Behind the decline of high FDV tokens: false prosperity brought by excessive point mining

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深潮TechFlow
half a month ago
This article is approximately 1148 words,and reading the entire article takes about 2 minutes
Project owners and users should not be blamed. As long as there is profit, they will always show up.

Original author: dingaling

Original translation: TechFlow

In recent years, there has been a lot of discussion about high FDV (Fully Diluted Valuation) and low circulation projects, but these discussions often overlook a core issue. The continued decline in the post-TGE (Token Generation Event) token market has not only occurred on Binance, but also spread to exchanges such as OKX and Bybit. We have also experienced high FDV/low circulation project launches in the past, but this time is different. Here are my thoughts on the current situation.

Over the past few years, top exchanges have begun to strictly require projects to have a large number of users (such as more than 500,000 monthly active users) or a high TVL (Total Value Locked, which must reach more than $1 billion) before listing their tokens. These projects will only be listed on the TGE, so they only have one chance to go public. For top projects such as Arbitrum and Optimism, these requirements are not a problem because the speculation of token airdrops alone can attract a large number of users. These projects are usually guaranteed to cause heated discussions on Binance and Coinbase on the first day of listing, but whether the token will be issued is not yet determined at that time.

However, for projects that do not have similar venture capital backing or well-known founders, meeting these requirements becomes a major problem. These projects do not have liquid tokens to incentivize users, and the potential airdrop alone is not attractive enough for users to participate. To solve this problem, projects have begun to launch points programs based on on-chain activity, TVL, or NFT holdings, which almost guarantee that there will be token airdrops at some point in the future to reward users.

If you are new to the market, many projects in the past would conduct a TGE on the same day as the product launch and use tokens to incentivize dapp activity. If the project does not have product-market fit, both the token and the project will die. If the project gains traction, exchanges will monitor and list it based on user demand.

The main problem at the moment is that the points issued by the project have been hyped before the tokens are circulated, causing retail investors to participate with high FDV and limited returns. Only by earning points more efficiently than other users can you get a larger proportion of the airdrop. In other words, it is a PVP game (player vs. player). Do they really care about these protocols? Most of the time they dont care. Will they continue to support the project after the airdrop is over? Most likely not, because the process of earning points efficiently is very tiring.

With the high incentives, any random project could easily get “millions” of users and transaction data, even though most of them were bots. Unfortunately, for a while, top exchanges didn’t care about the authenticity of this data and still decided to launch some questionable projects. This led to a large number of new projects popping up like mushrooms after rain, and directly adopted the points model to obtain tokens and TVL. These projects do the same thing as each other, but each has a different token to obtain.

Although the points program has a certain effect in attracting users to experience dapps or chains, every project now has some form of points airdrop, while liquidity and opportunity costs in the market have reached an all-time high. An example is: you deposit $10,000 into a protocol, complete tasks every day for three months, and finally get a $5,000 airdrop at the TGE. You find that the FDV has reached $1 billion, while everyone expected the FDV to be $500 million. In the current market environment, the rational choice is to sell these airdropped tokens and transfer the liquidity to a new protocol.

This leads to inflated FDVs when tokens are listed, because exchanges and VCs believe these projects have great future potential, but in reality they are the result of hype from users and their friends. Now imagine getting the same airdrop value, but you just keep tweeting the code every day. Even though you are blocked by all your friends, you still succeed in the end. You realize how little this actually helps the project, so you decide to sell.

In general, the expectation of market participants has become that all projects must pay for all efforts of users before TGE, and also get a very generous return. If a project fails to airdrop (price drop or the proportion allocated to farmers is very low), it will be difficult for them to obtain high-quality user retention in the second quarter after TGE.

This vicious cycle leads to more and more people selling the airdropped tokens on the first day of the token listing, further deteriorating the market performance of the new token, destroying any natural demand that might have existed, and affecting other projects that planned to airdrop.

how to solve this problem?

  • First of all, I dont think VCs should be blamed for this. Although they will push up the FDV, there is usually a one-year lock-up period. We need to think about why the FDV is pushed up. Top VCs are looking for a good team, good user traction/TVL, and a good market narrative.

  • Project owners and users should not be blamed. As long as there is profit, they will always appear. This is a major feature of cryptocurrency, not a defect.

  • From this, it seems that CEX (centralized exchanges) currently hold a large part of the power. Even if this makes you unhappy, you must admit that in the current market, listing a token on Binance can automatically increase its FDV during TGE.

Therefore, I recommend that top exchanges take the following actions:

  • List tokens that are already traded on the secondary market and demonstrate high user demand. While self-hosted launches can earn fees, forcing all projects to adopt a points system before the TGE is actually harmful to the industry.

  • Look for projects with real organic user-market fit and ensure the token is naturally built into the incentive structure.

  • Avoid issuing tokens with extremely low circulation (less than 5%).

  • Dont be fooled by projects with fake data.

  • Reward teams that build real and loyal communities, not those that are only in it for the airdrop.

  • Hire analysts who understand how to evaluate the quality of token airdrops at the time of the TGE, including plans for token usage after the TGE.

  • Consider whether the airdrop recipient will sell or hold the tokens, and if the answer is the former, use that as a criterion for rejecting the listing.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, many other factors come into play, and others have explored these in depth, so I’ll stop here.

Original article, author:深潮TechFlow。Reprint/Content Collaboration/For Reporting, Please Contact report@odaily.email;Illegal reprinting must be punished by law.

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