What is Optimism — Optimistic rollups, tokenomics and problems with the airdrop — BingX

5 min readJun 23, 2022


Ethereum has been the second largest cryptocurrency for quite some time. Without any doubt it is also the most recognised and used cryptocurrency that has a huge amount of community supporting it, right after Bitcoin. Moreover, it also has huge amounts of tokens, networks or projects that are built on it. And while this might seem like a positive, it also comes with a cost and that is transaction fees.

Transaction fees on Ethereum are one of the highest there are in the crypto world. This is especially due to the huge amounts of transactions and lack of scalability solutions. Yet, one of those solutions has seen a pretty decent rise in popularity in the recent months and that is .

Optimism is one of many layer-2 solutions that is currently trying to help Ethereum with its gas fees, scalability and congestion. In fact, after , which is the biggest layer-2 solution built on Ethereum and currently has a total locked value of around 1.3 billion dollars, Optimism is currently the second biggest layer-2 solution with a locked value of about 355 million dollars .

was created in June 2019, with the first testnet being released in October 2019. Yet, the alpha mainnet was launched in January 2021. By October 2021 the version that was compatible with Ethereum Virtual Machine was released, with the open mainnet launching only 2 months after that in December 2021.

The logic of this bundling is pretty simple: to lower the transaction costs . The fees are split to all the users whose transactions were rolled up together. Thus, instead of all the users having to pay high transaction fees for hundreds of transactions, they essentially pay one fee that is distributed across those who were involved. That is a pretty neat and convenient way of not only lowering the costs, but also the pressure on the network.

This would be done through something called “fraud proof.” Optimism reimburses the gas that is needed to run the computations connected to the fraud proofs, hence, incentivising the users to protect the network from invalid or malicious transactions.

First of all, it needs to be mentioned that Ethereum and Optimism are technologically fairly similar, which means that any ERC-20 token that is compliant with the Ethereum token standards can be used on .

Using Optimism is similar to other layer-2 solutions or platform projects built on Ethereum. While it can be complex for some, for others, more experienced cryptocurrency users, Optimism can hardly be seen as somewhat difficult to use. For starters, the user will have to deposit their ETH or any other ERC-20 token (as Optimism can process both), to the Optimism token bridge, to allow for transactions of ETH on Optimism .

The deposit of tokens would need to come through Optimism Gateway, which should be connected to a Web3 wallet such as MetaMask and should not take longer than half hour. Yet, there is still the need to check for the Optimistic rollup, which is a week-long time window, during which the funds can be challenged.

But once they are deposited to Optimism, they can be easily used within all the supported decentralised applications. These can be all the dapps that support . For instance, Uniswap will allow users to trade via Optimism to cut the price of the fees, once the users select Optimism as a preferred network to use.

While the mainnet of Optimism was released in December 2021, the token, OP, was not released until very recently. The OP token was only released on the 31st of May as an airdrop. About 231,000 addresses were eligible to claim more than 214 million OP tokens for free solely based on a history snapshot. During this first airdrop, only 5% of the total supply was released. The total supply is about 4.25 billion tokens, which means that more than 95% of the tokens have yet to hit the market.

It is expected that Optimism will release the next airdrop date with eligibility criteria for those who want to participate. Yet, it can be expected that this will be based on snapshots from the past, meaning that at the time of the announcement of the airdrop the users will not be able to participate.

For instance, imagine that at the end of June, releases a statement that new airdrops will happen at the beginning of July. Yet, they will specify that the participants in this airdrop will be only those, who had their wallets, addresses or made transactions before 15 th of June.

Thus, the snapshot will be back dated to 15 th of June, giving no chance for anyone new to participate and take advantage of the recent announcement. This clearly incentivizes the users to join the network as soon as possible, so that they are eligible for the next airdrop, should they be interested.

While it may look very interesting and encouraging to receive “free money” in the form of the airdrop just for using some network, it needs to be clearly stated that these tokens are of a high risk. And this was very visible during the first airdrop of Optimism, which did not go according to plans at all.

During the initial airdrop, some of the users were able to claim tokens earlier than others. This gave them a chance to dump those tokens into the market with lower supply, thus selling at the best possible prices. Those who were then late and received the tokens after the price was falling due to the selling pressure from the side of “early-receivers” decided to cut their losses and sell. This created even more selling pressure and congested the network, bringing another weakness of Optimism to the light.

The Optimism team admitted that they made mistakes and in retrospect showed where they happened and what they will do in the future to minimise those mistakes. They for instance showed that they were not ready to face such a volume , a mistake that would push the price of the token to its all time lows on May 31 st .

Nevertheless, the team behind the token is dedicated to erase this mistake by improving their airdropping protocol with the next iterations of airdrops.

Adjusting for all the possible information connected to Optimism that are publicly available, one must clearly see that this token is very similar to others in that it tries to solve scalability problems connected to Ethereum. So far, it seems that Optimism is doing a pretty decent job with solving those problems, but it comes with its costs. Thus, as always, investors in this industry need to be very careful about where they put their money and how they adjust for the risks connected to their investments.

Disclaimer: BingX does not endorse and is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy, quality, advertising, products, or other materials on this page. Readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company. BingX is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods, or services mentioned in the article.

Originally published at https://blog.bingx.com on June 23, 2022.




Founded in 2018, BingX is a leading cryptocurrency exchange, serving over 5 million users.