Simon Chandler, Writer for CryptoVantage

Cryptocurrency is everywhere these days. Open your favourite tech or finance website, and it’s there. Watch the news, and it’s there. Speak to your co-workers, friends and family, and it’s there too. However, while such attention is great for the cryptocurrency industry, it inevitably means that obtaining bitcoin and other digital currencies is becoming increasingly expensive.

But as high as the price of bitcoin is becoming, there are still ways to earn free cryptocurrency in 2021. Most of these may require you to sign up to a service (so arguably they aren’t completely ‘free’), but they do offer various means of incrementally racking up your cryptocurrency holdings at minimal cost.


The worlds of fintech and crypto are beginning to merge, and one of the upsides of this overlapping is that each month seems to bring a new start-up offering some kind of credit or debit card that offers cashback rewards in crypto.

For example, crypto startup Fold was one of the first companies to offer a Visa debit card that rewards users with bitcoin for purchases they make at participating retailers. It was soon followed by the likes of crypto-exchange Gemini and lender BlockFi, which have since rolled out similar offerings. There’s even a mortgage which offers up to $3,100 cashback in bitcoin, having been launched in Canada by Mogo in March.

Gemini’s card offers holders the chance to earn up to 3% back in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, so while the rewards may not be life-changing, they will accumulate if you use the cards regularly.


While airdrops aren’t as common now as they were a few years ago, they offer a great way to receive new cryptocurrencies for free. Basically, an airdrop is when the developers of a new blockchain platform give away that platform’s native crypto, in order to boost adoption and create a community of users.

It’s hardly guaranteed that a new cryptocurrency you receive will end up becoming valuable, but with such relatively large cryptos as Stellar, NEM and Decred having undergone their own airdrops, a small minority of participants will get lucky.

There are various websites which maintain a database of upcoming airdrops, such as and These provide details of each platform planning its own airdrop, so you can find out for yourself whether there’s a good chance of their cryptocurrencies ever becoming valuable.

Exchange Giveaways

Depending on which crypto-currency exchange you use, you may benefit from being on the receiving end of a promotional giveaway. The most prominent example of this comes from Binance, the biggest exchange in the world in terms of trading volume.

Binance regularly holds giveaways of one kind or another, mostly for its native BNB token. However, such giveaways usually entail signing up for something or completing a certain volume of trades, so you can certainly argue that they aren’t really free.

Coinbase, another one of the biggest exchanges in the world, also organizes its own giveaway scheme. In its case, it provides small rewards in crypto for engaging with its educational platform.


If you’re a creative type with your own blog or website, one way of earning free cryptocurrency is to create some kind of donation page or facility on your site.

By posting the public address for your Bitcoin wallet, and by asking for contributions, you may find that some of your biggest admirers end up sending a small amount of bitcoin your way. Lots of charities now do this, as do many, many bloggers, journalists and researchers.

Sure, the free bitcoin or crypto is technically payment for your work, but you may not have received it otherwise, so you can pretend it’s free.


A growing number of cryptocurrencies — Tezos, Algorand, Icon — secure their network via a process known as staking. This involves users staking their coins in order to validate transactions, a process for which these same users earn interest for their troubles.

Staking is set to become very big, since Ethereum is going to begin staking later this year. Crypto-exchanges such as Binance and Coinbase offer staking services for users, so that they don’t have to deal directly with blockchains themselves.


A ‘fork’ is when a cryptocurrency splits into two distinct versions, usually because developers can’t agree on a new software update. So rather than agree, one group decides to stick with the existing version of a platform (such as Bitcoin or Ethereum), while the other decides to start running a new update (such as Bitcoin Cash or Ethereum Classic).

Forks are another way of earning free cryptocurrency, although they can’t really be predicted and are very rare. They provide ‘free’ cryptocurrency because holders of the pre-existing coin usually end up receiving an amount of the new crypto equal to their holdings in the original crypto.

This happened with Bitcoin, for instance, when it forked into Bitcoin Cash in 2017. Holders of bitcoin received the same amount in bitcoin cash, which at the time was worth about $767. Many promptly sold up, causing the price to dive to $200.

Non-Free Cryptocurrency

There are also a number of other ways to obtain cryptocurrency (besides actually buying it), although it would really be a stretch of the imagination to claim that they’re free.

For instance, certain companies (almost exclusively in the cryptocurrency sector) will pay their employees in crypto, although obviously this entails numerous hours of work.

Likewise, you can mine cryptocurrencies yourself, which basically means using computing hardware to confirm cryptocurrency transactions. While some of the smaller cryptos can be mined by people with their own personal computers, it again involves time and considerable work (and electricity), so it’s arguably not free.

There are also a number of social networks (e.g. Steemit, Publish0x) that offer users rewards for posting or even reading content. But again, you need to invest time and effort in this, so unless it’s already something you enjoy doing, it’s not really free.

These quibbles aside, there really are a growing number of ways to earn cryptocurrency without actually having to trade it. And while they may not land you with massive stores of crypto, they can certainly boost your holdings.