In the world of cryptocurrency, Bitcoin (BTC) is the most popular and most traded digital asset available. Since the introduction of Bitcoin, the market has seen hundreds of other digital currencies, so-called altcoins, based on different blockchains.
You can easily search for the most popular ones and trade them using apps and websites like Coinbase or Binance. Some of the most popular digital currencies after Bitcoin are Ethereum (ETH) and Litecoin (LTC), but when we talk about market capitalization, BTC is by far number one. As it’s the most popular currency, the fluctuation of the price of Bitcoin generally has an influence on the rest of the crypto market.
There are numerous ways of earning bitcoins, some of which require considerable knowledge and financial investments, and other ways that offer users different amounts of free bitcoins. Since the value of Bitcoin has skyrocketed during the past year, the number of people who want to participate in the BTC ecosystem is also constantly increasing.
In this guide, we’ll introduce you to the basics of the Bitcoin blockchain and how Bitcoin mining works. Ultimately, we’ll show you a few ways you can get free BTC without mining.
What Makes Bitcoin (BTC) Special
Bitcoin was created in 2009 with the aim of providing users worldwide with a truly decentralized digital currency suitable for making all sorts of online transactions and payments. The main perk of Bitcoin was the exclusion of any interventions by governments and banks in the transaction process, thus providing users full financial autonomy and considerably lower-than-average transaction fees, something that the use of fiat currency doesn’t offer.
Bitcoin has its own peer-to-peer-based blockchain, which is the reason why there is no need for involving banks in the transactions. Instead, currency transfers are verified by the computer power of Bitcoin miners from all over the world, whose machines check each transaction to confirm it.
All transaction history is stored on a public ledger, making transfers transparent to any interested party, but this doesn’t mean it isn’t safe. On the contrary, apart from transaction data, no one can see any personal details about the transactions, making Bitcoin a perfect asset for retaining transfer privacy.
How Does Bitcoin Work?
To understand how bitcoins are being generated, we have to take a look at how the BTC blockchain operates first. The network is conceptualized literally as rows of blocks that house transactions. The number of transactions in each block depends on factors such as network busyness, the number of active miners, and the amount of computing power used in the process. The miners are also referred to as nodes in the Bitcoin blockchain.
One of the most important aspects of the Bitcoin network is that miners act as the main security layer that ensures there are no fake transactions. The miners and their computers don’t have access to specific, personal transaction data. The only information they can access is the publicly available transfer data, used for checking the validity of the transaction. This means that the transparency of these transfers is guaranteed by a decentralized, randomized network of miners that can’t jeopardize a transaction even if they wanted to, which makes Bitcoin a very secure digital asset.
Thanks to this system and its miners, the so-called double spending issue is solved. Double spending refers to the possibility of a malicious Bitcoin owner using their funds to carry out more than one transaction using the same BTC twice. This problem doesn’t exist with physical, fiat currency because it is impossible to spend cash twice.
With digital currency, however, the delay between transactions can pose an opportunity for individuals to try and use the same funds twice. The problem is solved with the blockchain confirmation method where several miners have to confirm that a transaction is legit before the process can be finished.
What Exactly Is Bitcoin Mining?
The Bitcoin production process is called mining, which works on the basis of performing services, completing tasks, and getting rewarded in return. Miners are essential to the functioning of the blockchain since they are the ones that process and confirm all transactions, maintaining the network with a steady and secure flow of assets.
Rewards and financial benefits are a key incentive for individuals and companies to participate in Bitcoin mining. In practice, miners’ tasks are different sorts of computational puzzles with various levels of difficulty. After a sufficient number of these puzzles have been solved, a new block is created and added to the network.
Miners that contribute to the discovery of new blocks and the expansion of the blockchain get bitcoins as a reward for their effort. Many miners today decide on joining mining sites called mining pools, where groups of miners agree to split blockchain rewards between themselves, according to the amount of computing power they provide individually.
To illustrate how the mining of BTC has become more complex during the years, it’s worth noting that in the beginning, miners would get as much as 50 bitcoins for discovering a new block. Given todays’ fiat currency worth of Bitcoin, this sounds like an enormous amount of money, but in the first years of Bitcoin mining, it wasn’t that much.
