How to Access ‘Seed’ and ‘Airdrop’ ICP Tokens and Participate in the Internet Computer Network

The Internet Computer Review
5 min readMay 10, 2021


Instructions for seed contributors and airdrop registrants to begin utilizing tokens to develop dapps and participate in network governance.

After many years of hard work by hundreds of people around the world, the DFINITY Foundation is proud that on May 10, 2021, the Internet Computer blockchain is transitioning into its public phase. It will be the first blockchain that can host websites, systems, internet services, and financial systems that are built entirely from smart contracts, without any need for supporting private systems. Cloud services are no longer needed to create dapps, for example, and cloud services are also not involved in the Internet Computer’s underlying network. On the Internet Computer, advanced smart contracts run at web speed, can serve web applications, are efficient, and can make use of unbounded, on-chain, internet-scale compute capacity.

This would not have been possible without the DFINITY Foundation team, outside contributors, those who contributed financially, and supporters who have kept the faith during the many years of work that were necessary to bring the project to this stage — and we extend our sincerest thanks to everybody involved. The Internet Computer network shall now continue to evolve under the control of the Network Nervous System, its completely open, tokenized governance system.

Genesis Unlock occurs on Monday, May 10, 2021, at 9 am Pacific Time/6 pm Central European Time. This will start the process through which participants in the February 2017 Seed fundraiser and the summer 2018 Airdrop community distribution can claim their ICP tokens.

Both Seed donors and Airdrop participants must pass through AML/KYC procedures. The good news is that the procedures are relatively streamlined, and it often may only take a few minutes to pass such verification procedures.

ICP are utility tokens that have two primary roles:

  1. They enable participation in governance. You can stake them inside the Network Nervous System (NNS) by locking them inside “voting neurons.” Voting neurons earn voting rewards. They can be made to vote manually, or configured to vote automatically by following other neurons, in a liquid democracy scheme. The Network Nervous System exerts the will of the community, mediated through algorithms. The more value staked inside the governance system, the greater the security of the network.
  2. ICP can be converted into “cycles” by the Network Nervous System. This is the only way to create cycles, which provide fuel for computation, and can be used in other ways too. The NNS will convert ICP worth 1 SDR into exactly 1 trillion cycles.

It is very important that the flow of liquid ICP tokens around the network is released on a schedule for the safety and security of ICP holders, the network, and its users while the underlying technology is being fettled and its ecosystem is being established.

Airdrop participants will therefore receive their ICP tokens in 12 equal monthly installments, which will be delivered via their CoinList Wallets. Their first allotment will arrive on or very shortly after Genesis Unlock (when the relevant administrative systems have been placed in motion). Participants will have the ability to transfer distributed tokens to the wallets for their choosing or the NNS to participate in governance.

Meanwhile, Seed donors will receive all of their ICP tokens at Genesis Unlock, but these will be staked inside 49 voting neurons within the NNS. Each neuron that is delivered will have a different “dissolve delay” configured by the NNS. This configures the minimum period required to unlock the ICP tokens staked inside. One of their neurons will have a dissolve delay of 0 days, allowing the staked ICP tokens to be unlocked immediately, if desired (subject to applicable AML/KYC verification). Another will have a dissolve delay of approximately 30 days, another of 60 days, another of 90 days, and so on.(Note: Configured dissolve delays may have some small random number of days added or subtracted by the NNS).

If you are a Seed donor, your neurons have already been created by the NNS and are controlled by the Ethereum key that you used to make donations to the DFINITY Foundation in February 2017 (i.e., the seed phrase you were asked to save). The neurons of Seed donors will immediately start earning voting rewards for their owners because the NNS has configured them to follow other neurons and vote automatically. Of course, they can be reconfigured to vote manually or to follow other neurons to vote automatically in a different way, as desired. Each of these Seed neurons has had their “age” preset to 18 months by the NNS. This is important because the voting power and voting rewards received by a neuron increase with age. Whenever a neuron is placed into dissolve mode, for even a second, then its age is reset to zero, losing this advantage, and so dissolving a neuron requires some thought.

Seed donors will have immediate control of their neurons — they can reconfigure them, participate in governance to earn rewards, or immediately set them to dissolve so that they can recover the staked ICP tokens inside. However, until Seed donors have passed the AML/KYC procedures, even once they have dissolved a neuron, they will not be able to disburse the ICP tokens staked inside — for example, by disbursing to an ICP ledger address. (When a Seed donor passes these procedures, the DFINITY Foundation will submit a proposal to the NNS that will mark their neuron as verified if the proposal is adopted, and then the Seed donor will be able to disburse unlocked ICP tokens.)

If you are a Seed donor, because your neurons are controlled by your original Ethereum key, they cannot be accessed using an Internet Identity yet (e.g., via the NNS front-end dapp). Instead, you must access your neurons using DFX command-line tools. People are currently looking into possible ways to integrate these Ethereum keys with Internet Identity. Always use an expert to help you when using command line tools, and take things carefully and slowly.

Here are the instructions:

A. Seed Donation Token Distribution:

B. DFINITY Community Airdrop Instructions:
You can also find
answers to frequently asked questions.

For all other token recipients, monitor your email for instructions on access.



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