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What is an Airdrop in Cryptocurrency?

6 Mins read
  • It involves delivering tokens to the wallets of current cryptocurrency traders, either for free or in exchange for a small promotional service.
  • The airdrop is meant to spread awareness and increase ownership of the currency startup.
  • While some are legitimate, other airdrops have been seen as fraudulent when attempting to steal wallet or personal information.

In the cryptocurrency world, you might hear the term “airdrop” getting tossed around. It sounds exciting, like free money falling from the sky. In fact, lately, the buzzword has been Airdrop. But what exactly is an airdrop, and how does it work?

An airdrop is a marketing strategy where a blockchain project distributes its cryptocurrency tokens or coins for free to a large number of wallet addresses of people who qualify or choose to participate in the crypto project. Small amounts of the new virtual currency are sent to the wallets of active blockchain community members for free or in return for a small service, such as retweeting a post sent by the company issuing the currency. It’s essentially a way for new projects to gain awareness, attract users, and build a community around their cryptocurrency.

How Do Airdrops Work?

  1. Project Launch: A new blockchain project or DeFi (Decentralized Finance) protocol decides to launch an airdrop to promote its token.
  2. Distribution Criteria: The project sets criteria for who can receive the airdrop. This could involve holding a minimum amount of another cryptocurrency, following the project on social media, or completing specific tasks.
  3. Airdrop Delivery: The project sends the tokens directly to the qualifying wallets.

Types of Airdrops Base on Asset

There are two main types of airdrops:

Token Airdrops

Token airdrops involve the distribution of a project’s native cryptocurrency tokens to a wide audience for free. This strategy is primarily used by new blockchain projects to promote their tokens, gain user interest, and foster a community around their platform. These distribute the project’s native tokens, hoping recipients will hold onto them and contribute to the project’s growth.

NFT Airdrops

NFT airdrops involve the distribution of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which are unique digital assets that represent ownership or proof of authenticity of a specific item or piece of content. NFT airdrops are used by projects to promote digital art, collectibles, and other unique assets.

Types of Crypto Airdrops Base on Distribution

Standard Airdrop

In a standard crypto airdrop, participants express their interest in receiving free tokens by providing a valid wallet address. Often, no additional information is required. These airdrops usually have a predetermined amount of tokens to distribute, with a limit on how many tokens each individual can receive. Due to this, standard airdrops can be time-sensitive. While popular for their simplicity, these airdrops are susceptible to abuse by users creating multiple wallets to maximize their gains.

Bounty Airdrop

Bounty airdrops reward users for performing specific tasks designed to promote the project. These tasks typically include activities like posting on social media, tagging the company, retweeting project updates, referring other users, signing up for newsletters, or joining the project’s Discord channel. In return for these actions, users earn points that determine the size of their bounty airdrop. Often, users must accumulate a certain number of points to qualify. For instance, a user might need 300 points, with each completed task worth 100 points, to receive the airdrop.

Holder Airdrop

Holder airdrops are automatically distributed to users based on their ownership of existing tokens. Since blockchain information is publicly accessible, these airdrops are transparent and can be targeted at specific wallets based on the amount of tokens they hold. The downside is that some users may not want the additional tokens. Typically, holder airdrops benefit the largest and most invested individuals, with some requiring a minimum token holding to qualify or prorating the airdrop amount based on the tokens held.

Exclusive Airdrop

Exclusive airdrops are a specific type of holder airdrop where recipients are individually selected based on criteria other than token holdings. Selection factors can include the amount of time spent on the project, the most money spent on non-token activities, or active participation in forums. This method focuses on rewarding those most engaged with the project, potentially including wallets that do not hold any tokens.

Raffle Airdrop

Raffle airdrops can be combined with other types of airdrops. Projects announce the number of airdrops available and allow users to earn raffle tickets through various actions, such as holding tokens, earning points, or expressing interest. When the number of interested participants exceeds the available airdrops, a raffle determines the recipients, randomly selecting a limited number of wallets to receive the tokens.

Why Do Projects Use Airdrops?

