November Public Chains: Solana's Rise, Blast Launch, and Gaming Revival Stoke Bull Run Hopes

Author: stella@footprint.network

The crypto arena was abuzz with major events, from the buzz around a Bitcoin ETF to Binance’s $4 billion settlement, setting a vibrant stage for the industry. In a month where Ethereum continued to dominate TVL and Layer 2 solutions such as Arbitrum took the spotlight, we also saw Solana’s impressive recovery and the meteoric rise of Blast. Collectively, these developments fueled investor enthusiasm and heightened anticipation for the next bull market in the blockchain ecosystem.

Data for this report was obtained from Footprint Analytics’ public chain research page — an easy-to-use dashboard containing the most vital stats and metrics to understand the public chain industry, updated in real-time.

Key Points

Crypto Macro Overview

  • The anticipation surrounding approving a spot Bitcoin ETF contributed to a bullish sentiment while encouraging developments in the Middle East conflict alleviated concerns over broader regional instability.

  • The settlement between United States agencies and Binance is viewed positively, as it reduces systemic risk in the crypto industry and could boost investor confidence.

Public Chain Overview

  • The market cap for public chain cryptocurrencies stood at $1.14 trillion, with Bitcoin, Ethereum, and BNB Chain leading the market at 64.7%, 21.6%, and 3.1% market share respectively.

  • Solana ranked fifth capturing a 1.7% market share with a TVL of $1.14 billion, marking a 51.64% increase from October. Along with its rising token price, Solana’s growth can be viewed with optimism.

Layer 2

  • Noteworthy is the rapid ascent of Blast, a new entrant in the Layer 2 arena, which has garnered a TVL of approximately $700 million within a mere 10 days.

Gaming

  • There was a notable 34% increase in the total market cap of game tokens, escalating from $4.92 billion on November 1 to $6.61 billion on November 30.

  • Solana shows promising transaction growth, reaching 13.6%, a significant increase from its share of only 4.2% in October.

  • Ronin certainly had a remarkable performance in November, with its trading volume capturing a significant 21% market share.

NFT

  • Ethereum dominated the NFT market with $634.2 million in trading volume, representing 98.5% of the total, marking a 50.4% increase from October.

  • BNB Chain witnessed a 4% decrease from October to 16.8K unique users, a sharp 73.5% drop from the 63.4K seen in July.

Investment & Funding

  • Public chains secured ten funding rounds that amassed $54.9 million.

  • Animoca Brands has become the largest validator for TON through an undisclosed investment.

  • USDC launches on Sei as Circle announces strategic investment in the layer-1 blockchain.

What’s New?

  • Solana leads Layer-1 token gains as Bitcoin crosses $38K.

  • LayerZero launches L2 network Public Goods Network (PGN).

  • Starknet announces upgrades and migration to Sepolia testnet.

  • Paradigm says Ethereum Layer 2 Blast launch ‘crossed lines’.

Crypto Macro Overview

Financial markets demonstrated a tempered response to a spectrum of potential risks. The anticipation surrounding approving a spot Bitcoin ETF contributed to a bullish sentiment while encouraging developments in the Middle East conflict alleviated concerns over broader regional instability. Similarly, the United States’ Consumer Price Index (CPI) maintained its downward trajectory, fueling optimism for prospective Federal Reserve rate reductions and the possibility of a ‘soft landing’ for the U.S. economy.

Changpeng Zhao(CZ) stepped down as CEO of Binance on November 21 as part of a major $4 billion settlement between United States agencies and Binance. This settlement brought closure to extensive investigations by the Department of Justice and other entities into Binance’s alleged anti-money laundering and sanctions violations. Bitcoin dipped to $35,800 following news of Binance’s settlement but recovered to stabilize in the mid-$36,000s by the next morning. The settlement is viewed positively, as it reduces systemic risk in the crypto industry and could boost investor confidence.

Public Chain Overview

As of November 30, the market cap for public chain cryptocurrencies stood at $1.14 trillion, with Bitcoin, Ethereum, and BNB Chain leading the market at 64.7%, 21.6%, and 3.1% market share respectively.

