Meet the first NFT projects staking their treasury with Marinade!

Published in
12 min readDec 16, 2021

We’ve seen it all. NFTs have generated a lot of hype these past few months with many projects selling out while growing huge treasuries from minting and royalties on secondary sales.

Whether these NFT projects are led by a DAO or an internal team, they all need a safe and sustainable way of growing their treasury. Given that their treasury is already in SOL, it was a no-brainer for us to reach out to these projects to stake their holdings through Marinade.

By staking their treasuries with Marinade, NFT projects enjoy passive staking rewards but also have the option to put their mSOL to use in DeFi by providing liquidity, borrowing/lending, or even single-sided staking. Thus, the whole DeFi ecosystem becomes an open field that was previously inaccessible to locked SOL through traditional staking methods.

More importantly, by staking through Marinade, projects show that they are firm believers in our mission of decentralizing Solana. As Anatoly Yakovenko (Co-founder of Solana Labs) puts it, increasing the Nakamoto coefficient of Solana is a direct goal for Solana.

The Nakamoto coefficient is a formula used to measure the decentralization of a blockchain. Marinade’s delegation strategy is built to improve Solana’s Nakamoto coefficient.

As such, we wanted to raise awareness of this option, not only among NFT projects but also among the users who contribute to these DAOs. We also want to thank the six NFT projects that have taken the time to tell us more about the reasons behind their decision.

While this article showcases our NFT partners, we are welcoming all protocols across the different ingredients (DeFi, GameFi, NFT projects, exchanges, etc.) of the Solana cookbook to stake their treasuries with us and help secure Solana.

Let’s jump in!

Q1: Could you introduce us to your NFT project in a few sentences, with a short summary of your project and its vision?

Jungle cats: Jungle Cats is a collection of 5,585 High Quality 3D art. Our main focuses are high quality and appealing art, community, ecosystem growth, and metaverse integration. In the short term (3–6 months), we are airdropping 3D lionesses and introducing breeding for cubs. We also plan to incorporate our lions into the top metaverses and games, instead of building our own.

Mango Heroes: The Mango Heroes is a project inspired by Mango Markets, a decentralized exchange specializing in borrowing and lending, as well as futures trading. Our mission is to create greater awareness, increase their user base, and help participate in the push towards bridging together the many DeFi and NFT projects built on Solana. Pairing their brand with our artist skills, we decided to release an NFT collection based on mangoes. In doing so, this serves as our method to make cool art, engage with an exciting community, and generate funds to support artists and developers looking to help build and grow both projects. Our outlook on Mango Heroes begins with our integration into Mango Markets as an avatar implementation for the trading platform, followed by a chat box and interactive DEX.

Lazy Heroes: The LazyHeroes project is a collaborative project made of 2 collections (LazyHeroes and LazyVilains) and NFT comics to release on a weekly basis. Holders are able to take part in adventures created by Alro and the LazyHeroes team with their Lazy NFT as avatars. Weekly winners have their NFT featured in the NFT comic page released the following week with other rewards related to the Lazy Heroes and Villains Universe.

Just like today’s vision of the Metaverse tends to be a videogame where NFT owners use their NFTs as avatars, Lazy Holders will be able to participate in the amazing adventures created by Alro and see their NFT avatars featured in these stories on the blockchain.

Skull Division: Skull Division is the first pairable NFT on Solana. You can pair skulls with affiliate NFTs to earn royalties back to DAOs. We will link different DAOs together with our pairing system, in addition we will foster and invest in small but promising upcoming projects using our Skullarship initiative. Our vision is to be a community-first, good actor in the Solana ecosystem. We will foster our DAO/individual connections with the ambition of instigating future cross-DAO collaborative projects in order to enhance the Solana ecosystem.

Neonexus: Unlock DeFi is a blockchain agnostic technology company. Our services include development, design, and hosting services as well as our own product portfolio including NEONEXUS, a NFT-based metaverse built on the Solana ecosystem.

Contrastive: Contrastive uses AI to enable people to create their own art, guided by words and initial images. The vision is to be able to create digital worlds on the fly.

Q2: What is the aspect of Marinade that made you choose to delegate a part of your treasury with us?

Jungle cats: The whole team has been using Marinade for personal staking for months taking advantage of liquid staking. For the treasury, we saw this as an easy choice to achieve maximum yield on our SOL.

Mango Heroes: In order to bridge two sectors of crypto together (DeFi and NFTs), we’ve taken an additional approach of releasing educational content for our community. We’ve also prioritized collaborations with DeFi projects like Marinade, with the hopes of demonstrating to other NFT projects just how many benefits there are to liquid staking (and spreading out this staking), prioritizing censorship resistance, and putting your treasury to good use!

On a personal note, I’ve been staking my SOL with Marinade since August and have immensely enjoyed the number of opportunities the platform has provided. I was able to grow my collection of SOL at a much faster rate and realized how important it is that mSOL has a stable rate of return and a much larger number of validators that the treasury is staked with.

On top of that, mSOL has been implemented in more DeFi protocols than any other liquid derivative and provides a wide array of opportunities to earn yield in mSOL-SOL liquidity pools (and other pairings).

