‘Mindless’ screw-up or marketing stunt?

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A $10-million snafu involving the Solana-based Slerf (SLERF) memecoin may have actually been a sophisticated marketing stunt — at least, according to some onlookers of the debacle that unfolded. 

On March 18, the developer of the Slerf project drew widespread attention after claiming to have accidentally burned a pre-sale allocation of 53,000 Solana’s SOL (SOL) tokens intended to be airdropped to early investors.

The Slerf developer posted “oh fuck” on X upon realizing his mistake before following up with an explanation and “I am so fucking sorry” in a post 10 minutes later. Slerf’s posts then went from apologetic to awe as volumes of the token spiked over $2 billion in trading volume in the hours after.

However, some skeptics are pointing to several suspicious trades as evidence the supposedly mistaken burn event may have been intentional to garner attention — though the evidence is mostly circumstantial. 

Solana community developer Gary Henderson claimed the Slerf burn appears to have been doctored and pointed to the Slerf creator’s wallet removing 1,050 SOL from the liquidity pool just before the liquidity was burned.

Source: Gary Henderson

Henderson said this strongly suggests the Slerf dev was aware of the impending burn and decided to remove his funds beforehand.

The Slerf developer replied and denied making the move on purpose, saying he had “no intention” of burning the tokens.

“This is true but I had no intention of burning the tokens that were intended from airdrops,” Slerf wrote in a March 19 post to X.

Wildcat creator Laurence Day also suggested that the Slerf burn was “nearly certainly intentional” to drum up hype for the project.

He explained that someone had stacked $1.9 million into the liquidity pool shortly after the burn and sold it for $5 million, suggesting that insiders could have used the event to profit from the hysteria.

Day bSource: Laurence Day on Twitter

However, the Slerf dev has repeatedly explained that the burn was “not a joke” and was the result of a simple “mindless misclick” during the process of burning the liquidity pool on a tool known as the SOL incinerator.

In a March 18 X Space, the developer seemingly broke down in tears and reiterated that the burning of the pre-sale allocation was a stupid mistake.

Cointelegraph reached out to Slerf for comment but didn’t receive a response by the time of publication.

Related: Solana activity flips Ethereum amid memecoin craze, even as txs fail

Regardless of whether the bungled launch was intentional or not, the project has attracted an incredible amount of attention on both social media and throughout the market itself.

As of the time of publication, Slerf has generated over $3.2 billion in trading volume in the last 24 hours and is currently changing hands for $1.08, touting a total market capitalization of $540 billion.

Slerf has seen over $3.2 billion in trading volume in the last 24 hours. Source: Birdeye

Notably, there is no guarantee investors will actually receive a token from the pre-sale, which is part of the reason why the fundraising model is so popular among scammers and other fraudulent actors.

In the last 72 hours, well over $100 million has been raised by Solana memecoin projects using pre-sales.

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