BEN’s First Bitcoin Airdrop

Table from the Toronto Bitcoin Airdrop

Woo! The first BEN Airdrop is over, so let’s dive into what happened.

For those of you just tuning in, let’s provide some context. We are the Blockchain Education Network, a robust network of student blockchain clubs who collaborate to spread global blockchain enthusiasm through local initiatives.

BEN is organized swarm-like, which is an organizational model that achieves scalability through radical self-initiative enabling a diverse group of people to work towards a greater common goal. In our case, the goal is to spread blockchain enthusiasm and culture across every university campus. We want to create a generation who have universal expectations for global digital rights that cannot be impeded upon (and gain expectations for money that the traditional systems can not currently fulfill).

Now I just used a bunch of jargon and buzzwords. Let’s make sense through describing how we pulled off the “BEN Bitcoin Airdrop” with the help of BTC.com.

Why Airdrop?

Inspired by previous airdrops hosted by MIT and McGill, our team wanted to capture the explosion of excitement that an airdrop creates on its campus. The words bitcoin and blockchain immediately bring up questions which are much better answered through quick demonstrations than lengthy presentations. After going through the process of downloading a wallet, requesting funds, and seeing it happen in real time — a student is more easily activated to “get it” and participate in their local enthusiast group.

How did we pull it off?

The logistics of this event were tricky. We had to think of a way to safely distribute bitcoin to students joining their local blockchain clubs. Additionally, the airdrop itself had to be designed with great flexibility that bends with the variety of customizations our chapters throw at it.

With help from BTC.com we offered a reserve of 5 bitcoin, enough for 500 new wallets with 10k bits each, for our clubs to giveaway to students joining their clubs throughout the month of September. To limit fraudulent use of the reserve, BEN used multisig wallets with the club leader hosting an event to let them initiate giveaway transactions for BEN to approve. To explain this multisig setup to students receiving their first bitcoin, the most common explanation was a reference to two soldiers turning a key at the same time to launch the nukes.

Because Club Leaders could initiate the giveaway transactions themselves, they able to implement the airdrop however made sense to them. While we included a recommended “how-to-host” guide on the Airdrop page, campuses often beat to their own drum. So what did these customized events look like?


NYC Bitcoin Airdrop: Fordham

Our airdrop started in NYC with the FinTech Club at Fordham University. President Ryan Chand wished to use their club fair as an opportunity to give away bitcoin and ended up giving away a handful of wallets to students who signed up for their first club meeting.

NYC Bitcoin Airdrop: BMCC

Over in Brooklyn, Anthony Stewart heard about the BEN airdrop and wanted to partake. Shortly after getting in touch, we setup a wallet while he printed flyers for a fast approaching club fair. There, he managed to loop in 6 new peers to help him build a club on campus, through the incentive of free bits. After connecting Anthony with Ryan Chand, BEN NYC just grew a little bit wider.

Boston Bitcoin Airdrop: MIT

MIT took over our BlockchainEdu snapchat

The MIT Bitcoin Club followed Fordham and also gave away bitcoin during their club fair. The crew at MIT took over the BlockchainEdu snapchat and livestreamed the event for everyone else in our network. MIT used this giveaway to get students to come out to their first club meeting, where they gave away more coin through a group demonstration.

Puerto Rico Bitcoin Airdrop

Across the Caribbean, our friends in Puerto Rico heard about the airdrop opportunity and wanted to give it a shot. President Jose Montero started the Rio Piedras Blockchain Club and wished to grow it’s membership at the start of the semester. They incentivized new students to come to the first meeting by promising help to install their first wallets and get free bits.

Florida Bitcoin Airdrop: Gainesville

Students handing out bitcoin flyers and energy drinks at the University of Florida

Presidents Aaron N Schwartz and DM Suja started the UF Bitcoin Club by first setting up a table outside a high-traffic building. Their tabled littered with bitcoin flyers and “bitcoin” branded energy drinks, it was easy to attract curious attention. What started as two enthusiasts who wanted to started a club turned into an active core club to participate in upcoming events. Aaron wrote about this experience here.

