How to get free bitcoin
A guide to some of the most common ways to earn free BTC.
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Can you get free bitcoin? Yes. In fact, it’s probably easier than you expect.
Can you get rich off it? That part’s not so easy.
There are six main ways to get free bitcoin. Arranged roughly from least to most profitable, they are as follows:
- Scams and gambling
- Affiliate programs
- Getting paid directly in bitcoin
Falling for scams
You’ll actually lose money by falling for scams and you will typically lose money overall when gambling, so these are by far the least profitable options. Scams are worth a mention because some “free bitcoin” offers are simply scams.
If the offer asks you to make a payment of any kind, and you don’t know exactly what you’re getting in return, there’s a good chance it’s a scam. There are actual legitimate ways of getting small amounts of bitcoin for free, so being asked to make a payment is a distinct red flag.
By contrast, bitcoin gambling sites are often just as legitimate as online gambling with any other kind of currency. They might be full of ads or malware, and you’ll typically lose money overall, but it’s theoretically possible to get free bitcoin from it.
A bitcoin faucet is a feature on websites that steadily drips bitcoin. For example, a website might dispense a fraction of a bitcoin every few minutes.
It’s usually an extremely small amount, equivalent to a few cents or a dollar, awarded to one user every few minutes.
This is often done as a promotional feature. If a faucet holds visitors on a website, it may translate to increased engagement, higher ad revenue or other benefits for the site’s owners that make it worthwhile.
Games might award miniscule amounts of bitcoin as a prize. They’re typically also filled with advertisements.
It works similar to bitcoin faucets. The bitcoin rewards keep people playing and viewing ads, so on paper the game looks like a great way for advertisers to reach people.
If you don’t mind viewing ads, actually enjoy the game you’re playing and have a lot of time to kill, the tiny bitcoin prizes might eventually add up.
Cloud mining warning
Cloud mining will almost never be profitable. This is because the "break-even point," where you make as much money from cloud mining as you put into it, will keep moving backwards and you'll typically never be able to reach it.
The reason it moves back is because Bitcoin mining difficulty tends to rise over time, especially as Bitcoin prices do. This means the amount of Bitcoin you get from cloud mining will usually decrease over time, which pushes back the break-even point. Bitcoin mining difficulty will usually only drop if Bitcoin prices do, but if that happens then your Bitcoin is worth less, which also pushes back the break-even point.
As such, even if a cloud mining contract looks like it will be profitable, you're still more likely to lose more than you earn.
In the rare cases where a cloud mining contract turns out to be profitable, it will have been more profitable to simply buy cryptocurrency instead of cloud mining.
A few years ago you might have been able to make hundreds of bitcoin by mining on a home computer.
These days it’s a lot more difficult. The bitcoin mining network is mostly dominated by big players with hundreds of thousands of dollars of computing power dedicated to bitcoin mining.
To make a profit from bitcoin mining, you need to have a lot of very powerful hardware. Otherwise you’ll end up spending more on power than you earn from bitcoin.
This is probably the easiest way to get free bitcoin that’s actually worthwhile. Affiliate programs are used in almost all industries, including cryptocurrency.
For example, you might refer a friend to a service and then you both get a discount, accrue rewards points or get a BTC or fiat currency bonus.
For example, by signing up to Coinbase through an affiliate link, you can get US$10 worth of bitcoin for free.
When you can get discounts or free money, it can be worth going out of your way to sign up for a service through an affiliate link instead of signing up directly.
Get paid directly in bitcoin
You have to work for it so it’s not really free, but technically you’re also working for any bitcoin you might get from a faucet or as a game reward.
There are different ways to do this. For example, you could do any one of the following:
- Asking for bitcoin donations on your website through a wallet address and QR code.
- Working for a company that pays directly in bitcoin. For example, if you do freelance work for a cryptocurrency business or have a reputation as a reliable service provider, you could get paid in bitcoin.
- Asking your employer to pay you in bitcoin. If you really want, you might ask for part of your wages or salary in bitcoin. Although it’s safe to assume that at this stage, most employers will say no.
If you’re hoping your bitcoin will appreciate in value, it might just be better to buy it the usual way.
Bitcoin might multiply in value tenfold, but that ten cents of bitcoin you’ve earned from a game will still only be worth a dollar.
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