Source: Total Chain Token Market Cap Share

Bitcoin’s price climbed by 9.72% in November, closing at $37,848. Ethereum also experienced growth, rising by 12.06% to end the month at $2,028. Meanwhile, BNB’s price underwent fluctuations, ultimately registering a slight decline of 0.36%. Notably, following a settlement with U.S. regulatory agencies, BNB’s value fell sharply by 10.02% on November 22, dropping from $253.4 to $228.

During November, Avalanche experienced considerable price appreciation, surging by 89.12% to close the month at $21.37. Solana also displayed a robust recovery, with its price increasing by 54.19% to reach $59.21.

Source: Chain Market Data

In November, the TVL in the public chain space was $68.3 billion. Ethereum maintained its market dominance with a 75.6% share, translating to a TVL of $50.25 billion. Tron secured the second position, with a TVL of $7.2 billion, representing a 10.8% market share. BNB Chain came in third, holding a 4.4% market share with a TVL of $2.91 billion.

Solana ranked fifth capturing a 1.7% market share with a TVL of $1.14 billion, marking a 51.64% increase from October. Along with its rising token price, Solana’s growth can be viewed with optimism.

Solana’s affiliation with FTX once rendered it vulnerable to the exchange’s tumultuous downfall. However, the network has successfully navigated past challenges and is charting a course of vigorous recovery in 2023. In a strategic move during August, Solana Pay announced its integration with Shopify, granting millions of merchants the ability to transact using its payment solution. Come September, Visa, the credit card behemoth, bolstered its stablecoin infrastructure by incorporating support for Solana. Furthermore, the Solana Foundation has been diligently working to fortify network stability, enhance decentralization, and foster innovation through initiatives such as the Hyperdrive Hackathon, alongside a targeted expansion into the Asia-Pacific region. These concerted efforts are pivotal in cultivating a more robust and diverse Solana ecosystem.

Source: Chain TVL Ranking

In Ethereum’s DeFi ecosystem, liquid staking, DEX, and lending protocols lead with market shares of 38.0%, 14.3%, and 12.6%, respectively. Lido and MakerDAO are prominent protocols, holding 37.6% and 10.9% market shares.

Source: Ethereum Chain Stats

When it comes to BNB Chain, DEX and lending protocols are predominant, with market shares of 52.3% and 23.8%. PancakeSwap and Venus are leading with 46.8% and 23.3% market shares.

Source: BNB Chain Stats

Layer 2

As of the end of November, Arbitrum has emerged as the frontrunner in the Ethereum Layer 2 space, boasting a TVL of $7.14 billion, which accounts for 55.97% of the market share. Optimism holds the second position with a TVL of $3.36 billion, representing 26.33% of the market share. Other chains constitute the second tier, each with market shares below 6%, including Blast at 5.85%, Base at 4.02%, zkSync Era at 3.84%, and others. Noteworthy is the rapid ascent of Blast, a new entrant in the Layer 2 arena, which has garnered a TVL of approximately $700 million within a mere 10 days. (“TVL” here refers to the cumulative amounts deposited and locked in escrow contracts on Layer 2 solutions.)

zkSync Era leads the field in user engagement, boasting 2.77 million transactions and 2.31 million unique users, often termed “bridgers” due to their interactions with Ethereum. The surge in user activity can be attributed to the initial airdrop conducted by zkSync Era, which was a significant draw for users. Since this initial boost, zkSync Era has become the most active platform. Starknet is a close contender, especially in transaction volume, with a count of 1.78 million transactions.

Source: Layer 2 Overview

Since its early access launch on November 21, Blast has generated significant buzz on social media, mainly due to its novel approach as the first Ethereum Layer 2 with a native yield model. Spearheaded by Tieshun Roquerre, co-founder of the leading NFT marketplace Blur, Blast quickly garnered a Total Value Locked (TVL) of $745.27 million by the end of November.

