UNI is the governance token for Uniswap. UNI was introduced on 16th September 2020 through a retrospective airdrop to users who have interacted with the protocol either by swapping tokens or by providing liquidity. The UNI token allows token holders to participate in the governance of the protocol. Key decisions such as usage of the treasury or future upgrades can be decided through a governance vote.
The introduction of UNI (ERC-20) serves this purpose, enabling shared community ownership and a vibrant, diverse, and dedicated governance system, which will actively guide the protocol towards the future. Uniswap has always embraced the tenets of neutrality and trust minimization : it is crucial that governance is constrained to where it is strictly necessary. With this in mind, the Uniswap governance framework is limited to contributing to both protocol development and usage as well as development of the broader Uniswap ecosystem. In doing so, UNI officially enshrines Uniswap as publicly-owned and self-sustainable infrastructure while continuing to carefully protect its indestructible and autonomous qualities.