Jupiter’s massive insider allocation of Solana airdrop JUP

Jupiter airdropped its new token JUP to approximately one million Solana wallets — one of the largest airdrops in Solana’s history. As of its $0.70 opening trade on Binance, tokens allocated to the airdrop were worth approximately $700 million.

Solana wallet owners claimed one-fifth of the airdrop within its opening hour; as of press time, they have claimed two-thirds. Specifically, over 459,000 wallet owners have claimed around 700 million JUP worth $417 million with the token now trading at $0.62.

Of course, the Jupiter team allocated half of JUP’s total supply to themselves.

Jupiter’s founder, who goes by Meow, also leads other recently-launched tokens WEN and MER (Meow airdropped WEN to wallets that had used his Jupiter exchange). Although pseudonymous, Meow is doxxed and regularly shows his face on camera.

Are Jupiter insiders siphoning JUP’s liquidity?

Some crypto skeptics surmised that the airdrop event served a primary purpose of distracting from insider liquidations. Jupiter founders withdrawing some of the liquidity backing their JUP allocations could have accounted for part of JUP’s $1.4 billion in first day transaction volume.

For public relations and media purposes, founders are often careful about selling their proprietary token directly. It always looks bad when someone claims that a founder is selling their own coin into retail investment. Instead, savvy insiders often opt to withdraw the token’s backing or “liquidity.” This preserves their right to claim, albeit on a technicality, that they have never “sold” the token — despite the financial similarity of selling or withdrawing the token’s liquidity.

In the case of this airdrop, JUP is primarily backed by the stablecoin USDC on the exchanges that Jupiter supports, including Aevo, Meteora, Orca, and its own Jupiter exchange.

Richard Heart of HEX employed a similar strategy — rarely selling HEX directly while deliberately dancing around questions about his sales of the ETH that accumulated in HEX’s liquidity pools. “I got a lot of really cool stuff. I’m selling something for it, ain’t I?” he said.

Jupiter founder Meow has also admitted to selling some of the JUP token directly.

Meow boasts that his team would only sell 250 million JUP during launch week.

Read more: Nearly $580K drained with Cointelegraph, Wallet Connect fake airdrop

Other issues with the Jupiter airdrop

Currently, JUP is trading 11% below its January 31 $0.70 open. Amid the confusion of Jupiter’s airdrop, an unrelated token with the same ticker on Ethereum quintupled and then retracted all of those gains. JUP on Solana has no relation to JUP on Ethereum.

Due to the proliferation of altcoins now numbering in the millions, many unrelated blockchain assets share the same ticker symbol. Traders have confused Unit Protocol (USDP) with Paxos Dollar (USDP), Pepe on Ethereum (PEPE) with Pepe on Ordinals (PEPE), Bitconnect (BCC) with Bitcoin Cash (BCC), Ahoolee (AHT) with Athena Health Token (AHT), and many other examples.

For nearly two years, Jupiter has operated as a token swap exchange on Solana. Its JUP airdrop might not improve that existing operation as much as provide exit liquidity for its leaders.

Meow’s JUP airdrop launched with surprisingly few glitches given Solana’s tendency to freeze during spikes in activity (Solana’s blockchain has experienced dozens of complete outages. Its validators had to make at least two attempts to restart within the past year). Despite some validators struggling during the first hour of the airdrop, there were no major technical outages.

Read more: Can Solana stay afloat without SBF and FTX?

In short, Jupiter conducted a multi-hundred million token airdrop for Solana users while retaining half of the total supply for the Jupiter team. Technically, the event was smooth for Solana’s uptime-challenged blockchain.

The resulting trading volume could have masked the founding team’s token sale, but trading bot users could have cared more about the price jumping after they sold their tokens off.

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