So, you’re looking for ways to get free cryptocurrency. Maybe because you’ve been lured by the promise of a decentralized world of exchange, but want to begin your cryptocurrency journey cautiously. Perhaps you’ve already invested as much fiat currency as you can or want to, but want to know about ways to supplement your cryptocurrency earnings. Or maybe, you just want something for free. Who wouldn’t?

Of course, you already know there’s very little in life that’s free. But the world of crypto is all about defying convention. Yes, many of the methods described below require something from you in return for what you get. In these cases, “free” simply means “without having to purchase cryptocurrency using fiat currencies,” as in U.S. dollars. Free, then, in the sense that you don’t have to buy coins or tokens directly. But there are ways to get free crypto for doing absolutely nothing.

This guide breaks it all down for you. The methods listed below are organized by what you need to do or what you need to have in order to get free cryptocurrency. In some cases, you’ll need to have some coins, to begin with. In others, all you’ll need is an internet connection.

Ways to Get Free Cryptocurrency if You Already Have Cryptocurrency

16 Ways to Get Free Cryptocurrency

Despite how disruptive cryptocurrency is to traditional financial institutions, there’s some old wisdom that applies to the new technology as well. And that’s the adage, “you have to spend money to make money.” This time, however, we’re talking about digital money. If you’ve already spent some of your fiat dollars on cryptocurrency, there are several ways to get free crypto using the coins you already have.

1. Use Affiliate Programs and Referrals

If you hold cryptocurrency, you likely belong to an exchange that lets you buy and trade. Many of those exchanges regularly offer referral programs. You get your friends to sign up and complete a transaction or two, and the exchange rewards you with some cryptocurrency. This is easily one of the most common and least-involved ways to get free crypto. And the scam risk is very low; just make sure to select one of the most secure exchanges. Coinbase, for example, has a popular affiliate program.

2. Earn Bounties for Performing Blockchain Tasks or Hyping Coins

Depending on your computer skills, earning bounties by performing tasks for different coins can be one of the more flexible ways to get free crypto. If you have some serious coding skills, coins can offer you developer-based bounties for helping with large-scale projects. Finding bugs and vulnerabilities in a dApp or blockchain protocol is valuable work, and devs will reward you as such.

But even those without coding skills can earn free coins through bounties. Non-developer-based bounties include things like posting on crypto forums, social media or creating other online content that helps hype a coin. If you’re on the hunt for some bounties, make sure to check out Bounty0x. As ever, research a task before you commit to making sure you’re not unwittingly helping scammers.

3. Hold a Wallet that Gets an Airdrop

Of all the ways to get free crypto, holding cryptocurrency wallet that gets an airdrop is hands down the easiest. Airdrops require absolutely nothing from you, other than simply holding a wallet that gets one. In short, free coins for nothing. How can this be?

Airdrops, in a word, are marketing strategies. They help spread awareness and generate enthusiasm among investors. Coin teams will often require you to be plugged into their networks, linking emails, messaging services, and even social media. Airdrops usually require you to request them through those means. And the promotions typically run for just a limited time. MyEtherWallet is a great example of an airdrop-worthy wallet, but there are several others as well. Stay informed with the best apps for cryptocurrency information to make sure you don’t miss out on the next airdrop!

4. Gain Free Cryptocurrency from Hard Forks

Hard forks are like airdrops on steroids. Like airdrops, they require that you hold cryptocurrency in a wallet when a hard fork occurs that generates new coins. Hard forks, however, are monumental blockchain events. Essentially, they’re the start of an entirely new blockchain protocol that splits off from the old system. Bitcoin vs Bitcoin Cash is a perfect example. And to bring investors on board with the new system, coin teams will often offer free coins for people who make the transition. Claiming these free coins does carry some risk, but in general, it’s a very wise move to claim free coins from a new fork, even if there’s a dip in the value of your original asset.

