Ether.fi begins up to $210M airdrop, token falls 25%

The token fell more than 25% after launching Monday morning

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Ether.fi and Adobe Stock modified by Blockworks

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Ether.fi, the best-capitalized liquid restaking project, began distributing 60 million of its native ETHFI token Monday morning, worth roughly $210 million at press time.

It’s the first domino to fall following weeks of traders and even DeFi hedge funds rushing to accumulate restaking points, which speculators hope will lead to airdrops in the restaking sector. ETHFI fell more than 25% following the launch as points farmers took profits on the tokens. It was trading for around $3.50 midday Monday, according to CoinGecko. 

Roughly 22 million of the 60 million ETHFI tokens made available were claimed Monday morning, according to a Dune Analytics dashboard. The airdrop, and the ether.fi protocol in general, is not available to US residents. 

Points have lately become a popular user acquisition method in crypto. When users do things like move assets around on a DeFi protocol, that protocol will dole out points which are — sometimes explicitly and other times with a wink — understood to determine allocations in a future token airdrop.

Read more: Stack ‘points chain’ layer-3 aims to bring loyalty points to Base

Speculators have created a cottage industry for collecting points in the restaking sector in particular. Users are trading points for the restaking giant EigenLayer on Whales Market and leveraging up their points exposure with so-called yield tokens on DeFi app Pendle. Some asset managers in the DeFi space have begun accumulating tokens on behalf of investors.

Partly as a result of points farming, assets held on restaking protocols have skyrocketed across the board in recent weeks. EigenLayer has taken on more than $9 billion in total value locked (TVL) in the past month and a half, according to DeFiLlama. During the same time frame, ether.fi’s TVL more than quadrupled to a little under $3 billion — more than DeFi mainstays like Compound and Curve. 

ETHFI is a governance token that lets holders vote on things like how value accrual on the token should work and ether.fi’s grants program, ether.fi said in a blog post. 11% of the token’s supply will be distributed via airdrop, with roughly 23% set aside for core contributors, 27% for the project’s treasury and 32.5% for investors. 

It’s the latest attempt at turning hype into something tangible from a protocol in the restaking sector as EigenLayer — the protocol Ethereum restaking protocols are built on — is yet to go to mainnet. Last week, LRT project Swell said it would be launching a so-called restaked rollup, or a layer-2 built as an actively validated service (AVS) on EigenLayer. 

Read more: Swell launches its own layer-2 for restaking with Polygon CDK

Ether.fi has talked about building a layer-2 in the future. But for now, the project’s leadership is mostly focused on scaling its new investing product, called Liquid, and growing the LRT project’s TVL, founder and CEO Mike Silagadze told Blockworks. 

“Honestly I’m just glad it’s done with, [so] we can mostly focus on getting back to work,” Silagadze said of the airdrop process in a text. 


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