What Is a Crypto Airdrop?

BeginnerJan 06, 2023
A marketing ploy in which coins or tokens are sent to wallet addresses
What Is a Crypto Airdrop?

In the cryptocurrency industry, an airdrop is a marketing ploy that involves sending coins or tokens to wallet addresses in order to raise awareness of a new virtual currency.

Small amounts of this currency are sent to the wallets of active blockchain community members for free or in exchange for a minor service, such as retweeting a post sent by the company issuing the currency.

What Is an Airdrop?

The airdrop is a promotional activity typically carried out by blockchain-based startups to aid in the development of a virtual currency project. Its goal is to raise awareness about the cryptocurrency project and get more people trading when it launches as an initial coin offering on an exchange (ICO).

While everyone enjoys free cryptocurrency, airdrops are not always legitimate. Let’s take a look at how they work and what you can do to protect yourself from airdrop scams.

How Do Airdrops Operate?

Airdrops are typically promoted on the company’s website as well as cryptocurrency forums, and the coins or tokens are sent only to current holders of crypto wallets, most commonly Bitcoin or Ethereum.

There are various types of crypto airdrops, but they all involve distributing a small amount of cryptocurrency to multiple wallets. Although it is less common, some projects distribute NFTs instead of regular cryptocurrency.

Some projects will distribute without asking for anything in return, while others will require you to complete certain tasks before claiming. Following social media accounts, subscribing to a newsletter, or keeping a certain amount of coins in your wallet are common examples of these tasks. However, receiving the airdropped tokens is not always guaranteed.

In some cases, airdrops are only given to wallets that have interacted with the project’s platform before a specific date. Popular examples of companies that used this method to support early adopters include 1INCH and Uniswap. However, unlike ordinary airdrops, these were worth thousands of dollars.

Types of Airdrop

Airdrops can occur in a variety of ways. Most commonly, the term refers to free tokens deposited into a user’s wallet in exchange for nothing more than registering with an email address. However, this is not the only type of crypto airdrop.

Standard Airdrop

This is the type of airdrop that was previously mentioned, in which users receive free tokens in exchange for signing up for a newsletter or something similar.

Exclusive Airdrop

This type of airdrop is only available to people who have a long history with a specific project, website, or community. In September 2020, for example, Uniswap gave its loyal users 2500 UNI tokens. This amounted to approximately $1,200 at the time, no strings attached.

Bounty Airdrop

A bounty airdrop requires users to complete certain tasks, such as tweeting about the project, joining the project’s official Telegram, or creating an Instagram post and tagging a few friends.

To claim a bounty airdrop, you will almost certainly be required to fill out a form with your wallet address and provide proof that you completed the tasks.

Holder Airdrop

Holder airdrops are free tokens given to people who have a certain amount of digital currency in their wallets. On a regular basis, the project team takes a snapshot of users’ crypto holdings at a specific date and time. If the recipient’s wallet balance meets the minimum requirement, they can claim free tokens based on their holdings at the time of the snapshot.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Cryptocurrency Airdrops

As already mentioned, crypto airdrops can be a good marketing strategy, because it can help startups to raise awareness about their project. However, there are some contraindications related to this phenomenon, which should be treated with caution. Below are some advantages and disadvantages of a crypto airdrop.


Some potential advantages of cryptocurrency airdrops include:

  • Blockchain projects can utilize airdrops to distribute their tokens to people who would not otherwise be aware of them.

  • Airdrops can help to build a community around a new project by rewarding early adopters and creating a network effect.

  • Airdrops can increase the liquidity of a new cryptocurrency by getting it into the hands of more people.


Some potential disadvantages of cryptocurrency airdrops include:

  • Airdrops may be perceived as intrusive or spammy, particularly if they are not intended for the right audience.

  • When promoting a new project, airdrops can not be as effective as other marketing strategies like content marketing or paid advertising.

  • Crypto airdrops might not be legit projects. The most common issue is network security, since certain airdrops could persuade users to link their wallets to dubious websites, and once that connection is made, a thief could then steal the funds that are stored in the wallet.

Why Do Cryptocurrency Projects Offer Airdrops?

Blockchain projects distribute free tokens in order to gain wider adoption and expand their network. A greater number of holders is frequently regarded as a positive metric, as it makes the project more decentralized in terms of token ownership. Crypto airdrops also encourage users to use and promote the project. This can aid in the development of an initial user base before the project is listed on cryptocurrency exchanges.

How Can You Avoid Airdrop Fraud?

To avoid being duped, investigate the project’s official website and social media channels. Save the official links and double-check if an airdrop event is taking place. If you are unfamiliar with the project, you should conduct additional research to learn what the crypto community is saying about it. If you can’t find enough information, you should probably just ignore the airdrop.

In fact, determining whether an airdrop is legitimate or fraudulent can be difficult. Before signing up for any airdrop, you should always DYOR, especially if you need to connect your wallet to a website. Scammers will sometimes airdrop tokens into multiple wallets, but when you try to transfer these tokens to a crypto exchange or another wallet, your wallet will be drained.

How Do I Get an Airdrop?

The simplest way to locate crypto airdrops is to simply Google “crypto airdrops” or “what is a crypto airdrop.”

Because these events are intended to promote marketing and projects, they tend to be relatively easy to find.

Most of the largest dynamic and trusted crypto exchanges, such as Gate.io, provide numerous options in this regard.

The procedure will differ depending on the project. However, the most important requirement for claiming an airdrop is a cryptocurrency wallet. MetaMask is a popular and simple to use cryptocurrency wallet. After the airdrop, you can check to see if your wallet received free tokens. If not, you will almost certainly have to interact with a website in order to claim the airdrop.

In most cases, users receive a crypto airdrop in exchange for completing a specific task. These tasks frequently include things like:

  • following a social media account;
  • retweeting or sharing one of their posts, including hashtags;
  • a transaction can be sent or received (using a particular crypto platform or wallet);
  • making an account and signing up for updates.

As previously stated, there are times when a crypto airdrop is given to users without them having to do anything.


Users who frequently interact with new and existing platforms will almost certainly receive an airdrop at some point. Airdrops are marketing initiatives in which blockchain-based projects and developers distribute free tokens to members of their communities.

The main idea is to send newly issued tokens to hundreds or thousands of different wallet addresses in the hopes that recipients will be more inclined to engage with the corresponding project – even if it’s just to learn how to cash out the free tokens into something else.

This is similar to receiving a free discount card in the mail to encourage you to visit a new store in the area. However, the purpose of a crypto airdrop is to raise awareness for new projects and services rather than to force the recipient to spend money.

Author: VictorK
Translator: Yuanyuan
Reviewer(s): Mauro, Edward, Joyce
* The information is not intended to be and does not constitute financial advice or any other recommendation of any sort offered or endorsed by Gate.io.
* This article may not be reproduced, transmitted or copied without referencing Gate.io. Contravention is an infringement of Copyright Act and may be subject to legal action.
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