5. Earn Free Cryptocurrency with Proof-of-Stake Coins

Digital money works because of the immutable integrity of blockchain technology. Blockchain works because of proof-of-work and proof-of-stake systems’ ability to add and verify blockchain transactions. How that works is a bit too involved to go into here. But if you hold a coin on a proof-of-stake blockchain network, you have ways to get free cryptocurrency. If you hold a proof-of-stake coin, you’re essentially helping the blockchain exist, and coins will pay you for your work. Typically, blockchain protocols will only reward users with significant coin holdings.

However, some will reward you no matter how many or how few coins you hold. Take NEO for example. If you hold NEO in a wallet or on the exchange Binance, you’ll make a passive crypto income based on how much NEO you have. All staking coins work fairly similarly, though. You set aside some currency that you let the network use when it needs to create a new block. When the network needs to validate a transaction, it picks staked coins at random from different wallets—as many as it needs. If your coins get picked, you’ll receive a share of the block reward. So the more staked coins you have, the higher chance you have of being picked. This incentivizes traders to invest and use a new platform regularly, a trend you might start to notice among ways to get free cryptocurrency.

6. Become a Masternode

Operating a blockchain masternode for a particular currency is just one step down from mining, one of the most costly ways to get free cryptocurrency. Running a masternode means maintaining a node or networked wallet with a full, real-time copy of the blockchain. In this way, masternodes are way more involved and resources intensive than regular nodes.

That’s why there’s an incentive in the form of free coins for anyone who runs a masternode. Masternodes, or MN, are always in contact with blockchain nodes. They’re essential to decentralizing the network, helping maintain privacy, conducting instant transactions and handling governance mechanisms. The fact, however, is that you need to have significant holdings of a particular currency to qualify to run a masternode. But if that applies to you, you’re passing up free cryptocurrency if you’re not running a masternode.

7. Lease Coins or Loan Coins for Margin Trading or Margin Funding

Maybe you don’t have enough coins to run a masternode. But if you have some coins just sitting around in cold wallets, consider heating them up again by letting other investors use them. You can lease and loan coins for margin trading and margin funding and get paid back with a cut of the earnings or interest. Coin leasing is among the relatively low-risk ways of earning free crypto.

8. Invest and Trade Your Coins

Cryptocurrency more often thrives when people use it, not when they HODL it. The more people adopt and utilize a coin or token, the greater its market capitalization and value becomes. Invest and exchange your cryptocurrency actively and wisely, and you’ll contribute to those gains, increasing the value of your own portfolio. In addition to what you gain from trading, you’ll get free crypto simply from the increase in your investment. Just remember you’ll have to pay some cryptocurrency taxes on all those winnings.

Ways to Get Free Cryptocurrency Even if You Have No Cryptocurrency

16 Ways to Get Free Cryptocurrency

There are lots of ways to get free crypto even if you don’t hold any cryptocurrency at all. In other words, you can earn free cryptocurrency without spending any money. In some cases, you can get free cryptocurrency for doing virtually nothing. Here’s how.

9. Download a Wallet with a Free Coin Promotion

This one couldn’t get any easier, really. The only challenge is making sure you don’t miss them. Usually, for a limited time, coin teams, especially newly launched ones, will offer free coins if you use their wallet or create a new or additional one. Keep in mind, however, there are thousands of wallets out there. So, make sure you download only the best and most secure wallets. Sometimes, free coin offerings for wallets are scams or bait to get you to download malware.

10. Take a Risk and Sign Up for an ICO

Initial coin offerings, or ICOs, reached their peak in 2017 amid that year’s cryptocurrency frenzy. But they were rife with fraud. The proliferation of pump-and-dump schemes and exit scams eventually drew the attention of the SEC regulators. Still, many ICOs are completely legitimate, and getting in on the ground floor is so enticing that it’s nearly impossible not to experience a feverish bout of FOMO. ICOs sometimes offer bonuses for signing up or coin discounts. But bonuses, especially ones that seem too sweet to be true, are usually a strong sign of a bogus ICO. Tread cautiously.

