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Exploring a Touch of UNI

This article on the UNI token and airdrop used data as at 30 Sep 2020 with Etherscan, Dune Analytics and Twitter as sources.

On 17 September 2020, the Ethereum space woke up to wild news. had airdropped 400 UNI to anyone who had ever used the platform!

The face when you walk into the office and teammates tell you about your UNI

Immediately trading at ~$3, the airdrop gave $1,200 worth of tokens to users around the world, leading to and bringing hype back to the .

In this article, we take a look at UNI’s:

  • Impact on Ethereum gas prices
  • Token holder breakdown
  • Use & Governance

Impact on Gas

As hundreds of thousands of users claimed and traded their UNI, the Ethereum blockchain — already experiencing record levels of congestion — was stretched even more. Average gas price of the entire Ethereum blockchain tripled upon UNI launch.

Users spent millions of dollars paying gas fees. At one point, UNI addresses guzzled up half of all gas used on Ethereum.

In the initial rush, gas prices were bid up high above the normal rates. The highest gas price set was 8,888 gwei — the user spent $147 simply to approve trading of UNI on Uniswap!

May the 8,888 gwei bring them .

Token Holder Breakdown

Looking at the distribution of , the top 50 addresses hold 91.5% of all UNI. The amounts allocated for future community plans and team & investors total up to 85%.

Other addresses in the top 50 were:

  • Exchanges: , and make up 3.7%
  • The four for farming UNI: totaling 1.7%
  • The Uniswap ETH-UNI Liquidity Pool with 0.5%
  • Cream Finance’s token holds 0.4%
  • A UNI claimant: . This user received 2.1 million UNI (~$9 million!) for their prior services as a Liquidity Provider (LP), and is the only LP to make it to the top 50.

In total, there were 42 team or investor addresses that . 5 of these (presumably the current team), moved up to 17% of their balances to other addresses. team member is actively voting by delegating votes from 5 separate addresses.

Use & Governance

Why should these UNI tokens have any value?

This question is likely on many readers’ minds. In their , the Uniswap team described a 0.05% protocol fee that can be turned on. The Uniswap Factory contract source code shows this value hardcoded in.

Uniswap Factory Contract

UNI tokens provide the ability to govern the protocol. If UNI holders voted to turn on protocol fee and have it channeled to all holders, each UNI holder stands to gain from a large revenue stream.

Finance-savvy readers may run your DCF models to value UNI now

To create proposals an address needs 10 million UNI. At the time of writing, only Binance and Huobi have the necessary amount (if they choose to use their users’ UNI). Three other addresses collecting delegated votes and approaching the minimum necessary amount are , and .

Credit to user: lsquared on Dune Analytics for delegate .

The UNI airdrop has become a milestone in Ethereum history and pushed the boundaries for other Ethereum projects. Will the airdrop to its users result only in selloffs or inspire long term loyalty to the brand? Time — and community participation — will tell.



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