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What determines dominion and control for crypto assets considering hard forks (resulting in chain-splits) and airdrops?

Author: Kirk Phillips, CPA, CMA, CFE, CBP
Published: March 31, 2020

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D&C segue  

Determining what constitutes dominion and control (D&C) for crypto assets requires a technical  understanding of hard forks and airdrops and, more specifically, hard forks resulting in chainsplits.  

The tax significance of chain-splits and airdrops, including the character of income, timing, and  other tax-related issues, will be addressed in other white papers. This paper intends to identify  actions exerted by taxpayers with their crypto assets manifesting dominion and control at a  particular point in time.  

Acquire the ability  

The critical distinction for income recognition is contingent on whether a taxpayer exercises  dominion and control. A taxpayer would not recognize income until and unless they exercise  dominion and control. Taxpayers have dominion and control when they “acquire the ability” to  transfer, sell, exchange, or otherwise dispose of the cryptocurrency.  

The following IRS guidance affirms this definition of dominion and control:  

The IRS Virtual Currency FAQs (October 2019) A.23 states, “…you have dominion and control  over the cryptocurrency so that you can transfer, sell, exchange, or otherwise dispose of the  cryptocurrency.” <sup>1</sup>

Rev. Rul. 2019-24, states, “If the taxpayer later acquires the ability to transfer, sell, exchange, or  otherwise dispose of the cryptocurrency, the taxpayer is treated as receiving the cryptocurrency at  that time.” 2

If “acquiring the ability” can be distinguished, then dominion and control can be determined.  Furthermore, the AICPA suggests chain-split coins and airdrops are unsolicited property referring  to Rev. Rul. 70-498 and Rev Rul. 63-225, wherein both situations the mere receipt of unsolicited  property, for example, free samples, did not constitute income. The taxpayer has to “accept the  property,” and possession does not automatically equal acceptance. 3

Hard fork and airdrop confusion 

The terms fork and airdrop aren’t used in practice consistently, and there isn’t a standard definition,  especially when it comes to airdrops. A hard fork resulting in a chain-split and an airdrop are two  completely independent and unrelated events. The terminology used in the recent IRS guidance  refers to “receiving cryptocurrency from an airdrop following a hard fork,” which is alternatively  referred to as “a hard fork followed by an airdrop.” These events are distinctly different and never  happen simultaneously or consecutively in any related way. Coin Center echoed the sentiment,  “…it is mistaken to believe that forks and airdrops are sequentially related events.” 4 Similarly, the  AICPA stated, “Many taxpayers interpreted the ruling as not applying to either the Ethereum or  the Bitcoin chain splits since neither was a hard fork followed by an airdrop.” 5

Different forks  

The term “fork” has several different meanings in the blockchain context, which creates additional  confusion. The two most common definitions are “forking the codebase,” referring to copying the  codebase of open source software to create a new blockchain and “blockchain forks,” which may  or may not result in a chain split. Also, there are hard forks and soft forks, however hard forks, or  consensus-based rule changes, are not backward compatible. Only hard forks can result in chain splits as a result of the incompatibility. Hard forks are sometimes referred to as if they are  synonymous with chain-splits; however, only hard forks resulting in chain-splits produce chain split coins.  

Examples of hard forks resulting in chain-splits and chain-split coins  The two most well-known chain-splits and therefore chain-split coins are:  

– Ethereum (ETH) and Ethereum Classic (ETC) on 7-2-16 (1 ETH: 1 ETC)  – Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) on 8-1-17 (1 BTC: 1 BCH)  

