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. Uniswap had airdropped 400 UNI to anyone who had ever used the platform!
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!
Token Holder Breakdown
Looking at the distribution of token holders, 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: Binance, Huobi and OKEx make up 3.7%
- The four staking pools for farming UNI: totaling 1.7%
- The Uniswap ETH-UNI Liquidity Pool with 0.5%
- Cream Finance’s crUNI token holds 0.4%
- A UNI claimant: 0xdd2…3B3. 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 received UNI. 5 of these (presumably the current team), moved up to 17% of their balances to other addresses. One 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 whitepaper, 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.
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.
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 Yuni.Finance, Gauntlet.Network and Dharma.
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.