Yesterday, eligible users finally got to claim the long-awaited airdrop of a new Arbitrum token ARB. The event took an unexpected turn. Immediately after the token launch, the website and blockchain scanner went under maintenance.
"We're sorry for turning off the lights on Arbitrum for a while. It seems abundantly clear that ARB will need to migrate to its own chain in order to properly scale. We'd like to encourage the DAO to start thinking in this direction," one of the developers under the nickname Foobar clarified in a tweet.
Despite the temporary downtime, some Arbitrum users managed to claim their tokens and quickly sold them for up to $15 on the cryptocurrency exchanges that had already listed the newly released token. Huobi was one of those platforms where the peak price had sustained for a certain time before Arbitrum's servers came back online.
When other airdrop participants were finally able to receive their tokens, ARB supply on the market started to grow, tanking its price. For a moment, the token's value was as low as $1. When the situation finally stabilized, ARB was trading at $1.5, which was the price at press time.
Needless to say, many crypto users were outraged because of the technical disruptions that gave an advantage only to few tech-savvy people eligible for the airdrop. While Arbiscan.io, Arbitrum's chain explorer, boasted on Twitter of surpassing Ethereum's pick traffic in 2022, many users did not share this enthusiasm. Most of them criticized the platform for poor scalability and unprofessional management of airdrop, and mockingly suggested that the company should implement an L3 solution.
Arbitrum experienced a surge in traction following the announcement of its airdrop on March 16. According to the Dune analytics, the number of unique wallets participating in transactions on Arbitrum jumped to 240,000, doubling the peak the platform had reached in February. Right before the airdrop, on March 22, the network recorded 1.56 million transactions, compared to about 1 million transactions on Ethereum that day.
Such an increased interest in the platform can be partially attributed to the airdrop eligibility criteria that incentivized active users. Still, it’s worth noting that Arbitrum favored early adopters over newcomers, giving the latter fewer points for their activity. These points were calculated to assess users' eligibility for the airdrop.
In addition, Arbitrum was very cautious about possible attempts to abuse the airdrop and imposed restrictions for new wallets.
Despite initial issues with the airdrop, more and more crypto users are interacting with Arbitrum. Currently, the number of active users is close to 200,000.
According to the latest data from blockchain analytics firm Nansen, more than 855 million ARB tokens (74% of airdrop supply) have already been claimed. Nansen has also provided curious statistics about the airdrop recipients, according to which the majority of Arbitrum users (71.4%) are entitled to receive 2,000 ARB, while a narrow group of the most active users (0.7%) can claim up to 10,250 ARB.
As per Nansen, so far, Binance has the highest ARB trading volume of 204 million tokens among other crypto exchanges and liquidity pools. Other such platforms with the highest number of tokens include OKX, Bybit, KuCoin, Uniswap, MEXC, and Huobi.