The DAO hack and Two Ethereums 

The DAO was a decentralized investment fund of sorts built with Ethereum; however, a hacker drained $50MM in June 2016 from a record-setting $150MM ICO at the time. 6The Ethereum  community chose to roll back the blockchain via hard fork to “reverse the theft” and get the ETH  back. A small group of dissenting miners was steadfast in believing “Code is Law” and blockchain  immutability shouldn’t be compromised at any cost. 7The minority miners continued mining the  original chain, Ethereum, with native token ETH, which “branched” into Ethereum Classic with  native token ETC effectuating the chain-split on July 20, 2016. Every ETH token holder who  controlled their private keys before the split is entitled to the same number of tokens on the new  chain. Chain-split coins always exist on a 1:1 basis. 8 Coin Center explains it like this, “A better  term for a blockchain fork that leads to two divergent cryptocurrencies would be a contentious  fork…In a contentious fork, both networks recognize these pre-fork balances as valid; so, in that  sense, a user of the pre-fork chain will, by no action of her own, “have” tokens on both networks  post-split. 9
Dominion and control of chain-split coins 

Chain-split coins are at the center of whether or not someone manifests dominion and control. The  chain-split coins are like conjoined twins requiring “technical surgery” in some cases to split the  coins into two separate coins. This technical splitting is exercising dominion and control and  always involves action on behalf of the token holder. The token holder does not have possession  of the new coins outright upon the chain-split, and possession and acceptance happen  simultaneously when and if they successfully split their coins.  

Risks of “acquiring chain-split coins”  

Coin-splitting always involves a high degree of coin-split risk comprised of six main vectors, and  many of the risks are interrelated.  

Security risk  

Privacy risk  

New software risk 

Fraud risk  

Casualty risk  

Replay risk  

Splitting coins requires a high degree of preparation and a series of carefully executed steps to  mitigate coin-split risk. Pre-chain-split coins are akin to identical conjoined twins sharing the same  DNA except with bitcoin; it means sharing the same private keys or mnemonic seeds and  addresses.  

Security and privacy  

If crypto security is compromised, it could lead to theft. Generally, token holders should sweep their BTC, for example, to a new address or wallet. Otherwise, the “shared DNA” could reveal all  previous transaction history of the pre-split bitcoin and connect it to new chain split coins, BCH  for example. Additionally, both the public key and private key could be compromised, resulting  in a loss of funds in the worst case. Bitcoin Magazine stated, “The bad news is that it’s not  necessarily easy or safe to claim your BCH straight away. If you are not careful, you may  accidentally expose your private keys while claiming your BCH. And because these are the same  private keys that secure your BTC, this could lead to your BTC being stolen.” 10

Replay Vulnerability  

The same thing that happens on one chain, post-split, can also occur on the other chain without  special replay protection. Replay vulnerabilities can be malicious (replay attack) or inadvertent.  Circle describes what can happen when reply protection is not available, “This confusion can lead  to token holders unintentionally sending transactions on one of the new chains, resulting in a loss  of funds.”11 Bitcoin Cash, for example, built replay protection into the protocol, and some  splitting tools also include a method for reply protection. Nonetheless, someone could  successfully split coins and still be subject to reply attacks years down the line if they did NOT  incorporate reply protection during the splitting process.12

New software risk & Fraud risk  

Wallets, exchanges, miners, and nodes have to upgrade and/or create new software compatible  with the new chain. Developers may or may not be proactive, depending on how much they  anticipate the chain-split. Most upgrades tend to happen rapidly, post-split, introducing significant  bugs. Meanwhile, nefarious actors swoop in to steal coins offering the most “user-friendly”  splitting tool, which sends users’ coins to the hacker’s address. Bitcoin Magazine describes the  new software risk like this, “It is all very new, developed within a short timeframe, and the peer  review done on all this software has probably not been as extensive as it usually is within the Bitcoin space. It is therefore probably wise not to import your private keys in such software right  away; instead, wait to see if there are any reports of problems.”13

Casualty Risk  

The loss of funds is a “casualty or theft loss” in the context of taxation. A casualty loss comes from making user mistakes, not following directions, or from a wallet bug (new software risk). Theft is  essentially fraud risk and a subcategory of casualty losses.  

