What Are Crypto & NFT Airdrops? Here's Everything You Need To Know
Free money dropped straight into your wallet—sounds too good to be true? Well, in the crypto space it happens all the time. Welcome to the wondrous world of airdrops.
Airdrops aren’t an act of charity by crypto startups. They are a promotional tool that creates a win-win for both creators and users of Web3 projects. Amazing, right?
In this post, we’ll tell you all you need to know about crypto and NFT airdrops: what they are, why they exist, and how you can make sure you won’t miss out on the next big drop.
Crypto and NFT airdrops in a nutshell
Airdrops are a marketing tool used by Web3 (crypto, NFT) startups to promote their project and attract users. By giving away free tokens in exchange for people sharing their tweets or using the platform, they create a buzz, get more people to check it out, and boost the activity of their token.
Usually, you have to claim your airdrop in some way. But sometimes they show up in your wallet as if by magic!
However: be very careful when interacting with any of these surprise token airdrops—especially when they give error messages containing website links. And take into account any taxes you might have to pay (yes, random tokens you never asked for can also be taxable).
Why crypto and NFT airdrops are everywhere
The biggest allure of crypto airdrops is simple: free money! They’re also a fun way to discover cool new projects and diversify your portfolio.
For creators it’s a smart way to spread the word about their project, get more people onto the platform, and increase the value of their token. Airdropping tokens helps diversify the “holder base” of a token as well which, again, makes it more desirable.
That’s why startups often schedule airdrops before holding an ICO (Initial Coin Offering) or going live on an exchange. Teams can even choose to forgo an ICO and rely purely on airdrops. In this case, the team will often hold on to 5-10% of the coins, which it can use to fund future development as the coins go up in value.
Types of crypto and NFT airdrops
Creativity knows no boundaries—especially not in the wild wild west of crypto land. The same holds true for airdrops, which come in many shapes and sizes.
There are four general categories we can fit most airdrops into:
1. Standard Airdrops
Standard airdrops are accessible to anyone and require only a small deed on your part. Like joining a Telegram channel or following a Twitter account. After you’ve paid your duties, you can claim your airdrop by providing your wallet address.
2. Exclusive Airdrops
Exclusive token and NFT airdrops are handed out to people who’ve been following or using a platform for a longer time. Airdrops like these act more as a reward and incentivize loyalty.
An example is the decentralized exchange (DEX) Uniswap that, back in September 2020, decided to give its most loyal users 2500 tokens (worth ~$1200 USD).
Another example is the wildly successful airdrop by the Ethereum Naming Service (ENS). People who had already registered an .eth address using the protocol received the $ENS governance token as a thank you for being early adopters. Partly due to the hype, the price of the $ENS tokens increased by almost 3x in the following days.
3. Bounty Airdrops
Bounty airdrops are similar to standard airdrops in that they get people to promote their project and draw in new users, but you’ll have to put in a bit more effort to receive your airdrop.
These airdrops might require you to:
- Provide feedback on a forum
- Tweet on the project
- Convince friends to create an account
This may sound intimidating, but usually a short tweet or comment will do.
4. Holder Airdrops
Sometimes, simply having a specific coin or token in your wallet is enough to claim an airdrop.
Usually you need to hold a token that’s related in some way—from a similar project in the same ecosystem, or the cryptocurrency of the blockchain the project is built on. You might have to stake your coins as well.
Holder airdrops work because they reach people who are already part of the ecosystem, use similar products, and are thus likely to be interested in the project being promoted.
An example is a currently ongoing airdrop on Secret Network of $SHD, the token of the DeFi platform Shade Protocol. Anyone who owns and stakes $SCRT, $ATOM, or $LUNA can go to the airdrop website and claim their share of Shade.
How to catch the next big crypto airdrops
If you can’t wait to get your hands on some free coins, you might be wondering how to not miss out on that next big drop.
Here are the best ways to find it:
1. Follow creators and blockchain communities
Crypto airdrops are often first promoted within their own communities. This includes Twitter accounts, Telegram groups, and Discord channels of the project team itself, as well as of the wider ecosystem it’s part of.
For example: airdrops by projects built on Secret are promoted on the startup team’s channels as well as our (Secret) channels and in the wider Cosmos ecosystem. Check out this Cosmos airdrops subreddit that keeps a continuous list of airdrops across all projects built on Cosmos.
Make sure to join the Telegram groups and Discord servers of your favorite blockchains, apps, and DAOs—also to snatch those holder airdrops 👀
2. Influencers and publications
Following crypto publications and influencers you trust is another handy way to discover new airdrops.
Coinmarketcap has an ongoing crypto airdrop calendar, Decrypt often lists airdrops in its newsletters, and Guy from the Coin Bureau mentions airdrops in his weekly roundup videos (like this one).
The benefit of relying on “verified” sources like these is that the airdrops are more likely to be legit and link to the official claim website.
