Uniswap Airdrop Means Free Tokens – At a Cost

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  • A Uniswap airdrop for their UNI token surprised the crypto world today
  • Each user got 400 UNI tokens if they’d used the platform prior to September 1
  • Inflated Ethereum prices and network congestion resulted in hours worth of delays and up to $50 fees in claiming and selling the ‘free’ tokens

Uniswap surprised the crypto world today with a 400 UNI token airdrop to anyone who used the exchange before September 1, but the offer has quickly been beset by high gas fees and prolonged transaction times. This has led to the Uniswap airdrop being a logistical nightmare for many users, with the fees being a particular source of pain.

Free and (Not) Easy

Users were first notified of the Uniswap airdrop when they arrived at the Uniswap homepage, with every user of the platform before September 1 entitled to a 400 UNI token airdrop. The claim process was a simple two-click affair and Binance listed the token at the same time as the announcement, followed a few hours later by Coinbase.

This meant that, in theory, the receiving and selling of the airdopped tokens should have been a straightforward process. The reality however, as with everything concerning Uniswap, was far from straightforward.

Firstly, the rush of people trying to claim their Uniswap airdrop immediately pushed up the Ethereum gas price, resulting in a double digit fee required just to claim your ‘free tokens’:

uniswap airdrop fees

The situation was made even more ridiculous when this high fee didn’t result in anything like a fast transfer, with users reporting waits of over two hours just for the claiming transaction to clear:

uniswap airdrop time

When the tokens did finally arrive in recipients’ wallets, the decision was then what to do with them. Many chose to try and sell instantly, either on Uniswap or by sending to Binance or Coinbase, each of which presented its own problems.

Those wanting to sell their Uniswap airdrop on Uniswap itself had to dish out around $10 to approve the token for sale in the fastest time (resulting in a 20-30 minute wait) followed by another $15 or so to conduct the transaction, meaning yet another delay while the congested Ethereum network dealt with the transaction.

In total then, Uniswap users faced costs in the region of $40-$50 just to claim and sell their ‘free’ tokens on the very exchange for which they were designed. The only way around this was to set your own gas fees as high as they could go, taking the cost up to near $100.

The Uniswap Airdrop Doesn’t Travel Well

Selling the Uniswap airdrop on Coinbase or Binance wasn’t a much more attractive option either. The same $15-$20 fee still applied to receive the airdrop, after which the tokens needed to be sent to the exchange. Once again, this incurred a roughly $15 fee in order to send them to Binance or Coinbase, unless you manually ramped up the fees and the speed, with waits of up to an hour being experienced at the ‘fast’ transaction speed.

The matter was compounded by reports that some transactions were taking so long that users were forced to cancel them and try new ones at a higher price. This resulted in them running out of ETH to fund the transactions and having to buy more on the very exchanges they were sending the UNI tokens to in order to try again.

Still Worth the Pain..Just

At the time of writing the UNI token is trading at just over $3.50, making the hassle of the Uniswap airdrop worthwhile overall, but the complications, delays, costs, and congestion are another reminder that the creaking Ethereum system is, in many ways, worse than it was in 2017.

Those that got in early had the benefit of a quick sell, while those who have only been able to get their tokens later have had the benefit of selling at a higher price – for now. If Uniswap continues its rise however, the Uniswap airdrop could turn out to be one of the greats in time, so holding may choose to be the better option anyway.