Avalanche Launch Retrospective

Last Friday, Elk.Finance went live on Avalanche and it was quite an adventure! Read on for a retrospective.

The ElkDex went live at 15:00 UTC at https://avax.elk.finance. We launched everything at once: swap, liquidity provisioning, airdrop, and yield farming.

Before the retrospective, some statistics (as of this writing):
* Approximately 150,000 $ELK in circulation.
* 421 wallets with an ELK balance.
* Almost USD 1 million in Elk liquidity pairs.
* Over $AVAX 19,000 locked in staking contracts.
* Price per $ELK: around USD 2

Team Elk wishes to thank our community for this first achievement. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for taking this first step with us! ❤️

What went well

Let us start with what went well during the launch:

  • We saw an overwhelming interest from the community.
  • The airdrop was fully subscribed in 2.5 hours with over 1,000 claims.
  • We got some love on Twitter from AvaLabs' CEO, Emin Gün Sirer (link).
  • The publicity caused by our launch already allowed us to form and initiate a few meaningful partnerships. Stay tuned for more announcements!
  • No overload issues or downtime: we put some effort into making sure that our exchange interface would hold under the load of hundreds or thousands of early adopters. We had backup servers standing by just in case that did not need to be used.
  • Swap and liquidity provisioning worked without a hitch.

What did not go well

As with all launches, our had its share of difficulties. Figuring out these issues and learning from them is precisely why we opted to launch first on a small chain. We suffered two separate issues during the launch:

  • Some people were unable to claim the airdrop through the dedicated interface.
  • Two staking pools were unfortunately misconfigured, causing unsuccessful attempts to deposit liquidity pairs and burning almost $AVAX 3 in failed transactions.

Not great, indeed, but not catastrophic either :-)

So… What happened?

Airdrop issue

We can confirm that almost 20,000 $ELK were successfully claimed on-chain, using the airdrop smart contract. Congratulations to these people!

Unfortunately, many people were not that lucky. We still have not managed to reproduce the airdrop issue in our testing (nor had we seen it in testing before launch — we ran a full-scale airdrop on the testnet prior to launch to make sure everything worked as expected). We will keep investigating and post an update when we get to the bottom of it. Our best guess at this point is that many of the people who tried to claim the airdrop were not waiting long enough for the claim to be verified, possibly due to overload issues in the backend.

Approximately 10 minutes after launch, we had numerous reports of issues claiming the airdrop and immediately decided to implement our backup mechanism: good old-fashioned form-based claims to be processed manually. As you can imagine, this led to much manual work processing and filtering through abusive claims as word started spreading that we were distributing free tokens :-) Kudos to the team for processing over 3,000 claims (despite the fact that only 1,000 slots were available)!

An unintended but somewhat positive consequence of this manual airdrop is that the slower distribution left more time for the token price to stabilize.

Staking pool misconfiguration

In the last few minutes before launch, the team accidentally switched the addresses of two staking pools in the configuration: AVAX-USDT became AVAX-ETH and AVAX-ETH became AVAX-USDT. Unfortunately, this configuration error found its way into our production environment.

The configuration issue was quickly identified and corrected. The good news is that our smart contracts did the right thing: they rejected the deposits of invalid liquidity pairs. No funds were lost as a result of this safeguard! The bad news is that some people attempted repeatedly to deposit their liquidity pairs (unsuccessfully), burning gas fees as a result (for a total of $AVAX 3). We have fully reimbursed (with interest) these gas fees to spenders.

Steps taken

Quality and user experience are of the utmost importance to us. We have, therefore, taken the following steps to ensure that similar issues do not happen again in future launches on other chains:

  • We will continue to investigate the airdrop issues over the coming week and take appropriate steps in our quality assurance process.
  • In future launches, we will not place a hard cap on the airdrop claims as this causes too many problems and frustrations. We will also use more restrictive eligibility criteria.
  • Staking pool configuration will be performed automatically by scripts as opposed to manually. Every staking pool will be thoroughly tested before launch to ensure that any configuration problems are identified quickly.

Where do we go from here?

We have an exciting road ahead of us in the coming months. Lots of chains to support. A stablecoin to release. A cross-chain liquidity network to launch. And, of course, many more amazing things that we cannot yet tell you about 🤫 Stay tuned and please refer to our roadmap for more detailed information.

MATIC, you're up next!

With Love from the Elk Team (and Ralph)



Elk.Finance is a decentralized network for cross-chain liquidity. Seamless experience with sub-second speed. Any chain, anytime, anywhere!

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Elk.Finance is a decentralized network for cross-chain liquidity. Seamless experience with sub-second speed. Any chain, anytime, anywhere!