Demystifying the airdrop ecology of “nothing to be born”: Some people bought a house, and some people got nothing.

In the blockchain space, startups typically don't discover gold for employees, but offer airdrops or bonuses to fans who want to earn a few dollars through the program. By hiring a large number of reviewers, professionally making emoticons, and forwarding Twitter people and video bloggers to promote the network, startups have created a lively situation and a community that is expected to drive them to success.


There is evidence that this approach is effective. In December 2018, the adult social network Sharesome dropped more than 1 billion Flame Tokens (XFL) in 48 hours, more than 150,000 people signed up for airdrops, and 23,000 joined the telegraph group.

For blockchain startups, what are the advantages of using this approach? Mike Sergeev, senior communications manager at KICK ECOSYSTEM, who is responsible for airdrop activities, said:

“They didn’t actually pay any fees because creating tokens is completely free compared to fiat money.”

Those who participate in these airdrop activities are also known as "bounty hunters", who hope that the tokens they earn will be worth a lot of money after the online exchange.

Once someone can manage this highly disordered economy, they can “get rich quickly”: if a token is appreciated, several weekly transfers and comments can bring thousands of dollars in revenue; for bounty hunters, This is not a small amount, many of them living in developing countries, where the wages are less than $5 a day. Abu Bakkar Siddik, a bounty hunter from Bangladesh, revealed that he made enough money from an ICO airdrop to buy a suite.


(Abu Bakkar Siddik bought a suite from the money earned from the Kick ICO airdrop, photo source: Kick ICO)

But in the blockchain economy, the scammers are rampant. If a project suddenly disappears, the bounty hunter has almost no way to go. It is not uncommon for a bounty hunter to wait a few months to get a reward after completing a mission. This is enough time for a company to close down or let the founder abscond.

In some cases, the bounty hunter's hard work for a few months can only get a few cents. Ayub Emon, also a bounty hunter from Bangladesh, said that he wasted about three to four months on the airdrop. Some of the tokens he received were 300 times lower than during the ICO period. What’s worse, some In the case, he could not get anything at all.

But this strategy is still very popular and profitable, so many people start to find full-time opportunities to reward tokens, hoping to get wealth. For example, the XLM Foundation recently announced that it will invest 2 billion XLM tokens in the next 20 months, currently worth $120 million.

Related bounty hunters' websites have sprung up, and some websites have more than 1 million hits per month. Since the first airdrop in 2014 (the earliest airdrop Auroracoin has been completely useless now), this marketing strategy has become a big business in just over a little over five years. This article interviewed these people who "make money out of thin air".

Is the wool that is thrown in the air to make money out of thin air?

Oladele Olanrewaju, 33, from Nigeria, became a bounty hunter after the collapse of the cryptocurrency market in early 2018. He lost money when he was doing a competitive currency transaction and wanted to find a way to make up for the loss.

Olanrewaju began marketing for Hydro, which aims to achieve financial security through blockchain. His job is simple: bring this project to life by forwarding links, posting emoticons, or making YouTube videos. Olanrewaju therefore received a Hydro token reward. At the end of 2017, before the Hydro token, he received 222,222 Hydro tokens. After Hydro in April 2018, its price soared and Olanrewaju earned $1,500. There is one more fortunate thing: Hydro tokens are worth only $0.0007 today.

"I can boldly say that I earn more money from airdrops every month than I did for civil servants for three months."

Olanrewaju now spends 8 hours a day on airdrops. His previous job was a web developer, but now the job has become a sideline. Much of Olanrewaju's work is done on Telegram and WhatsApp, where thousands of bounty hunters are eagerly awaiting their daily tasks.

This work is day and night, Olanrewaju said he needs to stare at the phone from morning to night every day.

When the ICO market bottomed out, Olanrewaju said that his funds had decreased as the password market fell, but he still earns around $150 a month.

The glorious era of token trading is over? Bounty hunter trapped in the bottleneck

Ayub Emon, 23, is an undergraduate student in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Feni School of Government in Bangladesh. He revealed that he has been working in the airdrop industry since 2017. As part of his social media campaign, he spends about three days a week as a bounty hunter.

