Unlocking Optimism: $587M Worth of OP Tokens Set to Shake the Market


  • Optimism is unlocking $587M worth of OP tokens, doubling the circulating supply and prompting concerns about downward price pressure.
  • Early investors, including prominent venture capital firms, may sell their tokens, leading to potential selling pressure and impacting the OP token’s price.

The Optimism (OP) token, the governance token of the Optimism network, is set to experience a significant unlocking event on May 31. With over 386 million tokens, worth $587 million, becoming available, concerns have arisen regarding potential downward pressure on the token’s price. This article explores the implications of the unlocking event, the involvement of early contributors and investors, and the broader context of token unlocks in the cryptocurrency market.

The Unlocking Event and Price Pressure

The scheduled unlocking event on May 31 represents one of the largest unlocking events in 2023. Currently, the total circulating supply of OP tokens is only 335 million, meaning the unlock could effectively double the circulating supply. With such a substantial increase, market participants are worried about the potential sell pressure and its impact on the OP token’s price.

Token unlock research firm Unlock Calendar has conducted an analysis, suggesting that the Optimism unlock may exert significant selling pressure. This pressure primarily stems from early-stage investors, including prominent crypto venture capital firms like Paradigm, Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), and IDEO CoLab Ventures. These firms have witnessed considerable returns on their investments, with some experiencing gains of over 10,000%. However, the average buy-in price for these firms sits at approximately $0.24, resulting in an aggregate gain of 529%.

Understanding Token Unlocks and Their Significance

Token unlocks are pre-determined events in which tokens allocated to early-stage investors and major development contributors are released after a specific vesting period. This practice ensures that tokens remain locked up during periods of low liquidity, preventing sudden asset sales that could have a significant impact on the token’s price. By staggering token releases, projects aim to maintain stability and mitigate potential market disruptions.

In the case of Optimism, the token unlock marks the first release for core contributors and investors. The unlocking of a substantial percentage (9%) of the total OP supply has raised concerns about the immediate impact on the token’s market dynamics. Nevertheless, it is essential to consider the broader context of token unlocks within the cryptocurrency market, as they are a common practice employed by projects to incentivize early investors and reward long-term commitment.

Optimism’s Role as a Layer-2 Scaling Solution

Optimism is a layer-2 scaling solution designed to enhance the speed, cost-efficiency, and overall scalability of transactions on the Ethereum network. As a crucial player in addressing the network’s scalability challenges, Optimism aims to enable faster and cheaper transactions, reducing congestion and improving the overall user experience. The OP token serves as the governance token of the Optimism network, providing token holders with decision-making power and incentives to participate in the protocol’s development and growth.

Since its inception, Optimism has conducted two major airdrops, distributing OP tokens to early users of the network. These airdrops generated short-term spikes in trading activity. However, the OP token’s price has experienced a general downward trend over the last few months, compounded by the recent price decline ahead of the unlocking event. Currently trading at $1.51 per token, it has dropped 8.5% in the last 24 hours and is down 53% from its all-time high of $3.54 in February 2023.


The impending token unlock of Optimism’s OP token has attracted attention due to its potential impact on the token’s price. As early contributors and investors gain access to their tokens, concerns have arisen regarding the potential selling pressure and subsequent downward price movement. However, it is important to remember that token unlocks are a regular occurrence in the cryptocurrency market and serves as a means to incentivize and reward early participants.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

Share link:

Haseeb Shaheen

Written by Haseeb Shaheen

As a Web Researcher and Internet Marketer, Haseeb Shaheen delivers relevant valuable content for audiences. He focuses on financial and crypto market analysis, as well as technology-related areas that help people change their lives.