Optimism, a Layer 2 scaling solution for Ethereum, announced May 24 on Twitter that it had removed 17,000 addresses from its list of wallets to receive free OP tokens next month. Extra coins will be redistributed to legitimate addresses.
Only real accounts, please
The Optimism Foundation suspected that the offending addresses belonged to “airdrop farmers,” or traders who create duplicate wallets in order to receive multiple gifts of free tokens.
The Foundation said it had used a special filter to identify “sybils” (named after the film). Tokens that had been earmarked for these wallets would be redistributed among the remaining approximately 240,000 eligible addresses.
The airdrop, planned for late May or early June, will distribute 5% of the total supply of OP tokens, with an additional 14% reserved for future airdrops. The remainder will be given to an ecosystem fund, public goods funding, core contributors and private investors.
Eligible token recipients include early adopters, repeat users, DAO voters, Gitcoin donors and others. Full details are available here.
What is Optimism?
You may not have heard of Optimism, since it hasn’t officially launched yet (hence the coming airdrop). In a nutshell, Optimism is an EVM-equivalent optimistic rollup Layer 2 blockchain designed for speed, simplicity, and security. Let’s unpack all that.
A Layer 2 chain works in tandem with a primary blockchain like Bitcoin or Ethereum, usually to make transactions faster and/or cheaper. Ethereum’s code for processing smart contracts is known as the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). Optimism's software is completely aligned with the Ethereum Virtual Machine specification.
Rollups are a way to aggregate transactions on a separate blockchain, inheriting Ethereum’s integrity and security. An optimistic rollup relies on verifiers to ensure incorrect results.
Optimism transactions are verified by Ethereum smart contracts. It’s not a sidechain like Polygon, with its own consensus mechanism. It provides security nearly as good as Ethereum's but with near-instant transaction finality and lower fees, typically 1-10% of Ethereum.
The Optimism Foundation is a nonprofit organization that “pledge[s] to uphold the values of Ethereum by producing infrastructure that promotes the growth and sustainability of public goods.”
Until the project is fully decentralized, the Optimism Foundation is donating all profits towards scaling and sustaining public goods.
Airdrops: free coins!
Airdrop farming has been the bane of numerous crypto startups. In one high-profile 2021 case, VC firm Divergence Ventures used multiple wallet addresses to receive $2.5 million in RBN tokens from DeFi protocol Ribbon Finance, a project in which it had invested $25,000. The airdropped funds were eventually returned after the scheme was exposed on Twitter.
Airdrops are a tool often used to kickstart new projects by rewarding early supporters. Up-to-date information is easily available to anyone interested in participating in upcoming giveaways.
Unfortunately, there are always people trying to game the system. Optimism continues to be diligent, taking measures to ensure their tokens are distributed fairly to their community.
This content is for informational purposes only and is not investment advice. You should consult a qualified licensed advisor before engaging in any transaction.