$125 Million: Wallet Provider Blockchain Launching ‘Largest Airdrop in the History of Crypto’

Siamak Masnavi

On Tuesday (6 November 2018), crypto wallet provider Blockchain announced that it is launching the "largest airdrop in the history of crypto", with $125 million in Stellar Lumens (XLM), to be distributed to Blockchain wallet users.

XLM is the cryptoasset with the sixth highest market cap; according to data from CryptoCompare, at press time, one lumen is worth $0.2538 (up 5.05% in the past 24-hour period).

Here is how Peter Smith, the CEO of Blockchain, announced the news on Twitter:

Blockchain's blog post says the reason for the XLM giveaway is to thank the company's "30M (and counting!) Wallet users" and to celebrate the addition of "full support for XLM in the Blockchain Wallet":

"Starting today, in celebration of adding full support for XLM in the Blockchain Wallet, we’ll begin giving away $125,000,000 of Stellar (XLM) to YOU, our users. With nearly 30M Blockchain Wallets to date, we’re excited to add an entirely new way for users to get their first crypto. And just as Blockchain never charges listing fees to join our platform, we aren’t keeping a single XLM for ourselves. We’re giving them all away. That’s a lot of 0s to distribute. In fact, this is the largest airdrop in the history of crypto and likely the largest consumer giveaway ever."

In a blog post on 17 October 2017, the Blockchain Team explained why they believe that blockchain airdrops are great for the crypto space:

  • "Blockchain Airdrops are great for network creators whether they’re looking to drive decentralization for new networks or amplify the reach of existing networks. More importantly an airdrop directly to addresses controlled by users can ensure the power of a network rests in the hands of many, rather than just a few. This is particularly important as protocols increasingly shift to proof-of-stake security models. A properly targeted airdrop can even achieve regulatory goals: a decentralized network is less likely to make its issuer a money transmitter, and less likely to create risks under the securities laws."
  • "Airdrops are good for the crypto ecosystem, too. They serve a discovery function, driving exposure for new assets and creating a testing ground for network participants. They also encourage new and existing users to experiment with new cryptoassets and build awareness of the power of decentralized networks."
  • "Finally, airdrops are great for users, who get crypto without having to buy it, mine it, or work for it. Buying crypto on an exchange can be difficult, time consuming, and expensive. Mining, even more so. In a Blockchain Airdrop, getting crypto is free and easy for everyone. Even better, since Blockchain users self-custody, they have immediate control, ownership and use of their newly-airdropped crypto. They can participate directly in the network without going through a cumbersome intermediary."

Here are Blockchain's reasons for choosing Stellar for this giveaway: 

"We’re starting with Stellar because its network is built for scalability. Its token, XLM, enables quick, low cost, worldwide transactions, even when millions of people are using it at once. Stellar can even create custom tokens representing real-world or virtual goods and services. Lastly, Stellar has a world class development community and a vibrant, functioning ecosystem."

According to a report in Fortune published today, in this airdrop, each recipient will get about $25 worth of XLM. The report says that, according to Smith, "the distribution process will take place over a period of several months, and that the amount of Stellar users will receive will vary somewhat based on geography"; also, Smith added that "existing Blockchain wallet holders will get priority in the distribution, and that the company is reserving the right to modify the terms of the arrangement going forward."

The report also includes this quote from Jed McCaleb, co-founder and CTO of Stellar Development Foundation:

“We believe that airdrops are central to creating a more inclusive digital economy. Giving away lumens [XLM] for free is an invitation to communities to design the services they need. Our hope is to eventually have global citizens own and use lumens, in both developing and developed economies. By working with Blockchain to increase the availability and active use of lumens on the network, leveraging their almost 30m wallets, we will increase the network’s utility by many orders of magnitude.”

The Blockchain website's support pages have been updated such that there is now a new "Crypto Giveaway" section. It says that that here is what you need to do to participate in the XLM giveaway:

For the first time ever, we are giving away a total of $125,000,000 to our users in the form of XLM. All Blockchain users need to do is log in to their wallets (or sign up if you don’t yet have a Blockchain Wallet) and verify their identities. Once a user’s identity has been verified, they will be added to the waitlist to receive XLM in one of our weekly giveaways. If you’re not a Blockchain user, you can still sign up for the waitlist. Once chosen, you’ll be prompted to create a Blockchain Wallet and verify your identity to claim your XLM.

