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Airdrops
TABLE OF CONTENTS

46% of Biggest Airdrops Hit All-Time Highs in 2 Weeks

4.5
| by
Nicholas Boey
-

When Is the Best Time to Sell Airdrops?

23 out of the 50 biggest airdrops (46%) recorded peak token prices during the first 2 weeks of their airdrop date. This suggests that the best time to sell airdrop tokens may be within 14 days of receiving them, in order to take maximum profits.

Airdrop tokens that reached their highest price returns in the short term include Ethereum Name Service (+73% by day 2 of trading), X2Y2 (121% by day 2), Blur (+90% by day 6), LooksRare (+192% by day 10), and ArbDoge AI (425% by day 14).

Among the more recent airdrops, Jito (+43% by day 2), Wen (37% by day 3), Dymension (+75% by day 10), Manta (+72% by day 12), and Heroes of Mavia (+217% by day 13), were also most profitable for recipients if they sold shortly after the airdrop. That said, these airdrops have only been trading for several weeks, and it remains to be seen if their token prices will increase to new highs.

Out of these 23 airdrop tokens, 16 airdrops reached their peak gains between day 2 to 14 after the airdrop date. In other words, tokens tend to enjoy a sharp spike in interest once they have been airdropped and start trading. This confirms that token airdrops are an effective marketing or growth tactic, but also indicates that interest in a specific token tends to grow following an airdrop as more people talk about it, reaching its peak shortly thereafter and is reflected in the token’s price.

The remaining 7 airdrops saw prices peak on the day of the airdrop itself, and token prices were subsequently unable to recover. For example, Solana aggregator Jupiter’s airdropped token started trading around $0.66 but has since dipped by up to 28% and remained below its initial price. This scenario happens when the airdrop recipients rush to secure profits from their ‘free money’, resulting in an immediate sell-off of the airdrop. These airdrops’ token prices have continued to face selling pressure and record new lows, as recipients decide to exit their airdrop holdings over time.

On the other hand, 27 airdrops out of the 50 biggest airdrops reached their peak gains more than two weeks after its airdrop date, ranging from 15 days to 581 days. Such longer time frame price peaks typically align with favorable market conditions and the growth of the respective projects, which drove the airdrop tokens’ valuation beyond initial levels.

Market Conditions Drive Airdrop Price Returns

38% of Airdrop Tokens Peaked in 2021 Bull Run

19 of the 50 biggest airdrops recorded all-time highs (ATHs) in 2021, amid the crypto bull market. All were launched either prior to or in 2021, which suggests that market conditions drove the higher valuations of these airdrop token prices.

4 out of these 19 tokens hit ATH more than 100 days after their airdrop. These airdrop tokens are Uniswap (1,145%), 1inch (216%), Gitcoin (242%), and Bank (94%).

These tokens achieved significantly higher returns at their ATH prices compared to their short-term peaks. For example, Uniswap’s ATH price return of 1,145% is 10 times more than its highest price returns during the first 14 days of trading, which is 106%.

These suggest that for certain airdrops, recipients can consider holding onto their airdrop allocations for value accrual over a longer period of time, in order to make higher profits during favorable market conditions.

2022: A Good Year for NFT Airdrops, but Not Everyone Else

11 out of the 50 airdrop tokens hit their ATHs in 2022, at a time of relatively bearish market conditions.

However, early in 2022, there was a bull market for non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which helped push the valuations of 3 out of these 11 airdrop tokens (ApeCoin, LooksRare, and X2Y2) to new ATHs. On the other hand, the other airdrop tokens that hit their ATHs in 2022 were launched in the same year and hit their ATHs shortly after their airdrop date. The exception was Osmosis, which launched in June 2021 but hit its ATH in 2022.

This suggests that during a bear market, the best time to sell airdrop tokens is right after the airdrop, in order to maximize profits.

2023 & 2024: Bullish Sentiment Is Back?

The remaining 21 out of 50 airdrop tokens hit their ATHs in 2023 and 2024, with bullish sentiment returning due to the approval of spot Bitcoin ETFs in the US.

