How to earn with crypto

Have you been wondering how to earn with crypto? There are many real ways to make money with crypto that work.

I know that was a weird sentence,  but there are quite a few ways that claim to work and don’t. At least not for everyone who may get lured in.

Unfortunately, there are also many scams. And we can be sure that a lot of people are also making money referring new customers to scams as well as to legitimate programs.

There is also a lot of pumping and dumping going on. As we will see.How to earn with crypto

Buy and hold – or hodl

In the cryptocurrency world, buy and hold is called buy and hodl, as in Hold On for Dear Life. It started with a typo.

I would even guess that the originator of the typo is left-handed, and wanted to type

– I AM HOLDING – but typed

– I AM HODLING – instead.

In other words, a finger on his left hand typed the D before a finger on his right hand typed the L.

That’s my theory anyway. It happens to me all the time, but the other way around as I am right-handed.

Here is an authoritative article that gives some history of Bitcoin and Hodl.

Not so long ago I was having a message exchange in a Facebook group with someone who was probably trying to lure me into a crypto-investing scam. I said I had bought and held Bitcoin for nearly two years and done very well out of it.

My counterpart on the other side of the text messages thought buying and holding Bitcoin was a novel idea.

In fact, until fairly recently you used to be able to say that over any three-year period since 2014 or so, the Bitcoin price had at least doubled. That in itself was a good argument for a buy-and-hold strategy.

Bitcoin was launched in 2009, The price fluctuations over the first years after launch were alternately a wild ride or nothing happening. The market was very thin and it was really traded by an exclusive club of a handful of pioneers. Finally, in early 2017 the Bitcoin price broke through $1,000.

Here is the monthly price and volume candlestick chart for Bitcoin from October 2014 to June 2021.

Bitcoin price and trading volume history Oct 2014 to Jul 2021

1)Source: Historical price data: Yahoo Finance, all charts, and calculations: Bad Investment Advice

As anyone who has watched Bitcoin prices knows, the Bitcoin price can go through some fairly wild swings in any 24-hour period. Buying and selling Bitcoin is a bit like trying to get on and off a rollercoaster without planting your face into the ground especially if you are sensitive to price, justifying the term Hold On for Dear Life.

For this reason, if we look at monthly closing prices, we can reasonably assume we would have been able to get in and out of the market at the prices quoted.

Let’s look at how the Bitcoin returns in percent over set periods of 12, 18, 24, 30, and 36-month periods, from October 2017 to July 2021. These are all annualized so they are directly comparable. Again, because we are looking at monthly closing prices it would be reasonable to assume we would have been able to get in and out of trades at these prices.Bitcoin annualized returns 12 18 24 30 and 36 month periods Oct 2017 to Jul 2021

2)Source: Historical price data: Yahoo Finance, all charts, and calculations: Bad Investment Advice

It is actually hard to see on the chart because the performance has been so stellar. But in fact, only the 36-month period was consistently profitable. The lowest annualized return, if you had bought and held for a 36-month period, was still a positive 24% annually if you had bought in November 2017 and sold in November 2020.

As I said that was the lowest annualized return, i.e. the worse you would have done.

Looking at all other 36-month periods, you would have done better and often a lot better.

If you had bought and held for any other shorter period, and you were really unlucky with your timing then you could have lost money in annualized terms.

Of course, we are all familiar with that phrase, past performance is no guarantee nor an indicator of what can happen in the future.

So, looking to the future, and trying to answer the question – should I buy and hold, or hodl if you prefer, Bitcoin, now in 2021?

It is really a question of whether you think there is a long-term case for Bitcoin appreciating in value from here on and reaching or even exceeding the highs it reached in April 2021 of just under $65,000. Or perhaps it is going to wither and fizzle.

Or maybe you are like me and you can make the argument for either case, so you want to keep a little bit of speculative skin in the game, but not so much you wouldn’t mind losing it all.

One bitcoin

Loan your cryptocurrencies to exchanges and investment pools

Loan your cryptocurrency to exchanges and investment pools for liquidity. You get between 4% Annual Percentage Yield or APY, and around 7% APY depending on how long you tie up your currency.