Lazy Heroes: Marinade is a well-known, established and trusted project of the Space. Also, the pros of liquid staking.

Skull Division: The Marinade vision aligns with ours; linking communities to benefit Solana. There is clearly also the mSOL yield that will also benefit our token holders. We act on our best beliefs that staking will offer more value to our holders.

Neonexus: Marinade is the leading liquid staking provider in the Solana ecosystem.

Contrastive: The liquidity — being able to use it for DeFi has been great.

Q3: What percentage of your treasury is staked in mSOL, and could you explain the reasons behind your decision? Since mSOL is liquid, do you think having 100% of your treasury in mSOL is optimal?

Jungle cats: It was 100%, but as royalties have come in, it’s more like 85%

Mango Heroes: After our launch, we staked 50% of the treasury with mSOL because we wanted to fully allocate a liquid asset into DeFi on Solana. Our past year had primarily been spent within this ecosystem, so TBT (The Brain Trust) had already begun testing with different protocols such as Apricot, Francium, Port Finance, and Saber to create a set plan of where to earn yield and increase the treasury.

This seemed like a relatively easy decision as we wanted to retain our value in SOL and participate in the network, while still taking full advantage of the expansive borrow/lend and yield farming protocols within the Solana ecosystem.

Although I wouldn’t necessarily say there’s an issue with 100% in mSOL, I still think there are valid options to take by placing the remaining allocation within either SOL or other assets, such as USDC and UST, in order to take advantage of other liquidity pools. For instance, we wanted to keep a decent amount in SOL in order to hop in Orca’s Double Dip pool for mSOL-SO. However, the benefit of having your assets in mSOL is still prominent with Marinade offering the ability to deposit back into the protocol, as well as more projects allowing single-staking within their liquidity pools.

Lazy Heroes: 30%. mSOL isn’t as liquid as SOL to be used for weekly operations. Optimal value depends on Treasury Volume in SOL and Operations and Organizational Costs.

Skull Division: 75% of our BoneDAO. We have further project funds that are ring-fenced for development that remain unstaked. We may wish to review this if our development timeline changes.

100% of the treasury is not optimal for our DAO vision, although the liquidity of mSOL means that it can be immediately recovered there is a fee for doing so. For us, it is beneficial to leave some DAO funds unstaked as we might need SOL rapidly if a market opportunity comes around (i.e., invest DAO funds in a NFT that is listed cheaply). Opportunity cost is preventing 100% at this time.

Neonexus: 10%. No, we are constantly using the SOL in our treasury and most of our costs cannot be paid in mSOL. Most of it is not for long-term holding which we believe staking is great for.

Contrastive: 33% — it is the best staking service, but we are spreading risk as the ecosystem is still in early stages.

Q4: Was the transition between a SOL treasury to a mSOL treasury hard to accomplish?

Jungle cats: Not at all.

Mango Heroes:Absolutely not, even with our previous experience with DeFi, Marinade provides a simple guide to understand how to stake your SOL and benefit from liquid staking. We ended up taking different routes to gauge overall ROI, primarily by staking through Marinade itself and using DEXes like Raydium and Orca. However, once Jupiter Aggregator started rolling out more protocol integrations, this became the best option for fast and consistent swaps between both assets.

Lazy Heroes: No.

Skull Division: No, once community governance had approved it was simple. We will be using the normal dashboard to connect our DAO wallet and stake.

Neonexus: No, very easy.

Contrastive: It took < 2 minutes.

Q5: Do you plan on further using the mSOL to earn additional yield in the DeFi ecosystem or will it remain in your treasury?

Jungle cats: Yes, we are currently lending mSOL on Tulip.

Mango Heroes: Of course! The same concept applies here for leaving mSOL in a treasury, why would we let mSOL sit in a wallet doing nothing, when we can earn 40% APR by staking in a riskless pool? We have more of a degen side in this case and set out strategies to take advantage of Leverage Farming across platforms like Francium and Apricot (we had a lot of fun in the recent DFL & CAVE pools on Francium). We still plan to keep some in our treasury but the least we could do is stake this mSOL through Marinade in order to earn MNDE tokens.

Lazy Heroes: Yes, to further add yield.

Skull Division: We will explore this avenue further, but would most certainly take other actions providing the risk/reward was correct.

Neonexus: Yes.

Contrastive: We have been collecting MNDE governance tokens for the moment.

Q6: Do you consider the possibility of single-sided staking your mSOL to obtain MNDE (or even buying it on the market) and have your project be part of our mDAO by holding MNDE in its treasury?

Jungle cats: This is definitely something we can present as a DAO proposal. I personally stake my mSOL on francium to receive rewards in MNDE.

Mango Heroes: Great transition into this question lol, we ended up earning a decent amount of MNDE from our farming as well as our personal wallets receiving the retroactive airdrop. We’ve enjoyed seeing the mDAO get to work firsthand and would love to see what other collaborations arise!

Lazy Heroes: Yes.

Skull Division: We could look into this as a future addition to the partnership.

Neonexus: It is worth considering for sure!

