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Solana Surging as Developers and Network Metrics Soar Despite Memecoin Drop-Off

Last Updated January 9, 2024 4:58 PM
James Morales
Last Updated January 9, 2024 4:58 PM

Key Takeaways

  • SOL was one of the highest-climbing altcoins of 2023, but an end-of-year surge in Solana-based memecoins soon fizzled out.
  • Nevertheless, the wider ecosystem shows signs of resilience.
  • The Solana Foundation has claimed that the ecosystem’s monthly active developer count was above 2,000 in every month of 2023.

After SOL emerged as one of the top-performing altcoins of 2023, Solana entered the new year riding a wave of optimism, with investors and developers alike singing the platform’s praise. 

In the final weeks of the year, surging interest in Bonk and similar SPL tokens suggested the emergence of a nascent Solana meme coin market, but after prices fell back down to earth, the initial excitement largely dissipated.

Has The Solana Memecoin Bubble Burst?

Love them or hate them, crypto culture wouldn’t be the same without memecoins. While their technical and financial merits are questionable, investors continue to plow money into a seemingly endless parade of lighthearted dog- and frog-themed cryptos, whose appeal is embedded in their stark contrast with the world of serious investing.

Traditionally, memecoins have arrived in waves, with each breakout token also lifting its closest neighbors by virtue of association, or inspiring copycats that play on the same themes and motifs.

For a group of SPL tokens that most people had never heard of a month ago, the crucial moment came in mid-December, when Binance and Coinbase announced their intention to list Bonk.

In classic memecoin style, the listing announcements coincided with Bonk surging to over $0.00003 on December 15, before losing around 2 thirds of its value in the following weeks. 

Having only hit the market at the beginning of December, dogwifhat (WIF) piggybacked off the success of its older sibling Bonk to become Solana’s second $100 million market cap meme token. Like Bonk, despite rallying more than 30% on Tuesday, January 9, WIF’s market valuation remains much lower than its earlier high. 

In the notoriously volatile memecoin market, Bonk and WIF could still mount a comeback, and December’s rally could prove to be the warmup for an even larger pump later. 

But a less positive outcome is just as likely, if not more so. And if traders lose interest, both tokens could soon see their value dwindle, joining the countless would-be hot meme dogs that came before them.

Solana Foundation Touts Rising Developer Count

According to a recent report, in 2023, development activity within the Ethereum ecosystem was the only one to beat Solana’s. Using Github data to assess activity levels , the Solana Foundation claimed that the number of monthly active Solana developers consistently surpassed 2000 throughout the year.

On top of consistent developer activity, the Solana ecosystem also boasts a high retention rate and high level of developer experience, the report claims. 

3-month dev retention
Source: Solana Foundation.

Assessing retention based on the number of developers who make at least one commit to a Solana Git repository for three consecutive months, the Foundation said the retention rate increased from 31% to over 50% in 2023.

About developer experience, the report notes that over half of the 1059 developers who attended Solana Hacker Houses in 2023, had more than three years experience in the field.

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