Solana DEX Zeta Markets’ Airdrop Goes Off With a Bang as ZEX Token Soars – Decrypt

Zeta Markets, a Solana-based decentralized exchange (DEX) that also aims to build the chain’s first layer-2 scaling network, launched an airdrop for users on Thursday that has so far blasted past initial expectations. 

The ZEX airdrop, which consists of 100 million tokens—10% of the token’s total supply—was tailored to reward long term users of Zeta, which facilitates the trade of on-chain perpetuals. Perpetuals are a type of derivative contract that allow traders to speculate on the future price of crypto assets, but crucially have no expiration date. 

Early this morning, ZEX debuted at $0.13, slightly above pre-market trading forecasts. It then quickly tripled in value, shooting up above $0.30—and pumping the value of Zeta’s airdrop to some $30.78 million. 

At writing, ZEX has since leveled out to roughly $0.25. 

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The Zeta airdrop will land in two phases. Today, 80% of the airdrop became available to early users of the platform, and has been allocated based on users’ “Z scores,” a points system that tracked individual trading volumes among other criteria. At a second, later date, the remaining 20% of the airdrop will be doled out to ZEX holders who stake their tokens with Zeta. 

Staking is a central component of ZEX, which will serve as Zeta Markets’ governance token. In a bid to encourage commitment to the token, the longer holders stake ZEX, the exponentially greater influence they will be able to exert over Zeta’s direction—and the more financial incentives they will accrue. 

ZEX will also, eventually, serve as the native gas token for Zeta X—a DeFi-focused blockchain built on top of Solana, which Zeta’s team aims to debut by early next year.

Zeta is currently one of Solana’s largest decentralized exchanges. In May alone—perhaps in build-up to today’s airdrop—the platform saw some $3.24 billion worth of trading volume, according to DeFi Llama.

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It’s been a big summer for crypto airdrops. Just yesterday, Ethereum layer-2 network Blast launched a massive $354 million airdrop for users. Despite the scale of that free token giveaway, however, many Blast users were underwhelmed with the result—in part thanks to sky-high forecasts of the airdrop’s value—though the price did tick up later in the day.

Another sign that, in crypto, expectations can often matter more than size.

Edited by Andrew Hayward

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