Crypto Airdrop: What Is It & How Does It Work

Cryptocurrency airdrops are a strategic way for brands to expand their reach and introduce people to their products. This article will focus on understanding cryptocurrency airdrops, their types, workings, and how to avoid scams. To start off with:

What Is a Cryptocurrency Airdrop?

In the world of cryptocurrencies, an airdrop involves giving away coins or tokens directly to people's cryptocurrency wallets. Crypto companies organize these events, typically with conditions like owning a specific wallet or claiming the assets within a set timeframe. While the amounts distributed are usually small, they can hold value for recipients.

Participants can approach airdrops in two ways: by collecting as many as possible for potential cumulative gains or by  holding  onto the received tokens, hoping for their value to increase in the future, although this is speculative. A  study showed that selling airdropped coins promptly upon listing often yields greater financial benefits compared to holding them with the hope of future valuation.

Image source: Phemex

Types of Crypto Airdrops

Crypto airdrops exhibit a diverse array of formats, each with its own set of rules and potential benefits. These formats can encompass inclusive distributions, exclusivity reserved for particular groups, participation conditioned on completing specific tasks, or rewards for loyalty. Airdrops serve as multifaceted tools for enhancing brand visibility, cultivating user loyalty, and encouraging active engagement with a brand's initiatives. The primary types of crypto airdrops include:

Standard Airdrop

As the name suggests, this is the most common form, characterized by a straightforward participation process that typically entails creating an account and providing wallet details within a specified period. Although these airdrops often offer smaller rewards, their simplicity makes them an easy avenue for acquiring specific cryptocurrencies.

Exclusive Airdrop

This variant caters to select groups, frequently rewarding early investors or long-standing supporters as a token of appreciation for their loyalty. It serves the dual purpose of building and nurturing a dedicated community around the brand.

Holder Airdrop

This type capitalizes on individuals' holding patterns, offering airdrops to those who maintain a certain amount of a specified cryptocurrency during the airdrop period. Commonly employed during cryptocurrency forks, this strategy aims to introduce newly created tokens to a broader audience and initiate market circulation.

Bounty Airdrop

The bounty airdrop rewards individuals for completing specific tasks that contribute to the project's visibility and outreach. Tasks typically range from simple actions like signing up for newsletters and following social media accounts to more complex activities aimed at promoting the brand and enhancing its public image.

Raffle Airdrop

Incorporating elements of luck and anticipation, this type combines a raffle with the airdrop, allowing numerous individuals to participate, but only a select few secure the tokens. This method heightens the excitement surrounding the event while promoting brand familiarity among a larger audience.

How Does Crypto Airdrop Work?

The execution of a crypto airdrop typically unfolds in a structured manner. A crypto company decides to conduct an airdrop, driven either by the objective of enhancing market visibility or rewarding a segment of its loyal community. The team meticulously plans the airdrop, selecting the specific type that aligns with their goals.

Following the planning phase, the company launches a promotional campaign that targets a specific demographic. During this phase, the firm collects wallet addresses and, occasionally, email addresses from interested parties. In cases where the airdrop mandates participants to hold a predetermined amount of cryptocurrency within a specified timeframe, the company requests wallet snapshots as evidence of compliance. This serves to compile a list of eligible individuals for the giveaway. Similarly, for bounty airdrops, proof of completed tasks is collected to form the participant list.

Once the participant list is finalized and the designated date arrives, the allocated funds are automatically transferred to the recipients through smart contracts, typically originating from the company's Treasury wallet. This transaction block is publicly disclosed to foster transparency. Importantly, recipients are often not required to actively claim the airdrop; the tokens are deposited into their wallets at the designated time. However, in some cases, users may need to initiate the claim.

How to Avoid Airdrop Scams?

It is paramount to understand that legitimate crypto brands will never solicit financial investments in exchange for an airdrop. Encountering such a request should immediately raise suspicion, as it is a clear indicator of a scam. Nevertheless, scams may manifest without explicit investment requests, such as through dusting scams involving small crypto transfers followed by phishing attempts.

Image source: Twitter

To safeguard against airdrop scams, exercising caution with unsolicited crypto transfers is imperative. Additionally, rigorous research into the reputation and terms of any airdrop before participation is essential. It is advisable to steer clear of unknown or dubious entities and avoid interacting with strangers sending links to unfamiliar websites, as these may lead to phishing platforms. To authenticate the legitimacy of a website, one can visit its social media platforms to examine user feedback or seek unbiased reviews.

For those who decide to participate in airdrops, it is prudent to create a separate wallet to segregate these tokens from their primary cryptocurrency assets. This proactive measure ensures that their main portfolio remains protected from potential compromises.

Pros and Cons

As with any financial endeavor, cryptocurrency airdrops come with their set of advantages and disadvantages:


  • Introduction to New Tokens: Airdrops serve as a gateway for individuals to familiarize themselves with emerging cryptocurrency projects and their respective tokens, promoting the adoption of new digital assets.
  • Organized Token Distribution: Airdrops offer a structured and methodical approach to token distribution, diverging from more conventional methods, such as mining or purchasing.
  • Empowering Early Backers: Airdrops empower early backers and loyal supporters of a project by granting them direct ownership of tokens, potentially transforming them into substantial stakeholders in the venture.


  • Potential for Scams: The crypto space is susceptible to fraudulent activities, and airdrops are not immune. Scams can pose significant risks to participants, making careful vetting of airdrop opportunities crucial.
  • Valueless Tokens: While airdropped tokens hold potential, they may lack immediate value or liquidity, potentially leading to disappointment for recipients.

Crypto Airdrops vs. Initial Coin Offerings (ICO)

Airdrops and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) share the common objective of increasing awareness and distributing tokens, particularly during a project's early stages. However, they differ significantly in their approach:

  • Airdrops: Airdrops are essentially giveaways of tokens, typically distributed for free. They are designed to encourage mass participation, making them accessible to a broad audience.
  • ICOs: In contrast, Initial Coin Offerings require participants to make financial investments in the cryptocurrency project. ICOs often target larger investors, and participants receive tokens in proportion to their investment.


From the perspective of users, airdrops present an exciting opportunity to explore a diverse range of new tokens while potentially earning free assets. Discerning users who can distinguish between scams and legitimate opportunities may find airdrops both enjoyable and profitable.

For cryptocurrency brands, airdrops serve as a strategic tool to build a dedicated user base, foster loyalty, and enhance project visibility. By effectively utilizing airdrops, brands can pave the way for future growth and success in the competitive cryptocurrency landscape.