Many of the regular cryptocurrency exchanges will offer these kinds of arrangements. If you commit your cryptocurrencies to a pool you will earn interest. Some will even pay you interest on an account with immediate withdrawals. In most cases, you will earn higher APY if you block your funds for periods of one to six months.

There are many ways to loan or lend cryptocurrency to crypto exchanges, or new crypto projects. Effectively you lend your assets or your time to support a specific crypto ecosystem.

As you will quickly find, the world of cryptocurrencies has its own expanding vocabulary. Yield farming or liquidity mining in decentralized finance are ways to earn cryptocurrencies by loaning your crypto assets to provide liquidity.

Here is an article that explains some of the basics of cryptocurrencies.

Peer-to-peer lending

Peer-2-peer lending started in 2005 and has become increasingly popular both for investors and borrowers. There are many peer-2-peers lending sites that work with conventional fiat currencies, but some have set themselves up specifically using cryptocurrency as collateral.

While conventional peer-2-peer lending sites often have stringent requirements to approve borrowers, including credit history and minimum cashflows, borrowers on cryptocurrency platforms only have to put up their crypto as collateral to get a loan.

I guess the premise is that you might have some cryptocurrency that you bought a while back that has now appreciated in value. You want to hold onto it as you think its value is likely to increase even more over time. But you also need to borrow some cash and your credit history may not be great.

These cryptocurrency peer-2-peer lending sites will give you a loan for a percentage of the value of your cryptocurrency, without any credit history checks. However, some of these sites have gone out of business after the big 2022 bear market, so as always, buyer beware – high APY yields often mean high risk.

Trade cryptos

Day trader

This is another way to try and earn money from cryptocurrencies – trade them. This can be scalping, day trading, swing trading, or holding for longer periods of a few days or weeks.

This is basically using technical analysis to spot trends and determine levels of support and resistance.

Technical analysis uses a number of analytical ways of looking at past prices and trading volume and tries to extrapolate where the price is likely to go in the immediate future.

Here is the first of two articles that look at many of the popular techniques used in technical analysis.

It is easy to get lost down rabbit holes of different technical analysis tools.

Personally, I think it’s better to keep things simple.

To look first at the price, then at a short-term moving average, a longer-term moving average, and the trading volume. I might occasionally look at the MACD or the RSI. But really I think the best is to look for levels of support and resistance and use Fibonacci extensions from major price points.

Develop a system that uses set trade entry, take profit exit, and stop-loss strategies and stick to it.

But that is just my approach.

I also think it makes sense to be aware of the news. Cryptocurrencies are prone to occasional threats of government regulation or being talked up or talked down by celebrities. That kind of breaking news event can disrupt trends you might think you see in which case it might be best to sit on the sidelines for a while.

Private pre-launch sales

ICO launch

The internet is awash with cryptocurrency groups on social media hyping each other with the latest hot coin or token release. It is fairly easy to find these social media groups.

In fact, it is more likely they will find you.

Before you know it you will start receiving messages about new coin pre-launch sales of either new cryptocurrencies, tokens, or projects. Some of these are valid, some have made money and anyone lucky enough to get in early may also have made a lot of money.

But many went nowhere.

Just know that whoever is sending you messages and trying to get you to invest is going to be receiving a referral payment. So their motivation is not necessarily that the project will be profitable or that you will make money from it. They are already getting a piece of the action whether it’s the next best thing or a thinly disguised pyramid scheme.

Work for a crypto company

Remote working

Many of the companies in the cryptocurrency and blockchain world are young and growing and many of these use remote freelancers to perform all kinds of work, from proofreading, or coding to graphic design.

At the other end of the spectrum, you can earn cryptocurrency by just following some new project on social media, sharing posts, and downloading an app. These are often referred to as microtasks.

You can even get paid in cryptocurrencies for watching videos or ads or taking surveys. Setting up a faucet for a specific cryptocurrency is a way of doing this. The rate of pay is quite low though, I would not recommend it.

