Airdrop season is in full swing, with apps, protocols, and other projects seizing upon signs of an impending bear market to finally drop their tokens—and potentially reward millions of crypto users in the process.
What exactly is an airdrop, though? When it comes to crypto tokens, an airdrop is typically a way for a project to reward its early users and contributors by giving them a share of a newly launched token, all while spreading the tokens far and wide for decentralized governance.
When it comes to blockchain networks and tokens primed specifically for gaming, there are some pretty compelling airdrops on the horizon in the months ahead. Here’s a look at what’s coming for gamers—there may still be time to get involved and score some tokens ahead.
Xai is a “layer-3” gaming network built on Arbitrum, itself a layer-2 Ethereum scaling network, and it just launched its first airdrop wave on January 9. The drop was originally planned for December 27, but then was delayed into early January.
Created in collaboration with Arbitrum developer Offchain Labs, the Xai network dropped its first XAI tokens to owners of certain NFT projects, along with Sentry node operators that purchased a Sentry Key. Ultimately, some $70 million worth of tokens were handed out in this initial wave, with more expected in a future “Season 2” airdrop. Eligible users can claim their XAI now.
Pixels, currently the buzziest game on Axie Infinity‘s Ronin sidechain for Ethereum, has officially revealed its airdrop plans. The retro-style online role-playing game will use a “play-to-airdrop” approach, with founder Luke Barwikowski writing that the game will benefit players who finish “challenging tasks” or “contribute to the ecosystem’s growth” in other as-yet-unspecified ways.
Pixels is hot right now, and the framing suggests that people who start playing have at least some opportunity to earn tokens. Apparently the top 7,000 players on the leaderboard as of January 19 will qualify for tokens, along with another 1,000 random players. Stay tuned as more details emerge.
Portal is undoubtedly one of the buzziest airdrops on the horizon, though it has also been controversial. The multi-chain gaming token, designed to bridge the gap between Web3 games across various blockchains, has incentivized crypto users to earn credit towards the airdrop by creating, sharing, and interacting with Twitter content—which they’ve done en masse.
As obnoxious as that can be, there’s still a lot of hype around what Portal is building. Much of the team comes from the Overlord and Creepz NFT team at SuperDuper, they’ve recruited a Rockstar Games co-founder and other advisors, and have lined up allies like major talent agency WME and NFT marketplace Magic Eden.
Saga is a new blockchain network designed primarily for gaming, so it makes sense that the way to potentially earn a share of the upcoming airdrop is by playing games. In December, Saga launched a “play-to-airdrop” campaign across several games running on testnet, with the top leaderboard finishers set to earn a share of SAGA tokens.
In fact, Saga CEO Rebecca Liao told Decrypt’s GG that some players might ultimately earn “double airdrops,” since games may also launch their own tokens and award them to early users. The Saga mainnet is set to go live in spring 2024, with more competitions set to take place in the coming months. Saga has also revealed that some users on Polygon, Avalanche, Cosmos, and Celestia will also be eligible to claim tokens in the airdrop.
Here’s a potential upcoming airdrop that has yet to be 100% confirmed. Notcoin is a gaming project that runs on messaging app Telegram, and claims that it has racked up over 5 million users in just over a week. Those users have frantically mashed a button to collectively “mine” over 1 trillion Notcoin, as of this writing.
Well, sort of. Here’s the thing: Notcoin isn’t a real cryptocurrency yet. But the TON Foundation, which oversees the network that Notcoin is building on, says the team is planning a token launch. That’s a pretty good sign that some sort of airdrop is in the works for early users, though no official criteria has been set as of this writing.
Edited by Ryan Ozawa.
Editor’s note: This story was originally published on December 27, 2023 and was last updated with new info on January 9.