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Free Bitcoin (Yes, You Read That Correctly)

May 07, 2020

Bitcoin is one of the early blockchain-based cyber coins that has continued to attract attention from all sorts of cohorts.

Some folks see it as an alternative currency that is separate from government fiat money. Others see it as a store of value—again separate from potential inflationary pressures or purchasing power degradation.

And of course, there are plenty of folks that just want to buy it on the hope that it will rise in price in US dollar terms.

Bitcoin, like most blockchain coins is “mined,” meaning that individuals, companies and syndicates solve highly-complex algorithms through intensive computer use to create or unlock coins. Then they can be stored or exchanged through additional procedures, including specialized third-party software, storage (wallets) and exchanges.

But Bitcoin really can’t be used as currency, as most transactions need to have the coins exchanged for dollars or other currencies, in turn dealing with a bid/offer spread and commissions or fees.

And as for a store of value, since there is no backing and no contract to provide for a guarantee of exchange or even a limit on how many Bitcoins can and will be mined, its value is based on what others will pay for it in an exchange.

This is very different from what my old team at Mark Twain Bank (now part of US Bank, USB) did back in the early 1990s when we brought forth e-cash. E-cash was fully exchangeable for online purchases and sales and was denominated in any currency of choice.

The currency behind e-cash was in the reserves of the bank and was FDIC insured. And unlike Bitcoin, it was anonymous, as each e-cash was simply an encrypted unit that upon presentation at the bank would be redeemable in the currency of its denomination.

But I digress. E-cash went away after bank mergers. Bitcoin is what we have today. And after plunging in price from mid-February through mid-March, the price of Bitcoin has been rebounding to a current level of $9,749.88.

Bitcoin Price in US Dollars—Source: Bloomberg Finance, L.P.

Now, you can deal with many exchange companies that will sell you Bitcoin as well as providing wallets for storage. But in my book, Income for Life, you’ll find a chapter titled, Earn Free Bitcoin with Just a Few Clicks.

I’m sharing that chapter with you today in full so you too can earn your free Bitcoin.

Bitcoin for Free

In the latest phase of modern shopping and finance, new cash-back reward programs are rooted not in actual cash but in the digital money known as Bitcoin.

After a hot, historic run-up in 2017, a down market in 2018 and a return to prominence by summer 2019, this “cryptocurrency” is lauded by some as the future of finance. The interest comes in a world where institutional banks are trusted less by many investors and the international movement of funds is becoming commonplace.

Using Bitcoin, with its fully online method of creating and storing wealth, can worry some who have no experience with cryptocurrencies. But the average investor can break into Bitcoin investing without worrying about the confusing aspects of blockchain technology or “mining.”

Sometimes, investors don’t even need to use their own money to get their first Bitcoin (or add to their stash). Enter rewards programs.

Monetary rewards systems were once relegated to individual retailers encouraging loyal customers to spend at their stores in order to get money towards future purchases. Credit card companies took it a step further with cash back that could move to your bank account.

Online cash-back rewards programs are no longer new, either. Ebates (now Raktuten https://www.rakuten.com/) and other startups with similar business models receive a commission for driving sales to partners’ sites. The company, in turn, passes along some of that commission to the purchaser. Classic quid pro quo.

This is where Lolli (www.lolli.com) comes in. This startup, which launched in 2018, allows you to collect some cryptocurrency but removes the risk of investing without being a financial or technological expert.

In essence, you earn Bitcoin while you shop. The service reportedly has tens of thousands of users, with new people joining every day.

The goal with these rewards is not to engage with banks but to bypass them completely, according to company reports. One company official recalled that the only good part of going to the bank is getting a lollipop when you leave. So, the concept here is that you go straight to the good part: a secure payday.

When you download the Lolli browser extension — currently the service is only supported by Chrome and Safari — it can interact with websites as you’re shopping. Just a click of the logo in the top-right corner of the browser and you will find out if that retailer is one of the hundreds partnered with Lolli.

Coinback (www.getcoinback.com) — only available for the Chrome browser — is another service that offers Bitcoin returns for shopping online. It works the same way as Lolli, but you would need to find a “digital wallet” to hold your cryptocurrency. Lolli provides an online wallet for customers.

Vendors participating in Bitcoin rewards programs determine the payout percentage individually, so Walmart may pay back 4%, while Nike might pay 3.5%.

Also note that you cannot use any additional shopping apps while using a coin rewards program. If you have used a coupon app for your shopping, you should disable it while shopping with Lolli, Coinback or any other reward company.

Rewards may not show in your account immediately, so be patient. Retailers often wait for their return policies to expire before distributing the Bitcoin. This could also account for fluctuations in your account. If the coin rewards program has estimated earnings incorrectly, the balance will be corrected at the time of deposit.

When you want to withdrawal your Bitcoin, the services have a minimum balance requirement before cashing out and exchanging the Bitcoin from your digital wallet to U.S. dollars in your traditional bank account. Lolli’s is $15 and Coinback’s is $1. There is also a nominal service charge for a transfer from the wallet to your bank account.

Bitcoin enthusiasts encourage people to hold their Bitcoin, but you could use your Bitcoin for other purchases online, as well. A simple online search can find which companies accept cryptocurrency. Two major retailers that are on board with Bitcoin are Microsoft and Overstock. Most recently, Lolli was able to hitch up with Hotels.com, so when shoppers return to getting back to booking travel (air, hotel, car rentals, etc.), they can earn the maximum amount of Bitcoin with the fewest transactions in less time than it would take to spend a few dollars here and there.

The company also partners with Booking.com, Priceline and some hotel sites. Even with lockdown-laden lower sticker prices on most vacations, using Lolli in connection with those purchases can help you become a bigger Bitcoin earner, possibly $100 or more in a single transaction.

As noted above, one Bitcoin (BTC) was worth $9,749.88. That means .1026 BTC is worth $1,000.00. So, a seemingly small amount of Bitcoin in the rewards account does not necessarily mean a small total in U.S. dollars.

And there is nothing to lose doing routine online shopping—in that way, it’s essentially “free money.” There’s nothing to lose and the possible future of currency to gain.

All My Best,

Neil George
Editor, Income Investor’s Digest & Profitable Investing
Author, Income for Life

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