  1. Increase Awareness: Airdrops are a great way to spread the word about a new cryptocurrency project and generate interest.
  2. Attract Users: By offering free tokens, projects can incentivize people to try out their platform or service.
  3. Build Community: Airdrops can help foster a community of early adopters who are invested in the project’s success.

Additional Benefits of Airdrops

  1. Decentralization: Distributing tokens to a wide audience can help decentralize the ownership of a project, making it less vulnerable to control by a few large holders.
  2. Liquidity: Airdrops can provide initial liquidity to the token by distributing it to many users who might start trading it on various platforms.
  3. Network Effect: By increasing the number of token holders, projects can amplify the network effect, making the platform more valuable as more people use it.

Advantages of Airdrops

  1. User Acquisition: Airdrops are an effective way for blockchain projects to acquire users. By distributing free tokens or NFTs, projects can attract individuals who may not have otherwise engaged with their platform. This can lead to an expanded user base and increased adoption of the project’s products or services.
  2. Community Building: Airdrops can foster a sense of community among early adopters and token holders. By incentivizing participation and rewarding loyal supporters, projects can cultivate a strong and engaged community that is invested in the success of the project.
  3. Marketing and Awareness: Airdrops serve as a marketing tool to generate awareness and promote new projects. The announcement of an airdrop often generates buzz within the cryptocurrency community, attracting attention from investors, traders, and enthusiasts. This heightened visibility can help projects gain traction and build momentum.
  4. Token Distribution: Airdrops can facilitate the distribution of tokens in a fair and decentralized manner. Rather than relying solely on ICOs or centralized exchanges, projects can distribute tokens directly to a wide audience, promoting inclusivity and decentralization.
  5. Network Effects: Airdrops can amplify network effects by increasing the number of token holders and users within a project’s ecosystem. As the user base grows, the value and utility of the project’s token or platform may also increase, creating a positive feedback loop.

Disadvantages of Airdrops

  1. Token Dumping: Airdrops can sometimes lead to token dumping, where recipients immediately sell their free tokens on the market. This influx of tokens can temporarily depress prices and negatively impact the project’s market dynamics.
  2. Costs and Resources: Organizing and executing an airdrop requires resources, including time, money, and technical expertise. Projects must carefully consider the costs associated with airdrops and ensure that they have the necessary resources to execute them effectively.
  3. Risk of Abuse and Scams: Airdrops are susceptible to abuse and fraudulent activity. Some individuals may attempt to exploit airdrop programs by creating multiple accounts or engaging in other dishonest practices. Additionally, there is a risk of scams, where malicious actors impersonate legitimate projects to deceive participants and steal their personal information or funds.
  4. Lack of Targeted Audience: Airdrops may attract participants who are solely interested in receiving free tokens, rather than genuinely supporting the project or contributing to its growth. This can result in a large number of inactive or disengaged users, diluting the quality of the project’s community.
  5. Regulatory Uncertainty: The regulatory landscape surrounding airdrops is still evolving, and projects must navigate potential legal and compliance risks. Depending on the jurisdiction, airdrops may be subject to securities regulations, tax implications, and other regulatory requirements.

Things to Consider with Airdrops

  1. Not Free Money: While you don’t pay directly for the tokens, there might be time or effort involved in meeting the criteria.
  2. Beware of Scams: Not all airdrops are legitimate. Be cautious of projects asking for private information or seed phrases to your wallet. Only participate in airdrops from reputable sources.
  3. Tax Implications: Depending on your location, there might be tax implications for receiving airdrops.

How to Participate in Airdrops

  1. Stay Informed: Follow blockchain news and join cryptocurrency communities to stay updated on upcoming airdrops.
  2. Meet the Criteria: Ensure you meet the eligibility requirements set by the project. This could include holding certain tokens, joining social media channels, or performing specific tasks.
  3. Secure Your Wallet: Use a reputable and secure cryptocurrency wallet. Never share your private keys or seed phrases.


Airdrops are a fascinating aspect of the cryptocurrency ecosystem, offering a unique way for projects to market themselves and engage with the community. While they present exciting opportunities, it’s essential to approach them with caution, ensuring you participate in legitimate and secure airdrops. As the crypto space continues to evolve, airdrops will likely remain a valuable tool for new projects to gain traction and build a loyal user base.

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