Lightspeed Newsletter: Solana investors have ETFs on the brain

Also, a Solana memecoin creator was recently hospitalized with third-degree burns after pulling a stunt intended to pump his token

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Howdy! 

Ether ETFs got approved, Lightspeed had a successful launch week, and we’re heading into a long weekend. Can’t really complain.

And for some Friday tea leaves reading, we’re diving into the likelihood of Solana getting an ETF of its own.


Solana spot ETF approval likely a long way off

Following the SEC’s favorable ruling on spot ether ETFs yesterday, SOL rallied more than both ether and bitcoin, posting a 7% gain in the half hour after the announcement — before falling roughly the same amount overnight, according to CoinGecko. 

One factor driving SOL’s price may have been the sentiment among some crypto chatterers that following ether getting the SEC’s nod, SOL could be next. 

“I think you’ve got to think about solana as probably the next one,” BKMC founder Brian Kelly said on a CNBC segment this week, noting that solana was part of a “big three” alongside bitcoin and ether for this market cycle.

Asymmetric CEO Joe McCann said this week that he sees solana as the likely next crypto ETF candidate partly because investors want exposure to the coin’s upside. 

A Bernstein research note gestured to a solana ETF while noting that the ether ETF could open the door for non-bitcoin cryptos to be considered commodities, CoinDesk reported.

At face value, a SOL ETF might make intuitive sense. If you asked the average crypto investor for the three most notable cryptocurrencies, there are decent odds you’d get an answer of “bitcoin, ether, and SOL.” After seeing the returns on spot bitcoin ETFs, it seems at least plausible that someone would explore launching a spot solana ETF. Even Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci is on board.

But there are a few reasons to think any potential solana ETF could still be a long way off. 

Solana’s token unlock schedule will add a sizable number of tokens to the market in the coming years, which could prove to be a hangup with regulators when compared to bitcoin and ether’s smaller supply growth rates, Matrixport’s head of research Markus Thielen told me.

Plus, Solana’s relatively lower trading volume might lead regulators to doubt the market’s ability to determine fair SOL pricing, Thielen added. 

Multiple industry watchers told me the lack of a solana futures ETF — which existed for both bitcoin and ether prior to their approvals — could also indicate that solana spot ETFs aren’t a present likelihood.

Betting markets see imminent ETF approval as a longshot, too. Polymarket bettors raised the odds of a SOL ETF being approved this year to 15% briefly Friday morning, before the odds tumbled back down to 8%, about in line with the betting odds for a dogecoin ETF being approved this year.

Even if solana spot ETFs were approved, there’s a question of how much ETF demand there would be for an asset lately dominated by memecoin trading. Bloomberg’s ETF guru Eric Balchunas predicted ether ETFs would see 10% to 15% of bitcoin ETF flows.

Jack Kubinec

Zero In

63.3%

That’s the percentage of the total SOL supply that’s been staked, according to Solana Beach. By way of comparison, roughly 27% of the total ether supply is staked, according to Blockworks Research.

This figure could become more important if solana spot ETFs move toward production. The just-approved ether ETFs don’t allow staked ether to be used in shares. If regulators took a similar stance on staked SOL, then ETF issuers would need to back shares with unstaked SOL. This is all uncharted waters for crypto, but prospective issuers would be acquiring SOL from the minority of the total supply. 

Notably, roughly 12.5% of staked SOL is locked, according to gelato.sh. 

Jack Kubinec

The Pulse

A Solana memecoin creator was recently hospitalized with third-degree burns after a stunt intended to pump his token went…as intended? 

The creator’s friends doused him in isopropyl alcohol and then chased him around with Roman Candles in an attempt to light him on fire. Unfortunately, their efforts to immolate their friend succeeded almost immediately. Video footage of the incident shows the creator running around before crumpling on the ground

The incident reflects a recent trend among Solana memecoin creators, who have discovered that by performing extreme antics on camera, they can gain rapid attention for their often worthless Pump.fun assets.

The creator’s memecoin is purpose-built to inspire others to engage in increasingly risky actions on camera as a form of promotion. And it does seem to be working.

As for the hospitalized creator, he posted a video from his infirmary bed, his face covered in burns, and insisted: “I’ll probably be here for another 3 days. But right after that, […] I’ll be back better than ever. It’ll be like a week.” 

Reactions to his injuries were mixed among followers, with many making dark jokes about the creator’s condition. Comments like “Pray for crispy Mikol ❤️” and “Dev is Lit” are commonly littered among the occasional well-wishers.

Even NFT artist Beeple weighed in, tweeting: “Back in my day, people just promised all kinds of crazy utility to pump their hot garb to infinity…now u got these new kids lighting their microplastic nuts on fire to send Zack morris to Valhalla for the weekend…”

And the memecoin itself? It’s tanked, with the price down 88% over the last day.

— Jeffrey Albus

One Good DM

A text from Greg Xethalis, general counsel at Multicoin Capital


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