there was a unique type of technology at work. The Mad Lads collection was designed to be the “cultural component” of the technological framework of a company called Coral. In fact, the NFTs were minted through Coral’s Web3 wallet “Backpack.” Some may not refer to these tokens as NFTs at all, but actually ‘xNFTs.’ This new type of non-fungible tokens can execute scripts, essentially becoming platforms for Web3 applications and allowing users to easily access token-gated content.
In a press release at the time of mint, Armani Ferrante, CEO and co-founder of Backpack, said that the Mad Lads xNFTs are at the intersection of technology and culture. The collection serves as an example of what “NFTs can be” and represents a massive improvement on how users can interact with smart contracts and protocols.
So, with all of this, why are Mad Lads booming now?
A Cryptocurrency Exchange in Dubai: Bullish x10
The answer, quite simply, is big: Backpack recently announced it will be launching a cryptocurrency exchange based in Dubai. Former FTX general counsel Can Sun will lead the exchange, just weeks after testifying against his former boss Sam Bankman-Fried. Since the announcement, Mad Lads NFTs have soared in value.
The rise is not just because the NFTs are attached to the ecosystem, although that is certainly part of it. There are promises as well. The teams behind the collection believe Mad Lads will appeal to a mass audience, propelled by the tech of Backpack and the expertise of Coral, which may generate future profits for holders.
And a cryptocurrency exchange, in which Mad Lads is the main cultural focus, may do just that. It is a big move, a swing for the fences type of idea, and one that has generated excitement within the NFT space. Hype, as always, rules the profit margin. And for Mad Lads holders, the hype may be just beginning.
Of course, the news would probably have made less impact if not for a crucial component: the sudden reemergence of the Solana ecosystem.
Welcome Back, Solana
Solana, once dubbed the Ethereum-killer, took a major hit when FTX declared bankruptcy. Disgraced CEO Sam Bankman-Fried was a key supporter of Solana, often making investments into the token and ecosystem. When his true character revealed itself, Solana tanked. Even many developers left for safer waters.
But in the past two weeks, the Solana ecosystem has returned to form, buoyed by a rise in its token from near $20 to $56 in 30 days. Solana NFTs are popping, and it’s not just Mad Lads either. Magic Eden’s analytics page shows green numbers all around, including from older collections like Degenerate Ape Academy and Solana Monkey Business.
This month, barely halfway over, Solana NFTs have amassed a trading volume better than the last two months. The average sale per NFT has more than doubled, while wash trading has remained mostly level.
Will Solana be a big player this NFT bull market season? Signs are hinting that it may be.
With the rise of NFTs in the Solana ecosystem, carried on the back of Mad Lads and other top collections, the space is starting to show signs of life. Time will tell if this spark is just temporary or will catch on throughout the upcoming months, but there’s no doubt of one thing: NFTs have become fun again. And that is one thing we can all be thankful for.