The whats, wheres, & hows of building my crypto empire
The cryptocurrency universe reminds me of what it was like learning about the internet when it was first starting to be a thing. There are a lot of parallels. For example, many people started with a curated experience with internet-made-easy services like America Online. This is kind of like what the big, centralized exchanges provide for cryptocurrency— exposure to the new world but in a smaller, somewhat protected way.
However, much like the internet of yore, you find some really cool things when you start to venture away from the central hubs. You find that the world of cryptocurrency is rife with new ideas, many of which can be quite lucrative. They aren’t always easy to find or use, and that’s part of what makes them such great opportunities.
I love exploring this new world, and I’m making many small bets in different places. I’ll share the places I’ve found, stuck with, and continue to use in this story. You should note that I’m a hobbyist, and I’m sharing my experiences for your education and entertainment. Great opportunity is often accompanied by great risk, so be sure to do your own research and only gamble with what you can afford to lose.
#1 NiceHash (BTC, ETH, ADA)
The first stop on the tour is NiceHash. NiceHash is a “hash power broker,” which you can think of like Uber for cryptocurrency mining. I have a gaming PC that’s always turned on, and one day I stumbled across an article about how easy it is to earn BTC mining with NiceHash.
I used NiceHash’s profitability calculator and found that my video card would produce something like $50 per month, and I decided to try it out. It was effortless; basically, you sign up and run their app.
Since then, I’ve expanded my operation to include two PCs and three total video cards, and it earns me about $60–120 per week in BTC. I withdraw what I earn weekly to Coinbase — for free — and convert some percentages to ETH & ADA.
#2 Brave (BAT)
NiceHash opened my eyes to “earning crypto” as a thing, and I quickly discovered the Brave browser. It’s based on Chromium and has the same look & feel as Google Chrome, but it also has some nice privacy-focused extras like a built-in ad blocker.
The thing I like most about Brave, though, is their rewards program. Brave Rewards is an opt-in feature that allows you to receive ad notifications throughout the day. As a reward for viewing the ads, which you don’t need to click or open or interact with in any meaningful way, you receive payment in the form of Brave’s Basic Attention Token (BAT).
The BAT model is revolutionary, in my opinion. Imagine if Google paid you for seeing the ads that litter their search results. What if instead of sites throwing paywalls in your face, they offered to pay you to view ads while reading their articles?
Brave also shared their 2.0 roadmap earlier this year, which includes a crypto exchange that may incentivize its users to hold BAT or receive discounts for using BAT to pay transaction fees a la Binance’s BNB model. All this suggests that the value of BAT is likely to skyrocket in the future — so I’m very excited to earn it every time I fire up my browser.
#3 Cake DeFi (DFI, CAKE, DOT)
Next on my list is Cake DeFi. I have a complicated history with Cake, as you can read here and here, but the fact remains that it generates a lot of cash flow.
I keep a small amount of DFI staked with Cake, which currently earns 139% APY. Staking rewards are paid out twice daily, and each week, I withdraw the DFI that I’ve earned and convert half to CAKE and half to DOT. More on those in a minute!
#4 Noise.Cash (BCH)
Noise.Cash is a Twitter-esque microblogging site that rewards content providers with Bitcoin Cash (BCH). I’ll be honest; I didn’t pay much attention to Bitcoin Cash before using Noise. It felt like an off-brand BTC, but Noise led me to learn more.
BCH is born from the same original blockchain as BTC, but the two diverged due to a rift in the community. A very low-effort (sorry not sorry) summary is that BCH favored larger blocks to keep transactions fast and cheap, whereas BTC opted for miner-friendliness in the form of lower hardware requirements. What that equates to today, though, is that BCH is much faster and cheaper to use than BTC, but it still has all the good things about Bitcoin, like the 21 million coin supply cap.
Noise is really cool because there’s so much to learn, and you can earn a few dollars per day in BCH simply by checking in and posting a couple of times per day. A constantly evolving reputation system limits earning potential, which is necessary as an anti-spam measure. Still, it’s a great way to be rewarded for interacting with fellow crypto enthusiasts.
#5 Celsius (BTC, BCH, BAT, MATIC, USDC)
As a Noise user, I needed a wallet to receive the BCH that I earned, and this is how I learned about Celsius. Celsius allows its users to earn interest on crypto, and their rates range from 1% to 14% or more depending on the coin or token.
Every penny I’ve earned from Noise has gone directly to my Celsius BCH wallet, where it earns about 4.5% interest that compounds daily but pays out weekly.
I’ve been pleased with Celsius, and I’ve moved portions of several other assets there, namely BTC, BAT, and MATIC. They also have attractive rates on stablecoins — currently more than 8% — so I keep some USDC there, too.
#6 BlockFi (BTC, LINK, USDC)
BlockFi is very similar to Celsius but with different rates and a smaller selection of supported cryptocurrencies. I keep BTC, LINK, and USDC with them and earn rewards that compound daily by that are paid out monthly.