3. Third party websites
There are plenty of third party websites that show lists of upcoming airdrops and link to their respective claim websites.
Some websites (like this one) show Holder Airdrops as a separate category, including the token you should hold to be eligible. This makes it super easy to find airdrops you can claim right away.
However, make sure to do your own research and check the legitimacy of the links provided.
The biggest risks when chasing crypto airdrops
If all this free money sounds too good to be true, it’s because it often is.
Crypto remains risky and there are many scammers out there. That’s why it’s important to not let the prospect of free money blindside you.
Here are the biggest risks when participating in crypto and NFT airdrops:
There are no guarantees that the token you receive will hold its value. It might surge in price for a brief moment because of the hype caused by the airdrop. But many tokens come crashing down afterwards—especially ones with no real utility.
A telling example is the $WTF token issued by the platform fees.wtf, which plummeted in under an hour, and left investors holding the bag.
If you see a token “mooning” (surging in price) after an airdrop don’t immediately ape in, but do your research.
Pump and dump schemes
Sometimes founders or investors of a project engage in more malicious pump and dump schemes. By holding a number of tokens for themselves and pumping the value artificially, then selling high and dumping the price, they get away with all the profit while leaving others with worthless tokens.
Phishing and scams
Wherever data is being gathered, data is being sold. Many token airdrops ask participants to share details like their email and wallet address, and there have been plenty of cases where this data was sold to third parties without the owner’s consent. This leaves airdrop participants vulnerable to phishing attacks and marketing spam.
There are also the outright scams, where developers create dodgy smart contracts that drain the wallets of anyone who interacts with them.
How to stay safe while hunting for airdrops
As we said before, there are a lot of scammers out there trying to grab your hard-earned (crypto) cash. And as the prospect of free money can make us act a bit crazy at times, it’s important to keep these best practices in mind:
- Never share your seed phrase or private keys
- Don’t connect your wallet to an untrusted party
- Don’t send money or cryptocurrency in order to receive airdrops
- Always check if the link for claiming a crypto airdrop is the official one by going to official project channels
- Double-check the Telegram or Discord group that’s promoting the airdrop to see if it’s the official one (if the claims made in the group seem outrageous, it’s probably a scam group)
- Check the team and its history—while Satoshi Nakamoto (the inventor of Bitcoin) remains anonymous to this day, usually anonymous founders aren’t a great sign
- Be especially careful with airdrops that require you to install special software like proprietary wallets—dodgy developers can include malware and use them to drain your account
- Don’t visit links thrown up by error messages when trying to interact with a token
And be careful with posting your wallet address in public to get an airdrop. While it’s not as bad as sharing your seed phrase, it’s still not a great practice because people can look up your wallet address and see exactly what you’re holding.
Either create a separate wallet for claiming airdrops, or don’t share your wallet address in Twitter threads and other public places.
You can create a wallet that can’t be linked to your identity in any way—check out this tutorial to find out how.
How to claim your crypto and NFT airdrops
The claiming process differs per airdrop. However, one thing you need for all of them is a crypto wallet—and the right one.
The Keplr wallet is best for Cosmos-based chains and projects (including Secret Network), and the Metamask wallet is good for Ethereum-based platforms.
Check out this tutorial to find out how to set up your Keplr wallet.
Current and upcoming airdrops on Secret Network
That’s it! Now you know everything you need to catch and claim that next big crypto airdrop.
Of course, there’s a lot being dropped in the Secret ecosystem as well.
At the time of writing, there’s still the ongoing Shade airdrop. And we have Orbem Wars (a P2E tower defense game) coming up with an NFT airdrop, and Legendao (a play-to-mint NFT platform) with an airdrop whitelist.
Here’s the complete list of ongoing and upcoming airdrops on Secret Network:
- 🪂 Shade Protocol | Twitter: @Shade_Protocol | $SHD (ongoing)
- 🪂 SecretSwap | Twitter: @secret_swap | $SEFI (ongoing)
- 🪂 Legendao | Twitter: @LegendaoNFT | $LGND
- 🪂 JACKAL DAO | Twitter: @JACKAL_DAO | $JKL
- 🪂 Orbem Wars | Twitter: @DomeriumLabs | NFT airdrop
- 🪂 SecretDAO | Twitter: @secretdaocom | $SDAO
- 🪂 Data Vault | Twitter: @Data_Vault_ | $DAVA
- 🪂 AmberDAO | Twitter: @AmberDAO_ | $AMBER
Don’t forget to join the #🪂airdrops channel on our Discord server or hop on our Telegram channel to stay up to date! And if you’re serious about those airdrops, consider becoming a Secret Agent 🕵️♀️ We regularly drop $SCRT and a gazillion other tokens, fractional and full (Secret) NFTs, whitelist spots and alpha access, and much more in exchange for helping drive network adoption and engagement.