Steps for “acquiring chain-split coins” (and manifesting dominion and control)  

Step 1: Identify wallets with pre-split coins  

The specific wallets holding pre-split coins can determine the approach for splitting the coins. If  coins are in three different wallets, it could magnify the effort three-fold by requiring three  different methods. For example, Alice had BTC in a paper wallet, hardware, a desktop wallet, and  an exchange. Alice can’t do anything with her BTC on the exchange because she doesn’t control  the private keys. Remember the “not your keys, not your coins” mantra.  

Step 2: Research trusted resources  

Alice does extensive research reading chain-split articles on trusted news sites and specifically the  websites for her particular wallets. For example, she has a Trezor hardware wallet and visits their  site, hoping to find a BTC~BCH chain split guide. She continues to monitor new publications for  additional information.  

Step 3: Assess the Risk  

Alice has to navigate and consider all the risks mentioned above of acquiring chain-split coins.  Fortunately, she is pretty crypto savvy, yet feels overwhelmed with all the content from her  extensive research. The risk is exceptionally high right after the chain-split. It goes down over time  as users and developers identify bugs, scams get exposed, split wallets develop split guides, and  services improve.  

The risk assessment is a cost-benefit exercise, and the risk of losing BTC, compromising privacy,  or getting scammed can be far higher than the value of acquiring BCH. Bob only has 3.3 BTC, and  therefore his upside is the potential value of 3.3 BCH when he acquires it. Alice, on the other hand,  has 1,178 BTC, so she is more motivated to navigate the risk to get her 1,178 BCH, which at one  point could have been worth millions of dollars. Bob chooses not to split now because the risk is  too high, but he can always do so at another time. Alice sees dollar signs and elects to go for it.  

Step 4: Choose the splitting method  

Alice has to use three different chain-splitting ways for each of her three wallets. She’s using guides  for each wallet, including additional steps to follow for best practices as a result of her preliminary  research. She’s not confident about splitting her paper wallet BTC, so she’s going to defer splitting  those coins until a later time. See below for more information on the types of splitting methods. 

Step 5: Prepare to split: Move pre-split coins  

Alice needs to import her BTC private keys into the new BCH version of her desktop wallet.  Importing keys is one way to acquire coins because BTC and BCH both share the same DNA. She  knows the software could be buggy, and she doesn’t fully trust the wallet developers. Alice sweeps  her BTC from the original pre-split wallet to a new wallet with a fresh set of private keys. She  imports the original private keys into the new BCH wallet, thereby thwarting any attempts by  nefarious wallet developers who could steal private keys. Those bad actors can’t steal Alice’s BTC  using her original private keys because the BTC resides in a new wallet with new keys. Sweeping  coins to a new address may or may not add reply protection depending on the wallet and the method  in Step 4.  

Step 6: Consider replay protection  

During her research in Step 2, Alice discovered her desktop wallet provides reply protection within  the coin-splitting feature. In this case, she doesn’t have to take additional steps for reply protection.  Bitcoin Cash has reply protection at the protocol level while Bitcoin SV (another chain split from  BCH) does not.  

Edge wallet states, “Included in the split function is some home-brewed replay protection.  Replay protection was not added at the protocol level of the BCH-BSV chain-split but we were  able to implement replay protection for Edge users which prevents funds from one chain from  being spent on another.” 14

Wallets or other services may or may not provide replay protection; therefore, users may have to  create their own. For example, Alice sends some BTC dust (a very tiny amount of BTC) to the old  BTC address before sweeping her BTC to a new wallet as she did in Step 5. The dust essentially  taints the original coins so they can’t be spent on the new chain. Splitting tools also use dust to  separate the coins, as explained by Bitcoin.com, “When this small amount of dust is mixed with  the original BCH funds the coins will automatically split into two.” 15

Step 7: Follow the guides & split the coins  

Now that Alice has completed her due diligence, research, risk assessment, and pre-split  preparation, she’s ready for the next steps to split the coins. She follows the guide step-by-step,  creates a new wallet and related addresses for BCH as necessary, sends a BTC transaction, and  receives the pre-split BTC back. She also receives BCH in the same wallet or a new BCH wallet,  depending on the situation. See below for more information on the types of splitting methods.  

