One day, I woke up to new magical internet monies sitting in my online wallet:
These are coins I’ve never bought. How did this happen?
I soon learned that what I received was an “airdrop” – free cryptocurrency just for having the right crypto wallet open.
At the time of this writing, I’ve received about $100 worth of crypto from passive (didn’t do nothin’) to active (mildly headache-inducing) strategies. If you like free money, I’ll walk you through the easiest ways to earn free cryptocurrency.
These methods, in order of easy to difficult, are:
Or if you’re impatient, jump to the end for the best-bang-for-your-effort options.
Method 1: Get free crypto with online wallets
A cryptocurrency airdrop is when a blockchain platform distributes free coins. To receive airdrops, you need a wallet associated with that blockchain.
For example, new crypto projects can leverage an existing blockchain platform like Ethereum to create tokens. Specifically, these ethereum-based coins are called ERC-20 (“Ethereum Request for Comment”) tokens. When the popular ERC-20 token OMG launched, as part of their promotion they airdropped OMG to anyone with an Ethereum Wallet.
Two caveats with this:
- You’ll have to have some non-zero balance of the main crypto (e.g. Ether) in your wallet to receive airdropped tokens (e.g. OMG).
- An independent wallet with private keys that you own (e.g. not at an crypto exchange) is necessary for this to work.
In addition to airdrops, having wallets with the major blockchains is handy whenever there’s a software fork – when a clone of the blockchain is created.
When Bitcoin Cash forked from the main Bitcoin blockchain, everyone with a proper wallet received a 1:1 equivalent of Bitcoin Cash according to how much Bitcoin they already owned (e.g. 1 BCH for 1 BTC).
This is why it’s important to move any Bitcoins you have from an exchange to your own web wallet; exchanges like Coinbase are great for buying crypto with dollars, but terrible for holding. It’s up to exchanges if they want to release coins from forks or airdrops to their users.
So what kind of wallet should you open up? Where and how?
Pro tip: go to CoinMarketCap and filter for “Coins,” then set up the official wallet for that coin:
You’ll notice that even when you filter for coins, there are hundreds of independent blockchains, and setting up individual wallets for each one is impractical. You can also explore this shortlist of blockchain platforms.
Here’s the simple option with minimal effort: just open up a MyEtherWallet (“MEW”). The majority of new tokens are built off of Ethereum, and MEW is the most popular and supported Ether web wallet which will maximize the chances of getting free crypto airdrops.
Just to summarize, here’s the low hanging fruit option:
- Open a MyEtherWallet account
- Transfer any quantity of Ether, e.g. 0.01 ETH from Coinbase into MEW
- Wait for airdrops!
^ Note that you can repeat similar steps with other blockchain platforms like NEO and Stellar
Method 2: Earn free crypto by hunting for airdrops & bonuses
Effort level: medium to high
You might now be wondering why companies even do airdrops in the first place. It’s a promotional strategy to raise awareness for their new project. Many crypto teams have a specific allocation for marketing activities, and airdrops is just one part of them.
Given this context, it makes sense that many new cryptos give away coins & sign up bonuses. Sometimes it’s just a matter of signing up with your email and a wallet address.
Other promotional bonuses can be earned through effort, such as reviewing a crypto project or signing up for their Facebook.
Hunting for crypto bonuses & airdrops takes work, and almost requires you to be an early adopter: exploring ICOs, subscribing to newsletters, following crypto news.
But there’s an automated way to learn about + earn crypto bonuses.
It’s called Earn.com, a platform that pays you in crypto to read promotional messages from businesses.
How this works: sign up to join lists like “Web designer” or “Bitcoin buyer,” and businesses interested in promoting to these lists will send paid messages.
By far the most common paid messages are from crypto projects raising awareness about their own coin or ICO. Thus, Earn.com has become a streamlined interface to get notified about, and receive airdrops of new coins:
There’s a double benefit to using Earn. Not only do you get $1+ in Bitcoin for every message you open, BUT you also enlist to get free airdropped tokens:
The do-it-yourself way is to scour for upcoming airdrops on sites like AirdropAlert, but Earn.com is a much more integrated experience. You can save your MyEtherWallet address to join ERC-20 token airdrops, and the platform also provides a quick way to get paid out to BTC to a bitcoin wallet like Coinbase:
To get started, join Earn via my personal referral link.
Method 3: Earn free crypto with crypto faucets
Effort level: annoying, often low ROI
Crypto faucets work by distributing tiny amounts of cryptocurrencies for actions taken, usually by looking at ads, completing micro tasks or even playing games. Faucets share their advertising revenue back to the users in the form of crypto.
Big caveat: faucets require a lot of work and the ROI in terms of looking at ads for being paid small amounts of crypto many not be worth it.
With that being said, after scouring the web, these are the three most reputable faucet websites I’ve played with:
Probably the oldest and most reputable Bitcoin faucets. FreeBitcoin has been around since 2013 and has multiple features, from offering its own wallet with interest, casino/dice type games and more ways to earn (or gamble away) BTC.
One of the few reputable faucet sites with tons of options (games, ads) to earn multiple cryptos, from BTC to ETH to Dogecoin. Like many other faucets, you have to turn off your Adblocker which is annoying. A lot of other faucets also require FaucetHub account for payouts, similar to Coinpot.
The “Moon” chain of faucets are really straight forward: ads are displayed, and you can claim Satoshis (fractions of a Bitcoin) every 5 minutes. Easy peasy!
A “microwallet” service required by many faucets like Moon Bitcoin to deposit crypto earnings.
The easy 80/20 solution for most people
If you’re overwhelmed by the # of options, don’t stress. The best bang-for-your-effort option should take a total of no more than 15 minutes of setup time:
- Create a MyEtherWallet account.
- Create an account at Earn.com.
- Get free random airdrops into MEW, or get notified of new airdrops at Earn.com.
- Bonus step: transfer a tiny bit of Ether, acquired from an exchange like Coinbase, into your MyEtherWallet. Some airdrops require small amounts of Ether in your wallet to receive free ERC-20 tokens; do this step as insurance to get your free cryptocurrency.
Only if you have time and patience on your hands would I bother with crypto faucets.
Oz is not a financial advisor and none of this information should be misconstrued as financial, legal or medical advice as outlined in his Terms & Conditions page.
Also published on Medium.