Robert has reported for a variety of international publications including the Associated Press, The Guardian, Vice, and Decrypt. Current areas of interest include the political economy of technology, cryptocurrencies, and privacy. Robert has a Bachelor of Science from UCL, and a Master's degree from the University of Oxford's Internet Institute.
Free Bitcoin can be hard to come by, and it’s difficult to find methods that are actually worth your time. You could set up your home computer as a bitcoin miner; there are a number of cashback programs that reward you for using referral links with cryptocurrencies. There are also bitcoin savings accounts which provide a flat interest rate on your cryptocurrencies.
The most direct way to earn some free bitcoin is to turn your computer into a Bitcoin mining machine.
While you probably won’t get high returns from this—unless you can work out a way to get electricity for free, or if you run an ultra high-powered bitcoin mining rig—it can generate a passive income if the market works in your favor.
Keep in mind though that your home computer might not be powerful enough to make it worth your while. Also, mining will make your computer slower when mining, as some of its processing power will be devoted to bitcoin mining. The cryptocurrency market could also crash, ruining any profits you might have made. And, on the reasonable assumption that you can’t get free electricity, this method isn’t entirely free, either.Buy and Sell Bitcoin, Ethereum, and over a dozen other cryptocurrencies with Wealthsimple. Sign up and Trade here.
So, how profitable is it? Let’s work it out, using Nicehash, a crypto-mining site with a profitability calculator.
For the purposes of this article, we have priced electricity at 0.1$ per kWH, and bitcoin at around $8,900 USD, its price as of January 17, 2020. The time to make your money back assumes a constant rate of profit, though beware: This is unlikely given never-ending advances in computing, fluctuations in electricity costs, the volatile price of bitcoin and, potentially, the regular currency you’re using. Still, it’s a good place to start.
We found that the GPUs of gaming PCs are generally much more effective than the processing units used in standard computers. Here’s how long it would take you to turn a profit:
Cheap laptop: Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop Price: $322.94 USD per day: $0.10 Number of days to make your money back: 3,230
Mid-range laptop: Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop with NVIDIA Graphics Card Price: $739.99 USD per day: $0.18 Number of days to make your money back: 4,111
Gaming laptop: Sager NP7876 Price: $1349.00 USD per day: $0.49 Number of days to make your money back: 2,753
Affordable gaming PC: Lenovo Erazer X315 Price: $389.00 USD per day: $0.19 Number of days to make your money back: 2,047
Standard PC: Dell Precision Tower Price: $699.99 USD per day: $0.15 Number of days to make your money back: 4,667
High-end gaming PC: MSI Trident X Plus Price: $2,699 USD per day: $1.26 Number of days to make your money back:2,142
Though you can get free bitcoin by turning your computer into a crypto miner, it’s not like the early days of bitcoin, where you could mine bitcoins that inflated in value by thousands of dollars. These days, it’s pretty unrealistic to try and make a profit by turning your computer as a bitcoin miner and break even. Even at current rates you could be waiting for more than ten years to make your money back.
Online shopping can net you some free bitcoin if you’re willing to spend a bit in the process. It’s not entirely free: you are, in a way, being paid for paying money. But you’ve got to spend money to make money, right?
Here’s the process: Sign up to a referral scheme (read on for more details), and browse the internet as normal, shopping away, as is your prerogative as a hard-working netizen. If the referral scheme you’re signed up to is partnered to an online merchant, you’re in luck. Buy something on the site using the special link, and the merchant pays out to the source that referred you, which in turn will give you a cut in the form of cryptocurrency, usually bitcoin.
Aside from referral schemes, some Crypto debit cards also offer cashback and rebates to the user.
Crypto cashback sites
Lolli Lolli is one such website that offers a crypto cashback system. Instead of buying from the source, you follow the links on Lolli’s website and buy things through the links they give you. (So, instead heading to Amazon, you head to Amazon through Lolli). You can also download Lolli as a web extension, which will notify you when you’re shopping at a Lolli-affiliated store. Cashback varies from 0.5 percent at electronics retailer Best Buy, to 27 percent at Harry’s, a men’s razor producer. This is taken from the original value of your purchase. In the case of Harry’s, a purchase of $100 would give you the equivalent value of $27 in Bitcoin. You’ll be making purchases in dollars (or other currencies) so you won’t be spending any bitcoin here, just earning.
Foldapp Foldapp is an app similar to Lolli, allowing you to download it to your mobile phone or browser, and it’ll apply a bitcoin cashback of up to 20 percent. The site also sells crypto gift cards, with a cashback rate of between 2 and 10 percent if you use them at selected stores. You buy these gift cards with bitcoin, too, so it’s entirely possible for you to live a crypto-only life with Foldapp. You could be paid in crypto, convert it into gift cards then to food from Burger King, then book a place to stay on Hotels.com and order some clothes off Amazon.
Crypto Debit Cards
Crypto debit cards make the process of spending your crypto savings easier. A lot of stores still don’t accept cryptocurrencies, so if you want to spend your crypto you’d have to sell off your currency on an exchange before withdrawing the currency to your bank account. Crypto debit cards handle the exchanging for you, easing the process of online shopping with your cryptocurrency while offering some form of crypto-pecuniary kickback.
Wire Bitcoin Debit Card This card supports US dollars, euros and pounds. WireX has a 0.5 percent crypto cashback on any in-store purchases with the card.
Crypto.com MCO Card This card comes with a range of different price points. The free option offers a flat 1 percent cashback on all purchases, whereas the MCO Black card offers free Spotify and Netflix, as well as a 5 percent cashback on other purchases.
Bitcoin Savings Accounts provide another way to make some free bitcoin. Put your money in an account and…do nothing, and it’ll pay in interest over time. You won’t make large amounts of money, but if you want to keep your crypto safe and generate a little more coin on the side they’re a strong option.
Savings accounts are versatile and can also be used as a trading account if you choose. If these savings accounts aren’t giving you the return, flexibility or security that you want, then consider Wealthsimple’s saving account, offering two percent interest per annum. Wealthsimple also have an investment plan if that is more suited to your aims.
BTCPOP BTCPOP is a savings account that also provides loans, as well as investment pools where you can tie your Bitcoin together with other investors to make collective decisions. You can also put your money into an instant account, where your money is lent out to others and you take a portion of the interest as profit.
LedgerX LedgerX is a company which are known for producing cryptocurrency wallets. It also has a savings account, which is licensed by the US Commodities Future Trading Commission.
Bitbank Bitbank provides a savings account which has several plans. There is a daily plan offering 0.004 percent interest, a three months plan at 1.134 percent, six months at 2.762 percent, and a yearly plan at 6 percent. The plans work such that your money is effectively locked up with the bank for each time period, similar to a subscription service.
There are several websites that offer cryptocurrencies as a reward for completing surveys, which generally function as consumer research.
Bitcoinreward Bitcoinreward is a company that offers bitcoin in exchange for playing games or completing surveys. The rewards are listed in a number of satoshis (the smallest units of bitcoin) with the largest offer being for 100,000 satoshis (0.001 bitcoin or about $8.85). On top of that, referring other people to the company grants you a 50% commission on their future earnings.
Toluna Influencers In 2019, Toluna Influencers, a survey site, began a partnership with NeoCurrency, a digital rewards company that lets you cash out in cryptocurrencies. NeoCurrency’s cryptocurrency gift cards can be gained by exchanging Toluna points. The digital gift card you can redeem is approximately equal to $20.
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