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Darien Advisors Reviews: Airdrops

Updated: Jul 2


In the ever-evolving world of cryptocurrency, airdrops represent a unique opportunity for digital asset holders to increase their holdings, often for free. However, the tax implications and strategic considerations surrounding airdrops can be complex. At Darien Advisors, we specialize in navigating these complexities, ensuring that our clients optimize their benefits while staying compliant with current regulations.

What is an Airdrop?

An airdrop in the cryptocurrency context refers to the free distribution of new tokens to the wallets of existing holders of a particular blockchain currency. This is often used as a strategy by new tokens to gain traction and to reward loyal supporters of a project.

Tax Implications of Airdrops

The IRS has clarified that airdropped cryptocurrencies are taxable as ordinary income at their fair market value at the time they are recorded on a distributed ledger (provided they are in dominion and control of the recipient). This definition can create a tax liability for unsuspecting recipients, particularly if the value of the airdropped tokens fluctuates significantly after receipt.

Strategic Considerations

Recognizing Obligations: The first step in managing airdrops from a strategic standpoint is recognizing the tax obligations that come with them. This recognition allows for better financial planning and avoids any surprises during tax season.

Valuation Challenges: Determining the fair market value of the airdropped tokens can be tricky, especially for new or less popular tokens. Engaging with a financial advisor who understands the nuances of cryptocurrency valuations is crucial.

Record Keeping: Maintaining detailed records of airdrop dates, market values at receipt, and the transaction history of the tokens can significantly simplify the reporting process. Digital tools and tax software that cater specifically to crypto transactions can be invaluable here.

Risk Management: While free tokens might seem like an easy gain, they come with risks, including potential privacy issues and unexpected tax liabilities. It’s important to assess the credibility of the airdrop event and the associated token project.

Case Study: Uniswap (UNI) Airdrop

In September 2020, Uniswap, a decentralized exchange protocol, conducted a significant airdrop, distributing its new governance token, UNI, to users who had interacted with the platform before a certain date. Each eligible user received 400 UNI tokens, which at the time of the airdrop had a market value of approximately $1,200.

The Scenario: A client of Darien Advisors, who we'll call Jane, had used Uniswap to trade cryptocurrency before the airdrop date. Jane was thrilled to receive the 400 UNI tokens but was unsure about the tax implications and how to incorporate the new tokens into her investment strategy.

Steps Taken

Immediate Valuation and Reporting: Darien Advisors helped Jane determine the fair market value of the UNI tokens at the time they were airdropped. On the day of the airdrop, UNI was valued at $3 per token, making the total value of the airdrop $1,200.

This value was reported as ordinary income for tax purposes, as per IRS guidelines.

Financial Planning: Understanding the immediate tax liability, Darien Advisors worked with Jane to set aside a portion of the UNI tokens or equivalent fiat currency to cover the tax obligations, ensuring she wouldn’t face any surprises during tax season.


Airdrops can be a beneficial part of a crypto investment strategy, but they require careful consideration to manage potential risks and tax implications effectively. At Darien Advisors, we provide the expertise necessary to make the most of these opportunities while ensuring full compliance with the law.

Are you wondering how the latest airdrop might affect your tax situation? Book a call with us today to ensure you make the most of your crypto investments while staying on the right side of tax laws.

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