Solana Foundation Removes Validators Over Malicious Activities

The Solana Foundation has removed several validator operators from its delegation program for participating in sandwich attacks.

Squads Labs has raised $10 million in a Series A funding round and launched a new iOS wallet app, Fuse. Meanwhile, the Solana Foundation has taken decisive action by removing validator operators involved in sandwich attacks, and Iggy Azalea has announced that her MOTHER tokens can soon be used for phones and services from her planned telecommunications company.

Solana Foundation Removes Validator Operators Involved in Sandwich Attacks on Traders

The Solana Foundation has taken a firm stance against malicious activity within its network by removing a group of validator operators from its delegation program. These validators were found to be involved in sandwich attacks, a type of fraudulent activity that exploits retail traders by manipulating transaction prices.

Understanding Sandwich Attacks

Sandwich attacks are a sophisticated form of front-running where a malicious trader searches the network for a pending transaction, places an order before it, and another immediately after. This sequence manipulates the asset’s price, allowing the attacker to profit from the difference. The process guarantees that retail investors receive the worst possible price, while the attacker reaps the benefits.

The validators were identified through their participation in mempools, which facilitate sandwich attacks by allowing the manipulation of transaction order. The Solana Foundation's rules explicitly prohibit validators from engaging in malicious activities, and the decision to remove these validators aligns with its stringent regulatory framework.

Announcement by Solana Foundation

Tim Garcia, Solana's validator relations lead, announced the removal of the guilty validators via Discord. He emphasized that any operators engaging in malicious activities, including participating in private mempools to execute sandwich attacks or otherwise harming Solana users, will not be tolerated. Garcia stated:

“Anyone found engaging in such activity will be rejected from the program, and any stake from the Foundation will be immediately and permanently removed.”

Solana Foundation Delegation Program

The Solana Foundation Delegation Program was established to support validators by assigning them Solana’s SOL tokens, thus relieving them of the burden of holding a significant number of tokens themselves. Delegation allows users to assign staking rights to a stake pool or validator, who are then responsible for creating blocks and verifying transactions. Validators are selected based on their performance and reliability.

The involvement of validators in third-party memepools to scam retail users is a severe violation of the program’s principles. Mert Mumtaz, co-founder of Solana remote procedure call provider Helius, highlighted the issue on social media, explaining that certain operators had modified their validators to enable sandwiching on Solana.

Commitment to Security and Integrity

The Foundation remains steadfast in its commitment to protecting retail users from exploitation by those who abuse the system for personal gain. By removing the malicious validators, the Solana Foundation aims to safeguard investors from losing their investments due to fraudulent activities.

The removal of validator operators involved in sandwich attacks is a clear message that malicious activities will not be tolerated. This action demonstrates the Foundation's dedication to maintaining a secure and trustworthy blockchain environment. As the Solana network continues to grow, the Foundation’s proactive measures will be crucial in protecting its users and preserving the integrity of its ecosystem.

Squads Labs Raises $10 Million in Series A Funding and Launches iOS Wallet App Fuse

Squads Labs, the primary developer behind the Solana-based multisig protocol Squads, has successfully raised $10 million in a Series A funding round. The firm also announced the launch of its retail-focused iOS wallet app, Fuse, which is now available on public TestFlight. This funding and new product development mark significant milestones for Squads Labs as it continues to enhance its offerings and expand its reach within the blockchain ecosystem.

Details of the Funding Round

The Series A funding round was led by Electric Capital, with participation from notable investors such as Coinbase Ventures, Placeholder VC, RockawayX, L1 Digital, and Mert Mumtaz, co-founder and CEO of Helius and founder of Odyssey Ventures. The fundraising began in March and concluded earlier this month. Stepan Simkin, CEO of Squads Labs, noted that the round was structured as equity with token warrants, similar to their seed round, although he declined to disclose the valuation.

With the latest round, Squads Labs has raised a total of $22.5 million, having previously secured $12.5 million across three funding rounds. This substantial financial backing is set to fuel the company’s growth and development efforts.

The Squads Protocol

Squads is a Solana-based multisig protocol designed to help businesses manage on-chain assets such as treasury, tokens, and admin keys with multi-signature security. Since its launch in 2021, Squads has made significant strides, securing over $10 billion in assets—a remarkable increase from $500 million in October of the previous year. The protocol’s user base has also expanded, growing from over 100 clients in October to over 250 currently. Notable clients include Jito, Jupiter, Tensor, Drift, Zeta, Backpack, and Kamino.

