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The decentralized exchange Uniswap made an unannounced delivery of its new governance tokens (UNI) to all of its users on September 16, 2020. The delivery had not been publicly anticipated.  

Users each received at least 400 UNI tokens through the Ethereum blockchain. After overnight trading, these 400 tokens were worth about $1,200. More than 50,000 addresses now hold UNI tokens.


The Uniswap website discloses that some UNI were sold to investors as an investment (with a four-year lockup), which could make it a security in the SEC’s eyes. If UNI is deemed a security, is it possible that the drop of the UNI tokens was a distribution of an unregistered security? 

The opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the firm or its clients, or any of its or their respective affiliates. This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice.


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Meir R. Grossman | Partner

A crypto enthusiast, Meir Grossman has been actively following the decentralized finance space since its early days. As a partner in Seward & Kissel’s Business Transactions Group, Meir works with sponsors and managers of private investment funds on a wide variety of formation, structuring, and transactional matters, including structuring and negotiating seed and other forms of strategic investments. He also:

  • Assists fund managers in creating crypto funds;

  • Advises investors who are investing in crypto-backed venture capital funds and projects; and

  • Works with venture capital investors interested in blockchain and crypto-focused initiatives and companies.