By Tanaya Macheel
Blockchain, the London-based crypto wallet and exchange, will distribute $125 million of Stellar tokens to users this week in the company's first major airdrop giveaway.
Similar to the concept of airdropping photos or other files, airdrops of crypto assets can place different tokens in the hands of many — Blockchain has nearly 30 million registered wallets, though it's unclear how active its users are — rather than the privileged few, easily, and for little to no fee. In this case, the giveaway of lumens, the native digital currency of Stellar, is free. For the last, year cryptocurrencies have drawn serious interest and money from institutional investors, but Blockchain is also aiming to grow the adoption of crypto among everyday retail investors ー to drive use and functionality of crypto networks.
Stellar has that in common with Blockchain. It’s an open financial network focused on both enabling low cost and near-instant cross-border payments and improving financial services for developing countries and unbanked populations. Earlier this year, it partnered with IBM ($IBM) on a Stellar-powered cross-border payments product for IBM’s large corporate partners. Still, it maintains that private-blockchain networks are basically useless if they can’t interact with the rest of the world.
"The smaller your group of people is, the more likely you should just use a database," Jed McCaleb, co-founder of the Stellar Development Foundation, told Cheddar in September. "That's what Stellar gives you — a way to have your permissioned group but still interact with everyone else in the world.”
But accessing crypto assets hasn’t been seamless for retail investors. Exchanges can be costly; ICOs, or initial coin offerings, can be shady or vulnerable to scams, and both require people to invest their own money in something they may only know little about. In other words, mining crypto is just difficult.
The lumen was trading at 26 cents at the time of Blockchain’s announcement.