Simkin stated that the fresh funding will be utilized to further enhance the Squads protocol and assist more businesses in managing their on-chain workflows throughout their lifecycle.

Introducing Fuse Wallet App

In addition to the funding news, Squads Labs has launched its retail-oriented iOS wallet app, Fuse, on public TestFlight. Fuse is built on top of the Squads protocol and incorporates multi-signature security for personal assets. Unlike other Solana wallets such as Phantom, which focus on onboarding and connectivity, Fuse is designed to serve as the ultimate savings account for digital net worth, reducing reliance on cold wallets or centralized exchanges (CEXs).

Simkin elaborated on Fuse's unique features, which include two-factor authentication (2FA), wallet recovery, progressive security, time locks, and spending limits. These features allow users to fully program their self-custody setup, making Fuse distinctively focused on asset storage and compounding rather than ecosystem interactions.

Squads Labs aims to launch Fuse on the main app store by early July, expanding its availability to a broader audience.

Company Expansion and Future Plans

Squads Labs currently employs 17 people, and with the new funding, Simkin plans to expand the team by hiring additional designers and engineers. The company is also in the process of establishing its permanent headquarters in Dubai, which will support its global expansion efforts.

The $10 million Series A funding round and the launch of the Fuse wallet app are significant achievements for Squads Labs. These developments not only enhance the company’s ability to provide robust multisig security solutions but also position it as a key player in the blockchain space. With plans to further develop its protocol, expand its team, and establish a permanent headquarters, Squads Labs is poised for continued growth and innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain industry.

Iggy Azalea's MOTHER Tokens to Gain New Utility with Planned Telecommunications Company Launch

Turning attention to the Solana meme coin space, Iggy Azalea announced that holders of her MOTHER tokens will soon be able to use them to pay for phones and services from her forthcoming telecommunications company. This development comes on the heels of a successful merchandise store launch.

Telecommunications Venture and Token Integration

Australian rapper Iggy Azalea took to social media platform X to share exciting news about her telecommunications company. "Tomorrow I’m finally relaunching the telecommunication company I co-founded, and you will be able to purchase phones, or month-to-month cell plans using $MOTHER or Sol," she wrote. She added that an advertising campaign and rollout would follow later this week.

The company, Unreal Mobile, will offer a variety of phones and month-to-month plans ranging from $20 to $80 per month, depending on data usage and network spectrum. Sphere Labs will handle the payment infrastructure, although it has not issued a native token as of now.

Impact on MOTHER Token and Market Performance

The announcement has already had a positive impact on the MOTHER token, which has seen an 18% increase in the past 24 hours, according to DEXTools data. This rise significantly outpaces gains in the meme coin sector, while the broader crypto market has dropped by 0.3%.

The utility expansion of MOTHER tokens comes shortly after the launch of a merchandise store last week, which also contributed to a rally in the token's value. Since its issuance in late May, MOTHER has experienced volatile trading, with its market valuation growing from under $10 million to over $200 million.

Background and Market Reception

MOTHER was issued as a celebrity meme coin on the Solana blockchain, initially sparking debate within the crypto community. Critics labeled it a potential cash grab by Azalea, while supporters saw it as a step toward broader token adoption. Despite the initial controversy, Azalea’s continuous backing and promises of long-term growth have seemingly paid off, benefiting early adopters and boosting the token's market value.

The telecommunications venture's announcement also draws parallels with the successful launch of phones sold on the Solana blockchain. The flagship Saga model, which included an allocation of BONK tokens, sold out in 2023, reflecting positive sentiment around Solana-based meme tokens. The success of the Saga phone even led to the development of a second model, which surpassed 100,000 presale orders by February 2024.

Future Prospects and Industry Implications

Azalea’s integration of MOTHER tokens into her telecommunications company indicates a growing trend of cryptocurrencies gaining practical use cases beyond trading and speculation. By allowing users to pay for tangible goods and services with MOTHER tokens, Azalea is setting a precedent for other celebrities and businesses considering similar ventures.

This move could also pave the way for increased adoption of cryptocurrency in the telecommunications sector, potentially influencing other service providers to explore blockchain-based payment solutions. As MOTHER tokens gain more utility, their value and market stability may continue to improve, offering long-term benefits to holders and further legitimizing the token in the eyes of skeptics.