11. Find a Cryptocurrency Faucet

Since we’re on the topic of risky ways to get free crypto, let’s focus on faucets. As the name implies, you can get free coins just by catching the drops which someone, somewhere is letting drip on the internet. Faucets are typically just websites—ad-riddled, script-saturated websites—that give small amounts of free coins to visitors who request them. More often, however, the website requires you to click on ads and fill out surveys. If you compete for the task, maybe, just maybe, you’ll get your free coins. Even then, however, faucets are still risky. Many require you to keep using them or else you’ll lose your earnings.

12. Use dApps that Reward You with Free Cryptocurrency

Unlike the above, these methods involve investing some time or energy. But an honest free coin is better than a scam one. And one of the best ways to get free coins is using dApps that let you earn cryptocurrency. A dApp is a decentralized application built on top of an existing blockchain network structure. In other words, they leverage the decentralized, peer-to-peer and trustless nature of the blockchain to perform specific tasks, just like regular apps but without the centralized server structure.

Different dApps will reward you with cryptocurrency for different tasks or services you perform. But we’re not talking about clicking on ads and filling out surveys (although some dApps are surveys, like Kinit). dApps typically offer cooler tasks, like writing a review of a coin and sharing it online. Other dApps can connect you with airdrops and crowdfunding and freelance opportunities.

13. Earn Free Cryptocurrency by Crowdholding for New Startups

New coin startups are complex operations with lots of moving parts. Yet anyone can make them happen with the right tools and knowledge. But a little extra computing power doesn’t hurt. Crowdholding is similar to crowdfunding. You earn free cryptocurrency by holding coins that let a startup complete the tasks it needs to get up and running. The more people participate and invest in the startup, the bigger the reward for crowdholding can be.

14. Help Spread the Word about a New Coin

There’s always ad money out there, and helping spread the word about a new coin can be a great way to earn some free currency. Some dev teams reward traders for putting an ad for their coin or token in your signature on cryptocurrency forums. Subjecting yourself to advertising is another way to earn free crypto. Play games, watch a ton of ads, and you’ll walk away with some coins just for your time and attention.

15. Work for Crypto!

However, you earn your income, think about whether it might be possible to get paid in cryptocurrency instead of fiat currency. If you’re a freelancer or private contractor or business, you can bill clients in cryptocurrency for the service or good you provide. You could also ask for tips in crypto. This isn’t technically cryptocurrency for free since you’d otherwise earn fiat. But it is a way to get crypto for things you might have otherwise done for free.

16. Earn Free Bitcoin when You Shop

Some companies are using the excitement around cryptocurrency to run promotions for retailers. Take the browser extension Lolli, for instance. Chrome and Safari users can install the extension and earn up to 30 percent back on their purchases in crypto rewards. The extension sends you a notification when you shop on a partner store online and sends Bitcoin to your Lolli wallet when you make your purchase.

Beware of Cryptojackers!

This guide has focused on honest ways of getting free crypto, even if some of them are a require caution. But it’s also important to address a very common and very deceptive way people get free cryptocurrency. Cryptojackers are hackers that use ransomware and malware to install scripts that run in the background of browsers and websites. When a user visits a cryptojacked site, the script hijacks some of their computing power for cryptocurrency mining that rewards the hacker.

So Many Ways to Get Free Cryptocurrency!

16 Ways to Get Free Cryptocurrency

Coin teams and blockchain dApp developers want people to have and use their coins. That’s how they survive and thrive. So it’s no mystery why there are so many ways to get free crypto out there. Sometimes, all you have to do is ask, and someone might toss a little extra crypto your way!

Certainly, some ways to get free crypto are riskier than others. Some require more resources or more investment than others. But no matter at what level you trade and invest crypto, these methods can help you grow your earnings. Yes, most of them reward you with free altcoins or tokens. But in many cases, you can exchange those altcoins for other more established currencies, even Bitcoin and Ethereum. And from there, you’re just one step from a cashout. So in theory, you could earn crypto for free and turn that into U.S. dollars. Money for nothing.