Blur’s dominance in the NFT market likely contributed to the rapid popularity of Blast. Additionally, the credibility of the Blast development team, which boasts alums from prestigious institutions like MakerDAO, MIT, Yale, and Seoul National University, and a successful $20M funding round led by Paradigm and Standard Crypto, have further bolstered its market position. Despite the excitement surrounding its launch, Blast has not been without controversy. The platform has come under scrutiny for its use of a 3/5 MultiSig escrow contract, initial withdrawal limitations, and the structure of its referral program, sparking a mix of criticism and debate within the community.

Gaming

According to Footprint Analytics, there was a notable 34% increase in the total market cap of game tokens, escalating from $4.92 billion on November 1 to $6.61 billion on November 30, indicating significant development within the Web3 gaming industry in November.

In addition, the number of active wallets experienced a monthly increase of 18.7%, rising from 1.10 million on November 1 to 1.31 million on November 30, in line with the rapid escalation observed in the game token market cap.

When it comes to sheer numbers of games, the stalwart BNB Chain, Ethereum, and Polygon continue to lead the pack with 964, 781, and 479 games, respectively. If we look at the market share of transactions, Solana shows promising growth, reaching 13.6%, a significant increase from its share of only 4.2% in October.

Source: Monthly Txns Shared

Ronin certainly had a remarkable performance in November, with its trading volume capturing a significant 21% market share.

Source: Monthly Volume Shared

For more data insights, you could get it from the November Web3 gaming report: November’s Web3 Gaming Snapshot: Market Resurgence and Future Prospects.

NFT

In November, Ethereum dominated the NFT market with $634.2 million in trading volume, representing 98.5% of the total, marking a 50.4% increase from October.

Source: Monthly Volume by Chain

In November, the count of unique Ethereum users(wallets) increased by 7.6%, reaching 140.4K, constituting 55.0% of the overall unique user base. On the other hand, BNB Chain witnessed a 4% decrease from October to 16.8K unique users, a sharp 73.5% drop from the 63.4K seen in July. Concurrently, Polygon saw a significant 35.3% decrease in its unique user count, amounting to 92.0K, or 36.1% of the total user share.

Source: Monthly Uniques User by Chain

For more insights into the November NFT market, you could check the November NFT report: November NFT Update: Volume Up, Buyer Shift, Blur Gains Ground.

Investment & Funding

In November, a series of investments underscored the burgeoning interest in blockchain infrastructure, with public chains securing ten funding rounds that amassed $54.9 million. This influx of capital highlights the diverse array of initiatives gaining traction. Notably, Layer 1 blockchains such as The Open Network (TON), Sei, Klever (with a $20 million investment), Saga ($5 million), and Waterfall Network ($2 million) have all captured investor attention. Concurrently, Layer 2 solutions are also experiencing a surge in funding, as evidenced by the financial commitments to Blast ($20 million), Kinto ($5 million), Glacier Network ($2.9 million), Layer N, and INTMAX. TON, Sei, Layer N and INTMAX have kept their investment figures private.

Animoca Brands has become the largest validator for TON through an undisclosed investment, aiming to bolster GameFi on TON. The partnership will support TON Play, a project enabling game development and integration with Telegram, and includes funding, research, and analytics for TON’s ecosystem applications.

Sei Network has secured a strategic investment from Circle Ventures, the entity behind USD Coin (USDC), and has also integrated USDC natively into its blockchain. This move is part of USDC’s broader expansion strategy, which saw the stablecoin joining other networks like NEAR and Optimism earlier in August, with Sei being the most recent blockchain to adopt it.

Kinto, an Ethereum Layer 2 network utilizing the OP Stack, has announced a $5 million capital raise in this year’s funding efforts. Designed with built-in know-your-customer (KYC) protocols, Kinto ensures full compliance with anti-money laundering regulations. The platform seeks to bridge financial institutions and tangible assets with DeFi infrastructure. Kinto is preparing for its full mainnet launch in Q1 2024.

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What is Footprint Analytics?

Footprint Analytics is a blockchain data solutions provider. It leverages cutting-edge AI technology to help analysts, builders, and investors turn blockchain data and combine Web2 data into insights with accessible visualization tools and a powerful multi-chain API across 20+ chains for NFTs, GameFi, and DeFi.

Footprint Analytics Website: https://www.footprint.network

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