Adventures of Crypto Noob Intro - 12-24-2020
Welcome to the first installment of the adventures of this crypto noob. I’m going to document my story each week. I have never owned any crypto. This story will be updated weekly, from Christmas 2019 to Christmas 2020. This is Part 1 of 2 posts for the Intro. Stay tuned for updates every week.
I decided now, at the end of 2019, to start paying more attention to the cryptocurrency scene.
Facepalm… what a genius, could have done this YEARS AGO.
Over the last 7-8 years, I was vaguely aware of Bitcoin, but not really interested in investing. It seemed a little too complicated, a steep learning curve, possibly for not a lot of return on my effort. I have friends that talked about starting to mine (but never actually started). I met people through my job who had mining arrays in their garages, and I was impressed, but too busy to actually do any research or do it myself. There was already a vague feeling of having missed the bus on crypto.
So this year, despite having plenty of other projects to focus on in my free time, I decided to throw one more onto the pile of things that I may never finish. I decided to learn all I can about cryptocurrency, and MAYBE invest a little.
But it’s already tough keeping up with my existing bills… mortgage, car note, student loans, you get the picture. I was watching a lot of X22Report and seeing ads for gold dealers, and I started thinking, 2008 was quite some time ago… we are about due for another crash of some sort. If a crash were to happen now, I might lose 50% of the value of my 401k… This cannot happen. Must prevent this at all cost.
On some late night after too many hours of chain-vaping and financial crisis scare videos, I began to wonder: if I were to just withdraw all of the money in my 401k and pay the tax penalty, would that be safer than leaving it alone and hoping it was safe?
If I withdraw the fiat money at the height of this blazing hot Trump economy, I would probably need to make a pretty huge return on whatever investments I make, to break even. Let’s say you currently have $25,000 in your 401k. The early withdrawal penalty is 10%. But the fact that this would also be counted as extra income means that I would be taxed at a higher tax bracket. The bump in income could also raise you from 12% to 22% income tax. So I would lose 32% of my money, shrinking to only $17k. This seems like a tremendously BAD idea.
But on the other hand, if some financial crisis DOES strike, and I lose 50% of the value of my 401k, that $25k could suddenly be only worth $12k. This ALSO seems like a bad idea. We are always coached by well-meaning financial teachers NOT to ever touch your 401k, just leave it alone and watch it grow over the course of all your working years… but I am almost 40 years old. I have only been contributing for 5 years. I feel like I got a late start and if I don’t do SOMETHING outside the box, I will not be able to survive comfortably in my retirement years.
I toyed with the idea of putting everything into gold and silver. I’ve dabbled in metals before, but the manipulation via paper contracts seemed to be keeping the prices artificially low. I started seeing some people online, predicting a huge parabolic run on Bitcoin up to $100k or higher (sometimes $250k), and I start getting that FOMO working in my brain. Fear of missing out is a powerful thing. It made me start to wonder if there is still a chance to make a decent return on BTC and other crypto coins.
The feeling that I’d already missed out on the previous run up to $20k was there, but seeing the current prices right now have fallen to $7k-ish, it would seem that there is plenty of opportunity left for those who get on board. I am sure glad I didn’t buy in at $20k to see it fall down to $7k. I’d be a somewhat annoyed at seeing almost 2/3 of the value disappear.
Sure, it would have been great to be an EARLY adopter, buying BTC when it was under $200. Right now feels super late in the game… 2019? Why didn’t I buy back in 2012 when I was wasting time in precious metals??? (Kicking myself!)
But on the other hand, what about in another 5-6 years, what will I say in 2025, when my kids are in college? By that time it would REEEEAAALLLY feel too late in the game to start investing. So even though I’m late to the party, I still have the benefit of it being still relatively early in the eventual swing of things. After all, if bitcoin and other cryptos continue to grow in popularity, and I see no reason why they wouldn’t, and this space continues to thrive for another 100 years, then we are STILL on the ground floor. We are fortunate that we are living in a time when 99% of the public still has not invested in cryptos yet. So I’m definitely thinking of getting into Bitcoin. But like I mentioned with the silver market earlier, the manipulation from derivatives and margin trading are kind of a turn-off. So I should not be surprised to learn that BTC could suffer from similar symptoms, and thousands (millions?) of traders are now able to short the coin using leveraged trades. This is discouraging, but not something to make me run away scared. Just keep me cautious.
