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Mina Foundation’s first community-facing token sale generated $18.7 million in four hours last month after a rush of CoinList users tried to buy up more MINA than the lightweight blockchain project was willing to sell.

Only 12% of the sale’s 375,000 registrants were able to buy the 7.5% of outstanding MINA supply that Mina Foundation made available, according to data reviewed by CoinDesk. That’s more registered users than CoinList Head of Sales Mike Zajko said he’d seen for a single token sale at that point in CoinList’s three-year history.

The breakneck demand for O(1) Labs’ Mina protocol highlights how niche projects are leveraging their growing communities and the broader bull run into base-building token sales. 

CEO Evan Shapiro said O(1) Labs was more interested in spreading MINA as far as he could than in nabbing more capital for the startup. His team ended up capping MINA buys at $500 instead of the original $1,000 target to give more buyers a chance, Zajko said.

Zajko noted CoinList is broadly enjoying a rush of business from high-profile token sales in the past few months. These offerings build upon each other, he said. Protocol bulls arrive ready to buy their favorite blockchain’s token. Some invariably stick around, learn about other CoinList offerings and jump into those sales, too.

O(1) Labs raised early funding from investors such as Three Arrows Capital, Polychain and others in earlier rounds. This was the first time more casual followers of Shapiro’s zk-SNARKs-focused blockchain could participate. Ultimately, 40,500 walked away with a MINA stake.

Some of those were serious investors, Zajko said. Without naming names, he said he was surprised by the number of institutionally linked CoinList users who bought in. He said many would have purchased more MINA were they given the chance. But there was no “whale rail” for this community sale. 

“In 2019, 2020, I think there were a lot of questions on the viability of token sales as a business, if token sales could be a thing,” Zajko said. “I think we’ve demonstrated that they are a very important part of the Web3 strategy.”

Correction (May 5, 22:06 UTC): Mina Foundation conducted the MINA token sale, not O(1) Labs.