Optimism Struggles to Handle Surge for OP Token
The first phase of Optimism’s debut airdrop took place on May 31, but it was overwhelmed by demand and the project scrambled to fulfill claims on a “turbulent” day.
Optimism, an Ethereum Layer 2 scaling solution, set up the airdrop to distribute OP tokens to reward users that have helped it to grow and to entice newcomers to join the network.
But some onlookers were not convinced Optimism is worth the trouble. “I see no reason for [$OP] to exist apart from it being a farm token for ecosystem rewards,” said Wangarian, an angel investor and former principal with DeFiance Capital.
Optimism doled out tokens to 248,699 wallet addresses across the Ethereum and Optimism networks. Eligible users had to meet a variety of criteria, including being on the Optimism chain, voting on proposals or signing multisig wallets for top DAOs within the Ethereum ecosystem, and Gitcoin donors.
Optimism paid bonuses of extra tokens to participants who met the majority of criteria. With Optimism trading at $1.71, almost four dozen wallets received more than $47,000 worth of tokens. OP briefly traded as high as $3.50.
But the excitement for OP resulted in the drop being hampered by issues, with claimants experiencing failed or delayed transactions, and the Optimism mainnet reporting degraded performance for more than three hours.
In a Twitter thread recapping the event, Optimism described the airdrop as “turbulent,” estimating that it took five hours for the team to restore normal performance on mainnet and host a smooth claiming process.
Optimism said they significantly underestimated the volume of traffic that would attempt to access its claims link once its contract was deployed, despite the team not yet announcing the drop was live. Although Optimism raced to help users connect with its network, it took several hours of coordination, prompting the team to remove the user interface enabling users to claim their OP.
But impatient airdrop opportunists began building and sharing their own interfaces. The team lamented that their biggest mistake was failing to manage the inflow of claims. “Claims were open, and we had no way to stop them,” the project said.
The Optimism team feared that scammers could steal funds from users by launching malicious interfaces, so they quietly redeployed the interface for claiming OP. Once the network had been stabilized several hours later, Optimism officially announced the drop.
The team concluded that the chaotic token launch will inform how future airdrops are deployed. Optimism emphasized that more airdrops will be conducted in future to support meaningful engagement with projects in its ecosystem.
Critics didn’t wait to weigh in on problems with the drop, or Optimism’s usefulness. Sdyshi, an investment manager with financial services firm Amber Group, said Optimism’s utility as a governance token is lacking. “Really have to do some mental gymnastics to ascribe meaningful value to it,” Sdyshi said.
Artem Oak commented that it is “sad to see that now you MUST issue incentives to attract users, not just be better than others.”