Shell Token Launch Explained

A guide to SHELL claiming, vesting, and staking

How to Claim Airdrop?

If you want a dead-simple guide to the Shell airdrop, here it is.

1. Wait until token launch. There is a countdown in the app.
2. Claim your CRAB through the Rewards page on the Shell app. CRAB was awarded to Shell LPs. If you didn't LP, it's too late to earn CRAB now.
3. Turn your CRAB into a stream NFT on the Vesting subtab.
4. Your stream will accrue SHELL over time. Use the Vesting subtab to claim it as it accrues.
5. Stake your claimed SHELL in the Staking subtab to earn staking rewards.

If you're looking for a deeper dive into the token mechanics, read below.

Token Launch

On January 22, 2024, at 2:00 pm Pacific Time, Shell v3 will launch, alongside the Shell Protocol DAO and the SHELL governance token.This is a moment four years in the making, and one greatly anticipated.

Below are details on the token generation event (TGE), claiming, and staking.


Following TGE, the SHELL token will be issued to the following addresses:

  • 80M: DAO Treasury
  • 10M: Shell Foundation Treasury
  • ~8M: Cowri Labs Treasury
  • ~102M: SHELL stream NFT addresses

The DAO treasury is controlled by a multisig wallet that will serve the Shell DAO. More information on multisig signers will follow soon.

The Shell Foundation is a not-for-profit entity that minted the initial SHELL token supply. Cowri Labs is the company that has been tasked with developing the core protocol. Any tokens disbursed from Cowri Labs over the next two years will first go through a vesting stream.

The vesting stream addresses are deployed smart contracts which continually send SHELL to NFT holders. No one, not even the Shell DAO, can directly remove tokens from the SHELL stream addresses. (One exception are the streams allocated to Cowri Labs team, which in some cases can be canceled).

At the beginning of the TGE, the circulating supply will be zero (as determined by a Snapshot vote).

After that, tokens will unlock from the minted SHELL stream contract every block (every few seconds). These tokens will enter public circulation.


CRAB is a non-tradable token earned by Shell liquidity providers. If you earned points during Seasons 1-3 on Shell v2 (or provided liquidity to Shell v1 on mainnet during Season 0) you probably have earned CRAB.

CRAB for seasons 0, 1, and 2 is claimable now on the Points tab. Season 3 CRAB will be claimable at TGE.

When Shell v3 launches, CRAB will be convertible into SHELL stream NFTs. You will be able to convert any amount of your CRAB into a streaming NFT worth the equivalent amount of SHELL. 100 CRAB becomes an NFT worth 100 SHELL.


The SHELL airdrop uses streaming NFTs designed by Sablier. Streaming, in this case, means receiving your tokens over time, not all at once. SHELL vesting was designed to help the circulating supply increase evenly, without sudden spikes. This should help the ecosystem remain healthier in the long term.

If you were not a Shell Protocol liquidity provider, you will not be eligible for the airdrop. If you were, then you can probably claim a SHELL stream NFT.

First, you need to claim your CRAB tokens, if you haven't already. CRABs are your ticket to the Shell airdrop. You can claim your CRAB tokens on the Shell app, by going to the Rewards tab.

Once you have obtained your CRAB tokens, go to the Airdrop subtab. From there, you can mint a SHELL stream NFT by burning your CRAB. Attention: If you would like to split your airdrop into multiple, smaller streams, do not burn all your CRAB at once. Instead, convert them into multiple, smaller streams in the size you’d like. 1 CRAB = 1 SHELL.

The NFT will then disburse SHELL evenly per block from January 22nd, 2024 to January 22, 2026. Every block, more SHELL tokens will be streamed to your wallet, ready to claim. You can claim these tokens anytime in the Vesting subtab.

For more help using the app, you can check out the tutorials listed on the Shell Wiki.

After two years, your NFT will be fully vested. It's important to understand that all individual SHELL recipients, including core team members and investors, will follow the same vesting schedule as airdrop recipients. No one gets an early allowance or better terms.

This is important to the Cowri Team as a matter of fairness. It should also improve ecosystem health.


For example, say Alice has 730,000 CRAB. This is quite a large number, but it will make our theoretical calculations easier.

