Sei, Blockchain Designed for Trading, Goes Live but ‘Frustration’ Mounts Over Airdrop

Sei, a new trading-focused blockchain backed by Jump Crypto and Multicoin Capital, went live Tuesday, setting off a flurry of trading for the project’s just-launched SEI token and pushing its first-day market capitalization to more than $400 million.

Trading volume for SEI has topped $1.6 billion in the past 24 hours according to CoinMarketCap, with major crypto trading venues like Coinbase, Binance and Kraken all listing SEI in tandem with the network’s debut.

Posters on X (formerly Twitter) lobbed complaints about delays in the token’s hotly-anticipated airdrop – a planned giveaway of tokens to early users and community members.

The project’s official X account posted on Wednesday that the “airdrop rewards will be claimable following an initial warmup period while the Sei ecoystem get prepared.”

Application-specific blockchain

Sei is a new network built using the Cosmos SDK – a so-called software development kit that can be used to easily construct new blockchains that are interoperable with other networks in the Cosmos ecosystem.

In April, Sei Labs, the main contributor behind the Sei blockchain, raised $30 million of funding, for a valuation of $800 million.

The organizing principle behind Sei is that it’s an application-specific network; unlike general-purpose blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum that have evolved to support a range of use cases, Sei is designed with a special focus on speed, low fees, and other features specially tuned to support certain kinds of trading apps.

Sei co-founder Jeff Feng said in an interview that the focus will be on social platforms, gaming and carbon credits.

“Every single successful application in crypto right now is either directly or indirectly a trading application,” another co-founder, Jay Jog, told CoinDesk TV on Wednesday. “What we observed is that trading applications built on-chain right now, they just cannot scale. And rather than keeping iterating on exchange-mechanism design, we think the solution is a fundamental rewrite of the underlying infrastructure.”

Sei airdrop

Sei’s mainnet deployment came alongside the official announcement for an “airdrop” of the SEI token, the asset that will be used for network fees and proof-of-stake security. Airdrops are a popular method for blockchains to attract users and bootstrap liquidity – rewarding some allotment of a network’s tokens to early adopters and network testers.

The SEI airdrop, according to Sei Labs, was configured to allow users of popular blockchains like Ethereum, Solana, and Binance Smart Chain to claim an allotment of SEI tokens upon “bridging” assets over to the new network – an incentive scheme designed to lure over users from these incumbent platforms. Users of Sei’s test network were also poised to receive a provision of SEI tokens.

After Sei Labs announced its official plans for a SEI airdrop – some users found issues claiming their allotment of tokens and reported trouble understanding the exact eligibility criteria. Users have also had difficulty accessing Sei’s official Discord server – the messaging platform that community members use to interact and share updates. Sei’s Discord appeared to go offline starting on Tuesday and CoinDesk was still unable to join it at press time.

Asked about airdrop delays on the CoinDesk TV interview, Jog said, “That is not really something that I can comment on from my side.”


A Sei Foundation spokesperson wrote in an emailed response to questions: “The airdrop is not delayed. While many assumed the airdrop would occur on Mainnet launch, token dispersals are handled by the Sei Foundation, which has never specified the timing of the airdrop.”

The criteria for eligibility for the airdrop will be available when it happens, according to the spokesperson.

“While the Sei Foundation is aware the community’s frustration due to the misunderstanding about the connection between the mainnet launch and the Atlantic rewards and airdrop, we encourage the community to remain patient as we wait for the final ecosystem partners and globally distributed validators complete their work to ensure their decentralized applications function smoothly for the Sei community on mainnet beta launch,” the spokesperson said.

According to Sei Labs, 40% of the circulating supply for SEI has been set aside for its team and private investors. Some 48% of the supply of the token is set to go toward ecosystem reserves – which includes initiatives like the airdrop and other incentive programs. The rest of the supply will go towards the SEI Foundation (9%), and Binance launchpool incentives (3%).

Edited by Bradley Keoun.

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