‘Wen Token?’: Polymarket’s New Airdrop Futures Market Has Answers

Speculators can now bet on whether big-name crypto projects will airdrop a native token in Q1 2022.

Jan 14, 2022 at 9:32 p.m. UTC
Updated Jan 14, 2022 at 9:45 p.m. UTC

Crypto crystal ball Polymarket has launched a new market: Airdrop Futures.

The feature allows speculators to trade and follow the odds of their favorite project airdropping a token by placing bets on a binary outcome: yes or no.

Airdrops are highly sought-after releases of a project’s token, primarily used to reward dedicated early users and set up infrastructure for future governance decisions. Others in the cryptocurrency community describe the phenomenon as “free money.”

“‘Wen token?’ is one of the most asked questions in crypto,” Polymarket founder Shayne Coplan told CoinDesk. “What’s great about the Airdrop Futures is that it can combat asymmetric information. You can see the probabilities according to an actual free market. It’s a really powerful idea.”

According to a Polymarket tweet on Wednesday, Airdrop Futures said it would support prediction markets for 19 prominent crypto projects that have not yet released a token.

These include non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace OpenSea, NFT collection Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) and wallet applications MetaMask and Rainbow, among others.

As of Friday afternoon, Polymarket data put the odds of MetaMask airdropping a token before March 31 at $0.32 and the odds for OpenSea at $0.22. If the project airdrops a token before the deadline, buyers of the “yes” outcome would receive $1 and vice versa.

Meanwhile, speculators are bullish that NFT project Bored Ape Yacht Club would release a token before the deadline, putting BAYC’s odds at $0.67.

Degen edge

One potential application of Airdrop Futures is that it could help calm airdrop anxiety by allowing users to hedge against the risk of not receiving an airdrop from a project they have spent a considerable amount of time and resources using.

For example, a user could buy the “no” option for the projects they use, but still receive tokens if the airdrop happens – a win-win outcome.

Polymarket’s Airdrop Futures is deployed on Polygon and uses the decentralized oracle protocol UMA to resolve the bets.

Since its launch approximately 24 hours earlier, the market’s volume totaled just over $75,000.

Polymarket has come into the crosshairs of U.S. regulators in recent months. The site settled with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to pay a $1.4 million fine. The CFTC ordered it to shut down operations in the U.S.

As Polymarket put in a tweet about the airdrop market, “Trading unavailable in US.”

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Tracy Wang is a senior reporter at CoinDesk. She owns BTC, ETH, MINA, ENS, various stablecoins, and some NFTs.