Step 8: Document the process  

Alice verifies the BTC and the BCH on respective block explorers and saves the transaction IDs  for both transactions from both chains. Alice acquires the new coin, and dominion and control  manifest at this point. She takes screenshots and detailed notes to document the entire splitting process from beginning to end for tax purposes and as an internal reference guide. Excellent  documentation can be used for future chain-splits and makes the process much easier the second  time around.  

Types of coin-splitting methods  

Exchange splitting services  

Crypto exchanges provide splitting services as a convenience to their customers. Alice could have  sent BTC to an exchange which splits the tokens without any additional effort by the customer.  The service is a fast and easy method; however, it compromises privacy because exchange  addresses are generally known, and it requires trusting a third party with the funds. 16

Crypto held on exchanges  

This exchange splitting service should not be confused with BTC held on an exchange before a  chain-split. As mentioned, the customer does not control keys in this case, and an exchange may  or may not credit chain split coins to a customer’s account based on the exchange’s discretion and  their terms and conditions. A customer would have dominion and control if and when the exchange  credits the customers’ exchange account with the new tokens.  

Wallets with splitting features  

Wallets upgrade to provide coins splitting functions while publishing-related coin-splitting guides,  which may allow users to separate their BCH and BTC within the same wallet. Guides are  published be hardware wallets, desktop wallets, and others.17

Spitting services  

Third-party splitting services provide a tool for splitting coins independent of wallets or centralized  exchanges. Shapeshift, a non-custodial exchange created a splitting tool for ETH and ETC.18

Importing private keys (do-it-yourself) splits  

Alice took the DIY approach in Step 5 by sweeping her BTC into a new wallet in preparation for  importing her old BTC private keys into her new BCH wallet. This method involves more skill  and has more risk, especially when contrasted with exchange splitting services.  

Smart contract splits  

Most of the examples highlighted BTC and BCH, but the same principles can apply to other chain  splits. Ethereum is a smart contract platform; therefore, token holders can split ETH and ETC coins  using a smart contract, which introduces another degree of risk and complexity. For example, Alice  sends her ETH to the smart contract which sends back the original ETH and sends the ETC to a  new ETC wallet Alice created.  

ETH~ETC Case study  

How much work is it? How long does it take? This smart contract split sounds simple; however,  in one case study splitting ETH and ETC took several days and more than 14 hours. The investor’s  time included considering the chain-split risk of acquiring the coins, all the steps for acquiring the  coins, including best practices for documentation, the various methods for splitting the coins,  setting up new wallets and addresses, and consultation with a highly reputable developer in the  space. The coin split didn’t take place until two years after the ETH~ETC chain split. 19

A metaphor for claiming chain split coins  

Money does grow on trees, and in the case of chain-split coins, it grows on trees inside a barbed wire fence secured by dogs and armed guards. It’s your tree and your money, and you can see the  money on the tree from outside the fence. You have to choose whether retrieving the money  (picking those apples and oranges from the tree) is worth the risk.  

Conclusion: D&C of chain-split coins  

Coin-splitting can be easier in some cases rather than others, and there’s substantial risk in choosing  to split coins. There can be significant work during the research and due diligence phase before  determining whether or not to proceed with a coin-split. The actual preparation and coin-spitting  process can also take considerable time depending on the skill level, confidence, and experience  of the token holder. Acquiring chain-split coins requires extreme effort, and the point when  dominion control manifests is particular and verifiable on respective blockchains with a  timestamped transaction ID. Dominion and control never happen at the point when a chain-split  occurs; instead, it can only happen at a later point in time if and when a token holder completes  the coin-split.  

Airdrops  

An airdrop is a cryptocurrency distribution based on existing token holdings or addresses, sometimes without the token holder’s knowledge, to bootstrap a new blockchain. There are many  different kinds of airdrops, making it difficult to define the term. In most cases, there is little to  no risk or action required to get free tokens. A token holder can have “possession” of a new  airdropped token without knowing it. A few examples of definitions help explain the concept of  an airdrop.  

