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"An airdrop is a distribution of a cryptocurrency token or coin, usually for free, to a large number of wallet addresses. Airdrops are primarily implemented as a way of gaining attention and new followers, resulting in a larger user-base and a wider disbursement of coins."

Retroactive Airdrops

"Uniswap kicked off the retroactive airdrop craze when it launched its governance token UNI, and distributed 60% of the 1 billion tokens to users of the platform. It distributed 150M UNI to the 250,000 Ethereum addresses that had ever used Uniswap including 400 UNI to every address that had used Uniswap (currently worth ~$8,000).

UNIversal Basic Income (Source)

The retroactive airdrop is a great tool to reward early users of a network, but it’s easily gamed. For example, some people have published public guides to maximize your chances of future airdrops (RSA—oops was that us? 👹). However, as more teams adopt the tactic (see 1Inch and Tornado), retroactive airdrops will likely become a staple of token launch going forward."

Airdrop Farming

  • A method to which insider knowledge is used to pre-emptively interact with a protocol through a huge amount of wallets. Is being criticized for being used by projects and their private investors to give a larger portion of their tokens to their insider group.
  • Got into CT news due to Divergence Ventures airdrop farming on a huge scale (9-10-2021). It first came to light due to Ribbon Finance:

"This @divdotvc analyst @_bridgeharris has made 652 $ETH and counting from @ribbonfinance airdrops, quite impressive. finding wallets like their's and copytrading them is probably the best way to make it tbh. the strat was just deposit .1 eth in ribbon theta vault 140 days ago but across many many wallets"

  • Divergence quickly released tweets saying they were in crypto for more than money, realized they went to far (dumping the farmed token directly into ETH) and that they would send the ETH to the Ribbon DAO.
  • Later it turned out that they had also prefarming Arbitrum and Optimism - depositing very specific amounts into both:

"On Optimism the DumpDotVC wallets are LP'ing tiny amounts of sUSD and DAI - I'm guessing they are investors in Lyra but not listed on site, so trying to confirm this... Yes, they are investors. of course they are."

  • The same day another airdrop farmer got found:

"this address gaming $FORTH airdrop prob also needs public attention: 1. receives 200 eth from tornado cash 2. sends small amounts of ampl and eth to over 5000 addresses 3. claim $FORTH airdrop 100 days later and profit ~28 million at the time of airdrop"

Historic Crypto Airdrops

"Here are notable crypto airdrops:

  1. March 2014: AuroraCoin (AUR) executes the first airdrop, 31.8 AUR to every citizen of Iceland.
  2. Jan. 2016: Minereum (MNE) airdropped $448,000 worth of 32,000 MNE tokens.
  3. June 2017: Stellar (XLM) airdropped $124 million worth of XLM tokens. Specifically, 1,000 XLM for every 1 BTC the user holds.
  4. Nov. 2017: Oyster (PRL) airdropped $9.7 million worth of 2,227 PRL tokens.
  5. April 2018 – Decred (DCR) airdropped $36 million worth of 258,000 DCR tokens.

Thousands of airdrops have taken place since those early days. But they have diminished in value. Moreover, some have been “weaponized.”

Uniswap (UNI) holds over $6 billion in total value locked across Ethereum, Polygon, Arbitrum, Optimism, and even Celo. So, what happens when a competitive team copy-pastes Uniswap’s open-source and hard-forks it into a new DEX called SushiSwap?

In the second half of 2020, Sam Bankman-Fried, the CEO of crypto exchange FTX, transferred $1B worth of Uniswap funds to SushiSwap. This was one of the biggest “vampire mining” attacks, in which funds from one DeFi protocol were migrated to another.

In response, Uniswap launched its UNI governance and utility token. The team then airdropped 400 UNI tokens to all wallets that were recorded having used the DEX. In the end, Uniswap prevailed and SushiSwap was marginalized with  $823.08 million in TVL, over six times less than Uniswap."