What is a Airdrop?
No, not an airdrop iPhone file transfer, mac airdrop, ipad airdrop, military airlift, or an air drip. Airdrops are simply free money. Crypto teams and companies use them to promote new tokens or coins as a marketing strategy to garner interest and attention to new projects. Many times this is a way to get attention to an Initial Coin Offering (ICO). Don’t worry though, airdrops are not under the same regulation concern as ICO’s.
The idea isn’t very new. However, like many things crypto, it’s becoming more and more popular. In fact, you may actually have had coins airdropped into your wallet. Check what’s in your wallet by using Etherscan. If you have coins in your account, you’ll find a drop down labeled Token Tracker. If you don’t see this on your account than you don’t have any coins or airdrops yet.
If you find that you have some random coins in your wallet or you’ve received some before, it’s likely because a coin’s team chose to send out their coin– not an accident – to several Ethereum wallets.
Now, why would someone give away free money? Seems crazy, right? Well think of it this way, after seeing that random coin in your wallet you’re likely to go straight to google and figure out what the coin is. You might even brag to your friends about how some random coin got sent to your wallet. If you wind up doing either one of those, the airdrop was a success for the team. They simply want to create buzz about the coin and get people learning and talking about it. On the contrary, if you wind up never noticing the airdropped coins or you just ignore it, it’s a loss for the team.
It’s no surprise very quickly airdrops became more than a marketing technique. In attempt to balloon coin prices, coins would give away larger airdrops to the coin holders who have already purchased some of the coin. The larger airdrops would be proportional to the total amount of coins held in their wallets. If you wanted to participate in these bonus coin airdrops, you would have to purchase some of the coin or buy more if you wanted a larger amount airdropped into your account.
After both Facebook and Google announced that they have/will ban ad’s for ICOs, ICOs are using airdrops as a way to advertise their coins. One of the main goals of an ICO is to create viral growth and get you to spread the word. Many use a referral systems to accelerate the growth of their coin.
Getting in on Free Airdrops
There is a good chance you’ll need these tools:
An Ethereum Wallet
Must be personal address that is ERC20 compatible. Many airdrops are ERC20 tokens, which are or were Ethereum-based ICOs at some point. Popular wallets like MetaMask or MyEtherWallet are a great place to start. Consider in the long-term securing your account with a hardware wallet like Ledger Nano S. Your exchange (Coinbase, Binance, etc.) is NOT a wallet and will not work for airdrops.
An ACTIVE Ethereum Wallet is required
Your wallet must show activity. Coins want to make sure you are not just creating multiple wallets to collect airdrops. Often, coins explicitly outline required activity in order to receive an airdrop.
This is how coins build community and share updates. Some coins require you to sign up to their Telegram accounts in order to qualify for an airdrop. Make sure you stay in the accounts so that you can receive your airdrop when the time comes.
Like requiring Telegram accounts, airdrop coins will also require you to follow them on Twitter. Some coins will ask that you retweet some tweets in order to garner attention towards coin.
Often, airdrops will want your email. If you don’t want the coin to have your personal email, just create a spam email account. Heads up, some coins ask for email verification, so don’t forget your email login credentials.
Obtaining and Withdrawing Coins
On average, you can expect to wait 1-2 months after the end of the airdrop before you receive your coins. This is because airdrops happen, generally, before or during token sales. Thus, coins are not allocated until end of token sale.
You can keep track of when this coin gets sent to your wallet by using Etherscan to check for updates.
Yellow square (above) is where you will check for the coin. The coin will show up here once available in your wallet. If you don’t see anything, than you have not received them.
When your airdropped coins arrive in your account, you can withdraw on a platforms like My Ether Wallet (MEW). Just use MEW to access your wallet and pick the coin you want to transfer out of your account.
Avoid the Airdrop Scammers
It’s no surprise that there are scams out there. However, here are some best practices to eliminate the risk of a scam;
Don’t ever share or send your private keys
Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking they need your private key to see your account. Anyone with a public address can access that information. Again, Etherscan is a great way to do that.
Do not send funds to anyone
Airdrops are free. Even if it requires you be holding a certain coin, or if it just appears in your wallet, a non-scam airdrop will never ask you to pay or send an amount of a coin to an address. If you have to pay for an airdrop, it’s a scam.
Do your airdrop research and check sources
When coins have an airdrop, it’s going to be announced on their official outlets (social media, website, etc.). Check these places to double confirm that it is official.
To further reduce risk of scam, always try to find reasons why it could be a scam.
How to find Airdrops
There are lots of places you can find airdrops as they are announced. These communities and newsletters make it easy to find credible airdrops. This will also help eliminate your encounter with scammers. However, always do your homework on the coin and airdrop no matter where you hear about it from.
A good resource to find some of these airdrops is Cosmic Trading. Their members will share announcements on airdrops in their channels that have already been verified. It’s also a diverse community of crypto heads with all different levels of experience.