Three examples of airdrop definitions:  

  1. “What are crypto airdrops? Funny enough, this isn’t as easy to explain as it looks…A  cryptocurrency airdrop is a free coin giveaway in the blockchain industry.”  “Personally, I find the easiest comparison in the real world to be freebies you receive on  the street…That’s a free sample, that’s an airdrop!” 20
  2. “Cryptocurrency airdrops are basically free coins that are dropped directly into your wallet.  It is literally free money handed over to you!” 21
  3. “In the cryptocurrency and blockchain ecosystem, the term “Airdrop” refers to the  distribution of digital assets to the public, either by virtue of holding a certain other token  or simply by virtue of being an active wallet address on a particular blockchain.”22

Exchange “exclusion” 

Tokens holders must control the private keys for a given wallet to receive airdropped tokens.  Exchange customers do not control their own private keys however, exchanges may or may not  credit their customers with airdrops (or chain-split coins) depending on technological complexity, existing terms and conditions and other considerations. Exchanges are trending towards crediting  customers with airdrops because of increased competition and the desire to retain loyal customers.  Tokens held on exchanges will not be included in a snapshot or any other airdrop method because  the token holder does not control the private keys. 

Types of airdrops  

Airdrops are typically promotional in nature, so the project team can design an airdrop in any  creative way to get the most awareness. Any particular airdrop could have its nuances; however,  it’s essential to examine the fundamentals to distinguish when a taxpayer “acquires the ability” to  transfer, sell, exchange, or otherwise dispose of the airdropped cryptocurrency to determine when  dominion and control manifests.  

Two main types of airdrops (snapshot & giveaways)  

Airdrops fall into two main buckets, snapshots, and giveaways. A snapshot is a particular type of  airdrop, and all other airdrops are mostly giveaways or a “catch-all” category for everything else.  

Giveaways  

Giveaways fall into three subcategories, standard, bounty, or exclusive. The typical standard  giveaway requires someone to supply name, email, and crypto address for receiving tokens or  simply the most basic information needed to give tokens away. The typical bounty is like the  standard giveaway, but it requires additional “user actions” to qualify for the token giveaway. For  example, the prospective token holder has to join a Telegram channel, a Facebook group, and make  a tweet or Facebook post promoting the project. The exclusive giveaway could be like the standard  or bounty, except the airdrop is “exclusive” only to a certain group of people based on loyalty or  some other metric. 23 

Examples of giveaways:  

Polymath, a security token platform, initiated a 10MM token giveaway in total and 250 POLY  tokens for each registered user to promote the platform. Users had to sign up, complete a KYC  check, and include and ETH address to get POLY tokens. The user acquired the ability to access  the coins by successfully registering on the platform.  

“Only users who signed-up for the Airdrop at polymath.network prior to January 10th are eligible  to receive the free POLY tokens. Due to the above legal requirements, you must also comply with  the terms and conditions and verify your identity through our KYC portal at  token.polymath.network” 24

Stellar created an XLM token giveaway token in partnership with Keybase, an encrypted  messaging app over a 20-month period to simulate adoption on both platforms. Keybase users  needed an active account before the monthly airdrop to claim a portion of that month’s token  rewards. Keybase users can claim free XLM when they open the messaging app. The taxpayer has  to generate keys to a new wallet within Keybase to claim the XLM. The taxpayer exercises  dominion and control upon generating the keys, which can be verified by a transaction ID. 25

Acquiring giveaway airdrop tokens  

Prospective token holders always take action, such as supplying an email, providing a crypto  address, or tweeting as a precursor to receiving tokens; therefore, they complete the work to  acquire the tokens BEFORE the tokens are “airdropped.” The prospective token holder actively  participates prior the actual airdrop and they are always aware of the airdrop before and after it  happens because of their active participation. This is contrary to the way snapshots work as  explained below.  

