One day, I woke up to new magical internet monies sitting in my online wallet:
I never bought these cryptocurrencies. 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:
Earn free crypto by joining a trusted crypto exchange
Set up online wallets
Put your crypto in an interest-bearing account
Want the tl;dr?
Use Coinbase to get free crypto with a referral link, and earn more by taking some easy quizzes. If you have crypto sitting around, put it to work by earning interest on your crypto through BlockFi.
Or if you’re impatient, jump to the end for the best-bang-for-your-effort options.
After 5 years in crypto, I’ve explored crypto exchanges that range from trusted giants to small, shady operations. Over 75 exchanges shut down in 2020alone. Only a few legitimate players have weathered the storm.
Some crypto exchanges provide a sign up bonus for members who sign up through their friends’ referral links. You can get $10 for signing up with two exchanges I’ve used for the past 5 years with no issues:
Coinbase is the trusted giant of crypto trading. Their interface is by far the easiest to use, and makes getting into crypto easy. You can get $10 in Bitcoin for free just by signing up with my referral link.
I also recommend Coinbase as the #1 exchange because they will pay you crypto for learning about crypto. All this entails is watching some easy videos and answering quiz questions to earn upwards of $100 across different cryptocurrencies.
What’s neat about Coinbase is that if you buy USDC, their native stablecoin, you can earn interest (1.25% as of this writing) on your USDC balance.
You can earn $10 in free crypto on Coinbase through my referral link here.
Gemini is a close twin (heh) to Coinbase. It has the reputation of being by far the most compliant crypto exchange, going as far as to provide free insurance on crypto storage. I find that I’m able to get deposits & withdrawals in way faster than Coinbase, so I keep both around.
It’s like keeping two bank accounts – Chase and Bank of America – in the crypto world. It’s not bad to have a second option.
You can earn $10 in free crypto through myreferral link here.
A cryptocurrency airdrop is when a blockchain platform distributes free coins. To receive airdrops, you need a wallet associated with that blockchain.
(Technically, you’d already have a crypto hotwallet using a crypto exchange like Coinbase or Gemini. However, large exchanges tend to be slow to permit airdrops or sometimes don’t have that capability at all.)
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 token).
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 Coinbaseare great for buying crypto with dollars, but not good for holding them long term—unless you plan to trade your crypto in the short term. 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 hundredsof 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 aMyEtherWallet (“MEW”). The majority of new tokens are built off of Ethereum, and MEW is the most popular and supported Ethereum web wallet which will maximize the chances of getting free crypto airdrops.
Just to summarize, here’s the low hanging fruit option:
Open a MyEtherWalletaccount
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