It turns out, owning EOS could be a 17-for-one offer for anyone who's in before the launch.
That's because, once live, it won't just be the cryptocurrency that powers the EOS software that's available to the market (see our full guide to the launch). In fact, most EOS holders will find they also own a bunch of other new tokens with real-world value since loads of startups are planning to jumpstart their efforts by gifting tokens to EOS users, the lion's share coming in the first blocks.
Stepping back, airdrops are a broader trend in crypto and not by any means something unique to EOS. A form of giveaway, they have taken on a special significance as a way to jumpstart a community around a project at very little cost and without asking anyone to spend money.
The OMG token issued by OmiseGo pioneered this approach in late 2017, when everyone with an ethereum wallet received a helping of its new token. Airdrops didn't stop thereafter, though they became more focused, with giveaways for people who sign up based on specific criteria becoming the norm. For example, companies might pay to do airdrops to elite crypto communities like 21.co or CoinList or they might simply ask their community to complete certain verifiable tasks to earn allocations.
But with EOS, that trend only appears to be accelerating.
The new EOS protocol will go live in early June (there is no precise time), and when it does, a transition will occur, with those who own EOS tokens issued on ethereum (effectively a dummy token used for fundraising) having their coins locked up in smart contracts until they can be exchanged.
Shortly after this happens, there will be many airdrops, and generally speaking these first few airdrops will be distributing widely to users. Many of them are dropping into every single wallet that has a certain number of EOS tokens in it.
Chaince, an exchange devoted to the EOS community with a plan to do an airdrop, and it says the flurry of activity around the launch was simply too good a marketing opportunity to pass up.
A spokesperson told CoinDesk:
"EOS is very popular recently. New projects surely would like to choose a topical chain."
As for the other companies involved, their missions vary widely. Some are attacking evergreen problems chased by startup founders, such as job search or payroll. There's a few taking on one of crypto's perennial favorite industries: gambling. Several, however, seem designed to build out the functionality of EOS.
Here's a selection of those more infrastructural efforts that happen to yield piles of new tokens:
Users of ethereum may be familiar with Metamask, a browser extension that makes it easier to interact with the project's blockchain in the Chrome browser. Scatter aims to to do the same for EOS.
The goal of scatter is to give users a way to interact with products built on EOS without the need to reveal more information than they want (and without exposing their private key). By logging into Scatter once, a user can use different EOS dapps without logging in again as they move across the web, but Scatter also allows users to have multiple identities.
So, for example, a user could have one login for social networking sites and another to buy real things that will be shipped to their home.
The Scatter team wants to create a token to take on the issue of reputation, allowing different identities earn tokens to improve their reputation as needed on a given network. The token will be called RIDL.
"For us, it's a way to actually create the initial supply. There is no maximum supply for the RIDL token," Nathan James, Scatter's founder told CoinDesk in an email. "They are minted every time a new identity is registered."
Scatter's token is unique in another way: it's giving them to identities, not matching eos balances, and no identity can hold more than 100 ridl. Reputation can't go any higher than that.
This EOS-oriented exchange is unique on the list as it is already live.
Chaince will run an audit process that publishes reports about tokens listed on the platform. Called Choice of Chaince, this process is meant to make the platform one that reduces information asymmetry for token investors.
The white paper states:
"The Choice of Chaince audit team will focus on high quality decentralized applications based on the EOS system and look forward to projects that pass the audit having the opportunity to develop into multi-billion dollar commercial giants."
Chaince tokens will be distributed to all holders of EOS early on, and the Chaince exchange will share a portion of its earnings with holders of the tokens (the exchange only charges a 0.2 percent transaction fee, according to its white paper).
According to a spokesperson, Chaince is already well funded, and the main purpose for the airdrop is to drive user adoption rather than to finance development.
Remember The DAO? EOSDAC is bringing the concept back, launching a version that will decide projects to take on democratically and return the value realized back to the community.
EOSDAC is interesting because it already did its airdrop on April 15, based on block 300 of the EOS token sale. So, only people who were following EOS before the buzz in the final days before the airdrop were able to get the tokens.
But the airdrop has complicated the launch of the mainnet somewhat. In order to access EOS tokens after the launch, users need to have already established an EOS wallet and associated it with their ethereum wallet. Lots of conversation about the best wallets to choose addressed whether or not they were built to support EOSDAC tokens as well as EOS.
EOSDAC dropped 75 percent of its tokens to EOS holders.
After all this talk about wide distribution of tokens, the platform obviously needs a tool to allow for permissioned, targered token giveaways. Enter: Parachute, a project of the block producer candidate EOS Dublin.
Parachute will create a membership-based system where a person can share information about themselves and receive offers for free tokens based on that information.
EOS Dublin isn't actually offering a new token to run Parachute, but users will get airdrops, provided it works out. Unless the idea of creating new tokens for startups goes away, something like Parachute will be needed for a while.
Donuts photo via Shutterstock.
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