Next, the new blockchain has to launch and actually distribute the tokens as promised. If the project  never distributes tokens, then there is nothing else to consider because no tokens were acquired.  The token holder already established control as explained above and, therefore, if the airdrop takes  place, they can immediately transfer, sell, exchange, or otherwise dispose of the tokens. Dominion  and control manifest at the time of the airdrop, which should be verifiable by a transaction hash.  

Snapshots  

A snapshot of an existing blockchain and related address balances at a point in time (time 0), is  typically used to make a pro rata distribution of new tokens at a later point in time (time 1). A  snapshot is a blockchain state at a given time, which is like taking a picture of the blockchain.  

There are two main types of snapshots, token standard airdrops, and codebase forking airdrops.  Project teams can easily create tokens with token standards and distributed on top of an existing  blockchain. Developers use codebase forking to create a new blockchain, and the native tokens of  the new blockchain are distributed based on the snapshot of another blockchain.

Token standards  

Most airdrops happen on Ethereum because the ERC-20 standard tokens are easy to create on the  existing network. Newly created ERC-20 tokens are automatically compatible with Ethereum  wallets, which means new wallet software isn’t needed. The airdrop could also be done based on  the number of active addresses rather than pro rata. Other blockchains such as NEO and Tron  have token standards, NEP-5 and TRC10/20, respectively, similar to Ethereum.  

Example of token standard airdrop  

OmiseGo was one of the original ERC-20 token airdrops on Ethereum. Anyone holding ETH  before the snapshot would receive a pro rata share of OMG tokens. ETH must be kept in an  Ethereum wallet such as My Ether Wallet in which the user owns and controls the private keys.  Therefore, ERC-20 token airdrops can happen WITHOUT the token holder’s knowledge.  

OmiseGo’s airdrop announcement states, “In OMG’s case, 5% has already been set aside from the  total issuance, ready to be distributed by an automatic airdrop. That is, sometime quite soon (TBA  soon), every address on the Ethereum blockchain that held a balance over a minimum threshold of  0.1 ETH at a recent past block height (TBA soon) will receive a share of this 5% that is  proportionate to their share of ETH.” 26

Acquiring token standard airdrops  

Prospective tokens holders do work to acquire the tokens AFTER the tokens are “airdropped.” The  prospective token holder passively participates before the actual airdrop. The only prerequisite to  getting XYZ tokens is having ABC tokens or an ABC token address. Most of the time, tokens  holders already have ABC tokens, and the possibility of getting XYZ tokens is a bonus; however,  someone can rush out and buy ABC tokens and set up a wallet in anticipated of the airdrop. Token  holders may or may NOT know about the airdrop before or after it happens.  

Tokens airdropped using the token standard method are using smart contracts for the distribution.  Even though the new tokens are compatible with existing wallets, the tokens don’t magically  appear in a wallet. My Ether Wallet will not show OMG tokens, for example, unless the token  holder clicks the “add custom token” feature for a particular coin. Meanwhile, an ETH address  search on Etherscan, an ETH block explorer, will show an OMG transaction on the ERC-20 token  tab for that address. If a token holder goes back to their ETH wallet, clicks “custom token” and  adds the smart contract address, token symbol, and decimal places, the token balance will appear  in their wallet. 27  

Free samples analogy  

Token standard airdrops are akin to getting unsolicited property, free book samples, or soap  samples in your mailbox, except in the case of crypto, the user may have NO idea the OMG airdrop  existed. At the time of the airdrop, the user can transfer, sell, exchange, or otherwise dispose of  the tokens. Most of the time, the tokens are worthless, and there is no active trading market. The  user has possession but hasn’t necessarily accepted the coins as her own, therefore acceptance  could be selling the tokens at a later time when they have value. An OMG token sale could reflect acceptance and exercising dominion and control. “The dominion and control doctrine applies to  rights and property received, but not paid for, by a taxpayer, including unsolicited property such  as free samples and security purchase rights,” explains Jim Calvin, Global Tax Leader, Deloitte,  and further, “A sale of rights, as in Rev. Rul. 63–225, is not the only method of exercising dominion  and control; however, by selling the taxpayer made it plainly evident that he was able to, and, in  fact, did exercise dominion and control…” 28 

Codebase “forking” airdrops  

The concept of taking a blockchain snapshot is the same for token standard airdrops and codebase  forking airdrops. This part of the process defines who gets tokens and how many. The similarities  stop there as the distribution method is what makes each of these methods different.  