I’m excited about BlockFi because of their upcoming rewards Visa card. I was on the fence about it because of the high annual fee, but they recently announced that the annual fee is being scratched — so now it feels like a no-brainer. In addition to getting BTC rewards on all purchases, there are other perks like increased interest rates on stablecoins kept at BlockFi.
#7 ViperSwap (ONE, VIPER, CAKE, SUSHI)
So, you know how Ethereum is really cool with all its defi glory, but it’s not so friendly because of the high transaction fees and slow speed due to network congestion? Harmony Protocol solves all that, and ViperSwap is a Uniswap v2 clone on Harmony.
I was fortunate enough to get in very early on ViperSwap when it was possible to earn 20,000% APY for a few days, and I’ve accumulated quite a bit of VIPER — the native token of ViperSwap.
It should be noted that 95% of earned rewards are locked until December 2021, at which point they gradually begin unlocking, but it’s worth the risk, in my opinion. I keep small amounts of ONE/CAKE and ONE/SUSHI pairs in the liquidity pools (LP). These earn small returns from swap fees, but I stake the LP tokens to earn more than 1,000% APY paid in VIPER, which is subject to the aforementioned locking rules.
#8 PancakeSwap (CAKE, BNB, REEF, LIT)
If you’ve been paying attention, you might’ve noticed that I’m earning CAKE in a few different places, and that’s because I really like PancakeSwap.
The thing I love most about PancakeSwap is their Syrup Pools, which allow you to stake CAKE to earn other cryptos, usually at APRs that are close to 100% or more. They also have incentivized farms that work exactly like what I described with ViperSwap. I provide liquidity to earn fees from BNB/CAKE, BNB/REEF, & BNB/LIT pairs, which all receive 70% or more returns in CAKE, which I then add to the auto-compounding CAKE Syrup Pool alongside half of my earnings from Cake DeFi.
PancakeSwap is also a great place to swap cryptos away from centralized exchanges because of its relative maturity and being on Binance Smart Chain, making it a cheaper alternative to options on Ethereum such as Uniswap.
#9 Guarda (ONE, ATOM, ETH, ADA)
I had a handful of coins that were sitting idle that I wanted to earn more with, and somehow I found my way to Guarda Wallet. Guarda allows you to earn by delegating stake for many coins, and I earn excellent rates (5–10% or more) on ONE, ATOM, and ADA.
Guarda also provides eth2 staking by swapping ETH to GETH, which can then be traded freely on Uniswap. However, instead of exchanging ETH for GETH directly with Guarda, you can get it from Uniswap and make some really great gains. Once you have GETH in your wallet, you’ll receive staking rewards monthly in the form of more GETH deposited directly to your wallet. Once Ethereum 2.0 reaches its next phase, you will be able to exchange GETH back to ETH 1:1.
#10 SushiSwap (MATIC, ETH, SUSHI)
SushiSwap caught my attention by first showing up on Harmony Protocol and then on Polygon’s Matic network. As a participant in Polygon’s “DeFi Summer” promotion, SushiSwap users were able to earn double yield rewards in the form of SUSHI and MATIC tokens.
I provide liquidity to the MATIC/ETH pool, which earns fees for swaps, and I stake the LP token to earn additional SUSHI and MATIC tokens, currently with an APY of 62%.
#11 Gemini (BCH, LINK, SUSHI)
Gemini is the exchange created by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss. Their Earn program isn’t so different than what’s offered by Celsius and BlockFi, but I like that the Winklevosses are focused on security and compliance, which I wrote about previously. The Earn program functions similarly to staking. Essentially, you allocate assets to your Earn account and begin earning rewards.
The other thing I like about Gemini is that you can configure recurring purchases to go directly into your Earn accounts, which is perfect for dollar-cost averaging. I stashed some SUSHI here to grow over time, and I make small weekly purchases of both BCH and LINK. It’s a small, silly thing, but you can’t do that with BlockFi or Celsius.
#12 Kraken (DOT)
The final entry on my list is another exchange, Kraken. The only reason I use Kraken is to stake Polkadot (DOT), which earns 12%. I convert half of my earnings from Cake DeFi to DOT and send them to Kraken for staking.
Personally, I believe that dollar-cost averaging and hodling are the best strategies for long-term crypto investors. Still, I also subscribe to some of the more old-school investment principles regarding the supreme power of compounding interest. To that end, I try very hard to keep my assets in places where they’ll continue to grow rather than sit idle.
I spread my assets around to several different places as a way to explore what’s available, take advantage of rate fluctuations, and mitigate risks should something bad happen.
NiceHash and Cake DeFi are my two primary “feeders” that generate the most cash for me, which I then use to feed many of the other staking and investment services listed above. The only fiat money I invest regularly is the tiny amounts of BCH and LINK I have set up as recurring buys with Gemini and money earned from writing. Other than that, the beast continues to feed itself and grow all on its own — and that’s very exciting.
Lead image by JOSHUA COLEMAN on Unsplash
This article was originally published on This Crypto Life on June 11, 2021.
Thanks for sharing . God bless you.