We all know there’s no such thing as a free lunch, but what about free Bitcoin? The answer to that question is decidedly more complicated. The free lunch idiom, of course, isn’t limited to food, but rather is a way of communicating that nothing in life comes without some sort of tradeoff. When it comes to free Bitcoin, that’s largely true as well. No one is going around sending BTC to your wallet without expecting something in return. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t relatively easy ways to earn free BTC if you want. So how do you build your crypto investment if you don’t want to buy Bitcoin? Below are a few suggestions (plus a few things to absolutely avoid).
Earn Bitcoin Rewards
Apps such as Lolli, which offer you free Bitcoin when you shop for everyday items don’t require you to buy Bitcoin, but they do require you to buy something (meaning, you’re not getting that BTC for free). Lolli is a browser extension that gives you a percent of what you spend at certain e-commerce sites back in crypto. They claim to support over 500 sites, and while we didn’t count, a quick scroll through their stores showed everything from Walmart and The Gap to Booking.com, as well as small niche sites, with earnings of anywhere from 1% to over 40%. Think of it like earning points or cash back on your credit card, except in Bitcoin. If you’re on a site supported by Lolli, they’ll alert you, so you know you can earn back when you shop. According to their site, the business model is derived from Lolli forming partnerships with e-retailers, and then passing on a share of their earnings back to their users. To us, it sounds simple enough, and is a great way to dip your toes in the crypto waters without actually having to buy Bitcoin (or know too much about cryptocurrency). Of course, any browser extension should be installed with caution, and we don’t know what data exactly the Lolli extension can read on your computer. The service is currently available only to people in the US, but for anyone who shops online, this seems like an excellent way to earn free BTC for doing what you’re already doing.
Who it’s good for: Bitcoin newbies, people who shop online, people who want to earn some crypto without taking the steps to invest in crypto.
Earn Bitcoin Interest
Sites like the Celsius Network and BlockFi allow you to earn interest on your cryptocurrency by parking it in their wallet and not touching it for a period of time. This model is meant for people who want to HODL (that’s crypto-speak for “hold on for dear life”), and are planning on long-term investments. That’s because Celsius and BlockFi earn their money by lending your Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies out to corporate clients. They then pay you interest (paid out in the cryptocurrency you invested) for letting it sit. It’s a model that’s fairly similar to how banks operate—they lend the money in your savings account to clients, and you earn interest by not touching your account—and you can think of this as a high-interest crypto savings account. In order to get started, you’ll need to buy Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency supported by a crypto interest provider so that you have something to earn interest on. BlockFi has a minimum, while Celsius Network does not, but in both cases, once you start your crypto savings account, it will keep earning. The amount of interest you earn is variable, and also varies between coins. Similar to when you keep your money on an exchange, when you use an interest-earning crypto provider you’re trusting them to have complete control over your Bitcoin, so you should do your own research before using their service, and decide whether theirs is a service you want holding your funds or not.
Who it’s good for: Parking your crypto is best for people who see their cryptocurrency investment as something they’d like to watch grow over several years, and is less relevant for frequent traders. As with anything, make sure you read the fine print and understand where you’re putting your money, as some interest providers are insured and others are not, and some pay compound interest while others do not.
Become a Bitcoin Affiliate
Many sites, including Coinmama, let you earn free Bitcoin just by spreading crypto cheer. When you become a Coinmama Affiliate, you’re given a personal affiliate link that you can distribute through your blog, Facebook, or other social media, and then earn every time someone uses your affiliate link. Coinmama lets you earn 15% of the Coinmama commission fee on each transaction made by someone who uses your affiliate link. The best part? You don’t even need to buy Bitcoin yourself to start earning—you simply need a cryptocurrency wallet to have your earnings sent to. So is this the closest we’ve come to a free Bitcoin lunch? Yes and no. While it’s true that earning on an affiliate link doesn’t require any monetary output, it does require time and effort. Successful brand affiliates have a strong social media presence, know how to market themselves and the products they associate with, and often make promoting products their full-time job. It’s rarely enough to simply post a link and see your earnings pour in, so to become an affiliate and earn Bitcoin, you should be prepared to do grunt work. Of course, if you have a strong following, promoting any product can be lucrative.
Who it’s good for: Anyone can join Coinmama’s Affiliate program, but we only recommend it if you consider yourself a strong marketer with a platform through which you can promote the product. After all, spreading crypto cheer with enough success to earn on it requires being a Bitcoin enthusiast with the tools to reach an audience.
Not-So-Free Bitcoins to Beware
In any sphere where people are looking to earn things for free, there will also be people who will try to take advantage of that. The cryptosphere is no different, and it’s rife with scam artists. Any offer of free crypto that sounds too good to be true, probably is. Some common scams we’ve seen lately promising free crypto include:
The promise of free coins . . . if you send coins first. For example, an advertisement offering to send 2 free BTC to anyone who sends 0.5 BTC to the wallet address provided. The address is always a scam, and even worse, the scammers will often impersonate a legitimate company when doing so to attract victims. Anyone offering to send you BTC in exchange for you sending it to them first should be avoided and reported immediately.
The promise of free coins—if you click. Always be cautious of what you click, especially when that click promises something for free. A recent report, for example, showed that an app that promised to give users $45 in free BTC a day was actually installing malware on users’ phones and logging keystrokes to capture log-in information. It’s a good reminder to always do your homework before clicking anything or downloading anything onto your computer or device.
At the end of the day, the old adage stands: there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and even the offer of free Bitcoin usually comes with a catch. But for some users, that catch is absolutely worth it, and if you’re looking to earn BTC, the options above may be something you want to explore.