What Is a Crypto Airdrop?

What Is a Crypto Airdrop?

6 Min.

Crypto startups commonly use crypto airdrops as a marketing strategy to promote their project and new tokens. By giving out their native cryptocurrency for free to current or potential users, they increase their visibility.

To claim their free tokens, users may be required to perform simple promotional tasks like following the project's social media account or sharing posts. However, the types of airdrops and requirements vary depending on the crypto project.

While the goal of most airdrops is to raise awareness and interest in the project, the distribution method differs. Some airdrops are automatically credited to users' wallets, while others need to be manually claimed.

Anyone who has a cryptocurrency wallet can receive or claim an airdrop, but caution is advised. Fraudulent airdrops are prevalent, and they can steal wallet funds when tokens are claimed or transferred. Therefore, it's essential to confirm the project's legitimacy before claiming an airdrop, especially when connecting a wallet to an airdrop website.


The vast number of new coins emerging in the crypto space can make it challenging for investors and traders to stay updated on all the new projects. Therefore, some crypto projects have adopted airdrops to raise awareness and differentiate themselves from the crowd. Nevertheless, while free crypto is a tempting offer, airdrops are not always legitimate, and precautions must be taken to avoid scams.

A crypto airdrop is a distribution of digital assets to multiple wallets by a crypto project. The aim is to give away coins or tokens to both existing and potential users as a means of increasing awareness about the project. These tokens are given out free of charge, but in some cases, users may have to complete certain tasks before claiming them. Crypto airdrops were particularly popular during the initial coin offering (ICO) boom in 2017, but many crypto projects continue to use them as a marketing strategy today.

How Do Airdrops Work?

Crypto airdrops come in various types, but they usually involve distributing a small amount of cryptocurrency to multiple wallets. Some projects offer NFTs instead of regular crypto, although they are less common.

Some airdrop projects require users to perform certain tasks before claiming the rewards, such as following social media accounts, subscribing to a newsletter, or holding a minimum amount of coins in their wallets. However, there is no guarantee that users will receive the airdropped tokens.

In some cases, airdrops are only given to wallets that previously interacted with the project's platform before a particular date. 1INCH and Uniswap are popular examples of this method used to support early adopters. However, unlike typical airdrops, these were worth thousands of dollars.

Why Do Crypto Startups Perform Airdrops?

Blockchain projects often distribute free tokens through airdrops to encourage wider adoption and increase their network. This approach is viewed positively as it raises the number of token holders and enhances the project's decentralization. Besides, airdrops incentivize recipients to use and promote the project, which can establish an initial user base before it lists on crypto exchanges.

However, relying solely on the number of airdropped tokens to evaluate a project's adoption may be misleading. Several other factors should be considered to assess the project's viability. For instance, if there are hundreds of thousands of addresses holding a token, but the token is not being used, it might indicate that the project is either a scam or failed to appeal to the community.

Are ICO and AirDrop the Same Thing?

Although both crypto airdrops and ICOs are related to new cryptocurrency projects, they are different concepts. Airdrops are a way for crypto projects to distribute their tokens to multiple wallets for free, while ICOs are a type of crowdfunding that involves the sale of tokens to investors.

ICOs gained popularity in 2014 when Ethereum raised funds through a token sale to support its development. In 2017, the crypto industry experienced an ICO boom, with many new projects using this method to raise funds. Unlike airdrops, ICOs require an investment from participants, and the project team uses the funds collected to finance the development and marketing of the project.

What Types of Airdrops Are There?

In the world of cryptocurrency, airdrops come in different shapes and sizes. While the standard airdrop involves distributing crypto to multiple wallets, there are other variations, such as bounty, exclusive, and holder airdrops.

Bounty airdrops require users to complete tasks, such as promoting the project on social media and joining official groups, in exchange for tokens. To receive the airdropped tokens, participants are usually required to provide proof of task completion and wallet address.

Exclusive airdrops, on the other hand, only distribute tokens to specific wallets. Recipients are often chosen based on their past involvement with the project, such as being active community members or early supporters. For instance, Uniswap airdropped 400 UNI tokens to every wallet that had interacted with their protocol before a certain date.

Holder airdrops give tokens to users who hold a certain amount of digital currencies in their wallets. The project team takes a snapshot of users' crypto holdings at a specific date and time and distributes tokens according to their holdings at that moment. Bitcoin and Ethereum wallet holders often receive holder airdrops, as they have the largest communities in the space.

How to Claim an Airdrop?

To claim a cryptocurrency airdrop, the process will differ depending on the project. However, the most critical requirement is to have a cryptocurrency wallet. MetaMask is a widely-used wallet that's easy to operate. Once you have a wallet, you can check whether you have received any free tokens. If you haven't, you may need to visit a website to claim the airdrop.

Beware of Airdrop Scams

To avoid falling victim to an airdrop scam, it is crucial to conduct proper research before participating. Scammers often distribute tokens to multiple wallets and drain them when the owners try to move the tokens to another wallet or exchange. They may also trick you into visiting phishing websites that look genuine and signing transactions that drain your wallet.

Be wary of airdrop scams that request you to send cryptocurrency to an unknown wallet address to receive free tokens. Legitimate airdrops will never ask you for funds or seed phrases. It is advisable to bookmark official links and double-check their authenticity on the project's website and social media channels.

Setting up a separate wallet and email address exclusively for airdrops is a smart move that protects your wallet and email from phishing attempts. Always conduct extra research on the project and its legitimacy before participating in an airdrop. If you can't find enough information, it's best to ignore the airdrop. Finally, never share your private keys with anyone.


Participating in airdrops is a great way for crypto enthusiasts to accumulate new and promising tokens while also helping projects gain exposure in the crypto industry. However, the prevalence of scam airdrops makes it essential to be cautious and conduct thorough research before participating in any airdrop.

While airdrops provide a unique opportunity to obtain new tokens without any upfront cost, they also have their downsides. Scammers often take advantage of the popularity of airdrops to trick unsuspecting individuals into giving away their crypto assets. For this reason, it's important to take the time to research the project behind the airdrop and ensure that it's legitimate before participating.

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