• Nick C.

Uniswap Launches UNI: Here's How to Claim It

If you haven't been living under a rock for the past few hours, you know what happened earlier Wednesday: leading Ethereum decentralized exchange Uniswap launched its own token UNI after months of anticipation.

Here's some context if you need it: Uniswap is a decentralized exchange based on Ethereum that allows for the permissionless and global trading and listing of ERC assets. Margin is not supported: the exchange only supports swaps between Ethereum-based tokens. The exchange uses a so-called "automated market maker" model, where liquidity is priced on a curve as opposed to there being an order book. This AMM model is a better model for on-chain transactions, where it takes a minimum of 13 seconds for a trade to be processed.


Over the past few months, Uniswap has become the hottest thing in DeFi. The exchange's volume has regularly eclipsed that of Coinbase, Kraken, and other top centralized exchanges over the past few weeks.


Understandably, if the protocol was to launch a token, it would be well-received.


So that's what Uniswap's team did.


On the evening of Sep. 16, Uniswap rolled out the UNI token after dropping hints about it over the span of the past two weeks.


Unlike some other tokens, this one launched with the clear premise of "enshrin[ing] Uniswap as publicly-owned and self-sustainable infrastructure while continuing to carefully protect its indestructible and autonomous qualities." That's to say, UNI was launched with the premise of allowing all users to obtain a fair stake in the protocol.


Here's how the tokenomics break down. In Uniswap's words:

  • 60.00% to Uniswap community members [600,000,000 UNI]

  • 21.51% to team members and future employees with 4-year vesting [215,101,000 UNI]

  • 17.80% to investors with 4-year vesting [178,000,000 UNI]

  • .069% to advisors with 4-year vesting [6,899,000 UNI]

Notably, one-quarter of the 60% of tokens mentioned in the first column, have been made instantly available to historical users of Uniswap:

"15% of UNI [150,000,000 UNI] can immediately be claimed by historical liquidity providers, users, and SOCKS redeemers/holders based on a snapshot ending September 1, 2020, at 12:00 am UTC."

This means that users of the protocol — including likely many of you readers — have access to some coins right now.


All users of Uniswap prior to Sep. 1 can claim 400 UNI. Though, liquidity providers or holders of the SOCKS tokens (which is a whole other story for another time), can gain access to more funds.


If you don't know how to claim your tokens, here's a quick tutorial:

  1. Unlock your web wallet. In most cases, that's MetaMask

  2. Find an address/account that has used Uniswap prior to Sep. 1 and has some ether in it for transaction fees.

  3. Go to Uniswap's main page or the backup link.

  4. Find the button in the settings section in the top right that says "Claim UNI." Alternatively, a button should appear on your screen automatically saying you are entitled to a UNI airdrop.

  5. Press claim, then you will be prompted to pay a fee of around $10-15.

  6. Do whatever you would like with the token: hold it, sell it, add it to Uniswap to provide liquidity and earn fees, use it in governance in the coming months, etc.

(If you have any questions about this process or other questions about DeFi, please send me a message @n2ckchong or @n1ckchong on Twitter.)


As a word of caution, transaction fees on Ethereum are absolutely absurd at the moment. I took this screenshot a few minutes ago. It shows that the cost of Ethereum gas — how transaction fees are calculated — recently crossed above 1,000 Gwei.


By my estimates, it'll cost you around $100 to claim, approve, then sell UNI. Even if you don't sell it (*this isn't investment advice*), it's still free magical internet money!

Anyway, best of luck to you, fellow farmer.