Contrastive: We are currently single staked to obtain MNDE — and are part of mDAO by holding MNDE.

Q7: Are there other possible integrations you would like to see with Marinade for your project?

Jungle cats: We would like to explore the option of having a pool, or an option where users (or maybe Jungle Cats holders) can indicate that they would like a small portion of rewards to go towards the JungleDAO. This could onboard more users onto Marinade, while also benefiting the DAO fund.

Mango Heroes: Yes indeed, we are waiting for the next Mango Heroes x Marinade collaboration! After seeing the success of mSOL being added to Mango Markets and the new mSOL-MNGO liquidity pool on Aldrin, we’ve seen just how beneficial partnering with (or helping setting up a partnership) can be for new projects to take part in.

Base layer focus is simply getting mSOL to as many protocols as possible, whether that’s through exchanges, lending platforms or maybe the potential rise of mSOL as an accepted asset on NFT marketplaces! Building on top of these concepts would see a heavier rise in healthy competition between liquid staking protocols, such as Socean and Parrot.

The next level of this in my personal view involves Superfluid Staking, where we would reverse the staking derivatives themselves to stake the AMM LP shares instead of the underlying staking token. This would then allow for full participation among protocols as mentioned above, and would provide an even wider array of cross-chain solutions.

Skull Division: We will be working with other partners to launch new collaborative projects through our Skullarship. We could look at mSOL being a minting option. In particular, we have a new collaborative mint in the new year. This could be explored for the ‘Project Sku11’ mint.

Neonexus: Yes, we would love to someday allow our users to pay in mSOL.

Contrastive: As a payments system.

Q8: Finally, would you recommend other NFTs projects to take a look at this option for their treasury? Do you think Marinade brings enough help to NFT projects in order to do it easily? Would you say that some tools are still missing?

Jungle cats: I think it is already an easy process. The main hurdle is probably awareness. Some of these projects may not know about Marinade, or not understand the benefits.

Mango Heroes: Yes, a thousand times YES! If our breakdown didn’t explain enough, there’s quite honestly no benefit to *only* keeping SOL in a wallet. Without the appreciation of mSOL staking, projects would actually be losing money over time if they chose not to take advantage of liquid staking, especially on Marinade.

Since we’re living in a relatively new ecosystem, there’s always a massive need for dev resources and educational content. This is where we plan to come in and provide content for all new users within the crypto space, while demonstrating how to grow your treasury.

Lazy Heroes: Staking with Marinade should be considered by every project in the space that looks to grow and remain an actor of the Space in the future. More partners for mSOL will always be good!

Skull Division: We will be promoting the new partnership, and are excited about the potential further integrations we can have with Marinade. We will no doubt highly recommend it as we progress our partnership further.

Neonexus: Yes, we recommend that other projects consider this option. It is very easy. Deeper integration into other parts of the Solana ecosystem including applications, wallets, and marketplaces would be great.

Contrastive: 100%, it is an excellent option. The main missing thing is an anchor guide on how to invoke mSOL transactions for easy usage in payments.

Our NFT partners (from left to right): Lazy Heroes, Jungle Cats, Skull division, Mango Heroes, Neonexus, Contrastive

We invite you to take a look at these projects who are joining us in ensuring the security of Solana!

As you’ve seen, projects have a variety of reasons to stake with Marinade. Whether mSOL is used to passively earn rewards or to actively contribute to DeFi, any project can find its own strategy revolving around mSOL. If they choose to acquire MNDE, those projects also become part of our DAO and will help govern Marinade in the future. It’s a way for them do directly join our mission and align their incentives with ours even more.

Marinade has constantly been finding new and exciting ways to integrate mSOL in Solana. For example, it is now possible to “Mint NFTs in mSOL” using Candy Machine by Metaplex. In addition, we are also reaching out to NFT marketplaces to integrate mSOL as an additional payment method. We are also in discussions with metaverse and gaming protocols to integrate the Marinade experience within their platforms. The Marinade community extends its help to these projects since they are aligning themselves with the vision of a robust and decentralized Solana network.

If you are a member of a team or a DAO, feel free to offer this idea to your community. Marinade will be there to assist with any needs you might have in order to undergo the transition, and who knows, perhaps we could build something together in the near future?

Thank you for your time and see you in our kitchen!

What is Marinade.Finance?

Marinade.Finance is the first non-custodial liquid staking protocol built on Solana. You can stake your SOL tokens with Marinade and receive “marinated SOL” tokens (mSOL) that you can use in decentralized finance (DeFi).

The price of mSOL goes up relative to SOL each epoch, with rewards being accrued into the underlying staked SOL. Marinade stakes in 400+ validators that are selected automatically by an open-source fair algorithm based on performance, commission, and decentralization.

Marinade includes mSOL->SOL swap, so you can “Unstake Now!” and receive your SOL immediately with a small fee. You can also directly exchange between mSOL and SOL on secondary markets at the current rate. Finally, you can unstake your SOL with zero fees by waiting 4–6 days for the Solana cooldown period (delayed unstake).

As of December 2021, Marinade’s TVL is around 1.5b USD.

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