Airdrop update: the best potential for free money in crypto in 2022
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In September last year, Stockhead covered a list of possible “airdrops” – essentially free money in the form of tokens rewarded to predefined lists of crypto wallets. It’s time for a reminder and update to see if those or similar opportunities exist this year.
The short answer is, yes, the potential is still very much there for token airdrops, especially for those who are most active in the crypto economy across numerous blockchain ecosystems and applications.
They do it typically to generate awareness with a burst of free publicity – with the bonus of rewarding early adopters and loyal users.
Not all airdrops are created equal, however. In fact, it’s fair to say that most of them are pretty worthless and some might even carry scam-related risk. By the same (actually different) token, though, there have been some out-and-out winners, too. As always in crypto, and any investing, research and due diligence is key.
The biggest airdrop of 2021, for instance, was the Ethereum Name Service distribution of $ENS to thousands of users who’d registered a .ETH address on the platform. With the lowest amount of tokens received for the airdrop being about 200 for each address, and the highest being about 1,000, at the peak ENS price (almost US$84) the reward value ranged from about US$13k to US$84k per address held.
Some other notable airdrops have included Uniswap’s UNI token, DYDX and most recently, APE – distributed to BAYC NFT ecosystem holders.
Community airdrops by rough market value on day one:
— Eddy Lazzarin ☀️🔭 (@eddylazzarin) March 18, 2022
Let’s cut to the chase and examine some of the best possible airdrop opportunities still floating about, according to the crypto rumour mill (Twitter, YouTube and other places). Bear in mind, though, there is a strong element of speculation to all this, hence the words “potential” and “possible” probably being overused in this article.
Hop lets users quickly transfer Ethereum and stablecoins, as well as provide liquidity, across various Ethereum-ecosystem scaling networks, such as Arbitrum, Polygon and xDai.
Although there is no official word from the Hop team, the airdrop rumour on this one has been building since Stockhead’s article last year. Just last week popular Kiwi-based YouTuber Lark Davis included it in his list of airdrop candidates, for instance.
One way to give yourself a chance of airdrop eligibility is to use the protocol to transfer some ETH, for example, across from the mainnet to, say, the Arbitrum network.
And an extra step might also be to use the protocol’s liquidity-providing capability at least once, too. You can find out how to do both these things here.
Ethereum Layer 2s
Layer 2 scaling solutions, as they’re known, are built to help scale Ethereum and maintain the integrity of its network security. This list of L2s all have varying potential to tokenise as they build out and follow a path of decentralisation.
In order to give yourself a shot, the best thing to do with these is to bridge a little ETH onto each of these platforms if you can spare it, then interact with the network (check the FAQs on each site to learn how). That essentially means conducting a token swap and/or using the liquidity pools on each protocol.
Each of these has the potential to offer pretty significant airdrops if they do tokenise, although a lot of users will no doubt be made eligible, creating a greater spread.
• StarkNet: Another newly launched ZK rollup solution operated by StarkWare. StarkNet has indicated a desire to decentralise this year. Decentralisation could mean a token-distribution event down the line.
Saying you are going to decentralise is a meme. Working on it and push proposals is getting closer to reality…#StarkNet lovers, unite and give feedbacks on our first design proposal https://t.co/Yg3SizDz4n
— Louis Guthmann 🦇🔊✨ | 🐺-Maxi (@GuthL) March 10, 2022
• Arbitrum: An “Optimistic rollup” solution that settles transactions via ETH. There’s not much substance to this rumour yet, but it’s another highly centralised entity that might well encourage user expansion through a token.
• Optimism: As the name would suggest, this L2 also uses Optimistic rollup scaling technology. Possibly the least likely airdrop candidate in this bunch, only because the protocol has discouraged token talk at various times. Still, worth keeping an eye on – if Arbitrum jumps the airdrop way, then in the spirit of competition Optimism might, too.
In an August 2021 community call, the MetaMask team openly discussed the possibility of a token launch. And just last month, MetaMask’s lead of operations “Jacobc.eth” told DeCrypt that a token launch wouldn’t be a “cash grab” and wouldn’t put governance into the hands of “airdrop farmers”.
