The biggest crypto airdrops in history
Learn more about airdrops in the cryptocurrency world and the largest airdrops in history, such as Uniswap, Apecoin, dYdX, and Arbitrum airdrops.
There is a lot of talk about 2024 being the year of airdrops. You will undoubtedly read about it many times in many places. Increased adoption may mean that after some time, even your parents or a random person, such as a taxi driver, will ask you if you have completed the tasks of the XYZ project to receive free cryptocurrencies.
Today, however, we will focus on history, i.e., a summary of the largest airdrops on the market.
What are airdrops?
Before we move on, for those who have not yet encountered this concept, let us briefly present what airdrops are in crypto. Airdrop is a type of reward from a cryptocurrency entity for specific activities. In other words, it is a program for distributing free cryptocurrencies to users who somehow deserve them by engaging in the promotion, development, and operation of a given project, network, or exchange.
Activities can also be virtually any, but there are many more possibilities here. This may be having some tokens, a specific NFT, or an active wallet. We also often encounter the criterion of completing a transaction, achieving the volume level, or using a website at the testnet stage. Specific tasks for airdrops have become popular, where we have to, for example, like a post, follow on social media, or invite friends to participate in a joint activity.
Airdrops can be divided into yet another exciting category. Namely, there may be those where it is known that there will be an airdrop for completing specific tasks. It is not known how big precisely – it can only be estimated. However, more exciting are those airdrops where nothing is known about it, or the project or insiders give subtle signs that something can be expected. The criteria and rewards are then most often unknown. And then begins what is extremely important on the crypto market – a carousel of emotions and speculations begins. You can learn more about airdrops and their types in the articles “What is airdrop in cryptocurrencies ?” and “How to get cryptocurrencies for free ?”.
Why do projects do airdrops?
This is an excellent opportunity to ask yourself why projects do airdrops. After all, they give the money away for free. On the surface, it might seem so. However, the example of the previous paragraphs clearly shows that these are not wasted expenses. This is a particular way of investing in marketing. By organizing an airdrop, they build interest and community around a given project.
Airdrops, however, differ from standard marketing campaigns and expenses – the money spent in this way goes straight to users, not to Google Ads, META, Influencers, or editorial staff of industry portals. This helps build positive emotions and attachment to the project.
At the time of writing, an excellent example of a project doing great marketing with airdrop speculation is Notcoin. A Telegram application in which you mint tokens by clicking on the screen with your finger. Nobody knows what it is supposed to be used for, whether these tokens will be worth anything, and whether there will be an airdrop. But plenty of people are talking about it, and the app has millions of active users.
How much can you earn on airdrops? What were the most significant rewards?
In 2023, performing specific tasks via airdrops was very popular. On the one hand, these were apparent tasks described by the projects, and on the other, they were increasing the number of transactions and volume for potential airdrops. There are many indications that this trend will continue in 2024.
Airdrop values have been very different from a few to a dozen or so USD to several hundred thousand USD per user. The criteria were also other, but it can be generally assumed that the greater the time and capital commitment, the greater the number of tokens received thanks to airdrop.
According to Coingecko, Uniswap remains the largest airdrop in the history of the crypto market to this day. This is one of the most popular DEX exchanges. Tokens were received by users who used the exchange before a specified date. Notably, this was not announced in advance. It is possible that due to the size of the airdrop, the exchange later became an apparent market leader – this is highly effective marketing.
In the top 3, we have another exchange – dYdX, which only offers decentralized futures contracts. In this case, there were no official announcements of the airdrop either. Only rumors were circulating among users about what could and was worth doing to potentially receive free cryptocurrencies. It turned out that it was enough to use the exchange to get at least a minimum amount of free tokens. The larger the transaction volume, the larger the amounts distributed to users.
Yet another example worth mentioning was Arbitrum, the second layer for Ethereum. It was the largest airdrop of 2023. To qualify for it, various activities were considered, such as funds bridge or several transactions. How long we dealt with it and what volume we achieved also mattered.
As for the numbers regarding the sum of the total airdrop values, they were as follows:
- Uniswap – $6,433M
- Apecoin – $3,544M
- dYdX – $2,010M
- Arbitrum – $1,969M
- Ethereum Name Service – $1,879M
- Internet Computer – $1,737M
- Bonk – $1,325M
- Celestia – $728M
- LooksRare – $712M
- 1inch Network – $671M
Airdrops – what to expect in 2024?
As you can see, projects often spend vast amounts of money on rewards for their early, active users. Can we expect equally large quantities in 2024, or perhaps a change of leader? Hard to say. However, if you happen to be bored, sometimes, instead of another episode of the series, it may be worth doing simple tasks as part of selected projects with potential!