Airdrop farming propelling growth in Ethereum layer-2 activity

Average total transactions per second on layer-2 is now four times greater than that of Ethereum mainnet


Juan Roballo/Shutterstock, modified by Blockworks


Since last quarter, Ethereum layer-2s have witnessed vastly more activity than Ethereum mainnet, marking a significant increase compared to last year.

The average total transactions per second (TPS) of those chains seeking to scale Ethereum stood at roughly 45.3 — four times greater than Ethereum’s 11.91 TPS, data shows.

Now that multiple layer-2 rollups have come online, activity is 287% busier than a year ago. There are now more than 20 separate L-2 networks built atop Ethereum, all aiming to improve scalability and efficiency, reducing the cost per transaction.

The amount of computational resources, known as “gas,” used on the Ethereum network every month to validate and settle transactions taking place on L-2s also remains elevated this year.

L-2 growth appears to be concentrated around airdrop farming transactions Sam Holman, derivatives analyst at Australian trading firm Zerocap, told Blockworks. Airdrop farming is a process where users perform certain actions to be eligible to receive free tokens.

“If you look into the specific chains the volumes have increased on, you’ll see [zkSync] Era and also Polygon [zkEVM] having an elevated contribution, as well as Optimism.”

A notable uptick in L-2 volume was also observed following Arbitrum’s airdrop in March, as airdrop hunters migrated from there to zkSync speculating on the eventual debut of a native token to reward early adopters.

Users transacting on Optimism are primarily doing so via platforms like Uniswap V3 and Stargate, DappRadar daily volume data shows.

As it stands, Stargate, a LayerZero bridge and airdrop candidate, has about seven times more active users though only around half of the volume of Uniswap. Holman pointed to users cycling through different addresses, repeating the same transactions, to inflate their chances of getting a higher airdrop allocation.

“I would put down the consistent volume through Stargate to farmers trying to be eligible for the LayerZero token,” Holman said. “It’s the cheapest chain to bridge funds on and a lot of the market seems to think the number of transactions will be a primary criterion for a LayerZero airdrop.”

LayerZero CEO Bryan Pellegrino recently told Blockworks’ 0xResearch podcast that, in his view, airdrop hunting was not a dominant factor, but perhaps accounts for around 54% of the volume.

“I don’t spend too much time thinking about it — ultimately it’s something that’s outside of my control,” Pellegrino said. “Right now, if 98% of the volume was [airdrop farmers] it would still be the most used bridge in the world by a factor of like 4.”

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