The latter tidbit doesn’t mean an airdrop is off the cards, it simply means MetaMask could be seeking to reward legitimate, longtime users. If that’s you, perhaps you already qualify for a future airdrop.
If you’re new to crypto, though, consider setting up a MetaMask wallet via the Chrome extension and start using the swap function.
🌟 What is the development of the MetaMask token issue?
🌟 How to complete the interaction with MetaMask?
— Gate.io (@gate_io) March 18, 2022
• Phantom: This is probably the most popular Web3 wallet for Solana and has a similar user experience to MetaMask. Unlike the latter, there’s been no particularly strong rumour of a token, however, if its main competitors (multchain wallet provider XDEFI already has a token) are doing it, then there’s a strong possibility Phantom has similar plans.
Like MetaMask, you can use Phantom to swap funds and you might want to look at staking some SOL on the Solana ecosystem via the Phantom wallet as well.
• Argent: A DeFi wallet in which you can “buy, earn, stake and trade on Ethereum Layer 2 with low fees and bulletproof security”, according to its website. Argent is integrated with zkSync, so becoming active on this protocol might also help increase eligibility for a potential zK-related airdrop.
Options protocol Opyn builds decentralised finance-based derivatives and options infrastructure. It’s created a “DeFi primitive” it calls “squeeth” (squared ETH) that aims to improve hedging for AMM (automated market maker) liquidity pools.
This is being tipped as a potentially big one by the likes of “master airdrop hunter” OlimpioCrypto, among others on crypto Twitter. He suggests opening a “Long squeeth” position to give yourself the best chance at airdrop eligibility. Find out more here.
This is a DEX (decentralised exchange) that’s been up and running for some time on the Terra network. Given the rise in popularity in the Terra ecosystem this year, this could be a strong airdrop candidate, especially as other significant DeFi platforms have tokenised in the past, including Uniswap and dYdX.
It might be wise to do some trading and/or liquidity providing on the platform, and, if you own any LUNA tokens, perhaps look to stake those on the Terra network, too.
The Cosmos layer 1 blockchain ecosystem has seen some big airdrops supplied to stakers of its native token ATOM.
The “interoperable smart contract network” token JUNO springs to mind, as does the Osmosis (OSMO) DEX token.
Learn how to stake ATOM, and there’s every chance of getting onboard the Cosmos ecosystem airdrop gravy train. (Potentially.)
This was the first DEX live on zkSync and offers low slippage trades for many liquidity pairs, including YFI, LINK and LUNA, as well as stablecoins.
Give yourself a chance to capitalise by using the ZigZag bridge to on-ramp from L1 to L2 or swapping funds in the exchange.
You know what I see in this photo?
Apart from incredible applications and so much potential…. #Airdrops
— The Stark Knight (@thiscrypto_life) March 20, 2022
• Zapper: There was wide expectation that this DeFi protocol would tokenise last year, but it instead chose to issue NFTs. The creation of a token and airdrop still isn’t out of the question, especially as the project has discussed further decentralisation plans by transforming into a DAO (decentralised autonomous organisation).
• Zerion: A similar story to Zapper, the multichain DeFi protocol also has its own NFT collection that may or may not be worth participating in for potential airdrop eligibility.
Both these protocols could be waiting on further regulatory clarity in the US before making any airdrop moves.
Last but not least – by far the biggest and most-used NFT marketplace in the business. As with MetaMask, there has been a lot of speculation about OpenSea tokenising, however, the company has indicated the more traditional IPO route may be a possibility for them.
That said, there have been a few “vampire attacks” – a strategic move by a project to attract users away from a competitor – on OpenSea over the past several months, including from the likes of LooksRare and x2y2.
If other similar projects can gain traction and market share with a tokenised system, then perhaps it’ll end up forcing OpenSea’s hand in a similar direction.
There could be a lot of happy OpenSea traders who benefit if an OS token does ever eventuate.
Besides sifting through social media channels and projects’ various Medium articles, another good place to look for further airdrop opportunities is on DeFi Llama, which has a dedicated airdrop page listing projects that have yet to tokenise.