As the blockchain expanded, every 210.000 blocks brought a halving of the reward for miners. In 2020, the reward became 6.25 BTC per block, but also the worth of Bitcoin had drastically increased since 2009, with more and more employees receiving their salary in bitcoins and a huge expansion of BTC transactions on the financial market.
What Do You Need to Mine Bitcoin?
Since mining Bitcoin has become increasingly popular, with no signs of it slowing down in the upcoming period, more people want in on the action. In the beginning, when the currency was developed by Satoshi Nakamoto, it was possible for people to mine bitcoins using laptops or their home desktop computers.
As the currency grew more popular and the blockchain expanded, mining bitcoins has become more demanding in terms of computing power. Today, it’s still possible to do some casual home mining of Bitcoin on your average PC, but the results aren’t nearly as impressive as people would expect. The mining is very slow and the earned funds are low.
If you want to mine Bitcoin efficiently, you generally need reliable Bitcoin mining software and appropriate hardware, i.e. a computer designed for mining bitcoins popularly called a rig. Rigs are essential if you want concrete mining results in a foreseeable amount of time.
Most Popular Ways to Mine Bitcoin
In order to mine the currency productively, and if you want to make BTC a serious source of income, there are four technical ways of mining Bitcoin and all of them include financial investments of different levels.
This is the most popular method for mining Bitcoin if you don’t want to invest in expensive hardware or if you aren’t a really tech-savvy person with knowledge and patience for handling advanced mining hardware, such as a mining rig. Many people want to mine Bitcoin, but either can’t afford a rig or just don’t want to spend time checking the mining process in person.
There are lots of large companies that have recognized this as a business opportunity and created their own Bitcoin mining farms, which are facilities with scores of super-powerful rigs, that are constantly mining BTC. The thing is, these companies offer their mining services on the market to people who want to want to participate in the Bitcoin network and earn currency remotely.
Thus the name cloud mining, since you can become a miner remotely and pay a small fee to the company that does the mining on your behalf (almost like free Bitcoin mining). This way, even though you don’t use your own machine, you still get the coins in your crypto wallet.
All you have to do is pay the rent for the cloud mining rig regularly, and watch bitcoins flow into your account. The electricity and maintenance fee is usually deducted from your crypto earnings.
Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) Mining
GPU mining is the most popular way of mining bitcoins using a rig. It relies on graphic card power to mine Bitcoin. The rig has anywhere between 2 and 8 graphic cards set in a rig frame with adequate cooling and connected to a motherboard and processor for controlling the mining process.
GPU rigs are great because they can be very efficient and once you manage to return the initially invested funds from mining, the rig becomes a steady source of serious income. Companies that offer cloud mining services often use GPU mining, except that they have hundreds or even thousands of connected rigs.
Central Processing Unit (CPU) Mining
As the name says, CPU mining is based on the power of computer processors to mine Bitcoin. Back in 2009-2010, when cryptocurrency mining was a new thing, mining with the processor of a desktop computer or laptop was a solid solution. However, as blockchain got more complex, and more miners started participating in the network, this became an obsolete option as the number of transactions kept rising.
You can still mine bitcoins using your CPU, but it will cost a lot of electricity and cooling power. Also, it will bring you such low income at an enormously slow pace, that it doesn’t really make sense to use your CPU for mining.
Even so, there are still people who decide to try and mine using their processors, because the fact that anyone can do it, using their PC, attracts them enough to give it a try.
Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (ASIC) Mining
This mining method is a bit controversial and it probably won’t be your number-one choice, but it’s still worth mentioning. ASICs are computers that are manufactured specifically for the purpose of mining bitcoins or any other cryptocurrency.
It is actually better to call ASICs mining machines and not computers since you can’t really use them for anything else except for mining. These machines can mine enormous amounts of bitcoins making GPU mining look slow and unprofitable. ASICs are very expensive, they can cost tens of thousands of USD, and as we said, they’re controversial because using them is simply unfair compared to thousands of GPU miners worldwide.
