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‘Free Money’: These Are the Hottest Airdrops Around Right Now

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How do crypto protocols incentivize and reward early users and contributors? Token airdrops. By handing out protocol tokens, the early users who helped build and propel a network or app are typically given a say in decentralized governance—and the tokens have value, too.

Not every airdrop will fill your wallet with a sizable bag of tokens, but you never know—users have collectively netted millions of dollars in tokens during past airdrops, and sometimes crypto tokens gain value over the long haul.

Recent high-profile airdrops from the likes of Blur and Pyth Network may inspire you to look for the next big protocol to reward users for participation. It’s important to note, though, that most projects now prefer retroactive airdrops to reward past activity. So, if you haven’t yet interacted with these protocols, you might already be out of luck. 

Here’s a look at some of the biggest airdrops that either just commenced or are coming soon.

Jito

Solana DeFi protocol Jito launched its JTO token airdrop on Thursday, December 7, following news the previous week that the token was incoming. Coinbase listed the Solana-based token immediately, and by that evening, the collective value of the airdrop hit $225 million. If you used Jito ahead of the airdrop snapshot, then be sure to check if your wallets are eligible to claim a share of JTO.

Starknet

Solana has seen the last couple of big airdrops, but the next one could come from Ethereum. Starknet, the layer-2 scaling network, announced Friday that it plans to host a STRK token airdrop soon, with 900 million tokens set to go out to early users and contributors. Starknet has yet to reveal its eligibility requirements or an exact timeframe for the airdrop, but if you’ve used the Ethereum scaler, then be sure to stay tuned.

Blast

Blast, the upcoming Ethereum layer-2 scaling network from the founder of top NFT marketplace Blur, has been controversial—even one of its lead backers publicly griped about its launch. But that hasn’t stopped traders from staking enormous amounts of ETH and stablecoins, now over $1.1 billion worth, hoping to eventually earn airdropped tokens.

Why is there so much interest? Blur has already airdropped several hundred million dollars worth of BLUR tokens to users, and Blast is telegraphing a very similar approach, attempting to corner the market through vast incentives for users. There’s already a lot of demand, but Blast has clearly laid out how users can set themselves up to earn rewards.

Jupiter

Following the Pyth and Jito launches, Solana will soon get another notable airdrop, with popular DeFi aggregator Jupiter apparently next in line to drop. Jupiter said in November that nearly a million wallets are eligible for the airdrop for using Solana’s leading decentralized exchange (DEX), and then launched a tool to let prospective claimants find out just how many JUP tokens are headed their way. The airdrop is now set for January.

Portal

If you’ve been on Crypto Twitter in recent days, then you’ve probably seen the hubbub around Portal’s upcoming gaming token. It’s not exactly organic, either: Portal is incentivizing Twitter users to broadly spread the word about the upcoming PORTAL airdrop to earn points, which apparently will yield them tokens in the future.

There have been a lot of questions about the project, which aims to bridge the gap between various crypto games with a single, cross-chain token, though more details are starting to come to light. Portal now says its airdrop is coming in January.

Frame

Frame is a new Ethereum-based scaling network designed for NFT projects. The creators aim to get a huge number of users in the mix by airdropping tokens to anyone who traded NFTs on Ethereum over the last two years, as of the airdrop announcement on December 19.

You can check your eligibility now and find out how many FRAME tokens you’re due, although the actual airdrop will take place on January 31, 2024 once the Frame mainnet goes live.

Saga

Saga is a crypto gaming protocol that helps developers spin up their own blockchains for games, and with its mainnet launch planned for January, the company has already started talking about its airdrop plans.

Testnet developers will benefit from the first airdrop, while community members are set to get tokens from a follow-up drop. Saga has launched a “play-to-airdrop” campaign that will reward players that perform well in competitions across a number of games building on Saga’s testnet, with collaborations planned for games on other chains as well.

Xai

Arbitrum “layer-3” gaming network Xai is gearing up to launch its first XAI token airdrop in early January after delaying it from the original December 27 date. Sentry Key owners who operate network-supporting nodes are eligible, along with owners of two NFT projects tied to Xai. Click here for more on who’s eligible and when.

Solana Saga

Did you manage to snag a Solana Saga smartphone before the original production run ran out? If so, there are a number of token airdrops available to phone owners, along with other perks and benefits. We’ve collected all of them at this link, which will be routinely updated as more and more projects get onboard.

Tensor

Solana’s new leading NFT marketplace has been hinting at an airdrop for months, and has closely followed the Blur playbook, including by incentivizing trading activity with points. Those points are likely to result in a share of tokens for traders, and with Solana NFT activity on the rise, that could prove very worthwhile. Tensor’s NFT project, Tensorians, could potentially play a role, which explains why the prices have been surging lately.

Edited by Ryan Ozawa.

Editor’s note: This story was originally published on December 9, 2023 and last updated with new info on December 29.

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