Operate a crypto node

Years ago this was very popular among the pioneer crypto-nerds and was integral to the whole concept of distributed ledgers using blockchain technology.

For blockchain technology, to work you need a network of nodes, preferably dispersed geographically around the world. Each node was calculating or mining a specific blockchain and sharing the results with all the other nodes on that network. Each node that contributed to the process is rewarded with a small amount of the currency.

Then big business stepped in. Blockchains became ever longer and more and more calculation was needed to mine the transactions. This led to the use of faster computers and even the creation of chipsets and computing devices specifically designed and optimized for mining cryptocurrencies at the lowest possible cost.

For the older cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, credit for mining is now so low that it barely pays for the electricity needed to do the calculations. That is one reason why blockchain mining companies have had to develop low-cost ways to do it and even then they will often locate themselves close to sources of cheap electricity such as hydroelectric plants.

It is actually more complicated than what I’ve explained above. Some nodes store the entire blockchain, other nodes distribute the blockchain and smaller nodes are just mining parts of the blockchain.

Computer network cabling

Mining cryptocurrencies

You don’t have to run a full node to mine cryptocurrencies.

A popular way to mine cryptocurrencies today is to join a mining network or a mining pool.

When you join a mining pool you are contributing your processing power to mine the currency. You will receive a share of the mined currency in proportion to your processing power contribution.

Staking cryptocurrencies

Staking cryptocurrencies is another way to earn. Each blockchain uses its own algorithms to record new transactions and maintain its own blockchain.

Bitcoin uses mining to incorporate new transactions into the Bitcoin blockchain. Miners are rewarded for their contribution by providing proof of work or PoW.

Later cryptocurrencies, use staking as a means to incorporate new transactions into the blockchain. People who already own the currency agree to stake it or lock it up. They then act as validators of transactions and ensure the integrity of the blockchain.

For locking up their cryptocurrency, they are rewarded through a system of proof of stake, or PoS.

Staking to validate transactions requires considerably less computation than mining. For this reason, Ethereum has announced it is moving to a Proof of Stake system.



Nearly all cryptocurrency projects, platforms, and companies, right from the back bedroom startup on a shoestring to serious companies with venture capital and dozens of employees have referral programs.

If you get your family, friends, acquaintances, enemies, or anybody really to sign up/open an account/send money, chances are you can capture some of that with a referral bonus, or commission.

Unfortunately, crypto scams also have referral programs. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of people are making money off of crypto in this way.

How much money is being made off of scams in cryptocurrencies I couldn’t say, I am sure it is significant. Now there is an interesting research project.

Spot the scams

If it sounds too good to be true. It probably is. Not true that is!

The ingenuity of scammers knows no bounds. Every financial or market innovation will spawn scams. Many of these use techniques that have been around for centuries, often with a new twist to make them work in the cryptocurrency sphere.

Internet scammer

Pump and dump

Pump and dump schemes have been with us probably since markets were created.

Pump and dump just means hyping up the price of something, that actually you already own. Broadcasting the massive profit potential of this new, stock, cryptocurrency, token whatever.

The idea is to create enough buying frenzy to drive i.e. pump the price up. When you judge the price has gone up enough, you sell, i.e. dump your shares, or currency or tokens, or whatever, and walk away.

Most financial markets make these kinds of schemes illegal. But you need the regulation in place for it to be illegal. One of the features of cryptocurrencies is that the regulators are still trying to catch up.

Flashy dashboards, big numbers, no or slow withdrawals

Slot machine

You will find numerous private platforms that claim to use AI algorithms to generate consistent daily profits without fail. Some claim you can earn 1% a day, while others start at 2% a day. They always build up to a higher percentage if you invest more. Often they claim you can earn 4% a day or 5% a day if you invest $10,000 or more.

These are all scams and run as Ponzi schemes.

Red flags

Red flag

You just broke our rule, Sir!

Oh, which rule was that? The one I just told you about, Sir!

This is one of many tricks employed by fake investment schemes. They will try to create reasons for you to keep sending them money. Here are some red flags to look for.

