What Is a Crypto Airdrop and How Do You Get One?

Here’s what airdrops are, how they work, and how you can get crypto airdropped into your wallet.

Mar 18, 2024
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What Is Crypto Airdrop 1

Key Takeaways:

  • A crypto airdrop may be used to distribute free cryptocurrency tokens or coins to wallet addresses, often as a marketing strategy to raise awareness, promote adoption, or reward community members.
  • Different types of airdrops include standard, holder, snapshot, bounty, and fork, each serving different purposes.
  • The allocation of tokens is based on eligibility criteria set by the project, which could require participants to hold or trade the project’s token, complete tasks, or engage in community activities.
  • Notable airdrops include Uniswap, ApeCoin, and several airdrops in the Cosmos ecosystem.
  • Find out about upcoming airdrops through crypto news, joining crypto social media communities, and subscribing to project newsletters.
  • Note that airdrops are not without risks, including scams, value dilution, and airdrop farming.
  • Meeting the eligibility criteria, like holding tokens, and using a compatible wallet are the essential steps to receive airdropped tokens.

While getting a crypto airdrop might sound like receiving free money, it isn’t always that easy. In this article, we explain what crypto airdrops are, how they work, and what you need to do to get airdropped tokens.

What Is a Crypto Airdrop?

The term ‘airdrop’ is derived from the traditional method of dropping supplies or information from the air to a specific location. A crypto airdrop is the distribution of free cryptocurrency tokens or coins to a large number of wallet addresses.

Airdrops are often used as a marketing strategy by cryptocurrency projects to raise awareness, promote adoption, and reward loyal community members. The coins or tokens are typically distributed by the project team to existing token holders, individuals who completed the required steps, or any eligible participants to join the airdrop.

There are several reasons why cryptocurrency projects conduct airdrops, mainly that they help to create buzz and generate interest in the project. By distributing free tokens, projects can attract attention, stimulate on-chain activity and flows, and build a community of supporters and potential investors. Airdrops also serve as a means of distributing tokens fairly and equitably amongst the community, ensuring wider participation and preventing token concentration in the hands of a few.

How Do Crypto Airdrops Work?

Crypto airdrops work by allocating a certain number of coins or tokens to be distributed amongst participants. The project team determines the eligibility criteria for individuals and other participants to receive the airdrop. This can include holding or trading a specific amount of the project’s native token, completing certain tasks like following social media accounts or referring friends, or participating in community activities, amongst others.

Once the eligibility criteria are met, the project team allocates the coins or tokens to the participants’ wallet addresses. The distribution process can vary, with some projects opting for a manual distribution while others use smart contracts to automate the process. Participants can then access and manage their airdropped tokens through their respective cryptocurrency wallets.

Types of Crypto Airdrops

There are various types of crypto airdrops, each serving a different purpose and with different eligibility requirements. 

Standard airdrop

Also known as raffle airdrops, this is what most people consider a ‘standard’ airdrop, where, to be eligible, you must complete a sign-up or registration. This requires little work other than being in the know through keeping up with the crypto community and signing up, bringing this type of airdrop very close to the idea of ‘free money’. 

If demand is overwhelming, the projects usually choose which wallets will receive tokens through a raffle.

Holder airdrop

This airdrop is used by projects to reward loyal community members by airdropping coins or tokens to wallets that hold their currency. In other words, no action is required on the part of the receiver, making it another popular type of airdrop, as it is completely passive. You simply check your wallet to find new tokens have been deposited. 

One example of this is the Crypto.com Expedition Gear Backpack NFT, wherein one random ‘Crypto.com Expedition Gear’ mystery package had been airdropped for every ‘Crypto.com Land — The First Frontier’ NFT owned.

Snapshot airdrop

Tokens are distributed to holders of a specific blockchain‘s native cryptocurrency at a particular block height or time. Those holding the native cryptocurrency in their wallets at the snapshot moment are eligible to receive the airdropped cryptocurrency. Similarly to the holder airdrop, to be eligible, you just need to hold the crypto at the right time. 

Crypto.com has implemented this type of airdrop with its ‘All Star’ NFT Airdrop, and users had to ensure their ‘Loaded Lions’ NFT were in their Crypto.com NFT account at a specific time and date to be eligible.

Bounty airdrop

These are also known as task-based airdrops, as to qualify, participants must complete certain tasks or actions, such as following social media accounts, joining a Telegram group, or referring friends to the project. This helps projects increase their online presence and engage with their community, requiring work on the recipients’ part to become eligible.

Fork airdrop

When a blockchain undergoes a fork, resulting in the creation of a new blockchain and cryptocurrency, holders of the original cryptocurrency receive tokens in the new chain. 

An example of a fork airdrop is ETHPoW, where users who held ETH in a private wallet or in an exchange supporting the fork got the forked version of ETH called ETHW.

