The Art of the Airdrop: What to Know When It Comes to NFTs

The Art of the Airdrop: What to Know When It Comes to NFTs

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First introduced during the ICO craze of 2017, an airdrop is simply a mode to nonstop recently minted tokens, often for free, to a ample radical of wallet addresses astatine the aforesaid time. Often utilized successful the crypto satellite arsenic a selling lever for tokens, dApps, oregon NFT projects, airdrops are chiefly distributed for 3 main reasons.

to reward users for the aboriginal adoption of a project;to supply existing assemblage members with further value; andto rise consciousness and promote caller users to trial retired a project.

Most airdrops are distributed successful 1 of 2 ways. They tin either beryllium automatically sent straight to holders’ wallets oregon claimed by connecting a wallet to a dApp oregon airdrop-specific website.

The tokens, which mostly clasp immoderate benignant of value, tin past beryllium either held oregon cashed retired by the recipients. In this regard, airdrops are often viewed as “free money.” And portion this is existent to a degree, it does not mean airdrops are tax-free. According to the IRS, each coins received done an airdrop are taxable to income tax, adjacent if they are not requested.

Before we spell further, it’s important to enactment that erstwhile evaluating oregon interacting with any airdrops, it’s crucial for you to bash your ain research. While web3 is 1 of the lone places wherever “free money” is possible, that besides comes with a important magnitude of risks. 

To amended recognize the antithetic types of airdrops and however they function, let’s look astatine an illustration of each. 

Ethereum Name Service 

In November 2021, Ethereum Name Service (ENS) announced an airdrop arsenic portion of its adjacent signifier of assemblage governance. All ENS owners anterior to October 31 were eligible to assertion a predetermined magnitude of ENS tokens based connected the past of their wallet address. Upon launch, the terms of ENS skyrocketed hitting highs of implicit $81 dollars. While the token present sits astatine astir 8 dollars, galore radical person inactive profoundly profited disconnected their ENS tokens. One of the astir anticipated and lucrative airdrops to date, the ENS airdrop showcases the powerfulness of rewarding users for the aboriginal adoption of a project. 

Mutant Ape Yacht Club
mutant apeMAYC

In August 2021, Yuga Labs airdropped a integer mutant serum to each Bored Ape Yacht Club holders. After exposing their Apes to the serum via an on-chain transaction, a mutant mentation of each Ape was created. Now serving arsenic a cardinal hold of the Yuga portfolio, Mutant Ape Yacht Club has skyrocketed successful some terms and demand, erstwhile reaching an all-time precocious of 40 ETH portion present sitting astatine a existent level terms of 14 ETH astatine the clip of writing.


To drum up hype and traction up of the LooksRare NFT marketplace launch, the squad incentivized prospective users with an airdrop of their autochthonal LOOKS token. Targeting a wide assemblage of NFT enthusiasts, each OpenSea users with implicit 3 ETH successful transaction measurement betwixt June 16, 2021, and December 16, 2021, had the enactment to assertion LOOKS tokens aft listing an NFT for merchantability connected the LooksRare marketplace. With further LOOKS earning and staking rewards for token holders, this strategy helped LooksRare rapidly amass a halfway idiosyncratic base. 

However, it’s worthy noting that erstwhile utilizing airdrops to make traction astir a caller task oregon product, a unreserved of money-hungry users tin make an artificial product-market fit. Generally, erstwhile determination is quality oregon speculation astir an upcoming airdrop, caller users flood the product. Once the airdrop is deployed, oregon if the hype astir the quality dies down, users vanish arsenic rapidly arsenic they arrive. After pumping to $6.70 a token, LOOKS yet came backmost down to world wherever it present sits astatine $0.17 astatine the clip of writing, leaving galore investors with insurmountable losses. 

Benefits of airdrops 

As shown successful the examples above, airdrops are 1 of the champion ways to make worth for some task founders and assemblage members alike. Not lone bash they often reward holders with monetary gain, but they besides service arsenic a mode to signifier deeper relationships with existing assemblage members.

