Airdrop Siren

Ukraine used weaponised FOMO.

It’s super effective.

When the Ukrainian Government announced that they would be accepting donations towards their defence fund in ETH and BTC, Twitter was quick to begin making jokes about potential airdrops.

Then it really happened.

Four days after publishing the donation wallet address, @Ukraine announced that:

Airdrop confirmed. Snapshot will be taken tomorrow, on March 3rd, at 6pm Kyiv time (UTC/GMT +2 hours).

Reward to follow!

This announcement resulted in an enormous spike in donations, with ERC-20 transactions jumping to 34x the hourly average following the tweet.

In the first ~90 mins after the tweet, over $855k streamed into the address.

Considering the purpose of the fundraiser, it’s hard to criticise these results.

@Ukraine thought offering an airdrop would get them more money, and it did.

But where will this practice lead us in future?

Airdrops are a core incentive mechanism for web3 user participation, and we’ve grown accustomed to their use. However, seeing the technique applied in these grave circumstances is such a strange, new type of contrast that it’s hard to know how to feel.

Despite the lack of taste displayed by those who requested the airdrop, the end result has actually been incredibly positive, and serves as a prime example of how crypto will be used on a geopolitical scale in future.

Ukraine has received a powerful amount of wealth thanks to accepting cryptocurrency.

~4400 ETH ($12.9M) and ~$4.5M in USDT has been sent on Ethereum

219 BTC (~$9.7M) via Bitcoin

396,000 DOT (~$7.4M) via Polkadot (with $5.8M from founder Gavin Wood)

~$1.2M on TRON (but Justin Sun still managed to embarrass himself)

Web 3 enabled war bonds are shocking in their novelty, but their efficiency is unquestionable.

Including other fundraising groups such as Come Back Alive and Ukraine DAO, a total of ~$38M in crypto has been raised so far.

Normal crypto news becomes trivial when we are faced with such violence and injustice, but the industry remains undeniably relevant. This money would not have been raised if it were not for crypto.

There will be some who decided it was worth their time to sybil attack the wallet, and there’s not much @Ukraine can do to stop them, but in the end, it’s unlikely that they care.

Anyone trying to “game” this airdrop is likely to be getting “gamed” themselves.

Expectations for the content of the airdrop should be low. It’s little effort for @Ukraine to allow donors to claim a “I donated” Ukraine flag NFT, and even if it's not what the Airdrop Hunters were hoping for, then who’s going to get angry?

If anyone complains about the content of the airdrop, they will certainly not get any pity.

Little has been published about the finer details of how this money has been used to help the country, however, we can see that it has already been put to work.

On the 28th, $6M was cashed out through the Ukrainian CEX, who also seem to be doing their part to help in the fundraise.

Ultimately, full details of how the donations were used may never be available, and those who donate will have to accept this.

The sudden increase in donations after the confirmation of an airdrop has left many critical of the motives of the post-announcement donors, suggesting that donating should never come with any ulterior motive.

We will never know what percentage of these donors are seeking profit, and which were simply encouraged by a promise of public proof of support.

After all, it seems unlikely that the airdrop would have any monetary value, and perhaps it would be better that way.

Crypto users often operate within a self-created echo chamber, disconnected from reality, and in this situation, that has had a positive result.

However, this will not be the last politically flavoured airdrop. Public greed can be frictionlessly utilised thanks to Web 3.0, and it would not be surprising to see this technique influence an election in the future.

Where we choose to place our data is becoming more important than ever before.

Vote with your wallet.

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