Developers use “codebase forking” to modify the codebase of an existing blockchain, which is  usually the same blockchain used for the snapshot. The new blockchain team distributes tokens on  a new blockchain based on the snapshot of a preexisting blockchain. The new blockchain could be  developed using an entirely new code, but the DNA of the new blockchain is usually related to the  old blockchain. The private keys for tokens on the pre-existing blockchain are the gateway to  accessing the airdropped tokens on the new blockchain which should not be confused with  accessing chain-split coins. Codebase forking means creating a brand new blockchain rather than  a hard fork resulting in a chain-split with two branches sharing a common trunk.  

Example of a codebase forking airdrop  

The NXT blockchain has been around since 2014. Ardor, a new blockchain built on NXT  technology, launched introducing the concept of child transaction chains that rely on the parent  chain, Ardor, for security. IGNIS was also the first child chain of Ardor. A NXT snapshot created  the opportunity for NXT token holders to claim both IGNIS and ARDR tokens based on different  methodologies.  

Ardor states, “The Ardor Genesis Snapshot was taken at block height 1636363 on the Nxt  blockchain. The Ardor Blockchain Platform launched as planned, on January 1, 2018. All NXT  holders…will find their ARDOR and IGNIS tokens on the Ardor blockchain, accessible using the  same account number and password as for the Nxt blockchain.” Ardor goes on to explain how  ARDR tokens were distributed, “As a reminder, ARDR tokens on the Nxt blockchain were  allocated to NXT holders based on their average NXT balances during a three month period in  2016,”29 and nxter.org explains the IGNIS airdrop, “Your NXT balance @ the snapshot block  determines how much IGNIS you will get: 1 IGNIS per 2 NXT.”30

Acquiring codebase forking airdrops  

Claiming these airdrops is substantially different from token standard airdrops. Acquiring the  ability to transfer, sell, exchange, or otherwise dispose of these tokens is similar to some methods for acquiring chain-split coins. Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) share the same DNA after  the chain-split, and BTC private keys enable the token holder to “acquire” BCH by importing those  same keys into a new Bitcoin Cash wallet. Token holders can use the same method to claim ARDR  and IGNIS tokens described above. For example, a user needs to download the new ARDR wallet  and import the private key to access the new tokens. When a user imports private keys, it does not  produce a transaction ID similar to the way splitting coins provides a transaction(s) to complete  the spitting process. In some ways, this also has similarities to adding a custom OMG token in the  ETH wallet example and the distribution of token standard airdrops. Therefore, acquiring the  ability and manifesting dominion and control could come from the act of successfully importing  keys or arguably selling the tokens as referenced the OMG example.  

Conclusion: D&C of airdrops  

The dominion and control of airdrops depend on the type of airdrop. Prospective token holders  always engage in some kind of active participation to qualify for giveaways; therefore, they have  “acquired” the ability to transfer, sell, exchange, or otherwise dispose of the tokens before the  giveaway completes. There are two kinds of snapshot airdrops, “token standards” and “codebase  forking,” and dominion and control look entirely different for both of these. For example, ETH  tokens like OMG are akin to free samples where dominion and control are not always clear but  can manifest upon the sale of the items. Dominion and control of ARDR tokens, on the other hand,  could be similar to ETH token example, but could potentially take place upon successfully  importing private keys into the new wallet. 

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9 Van Valkenburgh, Peter. “What Are Cryptocurrency Forks, Airdrops, and What’s the Difference?” Coin Center,  17 Oct. 2019. 