  • your account shows a dashboard with very large $$ numbers
  • very strangely worded terms and conditions statements
  • they claim that they trade Forex, binary options, commodities, and anything really
  • they start giving you bonuses, then you find you have to “turnover” that bonus 50x or more to withdraw the interest or the bonus
  • they claim to pay consistent, interest/profit/earnings of 1%, 2%, up to 5% a day, reinvesting every 7 or 10 days
  • they make up rules that aren’t written
  • if there is any problem with your account, on their platform, or whatever, the solution is always for you to send them more money
  • they ignore any question you ask that they don’t want to answer
  • they claim that their system is automatic, so they can’t process a deposit, or a withdrawal, or whatever if it doesn’t suit them
  • the owners are anonymous or unreachable

The chances are that they will allow you to make one or two small withdrawals of profits after you have deposited funds with them to build confidence.

Just remember that $100 invested at 1% a day, compounded every 7 days, would return a total of $3,372 after a year. So a guaranteed return of 337%.

While $100 invested at 5% a day, compounded every 7 days, would return a total of $598 million after a year. Seems very likely, doesn’t it?

Fake ICOs

The dot-com boom of the late 90s and early 2000s produced a string of fake companies with basically no business plan or even business concept, just a domain name and maybe a website and an initial public share offering or IPO.

There have been some new cryptocurrency projects announced and investors piled in to buy pre-launch coins or tokens, and the founders just took all the money and walked away and didn’t even bother to launch the project.

These kinds of scams are often referred to as exit scams.



Cryptocurrencies are risky and not just the risks of being scammed. Cryptocurrencies are often volatile, exchanges are sometimes unregulated and some have failed. Things can go wrong even with legitimate cryptos.

If you are going to invest or get involved, it will pay to do your research and understand how the ecosystem of your crypto works.

Is there a conclusion?

Well yes, there is.

There are many legitimate, i.e. real ways to make money from cryptocurrencies. You can buy into the next big coin or token that is going to revolutionize decentralized finance. You can buy and hold, or hodl, one of the big coins and hope the price will appreciate. And remember, the experience will often feel like you are Holding On for Dear Life – especially if you are addicted to watching the price fluctuations every day. You can loan your cryptocurrency and get paid. You can work on a crypto project and get paid.

You can also lose a lot of money if you sign up for scams or just failed projects.

Questions and answers

Q. How do you get paid on Crypto?

A. The best way to earn money with cryptocurrencies is to buy and hold for a few years. Many people who bought Bitcoin in early 2018 have achieved annualized returns of over 200% over the subsequent three years.

Q. Can you make money making your own Cryptocurrency?

A. Yes, if you can master the technology and are able to persuade others to buy. Dogecoin is a great example of a cryptocurrency that was started as a joke by software developers who were poking fun at the craze for new cryptocurrencies. If you can come up with a new application involving crypto transactions that nobody else has thought of, and if you can rally enough supporters, maybe you could repeat the Dogecoin phenomenon.

Q. How do you earn the most money with Cryptocurrencies?

A. Find a cryptocurrency that will likely appreciate in value and buy and hold for a few years.

Single-page summary

Here is a single-page PDF summary of how to earn with crypto.

How to earn with crypto summary

I hope you found this article interesting and useful. Do leave me a comment, a question, an opinion, or a suggestion and I will reply soonest. And if you are inclined to do me a favor, scroll down a bit and click on one of the social media buttons, and share it with your friends. They may just thank you for it.

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Disclaimer: I am not a financial professional. All the information on this website and in this article is for information purposes only and should not be taken as personalized investment advice, good or bad. You should check with your financial advisor before making any investment decisions to ensure they are suitable for you.

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1, 2 Source: Historical price data: Yahoo Finance, all charts, and calculations: Bad Investment Advice



  1. At one point I would have said that investment in Crypto, especially Bitcoin was a no-brainer. However, I think the easy ride of the forever rising status is over now that the big guys have finally managed to take charge of the market by pretty much owning the vast majority of it between them.