Stacey Yael, the laminitis of Visible Women NFT, uses airdrops arsenic a mode to prosecute with and supply other inferior to her community. As a mode of expressing Visible Women’s values done art, Yael often provides her assemblage with airdrops of portraits that bring attraction to women who are pushing guardant sex equality. Most recently, holders received portraits of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson and Marilyn Monroe. 

“I’ve recovered creating airdrops to beryllium a precise integral and joyous portion of our originative process,” said Yael successful an interrogation with nft now. “Through airdrops, we promote our assemblage to admit NFTs arsenic meaningful assets and assistance to physique their NFT collections on the way.”

Marilyn MonroeVisible Women NFT

Relative to antiquated web2 concern models, airdrops democratize the quality to enactment successful the upside of investing successful backstage companies, says NFT collector Brandon G. 

“In web2, if you had a accidental to bargain the shares of a institution pre-IPO, you would request to conscionable circumstantial concern requirements, motion a ton of paperwork, impact lawyers, and apt look a lock-up play earlier selling your shares,” helium said successful an interrogation with nft now. Participating and investing your clip successful a DAO, dAPP, oregon NFT task gives you unparalleled entree to this upside and tin present worth overmuch quicker than different accepted concern methods.”

Dangers of airdrops

Unfortunately, by tempting radical with the committedness of speedy cash, airdrops are besides 1 of the easiest and astir lucrative scams to deploy. Like an email address, nationalist wallet keys are, well, public. The aforesaid mode your email receives spam messages, anyone tin nonstop anything, including malicious and unwanted tokens, to your integer wallet astatine immoderate time. Whether you take to interact with the tokens, however, is your choice. 

The astir communal scam is to airdrop an NFT oregon crypto-token that holds a malicious declaration into a wallet. This malicious NFT is often assigned a precocious ETH worth to incentivize radical to interact with the contract. Once the idiosyncratic grants the astute declaration access, their wallet is cleared. 

In different cases, hackers volition infiltrate fashionable Discords and pat into the psyche of FOMO-driven NFT collectors by alluding to announcements of mendacious airdrops. To assertion these airdrops, users indispensable either springiness retired their effect operation oregon link their wallets and interact with a faulty contract. Once the declaration is approved, the wallets are drained. A antithetic approach, but the aforesaid result.  

Lastly, airdrops are a reasonably communal catalyst for pump and dump schemes. Each follows a akin pattern. First, a token creator volition motorboat a token and wage important wealth to beforehand it to a broader community. As the hype grows, the token creator volition usage the societal impervious down the token to get it listed connected a large exchange. Once listed connected the speech and the measurement pumps, the creator (who mostly tends to beryllium the bulk token holder) will merchantability their tokens, efficaciously crashing the marketplace and leaving guiltless investors holding the bag.  

How to safely assertion and interact with airdrops

Remember, each airdrops are unsocial and should beryllium heavy investigated and treated with caution. In bid to enactment harmless portion vetting and claiming airdrops, it’s important to support the pursuing successful mind:

Look retired for abnormally abbreviated mint oregon assertion windows. Most morganatic projects volition denote mints oregon airdrops good successful advance. Don’t springiness successful to FOMO. Always instrumentality your clip successful the vetting process, and ne'er unreserved to marque immoderate rash decisions. Always triple-check the URL of your assertion leafage to marque definite it’s correct. Also double-check Discord, Twitter, and different socials for legitimacy.Don’t interact with immoderate tokens randomly dropped into your wallet. This includes selling, sending backmost to the archetypal seller, oregon hiding/unhiding. Just permission them be. Verify declaration addresses done Etherscan.

And retrieve — always bash your ain probe and inquire trusted assemblage members if you person questions. It’s conscionable different crushed assemblage is truthful important to the space.