Ethereum layer-2 scaling solution Optimism has been overwhelmed with “all-time high demand” following the launch of its highly anticipated airdrop on Wednesday.
Users racing to collect their tokens were greeted with failed or delayed transactions as the Optimism team raced in the background to add additional capacity to the network.
As previously reported in April, Optimism is airdropping the new OP governance token — over multiple phases — alongside the launch of a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) dubbed “The Optimism Collective.”
Nearly 250,000 addresses are able to receive the airdrop, with the eligibility set for Optimism early adopters and regular Ethereum users, such as DAO voters, multi-sig signers and bridge users.
According to Optimism Status, the mainnet experienced degraded performance for roughly three and a half hours, with the team “provisioning more capacity” to solve the issue. As a result, archive node functionality remains temporarily limited until the network load subsides.
Optimism stated on Twitter that it would take the lessons it learned from the first airdrop and apply them to the second round, while it will also publish an “extensive retrospective next week” detailing what went down.
“Wow, what a day. OP Drop #1 had a turbulent launch which we finally stabilized after more than five hours of non-stop work.”
Twitter users, such as OlimpioCrypto, were the first to announce the airdrop going live earlier on Tuesday to their 35,400 followers, hours ahead of Optimism officially doing so.
As it stands, OP is available for trade on several centralized exchanges such as Coinbase, OKX, Bybit, Gate.io, MEXC Global, along with popular decentralized exchange Uniswap.
With users racing to snap up free tokens before the official announcement, the Optimism team acknowledged that its network was struggling to support the demand:
“Sup sleuths—as you might have guessed, OP Drop #1 launches today. We have NOT officially announced yet, but we’re already experiencing an all-time high demand. We knew everyone would be excited, but holy cow—y’all just couldn’t wait for #OPSummer.”
“We’re working to heavily provision more capacity before our official announcement—in the meantime the public RPC may respond slowly,” it added.
An RPC (Remote Procedure Call) enables various applications, such as MetaMask or Uniswap, to interact with Optimism and Ethereum and appears to have been a key issue that slowed down OP transactions.
Related: Layer-2 adoption could spur the next crypto turning point
Commenting on the drop, Martin Köppelmann, co-founder of Ethereum Virtual Machine-compatible blockchain Gnosis, stated he thinks Optimism is one of the “leading” projects tackling Ethereum’s scaling issues, but this drop highlighted the point that “scaling is hard.”
According to CoinGecko, OP opened at $1.43 before surging to $2.10; however, the price has since dropped back to roughly $1.92, marking an increase of roughly 34%. So far, trading volume has topped $169 million at the time of writing.