From 2017 to 2018, Emon earned $25,000. One of Emon's most successful marketing campaigns is Dago-Mining, which launched a green token that promises to mine with solar energy.

For example, if a bounty hunter wants to get these tokens, he must have an account with more than 500 friends, then pay attention to a page on Facebook and post it several times a week for two months with the tag # Ico #DAGO #eth #btc #greenmining #bitcoin. In doing so, you get at least 5 stakes a week – if you have more friends on Facebook, you will earn more.

The stake here refers to the proportion of bounty hunters who receive the total number of airdrops. Suppose there are 4 million tokens in an airdrop, for a total of 32,000 tokens. In Facebook's weekly promotion, the weekly earnings are 5 Stakes, which will eventually receive 125 Dago tokens, which they can sell once they go online.

But by 2019, the glorious era of token trading has ended. Emon earned only $3,000 in 2019. 2019 is not a good year. Most ICOs have failed, or are scams ,” he said. He was wasted by swindlers for about three to four months, and the tokens were 300 times lower than the ICO. Or worse, no rewards were received at all.

Hidden scam

32-year-old Diego Santos is an IT professional and bounty hunter. He spent several weeks participating in some projects, only to find that he was not paid at all, or the founder later gave up the project and took them through financing. The funds have escaped.

In order to expand the scope of the business, blockchain start-ups need to translate relevant documents, such as white papers, into as many different languages ​​as possible. Santos said that in May 2018, he participated in a white paper translation bounty program and received 2000 stakes, which was worth about $6,000. Santos spent two weeks on this project, translating more than 100 pages of white paper into his native Portuguese, and found that the company had closed down after the completion. According to official sources, the funds were “temporarily frozen”, but Santos has no hope – the project has never even been on the scene.

In another project, (decentralized free WiFi network), Santos spent a week making Telegram expressions for the company, earning a bounty of about $1,500. In April 2018, two months before WeToken, he received the funds. After the token was sold, the bounty hunter sold it immediately and the price plummeted. Santos said that this may be because the bounty hunter who received the small reward did not have the motivation to go to HODL. Today, Santos received a $1,500 WeToken for only $3.


(Photographed by Santos for WorldWifi marketing campaign)

But the situation may reverse in an instant: Also in an airdrop event in May 2018, Santos used Photoshop to create several maps for Credits' Telegram campaign, earning more than $4,000 in less than three days. In Brazil, this is equivalent to the country’s one-and-a-half-year minimum wage, which is the temptation of airdrops.


(Photos Santos made for Credits)

But unlike everyone else, Santos is cautious: he hasn't given up on a stable job at an IT company for airdrops.

Lack of responsibility: the biggest feature of airdrop ecology

KICK ECOSYSTEM was founded in Russia in 2016 and is composed of bounty hunter experts to advise on corporate airdrop activities. The company's new exchange, KICKEX, offers an airdrop location within its platform.

KICKEX will verify the identity of team members and find their experiences, and do their best to confirm that the project is legal. However, despite this, Kick's senior communications manager Mike Sergeev said:

“What can happen is that there are some projects that have received funds but have not done anything for their tokens.”

“Everyone can participate in any project. Everyone has to do the research before they participate; behind these projects, more are scams than just people.”

But is it reasonable to hope that a bounty hunter from a slum in Bangladesh will provide an accurate economic model for some of the “immature programs” in Silicon Valley? Absolutely unreasonable.

In order to make money, bounty hunters must hedge their "bets." The problem is that most bounty hunters don't need to do a lot of hard work. Sergeev said that these are all done through social media.

"The airdrop is really too simple. There are ten airdrops a day… Even if 9 of the 10 tokens are zero, as long as one has gone up, you are still a winner."

Due to the failure of ICOs, some people began to earn cash through the recommendation program. But the payment method is also uncertain: for example, KICKEX will immediately give KickTokens worth $20 to registered users, but users can only cash in the fourth quarter of 2019 when KICKEX goes online.

So, can you get rich? Santos replied: "Maybe, who knows when the next bull market will come?"

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