    • Hi. I agree that the easy ride is over. I do remember though a couple of years ago there was a lull in the price of Bitcoin when it pulled back from an earlier peak. That was the moment I decided to get on board. I saw a six-fold price appreciation over the following 12 months. Now it has pulled back to less than half its peak in April 2021. As I said in the post you can make an argument either way as to where it goes from here. I still think it makes sense to keep some holdings in Bitcoin and other major cryptos. But I also think because of the speculative nature of the value it makes sense to find ways to earn from your holdings. Best regards, Andy

  2. This is an amazingly comprehensive article about How To Earn With Crypto. I’m afraid that I still have difficulty fully understanding the fact that crypto is merely a code on the internet! However, as an industry, it has grown  exponentially since it was first introduced and those, much younger than I, have become serious investors. Your article is so good at explaining the process that even I was able to understand it. Not sure, though, that I will ever feel comfortable in investing in this market. Thanks a lot, Jenni.

    • Hi Jenni, and thanks for the positive comments and feedback. I took a very long time trying to understand how blockchain and cryptocurrencies work. Like many other things financial it is all about the perceived value we all collectively place on them. If that disappears then the value will disappear too. And that is only one of the risks. Best regards, Andy

  3. I have always been curious about cryptocurrency. I like your article as it provides abundant information. Personally, I have been curious but I guess not curious enough to actually try to go into cryptocurrency even though it might grow even larger in the near future. Do you have any suggestions, where I should start to learn and maybe try investing in cryptocurrency?

    • Hi David and thanks for the comments and question. To buy cryptocurrency you just need an account with a broker that provides access to cryptocurrencies. That will depend on which country you live in as different brokers operate in different jurisdictions. If you want to buy and loan cryptocurrency then you can do that through MyConstant which you can sign up with from any country as long as you have a regular bank account and can verify your identity. Here is a review of MyConstant.

      Best regards, Andy

  4. Hi Andy. Thank you for another detailed and interested article. I always learn something new on your blog, and knowledge you are sharing is extremely helpful. I am planning to invest in cryptocurrencies and definitely use your advices and recommendations. With so many risks online I will be looking closely for red flags you listed.

    • Hi Cogito, Yes, as you may be able to tell from the way I wrote about it I have learned some of those red flag lessons the hard way. If it is too good to be true then almost certainly it is not true. Wishing you all the very best of luck and thanks for the comment. Best regards, Andy

  5. Hello Andy, 

    This is a very important and interesting post, I love it. I have come across a number of ways which people claim I would earn with crypto but only to find that they are scams.

     I have really learned a lot from this post. I am very happy to know that I can buy and hold, or hodl, one of the big coins and hope the price will appreciate, and also that I can loan my crypto currency and get paid.
    This is helpful, thank you so much for sharing.

    • Hi Kokontala, It looks as if some of the big crypto coins are already coming back into favor over the last week or so and prices have climbed. I would still recommend caution and not to get overexposed to cryptos. Good luck and thanks for the comment. Best regards, Andy

  6. I can still remember in late 2015 when the price of Bitcoin was just above $300 per Bitcoin. And then in the middle of March this year it spiked up to around 60,000 dollars. This is a massive amount. Do you still think that there is still room for bitcoin to grow and for some people to invest? Do you also know of any crypto mining pools that one can join?

    • Hi and thanks for the comment. I’ve seen reasons why Bitcoin could increase further in value and reasons why it could crash and become worthless. On balance I think the upside argument slightly outweighs the downside argument so I think it is worth keeping a small amount that you could afford to lose in the Bitcoin game.

      As regards mining cryptos it is both a simple and a complex issue. If you are a believer in decentralized finance, then it makes total sense to sign up for a crypto mining pool and contribute to maintaining one or more blockchain ecosystems. If you want to profit from crypto mining then that is a bit more complex. To be profitable, at least with Bitcoin mining you may need to invest in ASIC hardware and it would make sense to have low-cost electricity, so probably solar power and you will want to use an internet connection that you are already using and paying for.

