Solana-based crypto staking project Jito released its JTO token on Thursday, continuing the march of popular token airdrops into the newly resurgent Solana ecosystem.
The new asset opened for trading at a price of $1.20 and then began climbing toward $2 on various Solana-based decentralized exchanges. The debut price undercut futures traders' prelaunch estimates of around $1.50 per token on the perpetual futures trading platform Aevo.
Coinbase and Binance are also planning to list it.
JTO is a governance token whose holders will have some sway over Jito's treasury and fee rates. The protocol is rewarding past users with airdrops that start at 4,941 tokens and increase depending on how much they used its so-called liquid staking token (LST), jitoSOL.
Jito is the second-largest LST protocol for Solana users who want to trade and borrow against the SOL tokens they've locked up with validators. JitoSOL, its flagship asset, is basically a depository receipt for staked SOL. It generates yield from the Solana network's staking processes as well as extra revenue from Jito's MEV-style approach to auctioning blockspace.
The token's launch comes as the Solana ecosystem enjoys a rapid rebound in popularity as well as price. Solana's SOL has climbed 542% year-to-date with much of the price rise happening since mid-October. Many on-chain protocols are trying to take advantage of these favorable conditions with token airdrops that could drive yet more activity into their own products.
All those airdrops are helping fuel Solana's growth, too, Jito Labs CTO Zano Shermani said on Twitter spaces on Thursday. He said the new breed of projects learned the lessons of their predecessors who released assets with "pretty bad tokenomics" during Solana's previous bull market in mid-to-late 2021.
Only 10% of JTO's total supply is being distributed to airdroppers, who, notably, have an 18 month window to claim their treasure. Any unallocated tokens will go into a treasury controlled by Jito's decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), which is managed by JTO holders.
The rest of the token supply is earmarked for Jito's investors and core contributors, as well as for efforts to bolster the Jito ecosystem.
The price is expected to be highly volatile on Thursday as more airdrop recipients claim their rewards and get the opportunity to hold or sell.
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