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Tokenomics - Deep Dive

Binance Research (Stefan Piech; Shivam Sharma)


  • Tokenomics can be defined as the study of determining and evaluating the economic characteristics of a cryptographic token

  • Key aspects of token supply: Allocation, vesting period, and emission

  • We find that Layer 1s have seen Public Sales token allocations go down in favor of higher allocations towards Ecosystem Incentives in recent years

  • Centralized risks, participation rewards, and Foundation design are key questions every founder needs to answer

  • Data shows that vesting periods and cliff lengths have generally increased over the last couple of years. Traditional technology companies appear to be taking the opposite route

  • While most Layer 1s are inflationary, we note a few that employ burn mechanisms. Understanding the emission schedule of a token is crucial, illustrated by case studies on high FDV / low market capitalization tokens and high DeFi APRs

  • Companies are increasingly using interesting distribution methods to allocate airdrops. We highlight a few recent cases, including Hop Protocol and Optimism

  • Many protocols underestimate the demand side, paying too little attention to the incentive function of the token

  • Transparent and healthy governance can offer a lot of utility and drive token demand

  • Trust plays an essential role in the utility of tokens

  • Tokenization represents a form of digitalization of value. The utility comes from a token fulfilling one of multiple purposes

  • A two-token model helps to specialize the use cases for each token by separating the “ecosystem” from a purpose-solving token

  • In the long-run good projects with strong fundamentals and product-market fit will always win over those with bad fundamentals

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