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 the collective value spiking as high as $151 million the following week as XAI buzz grew. More rewards are 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, wrapped up its “play-to-airdrop” campaign on January 19. The top 7,000 players on the leaderboard qualified for tokens, following a check to clear out any bots that manipulated the airdrop, along with another 1,000 random players who met a certain points threshold.
Another 20,000 players from an earlier play-to-airdrop wave are also eligible. Barikowski said in a January 17 livestream that the PIXEL token launch is “very close” and that there will not be another play-to-airdrop season before then. However, Pixels is giving away NFTs and Ronin tokens before the official airdrop begins.
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.
Portal says the airdrop is coming in January 2024 following a recent presale period and the launch of the latest version of its Crystal Dash airdrop farming experience. The month is nearly over, however, and there’s been no update on timing.
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. Furthermore, Saga is launching a “Three Kingdoms” play-to-airdrop campaign across games on Solana, Polygon, and Avalanche, including heavy hitters like Parallel, Shrapnel, and Gas Hero.
Launched in open beta on January 17, Nifty Island is a new sandbox-style game that mashes up the feel of Bicho Crossing, Roblox, and Fortnite’s Creative mode, letting you customize your own island and play with other users. And it offers a play-to-airdrop campaign with many different ways to potentially earn ISLAND tokens.
According to a tweet thread, Nifty Island will award users points based on factors like how much they play, how many players they refer into the game, and which other NFT assets they own in connected wallets. It’s unclear when the token drop will happen, but people are flooding in to get a potential share of the ISLAND launch ahead.
Solana hero shooter Nyan Heroes, which features cats piloting giant mech suits, is set to launch its early access version in February and debut a play-to-airdrop campaign alongside it. Details are still to come, but the Overwatch-like shooter—which is listed in the Epic Games Store—will award NYN tokens to early players. Owners of Nyan Heroes NFTs will be eligible for even greater token rewards.
Along with Pixels, here’s another game running on Axie Infinity’s Ronin chain that’s doing an airdrop campaign. Apeiron is billed as a glossy mash-up of classic god games (like Populous) and card-battling “roguelite” experiences, delivering an experience that’s sure to require careful strategy.
In January, Apeiron revealed a play-to-airdrop campaign that will reward players of the Epic Games Store battle demo with points towards the future ANIMA token drop, along with incentives for completing other actions or owning certain NFTs. Click here for more details.
Solana gaming platform Mixmob plans to launch an airdrop for its MXM token following the rollout of Racer 1, a card-based mobile racing game on iOS and Android. MixMob CEO Simon Vieira told Decrypt that it will airdrop tokens to active community members and players who utilize the game’s racing, referral, staking, and wagering features. MixBot NFTs owners will also be included.
Mixmob has since announced that the MXM token generation event will take place on February 1, although it’s unclear whether the airdrop will begin on the same date. Mixmob has also said that it plans to offer an exclusive airdrop for Solana Saga phone owners, including exclusive tournaments and other perks for those users.
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 26.