Grab a wallet, that faucet is leaking!

There are literally thousands of bitcoin faucets and they are by far the most popular way to get started in bitcoin. I still use them on a daily basis, but are they really worth it?…

Bitcoin faucets are dead simple and almost as old as bitcoin themselves. Simply grab a wallet and get collecting. They were originally created by Gavin Andressesn as a way to generate interest in the fledgling cryptocurrency back in 2010. You can view a web archive of the original faucet site here.

Two things smack you in the face when you view this page:

  1. Not a single advertisement
  2. 5 BTC per visit. Yes! 5 bitcoins per visit or over US$1,500 in today’s coin

Contrast this to well-respected, modern faucets like Moon Bitcoin or Bitcoin Zebra and you definitely see the change a few short years has brought. Namely, countless ads and a payout of around 0.00001 BTC (1,000 satoshi) per basic hourly claim. However, both these sites do have incentives which increase your payout, but you are still only talking fractions of a cent.

The basic operating model of most faucets is to start with a wack of bitcoin and then generate revenue from advertising, affiliate links, and even donations. Most faucets also offer a referral bonus which is normally between 5% and 20% but can go up to 100% in the case of short-term ponzi faucets (I will blog about these soon). This enables cross-promotion between faucets and can generate an extra revenue stream for them.  This feature also allows general users to refer to the faucet and generate extra bitcoin for themselves. Typically, to qualify as a referrer all you have to do is claim once from a faucet and you are given a link which is usually the faucet url with your wallet address attached. Every time someone claims using you link – you get the referral bonus.

Other than advertising laden pages, the main difference nowadays is that faucets are highly exposed to the bitcoin price as their ad revenue is generated in US dollars and that bitcoin is much more widely accepted. As a result, modern faucets are always looking for an edge to rise up and be noticed. They employ many tricks but basically their main goal is to get eyeballs on their ads to up their ad space price. Not matter what approach, at the end of the day usability, reliability, and ultimately reputation always win.

Beware that not all faucets are legit – some are scams popping up and promising to pay the big coin each visit and then make it almost impossible to claim, or simply not paying at all. Faucet sites which have an on-site pay system where your faucet collections are held are more susceptible to this. However, there are some excellent on-site payment faucets around such as Free Bitcoin and Paid Books.

Some faucets even have and ‘investment’ option where you pay bitcoin to increase your claim amount in the hope of making your initial investment and much more back. In reality, these so-called ‘ponzi faucets‘ are scams named after the master scammer himself Charles Ponzi. These sites are indeed popular and you can make money on these but the risks are insanely high. So, be warned if you do gamble (opposite of investing) on one – go in with your eyes wide-open.

So to finish up, bitcoin faucets may be a great start, but you are not going to strike it rich from these faucets even if you do spend every waking hour on every faucet site – you will simply die from advertising overload!