Major crypto derivates exchange BitMEX said it will launch its token, BMEX, in 2022, in two phases.
The first phase, an airdrop, “starts now,” the company said, adding that users trading from now until the end of March, will be airdropped BMEX according to their trading volume.
The exchange noted that the tokens will start to be airdropped on 1 February.
They have already set up an incentive system to get new users onboarded, with all new account holders who go through know-your-customer (KYC) requirements being eligible to receive 5 BMEX and 10 USDT.
Meanwhile, the second phase, coinciding with the launch of BitMEX Spot in early Q2, will see BMEX become tradeable on BitMEX, they said, adding that it is when a USD or BTC denominated value of BMEX token will be determined by the market.
“BMEX will have a maximum supply of 450 million tokens, vested over a period of up to 5 years. The large majority of BMEX will be spent to reward users and grow the BitMEX ecosystem. An allocation of 20% is reserved for BitMEX employees and another 25% for our long-term commitment to the token and ecosystem,” the company explained in its FAQ.
Then, token utilities like trading fee discounts, enhanced yield on EARN, BitMEX Academy perks, and swag privileges will also should start to go live.
“As we transform BitMEX into a full crypto exchange ecosystem, the launch of BMEX marks a rebirth,” Alexander Höptner, CEO of BitMEX, said.
According to him, they are bypassing the usual practice of having an initial private investor round in order to reward “those we think are most deserving” – active BitMEX users.
BitMEX started out in 2014 as one of the world’s first BTC-based derivatives exchanges under the leadership of Arthur Hayes, a former banker and derivatives trader. Among other things, the invention of perpetual futures contracts in the crypto space has been attributed to BitMEX.
The exchange for some time remained the dominant player in the derivatives market for bitcoin (BTC) and ethereum (ETH) before spot exchanges like Binance and the more derivatives-focused exchange FTX later challenged its dominance.
With more and more exchanges now offering crypto derivatives products, the line between spot and derivatives exchanges has also become increasingly blurry. Partly in response to this, BitMEX said in March this year that it plans to add spot trading, as well as brokerage and custody services for its clients.
Binance, FTX, and many other crypto exchanges have already issued their own exchange tokens, which are generally used to pay for trading fees and to reward loyal users of the platforms.
Binance’s BNB token and FTX’s FTT token have both seen massive increases in their prices since they were launched, with BNB trading up 1,300% and FTT trading up 625% this year alone.
Arthur Hayes stepped down as the CEO of BitMEX in October of 2020 following a crackdown on the company from regulators in the US. The company in December the same year said it had hired Alexander Höptner, a former CEO of Börse Stuttgart GmbH and Euwax AG, as Hayes’ successor.
Daily trading volumes on BitMEX have seen a steady decline this year, after reaching a peak in June of 2019 USD 16.49bn. As of December 20, the exchange saw a 24-hour trading volume of USD 1.32bn, according to data from Nomics.