Degenerate apes are aping into Solana, causing the high-performance blockchain project to lead crypto gainers this morning.

The Ethereum competitor surged past Uniswap’s UNI token on at least one widely used coin-ranking website this morning to become the No. 10 crypto with a market cap of US$16.2 billion.

SOL tokens were changing hands at US$56, up 24.9 per cent in the past 24 hours and up 50.8 per cent in the past seven days.

And the reason doesn’t seem to have much to do with Solana’s innovative “proof of history” mechanism for reaching network consensus, its new “wormhole” for transporting tokens from Solana to Terra, Ethereum and Binance Smart Chain, or the launch of the new Solana-powered decentralised exchange Mango Markets.

No. It’s friggin’ apes.

The Degenerate Ape Academy NFT project sold out its collection of the 10,000 “smoothest brained” apes in eight minutes during its launch over the weekend.

The minting fee was six SOL tokens (about US$336) per ape, but the added transaction fee to use the Solana platform was minuscule.

Other popular NFT launches on Ethereum have badly clogged the network, causing gas fees to skyrocket so high that transactions momentarily cost hundreds of dollars in Ether.

The Degenerate Ape Project admitted on its Twitter feed that the launch was “shitty at best” as the team was “overwhelmed with the wave that hit us in the past week”.

“It was exponentially bigger than we thought,” they wrote, promising quick refunds to users who tried to mint apes but found them sold out.

But those who did get apes were pretty happy with them.

The “floor price” (minimum price) for degenerate apes on Solanart this morning was 13.8 SOL, meaning those who had been lucky enough to mint them had at least doubled their money in just 24 hours.

A number of apes had recently sold for 25 SOL or so, with an ape sporting a beer hat fetching 100 SOL (US$5,600) earlier this morning. Its new owner had already relisted it for 500 SOL.

Degen Ape #4285
This buyer of this ape is trying to flip it for a 5x profit.

Coinmarketcap and still had Solana behind Uniswap at lunchtime (Sydney time), but Coingecko had it ahead.

Overall market up 1.4%

The crypto market was up 1.4 per cent to US$2.1 trillion, with only a handful of top 100 tokens losing ground.

Crypto market

The worst laggard in the top 100 was the fading SafeMoon, which was down 12 per cent and is now just the No. 93 crypto.

XRP was trading at US$1.30, up 66 per cent from a week ago, and Cardano had reclaimed the No. 3 spot on Coingecko with a 50 per cent gain in the last seven days. It was changing hands at US$2.14.

Dogecoin was up 8.8 per cent to US33.7c