Will I pull the trigger and withdraw the 401k to start buying coin? Probably not. It seems kind of morbid in a sense that in doing this, I’d basically be betting on the economy to crash.
I would LIKE to get into cryptos in ADDITION to my 401k. Not as a replacement, but as a separate vehicle, a diversification. Maybe there is a way to divert the 401k into a self-directed IRA that allows me some crypto exposure (along with metals). Honestly, a self directed IRA is probably a good idea, but I am lazy. I probably won’t be motivated enough to take the time to set this up, as all of the articles I’ve read about it are pretty confusing and entail setting up an LLC that will hold the assets that you direct it to purchase on your own behalf.
So I start looking at other ways to get cryptocurrency without raiding my nest egg…
Mining bitcoin? Nope, not profitable anymore for a lone operator, small fish like me.
Buying it outright on the exchanges? Possibly, but as I already stated, my existing bills are already almost more than I can handle. I can MAYBE squeeze out a few dollars a week to invest, but certainly not enough to be satisfying.
There have GOT to be some ways to get more cryptocurrency, without just buying it outright.
I freelanced for almost 10 years doing web dev & graphic design work, so I know there have got to be some sites out there for freelancers who want to earn crypto. I will definitely be researching which sites out there are worth using. Any tips in the comments would be most welcome.
I know there are also GPT (get-paid-to) sites out there, where you get paid to click on ads, fill out surveys, or other menial tasks. In my past experience, most of these were shady, payouts not guaranteed, or if you DID get paid, it wouldn’t be worth all the time you spent clicking ads (which were usually for some scams aimed at getting internet marketers to pay for fake traffic to their scammy websites). No, clicking ads for fractions of a penny doesn’t sound fun. But IF it turned out to be a situation where monstrous growth caused a few cents to grow into something MASSIVE, then I might want to take a closer look at any sites that are legit.
I did find one free bitcoin site that looked decent… It is called Bitcoin Reward. There is an offer wall where you can sort different tasks according to amount paid, how easy, or other factors, and do as many as you want. I did a few surveys, installed a few free game apps and played them long enough to reach the rewards, and I ended up reaching the minimum payment threshold within 24 hours (maybe 30 minutes in two different sittings). The minimum payout is 30,000 satoshis, which doesn’t event amount to one percent of one Bitcoin.
BUT… I just checked my account on this site and after completing 14 of the tasks, all of which were free, none of which required any “free trial” with a credit card, my total confirmed tasks now amounts to a grand total of 241,000 satoshis. This is after 2 days, so about 7 tasks each sitting. I had to check to see how much that is worth in USD… at the current price of Bitcoin, it is about $17. If BTC returns to its past high of $20k, that 241k sitting in my account would be worth about $50. If it goes up to $100/BTC, my account value would be worth about $250.
Making $250 by completing a few mindless tasks a couple times is not a bad return on my investment of ZERO dollars! Of course, this might take years to reach that level, but this lends some weight to my hypothesis that maybe we CAN still make some big moves in crypto without a huge risk. We ARE still in the beginning years, so whatever we get now, on the cheap, will likely be growing into larger amounts later.
Anyways, I am going to continue to use this free reward site over the next year and post updates each week for 2020. If you want to follow my progress with that, just follow along. And if you want to try it too, I’d be happy to engage in some friendly competition to see who can get the most FREE satoshis. Anyways, here is my referral link, if you are interested.
I also found a cool site this week called Publish0x (the 0x is silent, it’s just pronounced “publish”) - here is a referral link:
You might be reading this post on Publish0x right now, but if not, let me summarize it for you. You write, you get paid free cryptos. You read other people’s blogs, you get paid free cryptos. It works by tipping. But the tips don’t come out of my pocket or yours—they come out of the Publish0x rewards pool. If you like a post, just tip the author at the bottom of the page, using a slider to control how much to tip the writer, and how much of the tip to give to YOURSELF for reading it.
Currently you can get paid either in BAT, HYDRO, DAI, or BNTY. The site has a majority of content that is related to cryptocurrency, but you can find other genres too… it just probably happens that most of the site’s users are getting paid in crypto, so that tends to be what they write about. If you want to learn more about different alt coins, this would be a great place to get your feet wet, since you can earn while you learn. If you’d rather get BTC than they 4 types of coin they offer, you can always convert these to BTC by sending to an exchange (which I haven’t done yet, but I’ll write about it when I do).
