UNI on the Move, Is Uniswap’s Governance Token Outside the Realm of US Securities Law?
Last week, the largest decentralized exchange (DEX) by trading volume, Uniswap, launched UNI as part of Uniswap V3. 400 UNI tokens were airdropped to every customer who used the platform before Sept.1st, 2020.
While some called this a “groundbreaking” token launch where customers were made the investors, some accused the project of catering to whales. Currently, UNI tokens are being held by more than 50,000 Ethereum addresses/wallets.
The token hit the peak above $8 last week only to lose more than 50% of its value during this week’s retracement. Today, UNI is back on the move, up about 25% at $4.81.
Slight trend shift?
Nice higher high occurring here, through which I'd want to see $3.75-3.90 hold as support.
— Crypto Michaël (@CryptoMichNL) September 23, 2020
The liquidity on the popular DEX has also hit a new record this past weekend and continues to trade around $2 billion, since crashing following its copycat SushiSwap, sucking the liquidity. The volume on the exchange also sees growth, keeping above $400 million for the most part.
The community is now waiting for Uniswap V3, which will improve capital efficiency and tackle slippage. Project creator Hayden Adams has already raised the expectations of the community saying, it will be “sooo much better than all the things people are hoping it will be” and that Uniswap V3 “destroys every other AMM I’ve seen to date and it’s not even close.”
“We're full steam ahead on V3, which is going to eat V2's lunch,” said Haydens a few months back.
— Alex (@classicmacro) September 23, 2020
Meanwhile, what's the legal nature?
Right at the genesis, 1 billion UNI tokens were minted, 60% of which will go to community members, 15% is already distributed through the airdrop. 21.51% will go to team members with a four-year vesting period the same as 0.69% to advisors, and the 17.80% share that goes to equity investors — Uniswap raised $11 million in June this year.
Being a governance token means, holders have control over company decisions. But with the launch also came the question if it is a security.
“There was no public solicitation for investment; it was a private offering to a few people,” is what Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has to say about this.
— Jor Law (@jorllaw) September 21, 2020
“If one were to also consider that the Uniswap team is well funded, backed by seasoned VCs who have most likely lent their legal, regulatory, technical and other expertise, one might also take a more careful consideration of the facts and circumstances of this particular offering and why Uni tokens may very well be outside the enforcement framework of U.S. securities laws,” wrote Phil Liu, the Chief Legal Officer at Arca.
Liu, who believes UNI tokens isn’t a security, in his argument that UNI tokens fall outside the US Securities Enforcement Framework, said the team didn't raise money through a token offering and neither it is controlled by a central entity.
As a matter of fact, Uniswap is an open-source and fork-able network that puts the power directly into the holders’ hands.