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Why I received 72,295 $ZK, while many did not qualify

My post-mortem of how I received 72,295 $ZK, while many did not qualify at all.

I dissected the airdrop criteria and my wallet's activity to figure out why you were ineligible for this airdrop (and the key lessons I learned):


Understanding the Airdrop Criteria

While the ZK token blog post gave a brief overview of the criteria, more details can be found in their documentation:

ZK Airdrop Documentation

ZK claimed that their eligibility was geared towards real users. According to the blog post, @zksync defines a real user as having these characteristics:

  • Spending time on-chain

  • Trying new protocols

  • Holding speculative assets

There were 4 steps involved in determining your allocation, and I walk you through each step:


Step 1: Eligibility

Possibly the most controversial step as many met the criteria, but yet they did not qualify at all.

I met all 5 criteria for zkSync, but none for zkSync Lite.

After revisiting the claim process, I received 5 x 14,459 $ZK to receive my final allocation of 72,295 $ZK.

So this suggests that each point you earn acts as a multiplier for your initial allocation to receive your final allocation.

(Disclaimer: This is purely speculation on my end, and may not be true)

And what matters more is how much you received in your initial allocation:


Step 2: Allocation

I think this is how most wallets did not qualify, as zkSync valued the time-weighted average balance (TWAB) of your assets on zkSync (and not zkSync Lite).

Your overall TWAB was determined based on these factors:

  • Amount on zkSync

  • Time deposited on zkSync (the longer, the better)

  • Depositing assets into DeFi protocols (2x multiplier)

I consider myself lucky as I added liquidity to complete certain Galxe quests (one helped me get the MAV airdrop).

But I was too lazy to remove the liquidity as gas fees on zkSync were expensive before the Dencun upgrade.

This could have boosted my TWAB significantly as I've left some of my funds in LPs since May last year.

I believe this criterion was the reason why many were ineligible for the zkSync airdrop.

But zkSync did not share how the allocation was awarded based on your TWAB, so we can't say for sure.


Step 3: Multipliers

Certain multipliers increased your ZK allocation, including:

  • Holding zkSync native NFT collections (I own a ZKPENGZ)

  • Holding ≥ $50 of zkSync native ERC-20 tokens (did not qualify)

  • Using zkSync Smart Contract wallets (did not qualify)

  • Hold ≥ 50% of ARB/OP/ENS airdrop for ≥ 90 days after claiming

  • First 1,000 addresses to interact with mainnet smart contracts ≥ 2 times

zkSync hinted that Ethereum transactions could play an important factor, and I believe that my on-chain footprint on the mainnet played a part in my allocation.

I shared all of the transactions I did in the post below:

My Transactions

After this step, any wallets with < 450 ZK were disqualified, which is probably how most wallets became ineligible.

Again, I believe that TWAB played the most important factor in determining your allocation.


Step 4: Sybil Detection

zkSync used a 'very conservative' framework to 'avoid punishing real people', and it seems that some Sybil farms managed to escape the filtering.

But here are some interesting points regarding zkSync's Sybil filtering:

  • Only clusters with ≥ 20 EOAs were filtered

  • Sybils were identified based on same CEX deposit addresses or same funding source patterns

Essentially, if you were farming with < 20 wallets, you should have been safe.

I believe that the Sybil filtering was not that strict since TWAB helped to filter off Sybil wallets with small amounts of funds.


Additional Allocation Through Contribution-Based Airdrops

Apart from the 'usage-based' airdrops, you could have received ZK allocation from:

  • Builders

  • On-chain communities

The most striking one was how you were awarded $ZK if you were a DEGEN airdrop recipient.

Given Farcaster's $180 million funding and its integration with Base, I strongly believe that every airdrop hunter must have a Farcaster account.

If you have not bought one yet, I shared the steps you can take to qualify for future airdrops based on your Farcaster activity:

Qualify for Future Airdrops


Performance of My Other Wallets

Apart from my main wallet, I did try for the zkSync airdrop (though not as seriously) with 3 other wallets.

Here are my results:

  • $100 Wallet: did not qualify Totally expected given the TWAB criteria as I only had $5 deposited.

  • Second Wallet: did not qualify I was more focused on pushing transactions on this wallet instead of depositing funds into DeFi protocols.

Currently, I have $68 in my wallet and most likely did not qualify because of the TWAB criteria.

  • Third Wallet: 1,414 $ZK I qualified for this thanks to depositing $720 in liquidity into USDC/GRAI and USDC/DAI pools on Maverick and Syncswap respectively.

I only became serious about pushing transactions on this wallet post-Dencun upgrade when gas was cheaper, so I missed out on all the points from Step 1 (except for the adding liquidity one).


Key Lessons

Every airdrop is different, and these were some lessons I learned.

1. Being Early Matters

Airdrops award early users, and zkSync was no different. You probably would have received a decent drop by bridging a small amount since the mainnet launch and just holding it there.

2. Quality of Transactions Matter

Daily logins on Owlto or Carv would not have done anything to boost your $ZK allocation.

zkSync valued real users who 'ape in and try new protocols', so quality of transactions mattered more than quantity.

TWAB was the most important factor, especially if you deposited funds into DeFi protocols.

3. Volume Did Not Matter

Swapping between USDC and USDT would not have increased your $ZK allocation.

Instead, a more effective strategy would have been to loop your funds on lending protocols or depositing into LPs.

4. Using the Native Bridge Did Not Matter

The Arbitrum airdrop awarded allocations based on your bridged volume, but zkSync completely ignored this metric.

5. Gitcoin Passport Did Not Matter

All the hype and fuss around the Gitcoin Passport was for nothing.

Based on my memory, the only airdrop that used Gitcoin Passport as a criterion was Magic Square (please let me know if there are others).

6. On-Chain Footprint Always Matters

zkSync prioritised users who 'spent time on-chain', and they awarded users who had more interactions with protocols.

I'm a firm believer that your wallet's on-chain footprint is the most valuable asset, and it's the ticket to future airdrops.

Pushing transactions consistently across L2s and Ethereum will qualify you for future airdrops, and I've been completing @layer3xyz quests to boost my on-chain footprint:

Boost On-Chain Footprint

7. Airdrops Are Never Fair

If you had followed the Arbitrum playbook to the tee, it's very possible that you were ineligible for the airdrop.

Especially if you bridged in and out of zkSync.

Every airdrop has its own criteria, and it's best to take past airdrops as a reference and not follow it completely.

Projects have every right to determine how they allocate tokens to us, and this is the huge risk we are taking with any airdrop.

You cannot win every single time, but you just need one major win to gain a significant return.

For me, this was zkSync. Your turn will come, and I hope you keep pushing on.

I shared more thoughts about why I don't think airdrops are dead below:

Why Airdrops Aren't Dead

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