There are many informational websites detailing what Bitcoin is and how it works, some of them getting highly technical. I’m not going to repeat what those sites say here. Instead I want to focus on why I am excited about Bitcoin.
If you are American you might remember reading those classic rags to riches stories in social studies classes where some dirt poor guy, often an immigrant, started out with nothing, worked his butt off for many years, and in the end built a great life for himself and his family, and even acquired and accumulated some serious wealth. Those stories are both legendary and inspiring.
I believe that those stories can still happen today if one lives in a relatively free and developed country. However there are a few obstacles or challenges to that becoming a reality which while not insurmountable, do add to the difficulty of truly going from nothing to rich. These challenges include simple things like minimal fees, government regulations, and an increasingly debt based monetary system. In general, it takes money to make money as a result, and if you don’t have money, well, you’re having to play catch-up from a few yards behind the starting line.
Bitcoin has some unique features which actually brings back some of the amazing opportunity those rags to riches heroes had back in the day. Some of these features apply to Devcoin as well, though in a different and so far less developed way (it’s a newer cryptocurrency). There are also other cryptocoins coming onto the scene and some of this likely applies to them as well, though at this point I can’t say this for sure.
You can get Bitcoin for free Seriously. And it’s really easy too. Now no one is out handing out large amounts of free money to the masses. However, no one has to begin their journey into the Bitcoin world completely empty handed either.
How can you get Bitcoins (more accurately, parts of Bitcoins) for free? The sheer number of websites out there offering tiny handouts is actually quite overwhelming. Not all of them are created equally. Some are worth visiting; others are probably not worth the effort. The important thing for making this work is not to try to hit all those websites, but to be organized about those efforts.
One important source of free Bitcoins and Devcoins is faucets. In the cryptocurrency world, a faucet is a website where you input your address, solve a captcha, and you get one or two micro Bitcoins or uBTC. One uBTC is 0.000001 BTC. With the value of one BTC fluctuating around a hundred dollars, 1 uBTC is worth less than a penny.
Have you ever been inside an old house where the faucets leaked? It was never very much but a drop at a time can add up surprisingly fast. People who fix their leaky faucets sometimes find their water bills going down. They might also notice just how much water is dripping out once they put a bucket under the faucet and collect the water as it drips out. Suddenly, without much extra effort, they have enough to water their potted plants.
Cryptocoin faucets are a bit like that. Many of them will pay out every half hour, which means you have the potential to collect ten or more uBTC from the same faucet in one day. You just need a bucket.
Now imagine yourself in a small hotel where each room has a water faucet which leaks one drop of water every thirty minutes. Your job is to collect as many of those drops as you can with just one bucket. How would you do it?
Assuming you cannot automate the process (and virtual faucets sites work pretty hard to make sure it’s humans and not bots collecting the payouts), the most efficient way would be to systematically go from one room to the next collecting a drop from each, and when you were done visiting all the rooms, to then go back to the first room and start all over again.
At my last count, there are sixteen Bitcoin faucets paying out one uBTC every half hour. If you had five minutes of free time every hour, you could in theory visit each of these faucets eight times in an eight hour period. That would then add up to 1,024 uBTC, or 0.001024 BTC, or a full ten cents. Now, visiting faucets day in and day out could add up. No, you’re not going to get rich just visiting faucets, but you will slowly add a balance to your wallet. And, as small as that balance is, there are actually some very interesting things you could do with it to help that balance grow even more.
Now for the systematic approach to visiting all those Bitcoin faucets. When I first realized that there were more faucets out there than I could keep track of by memory alone, I planned to one day sit down and write out a list of them all, then systematically work my way down the list.
One of my fellow Bitcoin Forum members, Ranlo, not only beat me to it, but took the concept several giant steps forward. He created a rotator which allows you to work your way through all the faucets one by one without having to keep track of the urls. Not only that, the rotator script runs a timer on each faucet and lets you know how soon you can go back to each one for the next payout. Now I just keep a tab for the rotator open and every so often I’ll hit about five faucets at a time, maybe once or twice a day systematically work through the entire rotation. I don’t collect anywhere near all the possible payouts, and neither will you, but a few drops here and a few drops there do add up over time.
A couple quick tips for most effectively using Ranlo’s Rotator First, choose one address and stick with it. Very few of the faucets pay out immediately. Instead, they either send out one lump sum once the faucet has been visited multiple times, or they use a service like CoinBox to aggregate payments. If you use more than one address and don’t meticulously keep track of which ones were used at which faucet, you will wind up having tiny payouts which never make it back to you because you switched addresses midway through collecting the right number of payouts to actually get paid. If you’re into using separate wallet addresses to receive different types of payments, at least use a single address for all your faucet visits.
Second, when you turn on your computer in the morning, open up a tab for the rotator. Then when you have a few seconds to enter a Captcha, rotate through a few of the sites. Those tiny amounts of BTC will slowly add up. You don’t have to keep track of which site you are one, as the rotator will automatically send you back to the first faucet once its thirty minute timer is up.
Third, there is an address posted on the bottom frame of the rotator towards the right side. This is Ranlo’s address. If you find what he has created to be valuable (and if you use it, you do), then please consider inputting his address instead of your own every so often while you are stopping by each faucet.
UPDATE: Ranlo has removed his donation address from his rotator. To send him some love check out his Bitcoin Forum profile signature line.
