What are forks, claims, airdrops, stakes and other promotions?
Occasionally, token teams ask exchanges to participate in activities known as forks, claims, airdrops, stakes, giveaways and other promotions. There is often confusion for users and other interested stakeholders about these actions, including what these terms mean and why exchanges decide to either participate or pass on these activities.
Adding to the confusion, sometimes a few of these terms are used interchangeably, even though these do not necessarily mean the same thing in the same context. To help provide additional clarity, please find a brief explanation of each term below:
- Fork: Forks represent situations when a rule change is made to the common rules used to maintain the history and security of a blockchain. In some cases, forks are initiated to add new features to a blockchain or to repair technical issues. Typically, a fork is not considered contentious and is a standard part of blockchain development. Forks may also present situations where the intention is to create a new token.
- Soft forks occur when the older version of a token is cast aside for a new version. You can still use the old version however you may not have all the perks and there may not be markets available. The most notable attributes are that they are backwards compatible with the old version of the chain and does not result in a chain split.
- Hard forks occur when when the majority consensus with those on the network which requires a software upgrade. The most notable attributes are that the blockchain will be split into two, maintaining a common history. These are not backwards compatible with the old version of the blockchain and usually include an upgrade/change to the software.
- Contentious hard forks usually occur when there is a disagreement within the community about the direction of the coin. One part of the coins community will continue on the current chain while the other part of the community moves to their own chain. And example of this would be the ETH/ETC fork. Another example would be the BTC/BCH fork.
- Airdrop: Airdrops occur when token creators decide to distribute free tokens to holders of other established tokens. Airdrops may be used to create a community of token holders who can begin trading a token and create a market for wider adoption of the token.
- Claims: Claims refer to the process by which one retrieves tokens through airdrops, giveaways and other promotions.
- Stakes: Stakes refer to tokens that rely on proof-of-stake distribution, whereby tokens are distributed based on how many tokens a user already has.
- Giveaways or Promotions: Giveaways or Promotions are similar to airdrops, but the criteria often do not require recipients to own established tokens. Giveaways may require recipients to use specific wallets.
Note: Bittrex strongly advises its users to thoroughly research any newly advertised features, airdrops, giveaways and other promotions to help ensure customers do not become victims of illegitimate activities that might result in theft of their existing tokens.
How does Bittrex determine whether or not to participate in these activities?
At Bittrex, our primary focus is to provide a secure, reliable exchange for our customers. We carefully consider whether we should support each token feature or program, including forks, airdrops, giveaways, claims, stakes and other promotions.
As part of our evaluation, we consider the potential risks, technological issues, preparation, and backend support involved. For example, Bittrex evaluates forks in much the same manner as new token listings. If we decide to support a fork where the intention is to create a new token, we must take a snapshot of the token wallet on the Bittrex exchange, which impacts customers’ ability to make deposits and withdrawals during the snapshot period. Also, airdrops of new tokens may be subject to our rigorous token listing process, which increases the time needed to prepare for this type of launch.
While not an exhaustive list, below are some of the criteria we use to evaluate new token features and programs:
- Whether a development team exists, with publicly-identifiable developers, and has contacted Bittrex to request support for new features, programs or forks,
- Whether the new token features have a Testnet to ensure the blockchain is operating properly,
- Whether the code is publicly available,
- Whether it’s a premine, or the developers have released the token in a fair manner, and
- In regard to forks, whether it has strong industry-wide support, participation and consensus.
When and how can customers expect to hear from Bittrex regarding token features and promotions?
As soon as Bittrex’s internal evaluation is complete, we will provide customers a statement indicating whether the exchange will support or not support major promotions or token features. To help ensure customers are informed about the exchange’s decision, we will post a customer support document on our support site (https://support.bittrex.com) and tweet from @BittrexExchange. If extenuating circumstances should arise, Bittrex reserves the right to change its decision at any time.
What is Bittrex’s responsibility to its users regarding these token features and promotions?
Bittrex is responsible for providing a secure, reliable exchange for its customers. We are not responsible for helping users participate in token claims or promotions. In order to receive any token feature or promotion, all customers must first be fully verified, enabled, and compliant with all Bittrex terms of service. If your account is lacking any of these requirements, you will not qualify for the token feature or promotion.
What actions do customers need to take if they want to participate in a token feature or promotion not supported by Bittrex?
If a customer wants to claim tokens or promotions not being supported by Bittrex, users should designate their own, personal wallet as the withdrawal, airdrop, or deposit destination. Also, if Bittrex is not supporting a feature or program a user wants to participate in, the customer should remove those assets as soon as possible. By quickly removing any non-supported promo associated assets, it will help ensure customers’ withdrawals are processed in a timely manner, as technical issues may occur periodically. Finally, if customers wait until the last minute to make their withdrawal, it may result in them not receiving their tokens in time to receive the credit.