Cryptocurrency Airdrops: A Simple Guide

Cryptocurrency Airdrops: A Simple Guide


By Jakub Lazurek

24 Jun 2024 (17 days ago)

4 min read


Crypto airdrops, a popular marketing strategy, distribute free tokens to boost awareness and circulation but come with significant risks and potential scams.

A cryptocurrency airdrop is a marketing tactic where new virtual currency tokens are sent to specific wallet addresses. This can be done for free or in exchange for small actions like retweeting a post. The main aim is to raise awareness and boost the circulation of a new token or coin.

Crypto airdrops are used by cryptocurrency startups. Tokens are given to current crypto traders either for free or for minor promotions. They aim to increase awareness and ownership of the new currency. Some airdrops are legitimate, while others may be scams trying to steal personal info. Airdrops can target those who show interest, hold certain tokens, or win raffles.

Cryptocurrency airdrops are promotional activities by blockchain startups to boost their projects. They help spread the word and get more people to trade the new currency once it is listed on an exchange. Airdrops are usually advertised on the company’s website, social media, and forums. Tokens are sent to wallets based on the blockchain network or existing coin holdings. To get an airdrop, recipients might need to hold a certain amount of crypto coins or complete tasks like social media posts or blog articles.

Standard Airdrop: Participants express interest and provide a wallet address. These often have a limit on tokens per person and can be time-sensitive.
Bounty Airdrop: Users complete tasks like posting on social media or recruiting others to earn points, which determine their airdrop size. Holder Airdrop: Tokens are automatically sent to wallets holding specific tokens. This is transparent but not always desired by holders.
Exclusive Airdrop: Specific individuals are chosen based on criteria other than token holdings, like their involvement in a project.
Raffle Airdrop: Combines other airdrop types with a raffle system. Participants earn tickets, and winners are randomly selected.

The process starts with the company deciding the need for an airdrop, often for marketing or incentivizing investors. The next step is launching a public campaign and collecting wallet addresses or emails from interested participants. Some airdrops use a snapshot to identify eligible addresses at a specific time, causing token prices to fluctuate. Recipients are then selected, and tokens are distributed using smart contracts. Companies often publicize the transaction to ensure fairness.

Legitimate airdrops do not ask for investments. However, scams like dusting scams exist, where micro amounts of crypto are sent to wallets. Many scams involve phishing websites that trick users into connecting their wallets using services like MetaMask. Others lure participants to invest in securities, hoping for an airdrop, but end up selling at higher prices.

To avoid scams, be wary of unsolicited deposits and unfamiliar websites. Follow project links directly and bookmark trusted sites. Keep informed by following projects on social media and forums. Use separate wallets for airdrops to reduce overall risk.

Tax rules for airdrops vary by country. In the U.S., airdrops are considered income for federal taxes. Reporting can be tricky if the token lacks a clear market value. Airdrops are taxed when received and controlled. If the price drops after receipt, it creates a separate taxable event, resulting in a capital loss or gain.

Pros: Rewards early adopters and engaged users. Increases awareness and adoption of the token. Distributes tokens widely. Cons: Security risks if connecting wallets to suspicious sites. Potential for scams and “pump-and-dump” schemes. Tokens may lack liquidity, making them worthless.

Both airdrops and ICOs distribute tokens, but airdrops usually don’t require an investment, while ICOs do. ICOs attract bigger investors, whereas airdrops target smaller users to raise awareness.

In 2021, Gas DAO airdropped tokens to users who paid Ethereum gas fees. Similarly, OpenDao distributed tokens to NFT holders based on OpenSea trading activity. The first airdrop for Iceland's residents was AuroraCoin (AUR) in 2014. In 2021, El Salvador promoted Bitcoin adoption by giving $30 worth of BTC to users installing a government wallet.

Airdrops are advertised to generate excitement. They can be found through newsletters or by following blockchain projects on social media. Airdrops are meant to increase crypto use and usually involve small amounts. Tokens may not be easily sold, and there’s a risk that their value will drop quickly.

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