You can earn Bitcoin Imagine a job where you never had to apply, never had to face your boss, could choose your own hours, and even work only when you felt like it. No, this is not the opening paragraph for one of those get rich quick schemes so ubiquitous on the Internet along with the obligatory stock photo of some gorgeous beach. But it is absolutely true that you can easily earn BTC, more specifically, uBTC by doing very simple tasks on a few websites.
The tasks consist mostly of viewing advertisements, completing offers and performing crowd sourced micro tasks. Some of the sites require that you register an account. Others merely require your address so you can be paid. There are quite a few of these sites out there. My favorites are BitVisitor and BitcoinGet. CoinAd is also looking promising, though has very limited earning potential at this point.
BitVisitor is a simple site where you get paid to spend five minutes on a website. The payments range from 8 to 56 or more uBTC for each website. The site pays out once you have accumulated 100 uBTC. Many of the sites advertising on BitVisitor are gambling sites. However I have found some interesting material on mining pools, new forums and even other BTC-earning sites through BitVisitor. Generally, there are enough sites to visit that you can easily earn over 100 uBTC per day.
CoinAd also pays uBTC for visiting websites, but the payouts are smaller and the time you need to spend on each site is shorter. There are also fewer sites to visit. Since I registered for CoinAd a few days ago, I’ve only had the chance to view five advertised sites for a grand total of 0.00014 BTC. As I said, CoinAd looks promising, but needs to attract more advertisers.
By far my favorite site for earning Bitcoins is BitcoinGet. This is the site I go to when I want to earn a significant amount of Bitcoin. By significant I’m talking a dollar or two a day, but with the potential to earn thousands (rather than tens or hundreds) of uBTC, BitcoinGet handily beats out all the other earning and faucet sites.
BitcoinGet also has the greatest variety of ways to earn uBTC. You can complete offers, watch videos and complete simple tasks. To fully realize the earning potential you can reach on that site, learn how to do a great job with the tasks which pay bonuses in addition to the base pay rate. I have earned as much as 0.03 BTC in one day just working intermittently throughout the day. BitcoinGet pays out once a day.
Although this site pays in Devcoins rather than Bitcoins, by far the most lucrative site in which to earn cryptocoins that I know of is the Devtome. Registering as an author involves more of a process, but once you are accepted, you get paid one share for every thousand words of content you write. At this point the content can be about whatever you want as long as it is original and fairly well written. The Devtome administrators do penalize content that is pure spam by deleting the content and terminating the offending authors’ accounts, so don’t try that. But if you enjoy writing and have a knack for it, then the Devtome is a profitable place to publish your content. The value of each share depends on how many shares there are in a given pay period (dependent on how much the other writers and developers entitled to shares are contributing). Last month had a particularly large influx of writers so shares were only worth around $13. Still, that is not bad for publishing 1,000 words about whatever you want on the Internet.
You can profitably invest small amounts of Bitcoin After you have worked hard visiting faucets, viewing numerous advertisements and completing microtasks, your Bitcoin fractions will start to accumulate. Then what? You know you are not going to get rich earning a few pennies or dollars worth of Bitcoin a day. However it is possible to put even those small amounts of Bitcoin to work for you by investing them in Cryptostocks. The art of investing cryptocoins could (and will) be the topic of an entire article. For now, suffice to say that right now you can buy shares for mere fractions of Bitcoins. Some of those shares pay decent dividends; others are good for buying low and selling high. Just like in the regular stock market, potential investors need to do their homework and carefully research potential assets before buying. My point is that it is possible to get in with very small amounts. Trading fees are low–0.15 and 0.25 percent on Cryptostocks and BTCT, respectively–so getting in and out of stocks is not so expensive that you need a few hundred dollars worth of Bitcoins just to make it worthwhile. Registration is free and you can start trading from day one. Some of the stocks even pay daily and weekly dividends!
If you can pick some good dividend earning cryptostocks, then the Bitcoins you earned through hours of collecting from faucets, visiting websites, and performing tasks can then begin to work for you, generating the beginnings of a passive income. At least that is the hope. Crypto-investing is an experiment I personally am just now embarking on. Since cryptocurrencies are so new, and cryptostocks are even newer, any amount of trading of such assets should be viewed as purely experimental. The investment could pay off big, or it could flop. Only invest what you can afford to lose. I will be writing future articles about the results of my own experimentation. At this point, the mere potential for reward is enough to make this very interesting for me.
In a nutshell, what I find so great about Bitcoin is that someone like me can start out with nothing and in a few weeks by spending only time, get to the point where investing in potentially lucrative dividend paying cryptostocks is well within reach. There is at least the potential to go from having nothing to attaining a sizable passive income with relatively few obstacles.
UPDATE (May 13, 2015): I do not recommend Cryptostocks anymore. Most of the investments there have been worthless and there is some question about the sustainability of the site itself. After two years the only cryptosecurity that has worked out for me long term is the Rental Starter fund found on Havelock Investments. My current recommendation for turning small amounts of Bitcoin into something bigger (and this option was not available when I started this blog) is to spend it on DNotes, then put the DNotes in one of the types of interest bearing accounts available in the “Retirement” section of the DNotes Vault. You can learn more about how I’m doing just that by reading my thread Could I retire on faucets? on CryptoMoms.
Read What’s So Great About Bitcoin? on the Devtome!