Jito, the Solana-based liquid staking protocol, opened an airdrop for users to claim 90 million of its JTO governance tokens starting Thursday morning — an amount worth around $165 million at the time of publication.
Jito sent tokens based on how much of its JitoSOL liquid staking token the addresses held and lent to DeFi protocols, alongside rewards for validators and MEV searchers. According to the protocol’s developers, the JTO tokens will be used to govern the DAO and treasury for the staking platform.
Jito and a protocol named Marinade are essentially tied as Solana’s largest liquid staking providers, with around $425 million each in total value locked (TVL) according to DeFiLlama. For context, Lido boasts a TVL of $21.45 billion.
On the whole, the Jito team followed on a well-trodden path of upstart protocols airdropping governance tokens to their users.
Other examples include the blue-chip DeFi protocol Uniswap’s airdrop of 150 million of its UNI governance token to users in September 2020, worth over $900 million at today’s prices. A large majority of the UNI airdrop recipients ultimately sold their tokens, but the wealth effect may have still fueled Uniswap development. Syncracy Capital’s Ryan Watkins likened the UNI airdrop to a stimulus check at the time.
The JTO drop is drawing similar comparisons as potential fuel for a recent resurgence in activity on Solana. The token recovered from its association with FTX to more than quadruple in price over the past year. Solana’s NFT market has seen positive signs, and Solana decentralized exchanges churned $7.3 billion in volume in November, by far their busiest month ever.
Wallet owners have 18 months in which to claim the JTO airdrop. This would allow users to defer their claims — and any accompanying tax implications — into 2024, Ryan West from Blockworks Research wrote about the airdrop.
Despite the long claim window, 54 million out of 90 million of the newly available tokens, or 60%, were claimed within four hours of the airdrop, according to a Flipside Crypto dashboard.
JTO whales appeared to stay put in the wake of the airdrop — the same dashboard shows only three of the 20 largest recipients sold their tokens.
Another Solana DeFi protocol named Jupiter announced a token last month, saying 40% of the supply would be airdropped to the community.
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