Exploring Cryptocurrency

I mentioned in my June 2021 net worth update post that I had started putting some funds into cryptocurrency as a speculative investment. I’ve decided to move those around into some more interesting cryptocurrency projects that come with an entertainment/social aspect to them as a bonus. Since I assume that my cryptocurrency transactions could ultimately drop to zero, I figured I might as well do something with entertainment value rather than buying some Ether or Bitcoin and leaving it locked in a crypto wallet.

Beyond Bitcoin and Ether

In that first post, I noted that I began by investing some money into Ether, which is the second largest cryptocurrency by market cap. Bitcoin is currently the largest cryptocurrency. I utilized Coinbase for these initial purchases. The fees at Coinbase are modest and make it easy to get started holding cryptocurrency. However, you are rather limited to what you can do if you just hold your crypto within a custodian account like Coinbase. To get into more interesting crypto projects, I had to transfer my coins off-site to my own wallets.

Depending on which coins you want to get involved in will dictate which wallets you should use. I decided to get involved with the HIVE blockchain project, which rewards users for posting content on their blogging platform at www.hive.blog. This is where the entertainment and social part of it comes into play. Unfortunately, there is no HIVE for sale on Coinbase, so you’ll need to make use of another service to convert your crypto from Coinbase. I have had success with a site called SimpleSwap.

On SimpleSwap, you’ll send them your Coinbase-held cryptocurrency and ask them to convert it into one of dozens of other currencies and then they will send it to your desired wallet. I am able to quickly convert Bitcoin to HIVE using SimpleSwap. This process can also be used to switch your HIVE back to Bitcoin or Ether or some other currency that Coinbase supports.

Is crypto an investment or entertainment?

Because I am only putting in money I can afford to lose, these cryptocurrency purchases are rightly categorized as speculative investments or entertainment. Within the HIVE blockchain, I have been playing a card game called Splinterlands as well as a physical activity tracking/motivation app called Actifit.


Splinterlands is an entertaining card game similar to Magic the Gathering. Splinterlands requires a $10 purchase of the Summoner’s Spellbook in order to play in a way that allows you to earn crypto from your activity. However, this $10 expense was quickly recouped when I was rewarded a card worth $30, which I immediately sold. Of course, as with most cryptocurrency games, the more crypto you put into the particular game or app, the higher your earnings will be from using it. This is the point at which these apps can cross from entertainment into investment and some players of Splinterlands have amassed card decks worth tens of thousands of dollars and some are even in the six-figures. These players can earn hundreds of dollars worth of crypto per day from their gameplay.

I have no intention of spending 5-figures on purchasing a competitive Splinterlands card deck or trying to make a living playing the game and competing in regular tournaments, but it’s fun to watch those that do. The sampling above of my card deck was built mostly from just playing the game for free. New cards are randomly awarded as part of completing the daily challenge or at the end of each season (12-14 days) of gameplay.


Actifit is a great app to motivate me to get up and exercise and it rewards with cryptocurrency based on my activity level. A $2 fee is required to get started, but from there you are free to earn crypto rewards on your daily activity reports. As long as you achieve at least 5000 activity points, which are roughly your tracked steps for the day, you can earn rewards that day. The Actifit app is available for both Android and iOS devices and simply tracks your steps in the background while you go about your day.

I have been using Actifit off and on for a few years now and have built it up to the point where I am able to earn about $10-20 per month from my walking. I don’t think it’s possible to get rich or make a significant sum from Actifit, but considering I’m getting paid for exercising, I’d call that a win.

How to Earn Free Bitcoin

What got me started with cryptocurrency was an app called NiceHash. What NiceHash does is use the spare capacity of your computer’s graphics card to mine for cryptocurrency. I get paid based on the value of the work my graphics card is completing. Once I reach about $20 worth of Bitcoin earned in my NiceHash account, I can transfer it to Coinbase for free and either sell it and deposit the cash in my checking account or send it wherever I want (as described above). If you want to check to see if your video card is powerful enough to earn a passive Bitcoin income, scroll down the main NiceHash website and try out their Profitability Calculator. For example, my AMD RX 5700 XZ 8GH graphics card earns me about $3.59/day using NiceHash. These rates fluctuate up and down as demand for cryptocurrency mining power changes. There have been times when I have earned upwards of $20/day from mining with NiceHash. Using NiceHash, you could get started with cryptocurrency for zero out of pocket costs!


Cryptocurrency Profits

Across these applications and a couple of other places, I’ve managed to grow my cryptocurrency “investment” from a total of $2,050 in deposits to about $5,300 in total value within a few months. There was a while that I was sitting on some losses before things really took off after switching over to HIVE. At this point, I probably won’t add anymore to the pot and just let the current amount ride while I enjoy playing the games. If I end up making a sizeable gain while playing an internet game, that’s great! If it eventually goes to zero, oh well – I had fun.