We know that airdrops are a common way that new projects, protocols, and tokens look to bring in new users, hopefully, those that will become long-term holders and active participants in the ecosystem.
But that isn’t always how airdrops played out. As we saw in our analysis of Terra airdrops, these distributions often see users decline to claim their tokens, while those that do claim often swap or otherwise dump the currency.
So, how have airdrops impacted the ecosystems surrounding projects like Uniswap, FEI, and 1inch? With help from Flipside’s own @BlumbergKellen and our on-chain data, we can see how airdrop recipients have used their tokens.
The answer? Most aren’t holding onto them for very long. According to our analysis, less than half of these airdropped tokens are held or “kept” by recipients — that is, they weren’t swapped for other tokens or transferred to a central exchange.
1inch airdrops lead the way for holders
We’ll start by taking a closer look at 1inch airdrops.
So far, there have been three distributions — one in February of 2020, one a year later in February of 2021, and a final event on July 31 of this year. All told, roughly 91 million 1INCH tokens were distributed in these three events.
But, as Flipside’s on-chain data reveals, nearly 40 percent of those tokens have been either swapped or transferred to a centralized exam within 24 hours. Within a week, that rate has jumped to nearly 50%, and after 90 days, as we can see in the data below, 36.3% of tokens are considered “kept.” More than a quarter of these tokens, meanwhile, have been swapped for other currencies, with others being transferred to centralized exchanges.
FEI and TRIBE airdrops see heavy swaps
These results mostly hold true when we examine other airdrop events. That includes FEI and TRIBE airdrops — most of these projects saw an even smaller rate of tokens kept following airdrops.
In fact, while more than 90% of the total supply of airdropped tokens were claimed for both projects, 27.6% of the airdropped FEI and TRIBE tokens are considered “kept.” As we can see in the graph below, more than 50% of both airdropped FEI and TRIBE tokens have been swapped for other currencies (as represented by the blue bar).
According to @BlumbergKellen, most FEI holders held their tokens for less than one week before selling. This sell pressure likely led to the dramatic price decrease that took place in the early days of FEI.
TRIBE holders meanwhile, did tend to hold on to their tokens for a bit longer. In fact, nearly 50% held for more than a week. With enough time, however, these users also tended to sell their holdings.
UNI airdrops see the fewest tokens kept
Uniswap airdrop recipients, in comparison, did not tend to sell or swap their UNI tokens as quickly nor as often as FEI and TRIBE holders. But that doesn’t mean they are holding on to their airdropped tokens. In fact, 23.4 percent of users kept their tokens by our measurement.
As we can see in the table below, nearly 40 percent of users swapped or sold their tokens. Nearly 20 percent, meanwhile, were transferred to a central exchange — far more than the FEI or TRIBE airdrops. By contrast, five percent of users go on to provide liquidity on the platform.
As we can see in the data above, the vast majority of users who receive tokens as part of airdrop events do not hold on to their tokens or use them to become involved in the respective ecosystems. This follows many of the same patterns we saw in our analysis of Terra airdrops.
Do more with on-chain data 🔍
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