Have you ever randomly received a cryptocurrency you didn’t expect? You may have wondered if it was some kind of attack, or just harmless advertising. At the very least, you were probably curious how someone even got your address in the first place. Don’t worry, you’re not getting hacked (if it were that easy, let’s be real — we’d all be out of money by now). Let’s dig into the details!
Why did I receive a random cryptocurrency in my wallet?
In almost all cases, this just means that a new cryptocurrency is trying to get the word out by airdropping tokens to many addresses — especially if the amount of crypto transferred is small. Whether we’re talking about cryptocurrency or Costco samples, the best way to advertise is often by giving out freebies!
How did they get my address?
The blockchain is a public ledger. Every cryptocurrency transaction that has ever occurred is stored publicly. This is a requirement for blockchain’s decentralization. When Alice wants to send 5 bitcoin to Bob, it is important that anyone in the world can verify that Alice indeed owns the 5 bitcoin she claims she does, which requires seeing all previous transactions involving Alice’s wallet. If the blockchain weren’t public, the ledger would be susceptible to corruption by the privileged entities able to view and modify it.
So if you’ve ever made any crypto transaction, your address is publicly visible. New crypto projects using airdrops for advertising will often filter for addresses that hold large amounts of other cryptocurrency.
What about anonymity?
Fortunately, the blockchain doesn’t actually say “Alice sent 5 bitcoin to Bob.” Instead, everyone uses anonymous wallet addresses, which are strings that look like 0x450dcf93160a30be156a4600802c91bf64dffd2e. You can create new addresses whenever you want, and store them on crypto wallets like TrustWallet or MetaMask.
So, although the blockchain publicly stores every transaction that has ever occurred, it does not reveal anyone’s identity.
Should I avoid touching the airdropped token?
There’s a common myth that “touching” an airdropped token will reveal your identity, or even hack your wallet! Rest assured, if it were that easy to be hacked, the blockchain would have already collapsed.
Of course, behind every myth there is a grain of truth. Remember that the blockchain is a public ledger. That means that if you send the airdropped token to another address, (or sell it, or burn it), this transaction will be visible on the blockchain. It is just the same as if you sent bitcoin to the other address. There is nothing special about the airdropped token — it doesn’t have any kind of chemical trace on it.
So what should I do?
If you received an unexpected freebie in your wallet, don’t worry. This is quite common, especially for active addresses or ones that hold large amounts of crypto. You can do whatever you want with the new token!
You can do nothing at all if you’d like. If you don’t like the logo, you can also hide the token in TrustWallet. If you want to get rid of it entirely, you can send it to any address. You can do any of these things, and your wallet will be totally safe.
Just about the only thing you shouldn’t do is send the airdropped token to the address of a secret money laundering cartel that you wouldn’t want to be publicly involved with! Not because the token you received is an airdropped token, but because the address you’re sending to is a secret money laundering cartel.
More about us