Now that crypto has integrated into mainstream commercial and financial systems, it can do everything that traditional currency can do. You can use it to buy things or use it to make more money.
The innovative nature of crypto means you can generate and grow wealth in innovative ways. Let’s take a look at some of the ways that you can make crypto and make money using crypto.
- Option 1: Mine Crypto
- Option 2: Trade Cryptocurrency
- Option 3: Get Paid in Crypto
- Option 4: Lending Crypto
- Use Crypto to Make Money
Option 1: Mine Crypto
Mining cryptocurrency means using computing power to help verify crypto transactions. Think of your computer as your neighborhood bank teller. You get paid to make sure that deposits and withdrawals get to the right place.
Anyone can become a crypto miner — provided you have the right equipment. Not just any computer can be effectively used to mine. It needs to be extremely powerful to compete with all of the other bank tellers who are looking to verify transactions and make money. These huge computer rigs also use up extraordinary amounts of electricity, causing some municipalities to ban the practice.
As time goes on, mining will become less profitable. The more attention it receives, the more miners enter the space. More miners means profits are spread more thinly throughout the community. But for those who can acquire the hardware and navigate the competition, there is still plenty of financial value to earn. Many miners focus efforts on up-and-coming coins expected to rise in value over time.
There’s an entire industry of companies and individuals that sell rigs focused on mining certain coins. Focused rigs only allow you to mine a single coin but usually mine more efficiently. There is risk of losing the investment in your rig if your chosen coin changes its mining criteria.
Option 2: Trade Cryptocurrency
As a whole, the crypto market is stable enough to set the values of coins directly against each other. You don’t have to trade your Bitcoin for USD or Japanese Yen — you can trade Bitcoin for Tezos, Ethereum or Zcoin on a trading platform. Many people do this because they believe 1 coin will rise in value more quickly than another.
Crypto traders value anonymity as well. Governments have focused on requiring exchanges to identify traders who want to move from cryptocurrency into traditional fiat. More secretive coins like Monero have been able to avoid this regulation. As a result, many traders are using Bitcoin and Ethereum as a gateway into quieter coins.
There are 4 major types of exchanges that facilitate trade in the crypto space:
- Fiat-crypto exchanges: These are exchanges that offer transfers between traditional currencies like the USD and cryptocurrencies. Governments keep them highly-regulated with know your customer (KYC) standards. These standards require you to provide selfies, IDs and sometimes tax records. They only deal in the bigger cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum.
- Crypto-crypto exchanges: These exchanges don’t offer trades into fiat currencies. They are usually less regulated and may not require any ID at all to use. ie: Cryptmixer or Changelly
- Peer-to-peer (P2P) exchanges: Instead of taking the other side of your trade, P2P exchanges match buyers and sellers.
- Brokers: If you trade on a brokerage, you actually don’t ever own the cryptocurrency you are trading in. You are actually trading a contract for difference (CFD), a financial device that tracks the price of the underlying asset. Brokers must get a license from a regulatory body and follow the rules that the regulator sets forth. If you want to trade under the watchful eye of a traditional regulator, use a broker instead of an exchange.
Option 3: Get Paid in Crypto
As long as you have a digital wallet, you can accept payment for your goods and services in cryptocurrency. Many major businesses accept crypto including Starbucks, Whole Foods, Nordstrom, Subway, Microsoft, Amazon and others. Zogby Analytics found that 33% of small businesses accept crypto.
This is a great option for people who want to build a crypto portfolio without the need to learn about the technicalities of mining or trading.
Option 4: Lending Crypto
With crypto, you can become the bank — with certain advantages. Lending crypto isn’t like letting your buddy borrow $20 and never getting it back. When you use crypto to lend the right way, your money is protected by a smart contract. Once entered, these contracts must be executed. Your deadbeat cousin can’t just turn off the phone and hope you forget about it.
Lending exchanges bring together crypto holders and allow them to fund projects. Many of them are focused on building up the fundamental technologies that allow crypto to exist. Participants are rewarded with an interest rate on business returns for a specified amount of time — just like a bond.
Here’s the difference: 10-year treasury yields are currently hovering around 1%. You can get 5–20% on crypto projects depending on the credit rating of the business.
If you want the best of both worlds, you can invest in the bonds traditional banks issue on crypto.
You can lend your crypto to individuals, but another interesting option is to lend its utility back to the entity that issued it. This practice is known as “staking” and brings an opportunity for extremely high interest returns. When you stake a coin, you basically agree to hold that coin in a digital wallet for a specified length of time. This helps to ensure the market cap for that coin. The issuing entity rewards you for not spending the coin — just like a bank.
Here’s the difference: You get 0.2% per year for a top 25 bank. You can get 10 to 15% per year for a top 25 cryptocurrency.
Use Crypto to Make Money
You might laugh at the returns that traditional checking and savings accounts offer right now. Some researchers even say these rates could move into negative territory to ensure a COVID recovery. Imagine paying a bank to hold your money, and you’ll see why the market for crypto is expanding.
All value-generating and trading activities in the crypto space carry risk. FDIC and SIPC insurance doesn’t exist in the space yet either. But it’s also true that you risk losing your buying power in traditional banks with interest rates that don’t outpace inflation. With all the new opportunity, exploring how to make money with cryptocurrency is worth your time.