What are Crypto Faucets?
When I first became interested in Bitcoin I spent a lot of time on faucet sites. If you aren’t familiar with faucets, they are websites that give out tiny amounts of free Bitcoin and altcoins. In other words, they ‘drip’ small amounts of crypto. You claim free coins by clicking a button and completing a captcha. The coins slowly build up in your account until you hit the minimum withdrawal limit (.0001 to .001 BTC depending on the site). At that point, you withdraw your accumulated earnings to a personal wallet. Some faucets allow you to claim every 15 minutes, others every hour, and some only once a day. How often you can make claims is related to the amount of the payout. The more often you can claim, the less Bitcoin you receive each time.
Like most people, I started using faucets before I had a firm grasp of how to use Bitcoin. As a newcomer to cryptocurrency, I lacked the confidence to simply buy some, or even open an account on an exchange. As a result, when I came across faucets I was instantly excited. This triggered a frenzied process lasting several weeks where I scoured the internet for different faucet sites, hoping to find one that paid decent amounts of BTC. I knew I didn’t really understand what these sites were and why they were giving away coins, but there was so much I didn’t understand about cryptocurrency at that point that I assumed the reasons were legitimate even if obscure to me.
Ad-Based Bitcoin Faucets
During my obsession with faucets, I found all sorts. Most offered tiny amounts of Bitcoin in exchange for completing a captcha. I later realized these websites were earning revenue from the numerous ads and pop-ups populating their pages. The infinitesimal Bitcoin payments were a way of drawing people to the site to view and accidentally click ads. Many of the ads were for cloud mining operations that promised too-good-to-be-true returns in exchange for buying hash power from their cloud. Often, I would also see ads for so-called “investment” sites promising amazing returns in exchange for sending them crypto. Ads for other faucets sites would pop-up too, as would ads for ICOs.
The ad-based faucet pages were designed in ways that often made it difficult to tell where you were supposed to click to claim the Bitcoin. I’d often end up accidentally clicking an ad or two per visit. Some of these sites also offered lotteries and gambling games that could be played with the Bitcoin they gave out. These games held out the possibility of turning a handful of bits into full bitcoins. This is an intoxicating possibility for many crypto newcomers no doubt. Of course, the real result of buying lottery tickets or gambling away faucet earnings is you are simply returning the tiny amount of crypto given out back to the site.
Ethereum Mining Faucets
Another category of faucets I came across tended to offer tiny amounts of Ethereum in exchange for completing a captcha. I later discovered these sites were highjacking my computer’s CPU for the purposes of mining. After doing a bit more research, I discovered the electricity that was being used by my computer was worth more than the amount of Ethereum I was getting back. I quickly stopped using those sites. My mother (who was also getting into cryptocurrency at that time) was also faucetting. She was using one of these mining mining and after several months of daily visits was nearing the withdrawal limit (.0002 ETH in this case). One day, she went to make a claim and the withdrawal limit had unexpectedly doubled. She gave up on the site at that point.
There is a third category of faucet sites, which are more nefarious. Faucet wallets are sites that profess to be a wallet service that also deposits tiny amounts of crypto into your wallet in exchange for daily logins. Unfortunately, these are outright scams with the goal of enticing users to deposit their own crypto. One of two things then happen 1) users attempt to withdraw their coins to no avail 2) the site simply disappears one day taking all deposited coins with it. I wouldn’t really consider these true faucets because a classic faucet is not outright trying to steal your funds. Please take my advice and avoid faucet wallets, and if you do register with one, for the love of God do not deposit your own Bitcoin. For more information on faucet wallets scams, I recommend taking a look at this article.
Faucets are a Time Suck
The thing with faucets is the time they can suck out of your life. At first, it doesn’t seem to be that time consuming as each claim takes a few minutes. In actuality, it is very disruptive to your day. With faucetting comes a compulsion to make as many claims as possible on as many sites as possible. Many faucets also offer bonuses for daily logins or a percentage of claims made over the previous few days. These site designs elicit a sense of urgency to maximize payouts by making as many claims as possible.
If a faucet allows claims every 15 minutes, you are watching the clock to try to make four claims an hour. You wake up in the morning with the first thought of opening the computer and logging into a faucet. You step away from dinner to make claims (much to the charging of your spouse or partner). Trying to get work done at your day job with the continuous interruption of making claims also gets tiring. All of this accumulates until almost inevitably people give up on faucets. Indeed, after a few weeks, I came to realize faucets weren’t worth my time. By then, I had also learned I could drop $100 into a Bitcoin ATM and get several lifetimes’ worth of faucet earnings in one shot.
Faucets are a Gateway into Cryptocurrency
You might think the point of my story is to expose faucets as not worth the effort. However, I am not trying to warn newcomers away from them. However, this is not the case. I don’t have a wholly negative view of them. I actually think they have an important place in the cryptospace.
Faucets are a common gateway through which many people first enter the world of Bitcoin. They provide users a way to get comfortable with the concept of digital currency without risking their own funds. Faucets gave me the chance to test out wallets before attempting to buy crypto with my own money. My first transactions of BTC, ETH, LTC, DASH, and DOGE were all faucet withdrawals. In short, faucets gave me time to wrap my head around the concept of cryptocurrency. Once I was ready to move on from faucets, I was also ready to create my first cold wallet and open an exchange account.
Please check out my BlockDelta profile for my full list of contact / connection details.
If you have any questions about this article, please comment in the comment section below.