      Most mining pools are based in China. They differ in the fees to join and to some extent in how they share the crypto profits but the differences are becoming less. Nevertheless, I would suggest doing your due diligence and lookout for signs of a scam. Assuming that you live outside of China then joining one of those pools would actually contribute to the geographic diversity of the ecosystem, so that would be a good thing. I also think it makes sense for an individual wanting to mine Bitcoin to join a pool as that will even out the risks involved and make it more likely that your mining profits will be steady.

      Good luck, whichever route you decide to take.

      Best regards, Andy

  7. Coming from someone who owns various altcoins it should be noted that over 90 percent of crypto are scams. This article mainly focuses on bitcoin which is obviously the mother of crypto but there should be some more emphasis on cryptos outside bitcoin where people are really likely to fall victim. with all the scams going on what is your take on pending regulations? A lot of the world’s governments are flip-flopping on how to regulate. what in your opinion should be done?

    • Hi and thanks for the comment. It would not surprise me if more than 90% of all crypto projects are scams. Regulation goes against one of the main features of cryptocurrencies but that has a number of consequences for individuals and governments. The more that cryptocurrencies can be used to buy and sell goods and services the more those transactions can become black market. And of course for individuals, the lack of regulation means individuals get scammed more easily. My personal opinion is that some regulation is necessary. I don’t think it is in anyone’s interest if there is a growing black economy and I also think that consumers need protection. There are measures afoot among regulatory agencies. I think what needs to happen is an international collaboration between the main agencies. If the US, EU can align themselves then others will likely follow. Best regards, Andy

  8. I didn’t know we could earn with crypto by loaning our cryptos. And this is huge because I believe that what we earn in interests is tax free. I will start investing all my savings into crypto. I won’t loan it all out. I’ll try to buy a stable coin (I think that’s the way they call USDT) and only earn interest from half of my savings.

    • Hi Ann, Yes, if you are going to loan out crypto you want to carefully choose which coins. There are always going to be risks of course, in part because of the volatility of crypto markets and the lack of regulation. Good luck and best regards, Andy

  9. What a thorough explanation of the topic! I have always shied away from tackling cryptocurrencies because I had little to no understanding of what they were and how they work. I typically trade options contracts intraday and primarily look at the RSI. Thanks for maybe giving me the push I need to branch out. And nice site theme by the way. Mine is the same!

    • Hi and thanks for the comment. I think as with all things relating to investing and trading you need to study first and understand the risks and the lie of the crypto land. There are a great many crypto scams out there. Good luck and best regards, Andy 

  10. What a awesome and in depth article!

    I have seriously been looking at the crypto market and possibly invest and after reading this it has cleared up a lot of questions I had and possibly saved me a ton of research and probably from being suckered into the many scams that you mentioned.

    I also loved the Q&A part on how long you should probably wait if you want a real return from a crypto investment.

    I am definitely going to take the time to read more of your articles and advice and have bookmarked this site for future reference.



    • Hi Mark and thank you for your positive comments. I have learned the hard way with some of the crypto schemes out there, by being a gullible fool and buying into a fairytale – my bad. I would also be very careful of crypto chat groups. Most of the people in there are trying to get you to sign up for their scheme so that they get a referral payment. They will also not hesitate to show your screenshots of withdrawals they have made. They can easily be one of the people running the scheme or the withdrawal screenshot could be photoshopped or the reason they are able to make such withdrawals is because they have suckered others into “investing”.  Many of the regulated exchanges also pay interest at good AYPs if you lock your holdings with them. Gemini is a good example of that. Good luck and thanks again. Best regards, Andy

  11. Thank you so much for such an informative post!! I really enjoyed the post. Some of the points you have raised are very interesting. Bitcoin value 10 years ago is inconspicuous, 10 years later will make people become millionaires. I bought some Bitcoin and hold it until now. I will share your article with my friends as its extremely informative and useful and I know lots of people who need to read it 🙂

    • Hi and thanks for your very positive comment. Indeed, many of us are holding Bitcoin hoping that we will see it rise further. Good luck with your investments. Best regards, Andy

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