Everyone loves getting stuff for free, with cryptocurrency being no exception. Though you certainly need to make note of any free crypto you receive for tax purposes, the ability to get free digital assets is one of the most attractive features of the sector.
Whether through airdrops, staking, or clicking on ads, you can easily earn free crypto. The three ways just mentioned are likely the best ways to get free crypto, but each comes with some nuance. In this guide, we’ll describe how each method works, and any potential rewards that may come with them as well. Let’s jump in with airdrops.
What is an Airdrop?
An airdrop in the cryptocurrency sector is a campaign through which a project gives their crypto coin or token to users for free. They function as a marketing strategy to help draw in new potential users/investors, while also creating loyalty. The latter is because there are generally prerequisites tied to receiving airdrops (more on this below). This strategy can help to create a large and interactive project community, helping strengthen a project’s long-term potential.
Free Crypto with Airdrops
There are actually multiple different types of airdrops within crypto. The one that requires no effort on your part, but is not as common, is a hard fork. This is when a crypto project splits off in two different directions, with one continuing on using the original asset, and the new one having another asset. This occurred when Bitcoin (BTC) forked into Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash (BCH). All holders of Bitcoin were airdropped an equivalent amount of Bitcoin Cash when the fork occurred.
The most common type of airdrop is a loyalty/new project token drop. These occur as a marketing strategy by the developer. Oftentimes, they’ll indiscriminately give away a predetermined amount to every wallet address. Sometimes it’ll be more specific and require you to have been a member of their Discord for X amount of time, or to have staked your assets with a specific validator (more on this in staking).
With the indiscriminate airdrops, or Discord loyalty style, it’s generally the same amount given to every one. With the airdrops that you receive for being staked to a specific validator, it’s proportional to your stake. These airdrops are generally one-off rewards you have to claim.
In general, airdrops have to be claimed unless they’re the indiscriminate ones. There are often specific platforms set up to claim airdrop rewards, like DripDrop on Cardano (ADA), but sometimes the project itself creates a platform for users to claim rewards. You then have a specified amount of time to claim your airdrop, after which you’re out of luck.
What is Staking?
Staking is the protocol function for proof of stake cryptocurrencies such as Cardano, Solana (SOL), Ethereum (ETH), and Polygon (MATIC). Staking to a blockchain network helps with securing and validating transactions on said blockchain. As a reward for helping secure the network, you are rewarded with a payout in the digital asset that’s in proportion to your contribution. For example, by staking Ethereum, you receive ETH as a reward.
Staking can be done by you as a validator or you can be a delegator.
Being a validator is more complex and requires more technical knowhow than delegating. You’re setting up a node and keeping it running 24/7. This includes costs like hardware and electricity. The reward for validating is higher than delegating.
Being a delegator means you give your stake to a stake pool operator (validator) or service provider such as a yield aggregator/staking platform like Lido Finance. When delegating, you’re not giving someone your assets, but rather allowing them access to their voting rights. It requires much less technical know-how, with a reduced payout in comparison to being a validator as a result.
For example, with Cardano (ADA), users can choose to be a stake pool operator (validator), meaning they run a node and can receive other users’ Cardano through delegation. They can also be a delegator, meaning they turn their voting power over to someone else but still own their ADA. Cardano is also a liquid staking asset, meaning you can still trade/sell ADA that is staked, and your reward is prorated based upon your total over the time period.
Free Crypto Through Staking
The free crypto you get through staking is paid out at an interval that depends on the specific protocol. For example, with Cardano, staking rewards are paid out every 5 days, whereas with Solana, they’re every 2-3 days. Not all asset rewards automatically compound either, Cardano and Solana’s do, whereas with Ethereum you have to add them to your stake manually.
Once you’re staked, that’s it, you start earning rewards, though there is often a period of time you need to be staked before the rewards start showing up. For example, on Cardano it’s 10 days (2 staking reward periods).
Sometimes staking to a specific validator gives you extra rewards. For example, Genius Yield, a new project on Cardano, gives away free tokens to those who are delegated to specific validators. If you stake your ADA with those specific validators, you’ll receive both your normal ADA staking rewards, plus Genius Yield tokens when those are paid out.
Staking is perhaps the easiest and best way to start getting free crypto.
Brave Browser Rewards
What is Brave Browser?
Brave Browser is like another version of Google Chrome, but with a few tweaks for privacy and earning rewards. It’s no different from other browsers like FireFox or Safari, and Brave allows you to add extensions through the Chrome Web Store too. This allows you to have all the same extensions that you do on Chrome, but with the privacy and protection of Brave Shields and ability to get paid in crypto for viewing ads.
Free Crypto Through Brave Rewards
Getting paid for viewing ads on Brave is extremely simple, and is customized to your liking. When you’re browsing the internet with Brave, you’ll get a notification from the browser for an ad. If you click the ad, you’ll earn a portion of Basic Attention Token (BAT), the reward token given. Alternatively, you can ignore the notification, or close it, and not view the ad at all. BAT is paid out in a lump sum once per month, with the only prerequisite being that you’ll need to register for Uphold exchange to receive it.
The number of ads you’re notified about per hour can be adjusted in Brave Browser’s settings. Assuming you want to maximize the amount of BAT you can receive per month, you’ll want to set it to the max number of ads per hour, which is 10. When you’re paid out your rewards, it’s easy to trade them for any other asset that’s available on Uphold.