Airdrops are a common marketing tactic used by many NFT projects for giveaways, utility, promotions, and marketing in general. However, there is one type of airdrop that people are actually afraid of. Lets call this the "random airdrop". This happens when you get an unsolicited/random NFTs in your wallet. On a surface level, this sounds great! Free unexpected money in your wallet? Who doesn't want that! But, the narrative in the web3 industry paints a much darker spin on this tactic. "Don't click on ANY random NFT in your wallet" they say. "You'll get hacked and your wallet will be drained!" the community protectively warns. So, lets unpack how one click (on a trusted platform) can cause such catastrophic damages? Are these concerns even legitimate?
This article is going to uncover the truth about why there is so much fear around random NFTs, and outline what we can do as a community to 1. take our power back from the scammers and 2. provide peace of mind.
Can your wallet get hacked via a malicious airdrop?
According to this article from coinbase, the short answer is no, an airdropped NFT can't hack your wallet by itself, even if you click on it to read the description.
It turns out, that the only way your wallet can get hacked, is if you click on a link from said NFT and it promotes you to visit a website and sign a transaction- in which case you'd unknowingly transfer all of your assets by confirming said transaction.
An example of how that can happen:
1. A user gets an airdropped NFT
2. The user tries to transfer the NFT to a DEX & they receive an error.
3. If you navigate to that link, you will then be prompted to an interface that suggests it will connect your wallet and approve the transfer of the token you were airdropped and interacting with. Unfortunately, this is where the scam comes in.
The user interface is essentially promising to do something that it will not do. So, as soon as you hit the "approve" button on the computer screen it looks like you're approving a transfer of a single token, but the smart contract is actually written to transfer everything in your wallet. That is how accounts get drained.
How to identify legit VS scam "Random Airdrops"
Airdrops are slowly becoming the web3 equivalent of email marketing. This is why it is imperative to identify what a legit NFT project is versus a scam project because, weather you like it or not, they're coming for your wallet.
First and foremost, before using ANY dapp or buying any NFT from any website you have to do your research. If you are not googling different software, or asking other creators about a project in the space, the likelihood of getting scammed increases by a lot. NEVER spend money on anything you haven't researched.
What are characteristics of a legit NFT project?
1. There is a description that outlines the project goals, and gives you information on how to get involved in the project.
2. NFT's are "watermarked" with twitter handles. Legit projects will promote you to do research into their project because they have nothing to hide. Most of them would even welcome a DM or email from people who received the random airdrop to answer any questions, take you off the airdrop list, or help out.
3. No links are involved. Links sent out in NFTs should raise every red flag you have.
What are characteristics of a scam NFT project?
1. There is no description and no way to contact the person who sent you the airdrop.
2. If you google the project and someone says the word "scam" you should be wary.
3. You have to navigate outside of your trusted links like opensea or your wallet to interact with it.
Why should we care about random airdrops, anyway?
The answer is simple. Small businesses now have access to unlimited customer data because our buying activity is public on the blockchain. This means its possible, for the first time ever, for a small business to run targeted campaigns to their target audience, finally giving hard working business owners a way to compete with giant corporations like amazon, walmart, nike, ect.
This is the embodiment of why blockchain technology was created. To provide equality, transparency, and financial literacy for everyone. Not just the privileged.
Furthermore, you might literally have thousands of dollars worth of NFT's sitting in your wallet because you were too afraid to click on them and read the description 6 months ago.
All in all, airdrops are an extremely powerful and efficient way to add value to your business. When we as users, put research at the forefront, scammers don't stand a chance. Clicking on an NFT and reading the description is safe, as long as we aren't clicking on links and confirming transactions on a platform we have never researched and has no reputation for being a trusted source, your wallet should be safe.
To learn more about all of the types of airdrops read here: https://dropys.com/blog/airdrop-tool