With all that CRAB, she can mint a 730,000 SHELL stream NFT by burning all her CRAB in the Shell app. She will then earn approximately 1,000 SHELL per day (730,000 / 730 days) for two years.

As Alice’s SHELL vests, she must return to the app to claim her tokens. If she waits a month, she will find a month's worth of SHELL ready to claim when she returns.

At the end of two years she will have earned all 730,000 SHELL.

Only the owner of the streaming NFT can claim the tokens as they unlock. If you transfer a SHELL stream, the new owner will receive all future tokens it releases, in addition to any unclaimed tokens at the time of transfer.

Any SHELL tokens you claimed before the trade will still be yours. To claim, you need to click the ‘claim’ button on the Rewards page in the Shell app. You can do this as frequently as you want, but it will cost you gas every time.

Additionally, all vesting NFTs in the community airdrop have the same start and end dates regardless of when they are minted.


If Alice mints a SHELL stream NFT on January 22, 2025, it will immediately have a year’s worth of tokens ready to claim.

Because the NFT is an ERC721 compliant token, it can be listed on exchanges such as OpenSea. It is also possible to create an AMM pool for SHELL stream NFTs, similar to the Shell v2 Government Toucans and Smol Brains AMMs. This would deepen liquidity and improve price discovery.

Staking and veSHELL

Once you hold SHELL tokens, you can stake them. Here, staking means locking your tokens away for a period of time in exchange for rewards and voting power in the DAO. The longer you stake, the more voting power you will have. When your chosen staking period ends, you get all your SHELL back.

To stake SHELL, use the Staking subtab on the Rewards page.

This system is designed to give voting power to people who have long-term aligned with the DAO’s success. It's based on the veToken model, which is fairly common in DeFi. Staking SHELL gives you veSHELL (vote-escrowed SHELL), which is not tradable and decays over time. You can think of veSHELL as a score representing your voting power and share of daily staking rewards.

If you stake your SHELL for the full two year maximum, you gain 1 veSHELL per staked SHELL. If you stake it for one year, half of the maximum, you will gain 0.5 veSHELL per staked SHELL.

As your SHELL approaches the end of its staking period, your veSHELL per SHELL will go down. This is recalculated every block. You can increase your staking period at any time to get more veSHELL, but you can never exceed two years.

All SHELL tokens staked by a wallet are committed to the same staking period. Even if you add them over time, they will all be unlocked at once.


Say Alice has 1,000 SHELL staked for two years. After a year of waiting, she wants to stake an additional 1,000 SHELL. This new amount will be added to her existing staked SHELL and committed to the same in-progress staking period. This means she would get all 2,000 back after an additional year (unless she extends her staking period during that time). She cannot commit just the new tokens to a separate staking period, such as one week or one month, unless she does so from a different wallet.

Staking Rewards

Stakers will earn additional SHELL as rewards. This reward will be distributed to stakers at the end of each reward period. This initial period will last one month and give out about 20,000 SHELL to stakers in total.

On the first day, there will be about 60 SHELL tokens awarded to stakers. On the next day, there will be about 120 SHELL awarded. The daily amount will increase by about 60 each day. This rate of increase in rewards will track the circulating SHELL supply.

How much of each day's reward you get depends on how much veSHELL you have. If you have 5% of all the veSHELL in existence on a given day, you will earn 5% of that day’s total reward.

You will need to manually claim your SHELL reward when it becomes available at the end of the reward period. It will not be locked in a SHELL stream NFT. You can do whatever you want with it right away.

The initial month of rewards has been designed to bootstrap DAO participation. All subsequent rewards administration (or lack thereof) will be in the hands of the DAO. There is no planned reward scheme for LPs in Shell AMMs, but the DAO may implement one if desired.

Anyone else may craft and submit a proposal. Proposals may be brought to a DAO vote starting one week after TGE. More information about the DAO is available in the Shell wiki.

Swapping SHELL

A SHELL+ETH constant product pool will be deployed at TGE. It will be up to the community to LP in this pool. Note that some SHELL token-related activities in the official Shell app will be geoblocked to exclude certain regions. The smart contracts, of course, will be autonomous and permissionless.

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