Mango Markets, a decentralized exchange (DEX) on the high-speed Solana blockchain, raised $70 million in a token sale Wednesday.
At its height, investors had plowed over $500 million in USDC into the trading platform’s 24-hour sale, racing to get a share of 500 million MNGO tokens up for grabs. But much of that drained away in the final minutes of a daylong grace period that followed, leaving $70.5 million locked up in tokens.
The funding for the still-nascent project reflects the rising fortunes of the Solana blockchain. Many decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols aim to raise between $1 million and $15 million in seed stage funding, one source said, making Mango DAO’s (decentralized autonomous organization) $70 million an outlier.
Mango offers a trading hub for spot markets, perpetual futures and lending. It sources liquidity from its own pools as well as from Serum, an exchange built on the Solana blockchain.
The sale was closed to U.S. investors, likely in an attempt to stave off the regulatory scrutiny that can hamstring similar projects – sometimes years down the line.
The DAO’s website said MNGO has three goals, including to capitalize an insurance fund, distribute the DEX governance token and incentivize liquidity for market makers. Ninety percent of tokens are locked up in a governance fund, 5% in an insurance policy and the remainder in contributor tokens.
The entirety of Wednesday’s funding will go to DAO’s insurance fund to secure a hefty backstop for Mango Protocol’s lenders if things go south, sources familiar with the funding round told CoinDesk. Hacks happen in the Wild West of decentralization, and Mango DAO cautioned token buyers that it couldn’t guarantee its smart contracts would be bug-free. (The sale took place against the backdrop of Tuesday’s $600 million heist on Poly Network, another DeFi platform.)
Solana Labs, the leading firm behind the network, raised $314 million in June. Solana itself has been the blockchain of choice for Sam Bankman-Fried, the billionaire who founded the FTX crypto exchange and who has invested heavily in Solana-based projects.
UPDATE (Aug. 12, 2021, 05:31 UTC): Adds Mango DAO’s comparative fundraise in third paragraph.