This DeFi protocol says its ‘points’ won’t convert into free tokens — airdrop farmers think otherwise

This DeFi protocol says its ‘points’ won’t convert into free tokens — airdrop farmers think otherwise
Infinex says its governance points won’t convert into tradable tokens — at least not initially. Credit: Andrés Núñez
  • Upcoming perpetual futures exchange Infinex is giving out governance points.
  • Unlike other DeFi protocols launching similar schemes, Infinex says its points won't convert into tradable tokens.
  • That hasn't stopped airdrop farmers from trying to earn as many points as possible.

Among the dozens of DeFi protocols giving out points to early users and community members, there’s one that’s chosen to buck the trend and do things differently.

Infinex is a perpetual futures exchange — built on the Synthetix protocol — that’s yet to be launched. It is giving out what it calls “governance points” to traders across several centralised and decentralised crypto exchanges, as well as to active community members.

But unlike other protocols launching similar schemes, Infinex says its governance points won’t convert into tradable tokens — at least not initially.

“They’re used for governing and there’s no need to be trading them or speculating on them,” Wil Johnston, who co-founded Infinex along with Synthetix founder Kain Warwick, told DL News in an interview.

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But that hasn’t stopped airdrop farmers from attempting to earn as many points as possible in the hope that they will convert into tokens in the future, allowing them to cash out.

With a widespread expectation that governance power in DeFi protocols should come in the form of tradable tokens, it’s been hard for Infinex to get its message across. “Points equal tokens in a lot of people’s heads,” Johnston said.

Johnston says he doesn’t mind the airdrop farmers and that the strategy has worked well to bring in community members who are aligned with the protocol’s goals.

“The whole point of the governance points drop was to get a bunch of interest from different people who actually care about Infinex,” Johnston said.

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“There’s no harm in people coming in and farming a couple of points. And if they’re gonna tell their friends about it, that’s great.”

Still, with Infinex allowing governance points holders to guide the protocol’s development through a seat on an elected council, it’s possible that council members could vote to turn points into tradable tokens in the not-so-distant future.

Infinex’s move comes as more and more DeFi protocols launch points schemes. Blur, an NFT marketplace on Ethereum, kicked off the trend in 2022. Since then, several other popular projects such as EigenLayer, friend.tech, and Blast have also introduced points.

Infinex and the airdrop farmers

When Infinex initially started giving out governance points in September, it attracted swathes of airdrop farmers. Some even tried to co-opt the protocol’s governance.

In one case, an airdrop farmer came into the Infinex Discord server — a messaging app — promising that if elected to the Infinex governance council, he would make sure points would be converted into a token airdrop.

Rather than trying to stamp out airdrop farmers, Infinex says it is using the excitement to help market the protocol while ensuring the majority of governance points go to those planning to use it.

It’s doing this by giving out the most governance points to those who traded frequently on centralised and decentralised exchanges. After this, a second round of governance points is currently being distributed among active members of the Infinex community.

‘These will be converted into tokens’

From Infinex’s early development, co-founder Kain Warwick has commented publicly that he’s against the idea of airdropping tokens.

In a July 2023 blog post Warwick laid out his preference to use Synthetix’s SNX token to govern the protocol. In recent Discord posts he also signalled his opposition to a proposal to distribute Infinex governance points to Synthetix token stakers.

“While governance points are not a token, if they ever evolve into a token or look even remotely token-like I expect SNX recipients to dump them for SNX like they always do,” Warwick said.

Already, Infinex’s community members are confident that the protocol’s governance points will eventually become tradable, allowing recipients to sell them on the market.

“Pretty obvious these will be converted into tokens,” Ethboi, a pseudonymous trader selected to be one of the first 13 Infinex users, said in a X post on February 20.

Johnston also acknowledged that as Infinex is a decentralised protocol, he and Warwick have little control over whether the Infinex community chooses to make governance points tradable in the future.

“It’s governed by the community so I don’t actually have a say in what will happen in the future or what will never happen,” he said.

Tim Craig is DL News’ Edinburgh-based DeFi Correspondent. Reach out to him with tips at tim@dlnews.com.

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