Florida Bitcoin Airdrop: Tampa

The USF Airdrop was a scavenger hunt of wallets hidden around campus.

Director of Communications Alberto Jauregui stepped up to bring the airdrop to his own campus. Not having a large bitcoin club himself, Alberto setup a bitcoin scavenger hunt across his campus to generate excitement for crypto. Those who tuned into our BlockchainEdu snapchat caught a livestream of Alberto setting up the scavenger hunt in real time.

Waterloo Bitcoin Airdrop

Students in Waterloo got a booth at Frosh Circus

Up north in Canada, our friends in Waterloo had a particularly amazing event planned for their own implementation of the airdrop. They managed to snag a tent for the annual Frosh Circus, a large back-to-school music festival in Waterloo, to give away bitcoin, bitcoin energy drinks, bitcoin magazines, bitcoin tshirts, and more.

The Waterloo team even broke out the astronaut customer to take us to the moon! 🚀

Toronto Bitcoin Airdrop

After competing in Blockchain Madness last March, BEN members in Toronto were eager to give away bitcoin at their club fair. At their table, the Toronto Bitcoin Airdrop displayed a physical bitcoin, miners, live wallet installs, and print-outs of the BEN manifesto & flyers.

Ottawa Bitcoin Airdrop

Airdrop flyer posted up in Ottawa

Patrick Guay from Ottawa reached out to BEN to try and start a blockchain club on his campus. After a quick call and reading through the guides on our airdrop page, Patrick printed the flyers and ran around campus preparing for his first meeting. Guay was able to rope in a few core dedicated members to help him build a club that pushes blockchain exploration on their campus.

Atlanta Bitcoin Airdrop: Georgia Tech

Students at Georgia Tech hid bitcoin across their campus and gave away clues using twitter and facebook!

Our Georgia Tech chapter ran into some trouble at the beginning of the Airdrop. Originally, the club planned to simply rent a room and do an educational mass-demonstration using a projector and free food. Yet unfortunately their club status was overturned during the summer leaving them unable to rent a room.

Not wanting to be deterred, our students at GT got creative. Since they couldn’t have a meeting for students to congregate, they created a scavenger hunt throughout their campus. This way, they could still have presence across their campus and still help interested people with their first wallet and bits. Throughout the month of September they received a ton of students finding the hidden bitcoin.

Berkeley Bitcoin Airdrop

Students at the University of California Berkeley went all in our bitcoin airdrop. Throughout september, they hosted “wallet parties” for new members attending their first meeting throughout the month. They would dedicate time at the beginning or end of meetings to help new students go through the process of downloading a wallet, receiving their first bits, and thus having incentive to stay involved with the club going forward. Berkeley gave away a staggering 61 wallets to new members joining their club.

Chicago Bitcoin Airdrop

Last, but certainly not least, the Chicago Airdrop was cutting it close by launching on the second to last day of the contest, September 24. Yet their preparation payed off by:

  • Travelling across 4 different university campuses in Chicago to setup booths to giveaway bitcoin. For those not there, the Chicago crew took over the BlockchainEdu snapchat to record their shenanigans throughout the day.
  • Reserving a full day (10 hours) radio slot from their school’s FM radio station. Featured guests included industry experts and also club leaders from other campuses who hosted airdrops, joined blockchain startups, and/or work in the blockchain industry.
  • Hosting online and on-radio raffles to give away bitcoin to people who called in to answer trivia questions.
  • Ending the day with a live workshop and presentation for those who might have missed it during the day.
  • Setting up 63 Chicago students with wallets and their first bitcoin.

The Chicago was so huge that it even attracted the attention of various news sites. Following this all-day event, Dev Bharel was offered to host an weekly segment on the school’s radio station to all answer questions related to blockchain.


A huge shout out to our title sponsor BTC.com for helping us make this event possible, a user-controlled bitcoin wallet is the perfect sponsor for a bitcoin giveaway. Also a big thanks to our sponsors Wall of Coins, DIID, eBit, and Devsub.io — your support is not only a financial solution but also a huge morale boost for the students pushing these initiatives forward.

What’s next? Check out our Fall 2016 Initiative. You won’t be disappointed 🚀

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