And here is how they explain why identify verification is required:

In the spirit of making this giveaway as widespread as we can and putting XLM in as many different people’s hands as possible, we set a limit of one XLM distribution per person. That is, a single person can only take advantage of our XLM giveaway one time. Identity verification will allow us to ensure we put XLM in the hands of as many people as possible by preventing people from claiming XLM more than once. Identity verification is not required to use the Blockchain wallet. It is only required for becoming eligible to claim XLM and for exchanging between cryptocurrencies within the wallet.

 

Featured Image Courtesy of Blockchain

Coinbase Commerce Now Lets Merchants Accept USD Coin (USDC)

On Monday (May 20), Coinbase announced that "Coinbase Commerce", which provides non-custodial cryptocurrency payment solutions, now allows businesses to accept fully dollar-collateralized stablecoin USDC.

History of USDC

As CryptoGlobe reported on 26 September 2018, "USDC Coin" (USDC for short) was launched on that day by Goldman-funded FinTech startup Circle Internet Financial (better known as "Circle"). This is a regulated fully-collateralized dollar-backed stablecoin that was originally announced on 16 May 2018. USDC is based on an open source fiat stablecoin framework developed and governed by the CENTRE project.

Circle said at the time that the problems with existing fiat-backed solutions (such as Tether's USDT) were that they "have lacked financial and operational transparency, have operated in unregulated jurisdictions with unknown banking and audit partners, and have been built as closed-loop ecosystems and closed proprietary technologies."

In contrast, Circle's USDC stablecoin deals with these issues by "providing detailed financial and operational transparency" and "operating within the regulated framework of US money transmission laws, reinforced by established banking partners and auditors." USDC tokens are ERC-20 compatible (meaning that they run on the Ethereum blockchain); they are minted, issued, and burnt/redeemed based on network rules defined by CENTRE. 

Coinbase's Previous Involvement With USDC

On 23 October 2018, Circle announced that Coinbase (another member of the CENTRE consortium) was making USDC available to its customers on Coinbase Consumer and Coinbase Pro, and that customers could "tokenize dollars into USDC and redeem USDC into dollars through both Circle and Coinbase."

Then, on May 14, Coinbase said via a blog post titled "Expanding USDC crypto trading globally" that:

  • It was making USDC trading available on Coinbase Consumer and Coinbase Pro in 85 countries.

  • It was doing this to help "accelerate the global adoption of crypto trading" and to provide wider access to "a stable store of value."

  • There are more than 300 million USDC tokens currently in circulation today, and that USDC is supported by 100+ ecosystem partners.

  • Stablecoins "have the potential to materially improve the lives of people in countries where inflation is eroding wealth." 

  • Coinbase serves customers in 103 jurisdictions.

Coinbase Commerce and USDC

Coinbase Commerce was launched on 14 February 2018. Coinbase described Coinbase Commerce as a new service that "enables merchants to accept multiple cryptocurrencies directly into a user-controlled wallet," and that in contrast to its previous merchant products, it was "not a hosted service, so merchants have full control of their own digital currency." Four cryptocurrencies were supported back then: Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ether (ETH), and Litecoin (LTC).

Coinbase Commerce can be "directly integrated into a merchant’s checkout flow or added as a payment option on an e-commerce platform." Initially, the only e-commerce platform supported was Shopify, but on 6 August 2018, support for WooCommerce was added.

Yesterday's blog post said that now Coinbase Commerce has added support for stablecoin USDC, thereby allowing "businesses to accept payments online in the same way they’re able to accept cash in-store." 

Here are a few things to note about Coinbase Commerce:

  • "Coinbase Commerce doesn’t charge any fees to process payments."
  • "Coinbase Commerce accounts are completely separate from Coinbase accounts."
  • "You can use the withdraw functionality to send cryptocurrency to an address associated with your Coinbase account."

Featured Image Credit: Photo via Pexels.com