If you want to get paid bitcoin to play games, this is one of the more casual (and also slower) ways to earn free coin. Alien Run is a game put out by the team at Bitcoin Aliens, and can be found on the Android or IOS platform. I downloaded it last night to share with the kids, and it’s a bit addictive, just an arcade style game where you run through trying not to hit obstacles, with changing speed, and even changing gravity modes. It’s similar to another game called Geometry Dash, but the difference is that you win free satoshis by playing. I got stuck a few times where I was dying and running out of lives, so I handed my phone to the kids and they beat the levels with ease. I must be losing my touch in old age, if my kids are beating me at video games. Anyways, to check it out, here is my referral link. So far I haven’t played it long enough to see how high the rewards grow. I don’t expect this to be huge, but it’s not bad for a casual little game that gives you free crypto. I will post updates throughout the year though, if this ends up being a keeper. Anyways, here is a referral link to check it out if you are curious.
Anyways, they decided to take a fork of the Chromium code and build a browser that offered users a better experience, with no pop-ups, no ads, no trackers that would spy on your online activity and sell your data. Then they offered us the OPTION to turn ads back on, and offered us free crypto if we wanted to opt in. The BAT, or Basic Attention Span crypto coin, is a fruit of their labor. So if you switch to using the Brave browser, you get faster loading sites, and you can earn BAT by allowing ads. These are not obnoxious ads, either. There are just little text notifications that appear in the top corner of your page, up to 5 times an hour at most. I have seen a few over the last couple days… if I decide I don’t want to see so many, I can tune my settings to where less will show (2 per hour, for example).. or turn ads off completely.
Here’s what it says in your account settings under the Brave Rewards section: “Earn tokens by viewing ads in Brave. Ads presented are based on your interests, as inferred from your browsing behavior. No personal data or browsing history ever leaves your browser.”
So I had heard about Brave a few times over the last couple months, but never decided to make the switch. I didn’t feel like losing my Chrome stuff (history, bookmarks) and it seemed like a hassle. But 4 days ago decided to go ahead and download it. I am now using Brave on my laptop and cell phone, and I received 20 BAT free just for installing it on IOS. Combined with the text ads that I turned on, I am up to about 23 BAT total. This isn’t a huge amount by any means but I feel like this particular coin has plenty of room to grow, as its total user base is increasing by about 10% per month. A lot of people haven’t heard of it yet, but those who have, LOVE it. And I am loving it so far.
What can you do with the BAT tokens? You can use them to tip your favorite Youtube channel… you can use them to start your own ad campaign if you have a business… you can transfer them to an exchange and trade them for Bitcoin, Ethereum, or any other tokens you like… or you can just send them to your offline wallet and keep them safe in cold storage and watch your collection grow.
Another guy I met over on Publish0x said he is going to stop exchanging his BAT for other coins, and see how much he can save up between now and 2021. I am going to do the same, so I will post updates each week with my progress. If you want to join us and see what a year of using a better internet browser might pay, the more the merrier! Keep me updated and maybe we can have a friendly competition! Here is my referral link to download the BAT browser, you can get it on desktop, laptop, and mobile, I got a free 20 bat grant when I downloaded it on iPhone (I think the same offer exists on Android):
To finish up the summary of all that I have learned and accomplished this week (really, over the last 4 days):
- I have invested $0 into crypto currency from my own pocket. I have earned a total of .00241570 BTC - current value $18.27 (BTCRewards)
- I have earned a total of 5.5210 HYDRO - current value $0.003717
- I have earned a total of 0.0049 DAI - current value $0.004903
- I have earned a total of 23.5397 BAT (.85 Brave OSX, 20.80 Brave iOS, 1.8897 Publish0x) - current value $4.024903
$22.29 for 4 days of effort doesn’t seem like much. But it’s a decent start. For the amount of time I have spent reading each night, it’s a really crappy return, probably less than $2/hour. It would certainly be easier to just work an extra hour at my day job and then use the cash to invest $22/week in an exchange. But I have learned a lot, that I can use for the rest of my journey, so it wasn’t a waste of time. Who knows where this adventure will take me?
At the end of 2021, let’s come back to these totals and see how these values have changed. Stay tuned for further updates!
~ Political Noob