This article is part of our Year in Review series.
The average yearly salary in the US is roughly $56K as of May 2020, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. This year, astute Defiers could pick up more than that in free tokens, just by being in the right place at the right time.
‘Airdrop Farming’ developed into a major trend in the latter half of the year, and some protocols were exceedingly generous to their early users.
Here are five of the biggest airdrops of 2021.
In one of DeFi’s largest distributions, decentralized derivatives protocol DYDX airdropped over $1B in $DYDX tokens to early users. Users in the U.S. were excluded to avoid regulatory scrutiny.
At the lowest tier, simply depositing $100 on the platform and making a single trade was rewarded with 310 $DYDX, worth $3700 at the time.
Larger traders reaped huge rewards, with 9529 $DYDX tokens ($105K) awarded to users whose trading volume exceeded $1M.
Ethereum Name Service (ENS)
Christmas came early for owners of .eth domains with the $ENS airdrop announcement on Nov. 2.
Eligible users were able to claim tokens based on the age of their .eth address and time remaining until expiry.
According to this Dune query, the average claim was roughly 150 tokens, with the maximum airdrop being around 1100 $ENS.
$ENS traded as high as $85 in the days following the launch, making the airdrop worth $12K-$93K at the peak.
That’s a fantastic return on an initial investment of less than $100.
Adventure Gold (AGLD)
Loot NFTs were launched in September by Vine creator Dom Hoffman at the peak of the NFT bull market. Minted for free (plus gas), traders couldn’t get enough of the text-based NFTs and the concept was quickly copied, with new variants launching almost daily.
Adventure Gold (AGLD) was a derivative token airdropped to holders of Loot NFTs, with each NFT eligible to claim 10K tokens.
$AGLD has seen extremely volatile price action, but early sellers were able to cash out anywhere from $20K-$70K per Loot NFT held.
Ribbon Finance (RBN)
Ribbon Finance is a DeFi protocol that offers automated strategies in which OTM options are written to generate yield.
It airdropped 30M RBN tokens to early users in May, and those tokens were unlocked in October.
According to the distribution, over 100 early Discord members received six-figure airdrops.
Users who deposited $100 worth of assets in the project’s Option Vaults received 12K $RBN tokens. In addition, 10M $RBN tokens were distributed pro-rata based on deposit sizes.
$RBN traded around $4 at launch, making the smallest airdrop worth more than $50K. Many Ribbon users were eligible for sig-figure airdrops.
Though generous, this airdrop was marred by controversy as it was discovered that crypto VC fund Divergence Ventures claimed $2.5M worth of $RBN tokens using multiple wallets to interact with the platform. The proceeds were later returned to the Ribbon treasury.