The UNI token is the governance token issued by the decentralized open-source exchange . UNI was launched in September 2020 and airdropped to users who have interacted with the protocol by swapping tokens or providing liquidity.[2]

The launch of the UNI governance token was one of the most high-profile whereby 15% of the total token supply was made available to be claimed by anyone who had used the platform before September 1, 2020. Each user received 400 UNI valued at $1,344 at the time of launch. [3]

Token Airdrop

On the 16th of September 2020, introduced UNI as the of the platform. [1][4] The UNI token was a major event in the (DeFi) world. The was conducted by the protocol. [12]

150 million UNI, or 15% of the token's supply, were made available to over 250,000 addresses that were early adopters of the protocol, i.e. users who interacted with the platform prior to the 1st of September, 2020. As a result of the news going viral during the , 13,000 Uniswap users claimed 400 free UNI each valued at $1,344 at the time, within the first three hours of launch. [3]

founder Kain Warwick called the move a “galaxy brain move,” adding that the was “the best token distribution we have ever seen.”

Students enrolled in the class “Introduction to Cryptocurrencies” at Turkey’s Kadir Has University were unexpected winners of Uniswap’s UNI token distribution. İsmail Hakkı Polat, one of two lecturers of the class, told Cointelegraph Turkey that all students who, as part of a class project, participated in listing and swapping a token on Uniswap received 400 UNI. In Turkey’s local currency, it was valued at roughly 12,000 liras, or around $1,570, which accounts for nearly half the yearly education fee for some students. [11]

UNI was listed on more than a dozen exchanges on the day of its launch, with being one of the first to list the token within 90 minutes. This caused the trading volume to reach $1.9 billion.[13] The UNI airdrop was a way for users to become involved in the DeFi community. By holding UNI tokens, users are able to contribute to the development of the Uniswap protocol.


The total supply of UNI is 1 billion units. Uniswap will release these tokens over the course of four years and then implement a 2% perpetual inflation rate to incentivize network participation. [7]

The initial four-year distribution of the UNI tokens is as follows:

  • 60% to the members of the community, i.e. 600 million UNI
  • 21.51% to team members and future employees with 4-year vesting, i.e. 215,101,000 UNI
  • 17.8% to investors with 4-year vesting, i.e. 178,000,000 UNI
  • 0.69% to advisors with 4-year vesting, i.e. 6,900,000 UNI [4]

15% percent of the allocated UNI was claimed by historical liquidity providers, users, and SOCKS redeemers/holders based on a snapshot ending September 1, 2020, at 12:00 am UTC, including users who submitted unsuccessful transactions. Each user received 400 UNI valued at $1,344 at the time of launch. [7][4]

  • 4.91664% pro-rata to all 49,192 historical Liquidity Providers (49,166,400 UNI)
  • 10.06136% split evenly across all 251,534 historical user addresses (100,613,600 UNI)
  • 0.022% to 220 SOCKS holders/redeemers (220,000) [4]

UNI will vest to the governance treasury on a continuous basis according to the schedule below. Governance has access to vested UNI from October 18 2020 12:00 am UTC. [4]

YearCommunity TreasuryDistribution %
Year 1172,000,000 UNI40%
Year 2129,000,000 UNI30%
Year 386,000,000 UNI20%
Year 443,000,000 UNI10%

Team, investor, and advisor UNI allocations will have tokens locked up on the same schedule. [4]

Liquidity Mining

Part of the community distribution of UNI occurs through . This method involves distributing UNI to those who provide liquidity to the pools listed below:


UNI holders are responsible for ensuring that governance decisions are made in compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Their focus is on voting for a set of protocol delegates that can shape the future of Uniswap, as well as voting for specific token pools to collect fees. [4]

In 2023, the Uniswap team plans to put to vote a “fee switch” proposal. The Uniswap community is going to be voting on whether it will pilot a “fee switch” on select pools in its decentralized cryptocurrency exchange. The proposal presents an opportunity for to test the parameters in selected liquidity pools, this includes 0.05% of DAI-ETH, 0.3% of ETH-USDT and 1% of USDC-ETH. A 10% fee would be applied to that percentage of the selected pools, the minimum value permitted by the code — Uniswap’s underlying smart contracts were immutable the moment they were deployed. It is important to note that turning on the fee switch will not affect users using the protocol to swap directly, but rather will retain a small amount of what is currently being paid out to liquidity providers.[25][26][27]

Vitalik Buterin on UNI Token

In May 2021, creator made a proposal [14] for ’s UNI token to become an price token for ETH/USD so as to allow the eco-system to ‘mark to market’ its fair value, thus providing a more robust mechanism for execution. He said that the pricing oracle should be modeled along the lines of . [15]

Buterin highlighted the need brought about by the increasing adoption of ‘algorithmic stablecoins’, and thus the need for an oracle price of ETH/USD. In his proposal, Buterin stated:

"I recommend that Uniswap and the UNI token step in and provide such an oracle (eg. modeled after the Augur or UMA design), specialized to providing price data that’s robust and extremely costly to manipulate and attack." [16]

has not yet put the Vitalik's proposal to vote. However, Uniswap's founder and CEO, expressed interest in it on Twitter:

👀 Proposal from @VitalikButerin for @Uniswap governance / UNI to provide oracle services for defi. 👂Curious what people think!! [20]

Uniswap Foundation

A proposal[18] to create Uniswap Foundation was made by Uniswap community members on August 4, 2022, and put to vote from August 17 to August 23, 2022. The proposal needed about 40 million votes for approval and it received more than 88 million votes, over 99% of the total votes of the UNI token holders.

Devin Walsh, alongside Ken Ng, had submitted the initial idea and tweeted, “Last night our proposal to create the Uniswap Foundation passed its final vote!”[17] Both Walsh and Ng are community members and former Labs executives. [19]

Uniswap Foundation will work to improve governance in the Uniswap ecosystem by removing friction and reinvigorating grants to ambitious and impactful projects.

- the proposal that was submitted to the Uniswap governance forum said.

The proposal garnered mixed feedback from the community, with many praising the foundation’s plans to support and expand the Uniswap ecosystem, while others frowned at the $74 million cost.

, CEO of , reacted positively to the plan in a tweet:

“The strength of an ecosystem grows with each additional team building and working towards its success. Imo, after this passes, the Foundation will be yet another team working towards a future where the Protocol does not just survive — it thrives!” [21]

On August 23, 2022, the proposal passed its final vote with 86 million, or 99% of total votes, in favor of the proposal and 770 votes against it. Devin Walsh announced in a tweet;

Last night our proposal to create the Uniswap Foundation passed its final vote!
We have already hit the ground running on our top priorities: Interviewing talented, values-aligned candidates to join the UF team Scaling up UGP (keep an eye out for Grants Wave 9 announcement next month) Reinvigorating governance (look for forum discussions soon.[22][23][24]

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March 24, 2023

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