2010 was the year I studied and dabbled into affiliate marketing. I can speak and write quite authoritatively about how it’s done, or at least how it was done four years ago, but I haven’t been all that successful with it myself. I tried a lot of different things and found a lot of websites which offered something for free and included a bonus if you referred others.
It was during that time that I came across this site called Paybox, which promised to add around twenty “dollars” to my balance each day that I logged in. My balance was (and still is) shown with the dollar sign in front of it. I dutifully logged in every day and felt rich when my balance hit a thousand. I found it fairly easy to get referrals. After all, who wouldn’t jump at the chance to get twenty dollars a day just for logging in? My balance grew.
Meanwhile the entity behind this was evolving. They wanted to develop a new currency. They wanted to distribute a debit card which would be compatible with the VISA and MasterCard networks so that users could spend their balances at major retailers. I distinctly remember flagging some of my favorite retail stores on a map with the hope that PayBox would contact them and get them to accept this currency of which my balance was growing by twenty a day.
At some point PayBox changed its name to VirtaPay but otherwise remained the same. They also set up an auction where people could list items for sale and take payment in VirtaPay currency (whatever that was). For the most part the listings were garbage and little more than space for promoting other online opportunities. I made good use of my listings to pay people ten “Dollars” to register for some multilevel marketing opportunity I was involved with at the time.
The mapping of favorite retail stores never panned out, and it slowly sunk in that I really wasn’t just being handed twenty dollars every day, and that my balance of several thousand was not really redeemable for several thousand dollars. It was some sort of virtual currency.
VirtaPay periodically updated its blog and wrote of its vision and progress being made. Progress seemed slow, to say the least. The vision was simple, if not grandiose–to create a widely used virtual currency. It’s development team kept plugging away despite numerous obstacles, challenges, and even many online accusations of being a scam.
I never doubted the legitimacy of VirtaPay in the sense that I believed the people behind it were sincere and honest, and really did intend to accomplish what they outlined in their blog posts. However I did have my doubts about the feasibility of the entire project.
At one point VirtaPay insisted that everyone log in through Facebook. They were apparently getting a lot of fraudulent registrations and were hoping to tap into Facebook’s verification system to bring that under control. I logged in through Facebook and continued to watch my balance accumulate, but something about the extra step required made the simple act of logging in each day seem burdensome. Was it really worth it if it wasn’t even a real twenty dollars a day? My interest simply faded.
Meanwhile, unbeknownst to either me or VirtaPay, Bitcoin came on the scene and made its big jump from the stuff of nerds and geeks to the cool speculative asset everyone wanted to invest in. Once I got into Bitcoin I found it was way easier to earn money through faucets, ad sites and earnings sites than online marketing and I never looked back.
Then I invested heavily in a BTCJam borrower who ran into hard times and fell horribly behind on some of his loans. This borrower was an honest sort and eventually repaid them all. He mentioned a site which was paying a decent return on investment and was helping him to finally make good on his loans.
When I clicked on the link it turned out to be none other than VirtaPay. Just for fun I logged in, and there was my balance, still in the thousands of VirtaPay dollars just like I’d left it.
Over the months that we’d grown apart, VirtaPay also discovered Bitcoin… and realized that if it was going to go anywhere as a virtual currency, it needed to become a cryptocurrency. VirtaPay is now in the process of doing just that. They are going to convert all user balances into a proportional balance of cryptocurrency as soon as they get it all set up. Then they will introduce an exchange between Bitcoin and its currency, and finally my balance will be able to become truly monetized.
Essentially, what I was doing every day that I logged in was building up my stake in a future cryptocurrency. Unbeknownst to me, I was into crypto back when crypto wasn’t cool.
As VirtaPay completes its development and transitions into being a genuine cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, it will halt all new signups as well as intra-account funds transfers. They have already discontinued the daily reward for logging in, but there may be still time to sign up. And once the transition is complete, people will be able to acquire VirtaPay coin by trading out Bitcoin.
How well VirtaPay does as a cryptocoin is going to be largely dependent on the same things every other newly launched alt-coin depends on–a dedicated development, wide acceptance and usage, and stellar marketing and promotion. Unlike a lot of the new alt coins coming on the scene, VirtaPay actually has been in the works for years. The people behind it basically wanted to do what Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can do today. Only they got going long before crypto was cool.
And it’s kind of neat to think that without even realizing it, I was slowly building up my stake in a future cryptocurrency. Yup, I was crypto when crypto wasn’t cool (or even known).