When someone uses an ASIC for bitcoin mining, they basically rob GPU and CPU miners of the opportunity to participate in the blockchain, snatching their earnings right in front of them. This is why ASICs have been criticized, and many miners have even called for a ban on their use for mining.
Is It Possible to Get Bitcoins Without Mining?
Now that we’ve listed all the methods of Bitcoin mining, let’s provide an answer to the burning question: is it possible to get BTC if you don’t want to start mining?
Yes, it is absolutely possible, and the number of possibilities is growing as Bitcoin is becoming more widely accepted as a currency.
Receive Your Salary in Bitcoins
Ten years ago this was practically unimaginable, but today, more and more companies include Bitcoin as a payment option for employee salaries. Especially in the world of freelancers, paying in cryptocurrencies is becoming very popular.
One of the most popular ways of getting bitcoins without mining them is by trading on a cryptocurrency exchange platform. Crypto investment sites such as Coinbase, Kraken, or Gemini offer easy access to bitcoins via fiat currency payments. When you buy some bitcoins, you can look to increase your balance by monitoring the market and carefully trading currencies. If you take some time to study the dynamics of trading and understand the market, you can make considerable amounts of bitcoins.
The gambling industry has utilized the constantly rising popularity of cryptocurrencies during the past years, making BTC and ETH available as payout currencies. All you have to do is provide a Bitcoin wallet address and all the BTC you win can be transferred to it, ready for further use. This way of earning Bitcoin is of course very risky, and we don’t recommend it.
Legit Ways to Earn Free Bitcoin
Apart from earning bitcoins without mining, there are also numerous ways of getting free coins, without the need to invest your money in order to earn BTC.
You can’t really get large quantities of free cryptocurrency, but you can earn small amounts sufficient to eventually start trading or exchanging your assets for services and products.
Bitcoin Earning Sites
Bitcoin earning sites known as faucets are websites that provide visitors with a steady income of bitcoin every hour or every couple of hours. The amount of free crypto provided by these sites is very low, but if you use them strategically and combine the use of many faucets simultaneously, then this is a good way of earning free bitcoins. Even though the amount of satoshis (smallest unit of BTC) you can receive from a single faucet is low, this still is a source of unlimited Bitcoin which is great if you want to get some assets totally free of charge.
There are thousands of websites that offer rewards in satoshis for completing simple tasks. Many of these sites are advertised on social media. They have a wide range of available tasks, from completing surveys, questionnaires, and quizzes, all the way to solving simple captchas in exchange for BTC. This is a fun and easy way to make money online. The amount of bitcoins awarded depends on the complexity of the completed tasks.
When it comes to websites that offer such opportunities, it is important to run an extensive Google search and check if the site is legit, because there are a lot of scams that are just used to profit from user activity without paying out the earned rewards.
Affiliate programs are popular across numerous industries and an increasing number of companies offer referral incentives in the form of Bitcoin rewards for attracting new customers. All you have to do is get a friend to buy a product or service from a website with an affiliate program, using your promotional code or password, and you will immediately get a small crypto reward. If you manage to create an affiliate network with several friends, you might be looking at a steady income of free BTC.
This is the most fun option if you want to earn free Bitcoin online. There are countless online gaming websites and apps that pay out prizes in various crypto coins. Of course, bitcoins are the most popular. You can easily find such games by searching Google for Bitcoin games, and you can also find a bunch of them on Google Play Store, which means you can lay back and earn bitcoins while playing games on your smartphone. It’s that easy.
The number of satoshis a game rewards you depends on the complexity of the game. You can play simple ones that require connecting rows of the same blocks and receive small daily rewards, or you can complete more complex adventure or action games to receive large bonuses upon completion.
A Few Words Before You Go…
The popularity of Bitcoin isn’t going away anytime soon. With the constant introduction of spin-off coins such as Bitcoin Cash and the ever-increasing acceptance of Bitcoin-based solutions and services, we can say that this cryptocurrency’s portfolio is surely expanding.
It is natural that you want to join the Bitcoin ecosystem, so until you decide whether you want to start mining yourself or invest in trading bitcoins, these are some ideas that can get you started with free bitcoins.