Huge thanks to the renowned Karen Ubell at Goodwin Procter LLP for her contributions in providing her legal expertise and to Will Reid at Pantera Capital for providing essential analysis. Thank you also to Michael Dershewitz at Arca and to Anil Lulla and Rob Sarrow at Delphi Digital for kindly sharing their anonymized token vesting data with me. Finally, thank you to Soona Amhaz at Volt Capital and William Fan, Joey Krug, Kyle Canchola, and Ryan Barney at Pantera for their thoughtful suggestions and review.
Token lockups are a fundamental part of venture funding in crypto. In fact, it’s hard to come by an early-stage crypto company in today’s market that does not have, at minimum, a SAFE / equity note with a token warrant.
From previous analysis in Optimizing Your Token Distribution, we showed that in 2022, on average, around 15% of the total token supply goes to early stage backers of builders in the space - a sizable allocation. But by what mechanism are those tokens distributed to the investors?
Co-authored with Cooper Turley
The core tenet of any web3 project is a token.
Operating as the centerpiece of the ecosystem, tokens are the new form of equity. Tokens typically carry governance rights, and allow community members to participate in a product, service or protocol as a co-owner and key decision maker of a shared treasury.
Since 2013, founders have had to think about who to allocate tokens to and how to maximize not only the distribution, but also the “value-add” their holders provide.