How to Receive Airdrops

Participating in a crypto airdrop is relatively straightforward. Below are the essential steps:

  1. The first step is to know which projects are conducting airdrops. Follow cryptocurrency news websites; join relevant social media communities, particularly on Discord, Telegram, and X; and subscribe to project newsletters. 
  1. Once you have identified and selected the project you want to participate in, you need to meet the eligibility criteria set by the project team. This may involve holding a specific amount of the project’s native currency, completing tasks, or signing up through a referral link.
  1. To receive the airdropped tokens, you will need a compatible cryptocurrency wallet. Most projects provide instructions on how to set up a wallet and where to provide your wallet address to receive the tokens.
  1. It is crucial to ensure that you are using a secure wallet and that you keep your private keys safe. Once you have completed all necessary steps, you can sit back and wait for the tokens to be distributed.

Notable Crypto Airdrops

Over the years, notable crypto airdrops have captured the attention of the crypto community. 

Aurora

The concept of airdrops first gained attention in 2014 with the airdrop of Auroracoin (AUR), known as ‘Iceland’s Bitcoin’ to the country’s citizens. Since then, numerous crypto projects have adopted the airdrop model, distributing coins or tokens to users as part of their protocols.

Stellar

Another famous airdrop is the Stellar Lumens (XLM) airdrop conducted by the Stellar Development Foundation. In 2019, Stellar distributed 2 billion XLM, worth over US$120 million at the time, to users of various cryptocurrency wallets and exchanges. This massive airdrop aimed to encourage wider adoption of the Stellar network and showcase its capabilities as a fast and low-cost payment system.

Uniswap

Uniswap (UNI) conducted the most substantial crypto airdrop to date on 16 September 2020, distributing US$6.43 billion worth of UNI tokens at their all-time high (ATH) price of US$42.88. This event, a highlight of the DeFi Summer, revitalised interest in the crypto airdrop model. 

ApeCoin

ApeCoin (APE) orchestrated the second-largest crypto airdrop so far, disbursing US$3.54 billion worth of APE on 17 March 2022, at an ATH value of US$23.63. The airdrop benefited all Yuga Labs owners, granting them 10,950 tokens each, worth US$258,737 — enough to acquire a Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT, which had an average floor price of US$200,099 just before the airdrop.

Notable is also the Cosmos ecosystem, which has served as a hub for multiple airdrops over the years (e.g., for DYM, TIA, and INJ).

What to Look Out for With Crypto Airdrops

Tax and Regulations

The regulatory landscape surrounding airdrops varies from country to country, with some jurisdictions viewing airdrops as securities and subjecting them to stringent tax regulations. Other countries take a more lenient approach, considering airdrops as a marketing tactic rather than a financial instrument. Check if your jurisdiction requires you to declare airdrops on your tax return.

Scams

Airdrops are popular and attract a lot of attention. With many projects conducting airdrops, it can be challenging to identify legitimate projects and avoid scams. Participants should exercise caution and thoroughly research new and unknown projects before participating in any airdrop.

Value Dilution

Another risk associated with crypto airdrops is the potential for token value dilution. When a project distributes a large number of tokens through an airdrop, it can lead to oversupply and, subsequently, a decrease in token value.

Participants should consider this risk and evaluate the long-term prospects of the project before investing time and resources into an airdrop. A responsible project will use airdrops sparingly and airdrop a reasonable amount in relation to their token supply.

Airdrop Farming

Airdrop farming refers to actively seeking out and participating in as many airdrops as possible to receive these free tokens. While it might sound tempting, it comes with certain risks.

First, time and effort spent on airdrop farming may divert attention from other potentially more rewarding activities in the crypto space. Second, avid airdrop farmers tracking down the next drop might be tempted to not spend enough time on carefully checking a project, or for risks arising from market volatility and regulatory uncertainty, as mentioned above.

Conclusion

Crypto airdrops have become an integral part of the crypto space, offering a unique way for projects to engage with their community and promote adoption. By distributing free coins or tokens, projects can generate interest and participation.

However, it is crucial for both projects and participants to navigate the regulatory landscape. If you are interested in participating in a crypto airdrop, remember to conduct thorough research, ensure compliance with regulations, and follow the crypto space to know when the next round of coins or tokens is dropping. 

Due Diligence and Do Your Own Research

All examples listed in this article are for informational purposes only. You should not construe any such information or other material as legal, tax, investment, financial, cybersecurity, or other advice. Nothing contained herein shall constitute a solicitation, recommendation, endorsement, or offer by Crypto.com to invest, buy, or sell any coins, tokens, or other crypto assets. Returns on the buying and selling of crypto assets may be subject to tax, including capital gains tax, in your jurisdiction. Any descriptions of Crypto.com products or features are merely for illustrative purposes and do not constitute an endorsement, invitation, or solicitation. 

Past performance is not a guarantee or predictor of future performance. The value of crypto assets can increase or decrease, and you could lose all or a substantial amount of your purchase price. When assessing a crypto asset, it’s essential for you to do your research and due diligence to make the best possible judgement, as any purchases shall be your sole responsibility.

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