10 Van, Aaron. “A Beginner’s Guide To Claiming Your ‘Bitcoin Cash’ (And Selling It) .” Bitcoin Magazine, 1 Aug.  2017, bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/beginners-guide-claiming-your-bitcoin-cash-and-selling-it.  

11 “Preventing Replay Attacks after the BCH Hard Fork .” Circle , 7 Dec. 2018,  blog.circle.com/2018/12/07/preventing-replay-attacks-after-the-bch-hard-fork.  

12 “What Is a Replay Attack? .” Exodus , support.exodus.io/article/168-what-is-a-replay-attack.

13 Van, Aaron. “A Beginner’s Guide To Claiming Your ‘Bitcoin Cash’ (And Selling It) .” Bitcoin Magazine, 1 Aug.  2017, bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/beginners-guide-claiming-your-bitcoin-cash-and-selling-it. 

14 Muser, Brett. “How to Claim Your BSV With Replay Protection.” Edge, 29 Nov. 2018,  https://edge.app/blog/how-to-claim-your-bsv-with-replay-protection/.  

15 Redman, Jamie. “Follow This Branch: A Guide to Splitting BCH and BSV.” Bitcoin.com, 24 Nov. 2018,  news.bitcoin.com/follow-this-branch-a-guide-to-splitting-bch-and-bsv/. 

16 “Easiest Way to Split Your Bitcoin Cash Forked Coins (BCH & BSV).” Medium, 2 Dec. 2018,  medium.com/@normal_rc/easiest-ways-to-split-your-bitcoin-cash-forked-coins-bch-bsv-7e545d046b31.  

17 “Managing the ‘Bitcoin Cash’ Fork.” Ledger, 31 July 2017, www.ledger.com/managing-the-bitcoin-cash-fork/.  

18 Jindal, Aayush. “Shapeshift Ethereum Splitter Makes Splitting ETH&ETC a Cakewalk.” NewsBTC.com, 5 Aug.  2016, www.newsbtc.com/2016/08/05/ethereum-classic-price-technical-analysis-etc-hesitates-may-recover/. 

19 “Client Case Study of ETH and ETC Coin Split.” Global Crypto Advisors, 2018.  

20 Christensen, Morten. Airdrop Alert, 2019, blogs.airdropalert.com/what-are-crypto-airdrops-free-coins/. 

21 Mitra, Rajarshi. “Learn What Are Airdrops? 5 Benefits of Free Tokens – Ultimate Guide .” Blockgeeks, 2019,  blockgeeks.com/guides/what-are-airdrops/.  

22 “Airdrop.” Binance , 2020, www.binance.vision/glossary/airdrop.  

23 Mitra, Rajarshi. “Learn What Are Airdrops? 5 Benefits of Free Tokens – Ultimate Guide .” Blockgeeks, 2019,  blockgeeks.com/guides/what-are-airdrops/. 

24 “Polymath Token Airdrop FAQ .” Polymath, 16 Jan. 2018, blog.polymath.network/polymath-token-poly airdropfaq-d4c268df511b .  

25 Dale, Bradley. “Stellar Tried to Give Away 2B XLM Tokens on Keybase. Then the Spammers Came .” 13 Dec.  2019, www.coindesk.com/stellar-tried-to-give-away-2b-xlm-tokens-on-keybase-then-the-spammers-came.

26 “OmiseGO: Airdrop Update .” Omise, 7 Aug. 2017, www.omise.co/omisego-airdrop-update. 

27 “Client Case MEW Wallet OMG ERC-20 Token Consulting.” Global Crypto Advisors, 2018. 

28 Calvin, Jim. “When (and If) Income Is Realized from Bitcoin Chain-Splits.” Deloitte, 2017,  www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/us/Documents/financial-services/us-fsi-tax-bitcoin-chain.pdf.  

29 “Ardor Platform Launch .” Ardor, 1 Jan. 2018, www.jelurida.com/ico. 

30 Apenzi. “What Is Going On?” Nexter.org, 18 Dec. 2018, www.nxter.org/ignis-airdrop/.

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