Is L2 airdrop really effective? Taking Optimism and Arbitrum as examples.

zkCyborg and GCR Research have written an article discussing the effectiveness of airdrops in Ethereum Layer 2 projects that have conducted airdrop activities based on Optimism and Arbitrum. The article analyzes the impact of these airdrops on user participation, token prices, developer activity, and overall project success. This Chinese version of the article is compiled by Foresight News.

Both Optimism and Arbitrum have experienced parabolic growth in their unique address counts, primarily due to the lower interaction costs of L2 networks compared to the Ethereum mainnet. There has been a significant increase in the number of active addresses on both Optimism and Arbitrum networks. The daily transaction volumes on both networks are also showing an upward trend. Based on the observed network activity trends, it is evident that airdrops have greatly facilitated user engagement on the Optimism and Arbitrum networks. The implementation of airdrops has effectively increased the number of unique addresses in each network, while also promoting a general increase in daily transaction volumes.

After the token airdrop, Arbitrum’s TVL doubled and reached a peak of about $2.5 billion, indicating market confidence in the platform’s ecosystem development potential. After Optimism introduced the OP token incentive for Aave users in early August last year, its TVL saw a significant increase. This incentive measure increased the platform’s TVL from $600 million to nearly $1.2 billion. However, after the initial surge, Optimism’s TVL growth indicator entered a stable phase. This suggests that while airdrops and incentive measures can effectively drive short-term growth, maintaining this momentum in the long run may require additional strategies or improvements to the platform’s functionality.

After the airdrop, it is estimated that 84.5% of recipients on Arbitrum sold at least some of their airdropped tokens; for Optimism, the number of holders peaked at 90,000 after the first round of airdrops but decreased by 10% to 81,000 within 17 days. The ATH of the OP token did not occur immediately after the airdrop; instead, it happened almost a year later. This indicates a more sustained, long-term impact of the airdrop on token prices. The price impact of ARB seems to be more moderate, but we believe this is because ARB was launched during a market recovery period, while OP was launched in the early stages of a bear market. In comparison, ARB is still in the early stages of price discovery, and the overall impact of the airdrop on its value remains to be seen.

The airdrops on Optimism and Arbitrum have shown varying degrees of effectiveness in promoting user engagement, driving token prices, and encouraging overall project success. The data suggests that while airdrops can indeed promote short-term growth and increase user interest in the platform, their long-term impact may depend on various factors, such as the network’s governance approach and the implementation of additional incentive measures or functionality improvements.


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