Unconventional Ways to Make Money on Crypto

Trading Bitcoin on a cryptocurrency exchange like Coinbase or Kraken is far from the only way to make money and get involved in decentralized finance.

In fact, education is often the only barrier standing in the way of more consumers embracing these less conventional DeFi strategies and discovering alternatives to traditional banking that can result in better outcomes and returns.

“All of the technology is there. People can pick this up today,” says Jake Brukhman, founder and chief executive officer at CoinFund. Like the invention of the internet itself, he says “blockchain technology is a hyper-disruptive change of the digital operating system to the whole world. The beautiful thing is that all of these opportunities are available to anyone if they want to put in the work of learning.”

If you’re ready to take your crypto earnings to the next level, here are a few ways to amplify the power of your digital assets, earn passive income with cryptocurrencies and educate yourself on the DeFi technology and its many possibilities:

— Staking

— Lending

— NFTs

— Rewards

— Mining

Staking

When you stake your cryptocurrency holdings, you put them to work. Staking cryptocurrencies is a way of earning passive income on digital assets that investors plan to hold for the long term. It’s akin to an interest-bearing savings account, in that when you stake your holdings, you receive a yield percentage on those assets over time.

It’s a part of DeFi that Tally Greenberg, head of business development at crypto hosting provider Allnodes, says will continue to grow in mainstream popularity.

“Staking has existed since 2012. It’s not going anywhere because it’s an income-generating tool and the whole market of cryptocurrencies is going to grow,” she says. “This is not your typical savings account where your maximum can be 0.5% to 1.5% if it’s a high-yield savings account. In the case of staking, you’re talking about anywhere between 5% to 15% in passive income per year.”

[READ: Crypto Taxes: Your Guide to Navigating the Chaos.]

While your cryptocurrency holdings are staked, they are used to prevent errors in the blockchain. Staking can be highly technical and involve validating transactions yourself, but it can also be incredibly simple as more mainstream crypto exchanges offer consumer-friendly staking options.

The downside to staking is that your assets are locked up, preventing you from trading those cryptocurrencies during the vesting period. This option is also only available for certain cryptocurrencies that use a proof of stake mechanism rather than a proof of work mechanism. Staking is not allowed on Bitcoin, for example, but staking is possible with Solana and Ethereum 2.0.

Lending

Similar to staking, investors who have accumulated a large portfolio of cryptocurrencies can lend those tokens, cash or stablecoins to borrowers in exchange for interest payments. Unlike getting a loan from a bank, crypto lending is typically peer-to-peer lending and can be facilitated by a crypto lending platform.

This option may come with more risks, as it’s always possible that a borrower won’t repay his or her loan.

[SEE: 7 of the Best Blockchain Stocks to Buy.]

NFTs

NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, can be digital art, a video, music or an interactive piece of digital work. But there’s only one of them, and most live on the Ethereum blockchain.

Individuals can be NFT collectors or creators. Creators can open the door to a global audience of potential buyers by putting their digital work on the blockchain and possibly receive royalties as their work is traded. Collectors have the chance to buy digital art or other NFTs at a low price and potentially benefit from that work’s appreciation over time.

“Art is not something the average person spends money on,” Brukhman says. “That’s changing dramatically with NFTs. The price point for art collection is lower, and there are up-and-coming artists putting their work out there.”

NFTs can be purchased on marketplaces like OpenSea, Axie Marketplace and Rarible. Individuals purchasing NFTs — or engaging in any crypto or DeFi opportunity online — can fall victim to counterfeits, scams and misinformation. Proceed with caution and do your research before getting started.

Rewards

The world of crypto is always evolving as new projects are developed and new technologies expand. One of the most simple ways to earn extra crypto is by taking advantage of companies offering free crypto in exchange for signing up for their platform, taking an education course or playing games.

“People discover new ways to earn money in the crypto space every day,” says Yubo Ruan, the founder of Parallel Finance. “Depending on how much money you’re aiming to earn, some crypto users leverage platforms such as Coinbase Earn to get paid in exchange for learning about blockchain. Others play games like Axie Infinity for play-to-earn opportunities with NFTs.”

[What Holding Cryptocurrency Means for Your Estate Plan]

Popular free crypto offers come from options like Coinbase Earn, CoinMarketCap Earn and Brave, a private web browser that offers users rewards in Basic Attention Tokens, a blockchain-based cryptocurrency.

These earnings are typically small, but if you’re just looking to earn a few extra tokens, going the rewards route would likely be the least time-consuming option.

Mining

Cryptocurrency mining is the process of verifying and recording transactions on the blockchain. Among the other strategies on this list, mining is likely the most technically intensive and comes with a significant upfront cost.

Mining Bitcoin isn’t accessible to the typical hobbyist, Philip Salter, chief technology officer at Genesis Digital Assets, says. But individuals willing to dedicate the time to understand the mining process and its ecosystem could get started by mining smaller cryptocurrencies using a graphics processing unit.

“It’s a leap of faith to go buy a machine that costs $8,000 to $10,000 for Bitcoin mining that requires industrial-strength power — about 3.5 kilowatts of power, which is like three-and-a-half washing machines spinning all the time,” Salter says. “What I would recommend to people interested in mining and the bitcoin philosophy is to buy a graphics card. GPU can’t mine Bitcoin, but it can mine a bunch of other smaller cryptocurrencies.”

More from U.S. News

How to Invest in Cryptocurrency

The 5 Best Cryptocurrency Exchanges

Will Cryptocurrency Regulation Affect Crypto Prices?

Unconventional Ways to Make Money on Crypto originally appeared on usnews.com

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