Kraken makes no promises/guarantees/warranties on the outcome of potential or proposed forks or airdrops, and no promises about the addition of new cryptocurrencies in general.
Clients should not assume that Kraken will list any or all forks, airdrops, or new cryptocurrencies.
If you wish to participate in a fork or airdrop, please withdraw the affected cryptocurrency to your own private wallet (Kraken is not a wallet service) well ahead of the deadline.
There are two main types of forks:
Uncontentious forks are protocol changes that have been planned and agreed to by the community without any significant disputes. The intention is for everyone to switch to the new chain and no longer use the old one. However, the old chain may still survive due to some miners continuing to mine on it.
Example: Monero had a scheduled network upgrade in April 6, 2018. Even though nearly all the community moved over to the new chain, some still used the old chain and it became known as Monero Original. However, Monero Original did not meet Kraken's listing requirements.
Another example of a scheduled protocol change is Ethereum's 'Constantinople' hard fork.
Kraken's policy: We generally support the new chain in uncontentious forks and discontinue using the old chain. Account balances are converted to the new chain and funds on the old chain are no longer accessible by clients. If for whatever reason you want to have continued access to the old chain, we always recommend withdrawing the relevant cryptocurrency before the fork
Contentious forks happen when there is strong disagreement about the direction of a cryptocurrency or its proposed protocol change (or lack of protocol changes). In a contentious fork, both new and old chains are maintained by the community and compete for dominance and branding.
Examples: Ethereum vs Ethereum Classic, Bitcoin vs Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Cash vs Bitcoin SV.
Kraken's policy: We like to avoid taking sides and prefer a wait-and-see approach. The funds associated with the cryptocurrency before the fork will continue with the chain that is most dominant (has the most hash power and block confirmations). We cannot guarantee support for the less dominant chain.
Airdrops are when the founders of a new coin decide to give some of it away to holders of another coin as a form of promotion.
Kraken's policy: We have no control over which airdrops are sent to our corporate wallets while we hold your funds. In order to pass down an airdrop, we'd need to support that cryptocurrency on our exchange. However, the vast majority of airdropped cryptocurrencies do not meet our listing requirements. The only airdrop we've ever supported is Stellar Lumens (XLM).