8 out of these 21 airdrop tokens hit their ATHs more than 100 days after their airdrop. These airdrop tokens are Arbitrum (68%), Bonk (28,091%), Celestia (777%), Optimism (186%), Aptos (34%), WorldCoin (249%), Arkham (67%), and Maverick (38%).

Another 5 airdrops took 15 to 100 days before reaching their peak token prices, while the remaining 8 airdrop tokens hit their ATHs within 14 days of the airdrop date. (Note that among the 8 tokens which peaked within 14 days, 5 are recent airdrops: Manta, Jupiter, Dymension, Heroes of Mavia, and Wen).

This suggests a shift in market sentiment in 2024, such that it might be more profitable to hold onto airdrop tokens as they reach new valuations in the anticipated bull market.

When to Sell Airdrops

Number of days, weeks or years taken for the 50 biggest airdrops to reach their all-time high token price, and their corresponding percentage price returns at the peak, as of February 20, 2024:

Project Time Taken For Airdrop to Peak Airdrop Gains at Peak Prices
Optimism 1.6 years 186%
Bonk 51 weeks 28,092%
Arbitrum 43 weeks 68%
Osmosis 36 weeks 142%
Uniswap 33 weeks 1,145%
Bankless DAO 33 weeks 94%
Maverick Protocol 32 weeks 38%
Arkham 31 weeks 67%
WorldCoin 31 weeks 249%
Gitcoin 27 weeks 242%
1inch Network 20 weeks 216%
ZigZag 18 weeks 40%
Aptos 15 weeks 34%
Celestia 15 weeks 777%
Orca 13 weeks 471%
Pyth Network 13 weeks 133%
The Graph 9 weeks 1,839%
Apecoin 7 weeks 177%
Xai 6 weeks 112%
Memecoin 5 weeks 60%
Stargaze 5 weeks 247%
Waterfall Governance 5 weeks 22%
Space ID 4 weeks 111%
dYdX 4 weeks 113%
Botto 3 weeks 474%
CyberConnect 3 weeks 153%
Aurory 3 weeks 84%
Tornado Cash 2 weeks 100%
ArbDoge AI 2 weeks 425%
Heroes of Mavia 2 weeks 217%
Manta Network 2 weeks 72%
LooksRare 2 weeks 192%
Dymension 2 weeks 75%
Blur 6 days 90%
Dogechain 5 days 214%
Loot (AGLD) 4 days 70%
Instadapp 4 days 37%
Wen 3 days 37%
Anchor Protocol 3 days 108%
Ethereum Name Service 2 days 73%
Jito 2 days 43%
Sweat 2 days 50%
X2Y2 2 days 121%
Internet Computer 0 days 0%
ParaSwap 0 days 0%
Cow Protocol 0 days 0%
HashFlow 0 days 0%
Ribbon Finance 0 days 0%
Galxe 0 days 0%
Jupiter 0 days 0%

 

Methodology

This study analyzed the days taken for the top airdrops to achieve their peak returns, from January 1, 2020 to February 20, 2024. Price data was collected from CoinGecko. As of publishing date, airdrops launched within the past week were excluded due to insufficient price development. Short-term peak gains refer to highest price returns in the first 14 days following the airdrop.

This study is for illustrative and informational purposes only, and is not financial advice. Always do your own research and be careful when putting your money into any crypto or financial asset.


If you use these insights, we would appreciate a link credit to this article on CoinGecko. A link credit allows us to keep supplying you with data-led content that you may find useful.

Curious to find out more about our previous research studies & statistics? Check out this one we did on which countries have spot Bitcoin ETFs.

CoinGecko's Content Editorial Guidelines
CoinGecko’s content aims to demystify the crypto industry. While certain posts you see may be sponsored, we strive to uphold the highest standards of editorial quality and integrity, and do not publish any content that has not been vetted by our editors.
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Nicholas Boey
Nicholas Boey
Nicholas is a Market Research Intern at CoinGecko. He can be seen crawling around the vast crypto space, be it NFTs, crypto or memecoins from time to time. People in web3 call him picnicmou. Follow the author on Twitter @picnicmou

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