Over the last year or so within the crypto space if you had strategically farmed every airdrop that has been given out you would’ve easily netted yourself millions of dollars. Due to this, there are now plenty of people employing various strategies to try and maximise the value of any future airdrop (sometimes even using insider information). Unfortunately this means that airdrops are now basically broken as a way to distribute tokens fairly to a wide group of people.
As you can see above, zkSync’s port of Uniswap v2, UniSync, saw an incredible amount of transactional volume since its launch last week. Though the kicker here is that UniSync is only on a testnet so no real value is being transacted right now - so why then did the network process over 590,000 transactions? Not to discredit the work the zkSync team have done with UniSync (it’s running on a zkEVM rollup and works very well!) but they have announced previously that there will be a token associated with zkSync. So, given this context, I’m going to just assume that a lot of these transactions have come from people farming a possible future airdrop. Now you see what I mean by airdrops being broken - there could literally just be a few people spinning up hundreds of different wallets in order to try and game the airdrop - an unfortunate side-effect of Ethereum’s pseudonymous nature.
Airdrops aren’t the only thing that I consider broken in the crypto space - token distributions are as well as it’s become increasingly difficult for teams to fairly distribute tokens to a wide audience. Did the team give too many tokens to themselves, investors and other general “insiders”? Well now the project is considered a “VC scam”. Does it have a liquidity mining program? Well now the token is just something people farm and dump. Planning to do an airdrop? Good luck filtering through who’s a “real” user and who’s just gaming the distribution. We’re going to see thousands of these token experiments play out before we even get close to figuring out the “ideal” distribution (if such a thing even exists).
There’s also the question of how many of projects actually need a token and whether tokenizing will actually be a net benefit or not. I would argue that for many projects having a token has been a detriment and ends up being a distraction from the actual things that matter such as the product, user experience, team morale and more. On top of this, not many teams put a lot of thought into their token or its distribution which just means there is little hope of a healthy community forming around the project. I’ve actually seen this play out first-hand many times now and it always ends the same way with the team having to pick up the pieces of a broken community - often failing to do so.
All in all, I’m not saying that tokens are necessarily bad or that airdrops always have to fail, but unfortunately it has been the common theme up until now. Rarely do any tokens outperform a benchmark asset like ETH over the long-term nor do most of the tokens end up serving a critical function in the protocol that they are tied to. In saying this, I’m confident that eventually the ecosystem will figure out a good model for both token distribution and design, but it’s going to take a whole lot of experimentation and speculation to get there.
Have a great day everyone,
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All information presented above is for educational purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice.