A Bitcoin faucet: free Bitcoin

January 17, 2024
3 min read

A Bitcoin faucet is a concept that originated in the early years of Bitcoin. It was a website that gave out free Bitcoin to visitors, known as a "faucet." All visitors had to do was fill out a captcha, and as a reward, they received 5 BTC. This sounds almost unbelievable today, but in the early years of Bitcoin, it was a way to get people excited, since the technology was too complex for most people.

When Bitcoin was still very complicated

Until early 2011, users had to run a full Bitcoin client to receive BTC. This client was a software package that gave them a Bitcoin node, allowed them to mine, and came with their own Bitcoin address. There were no cryptocurrency exchanges yet where people could buy or store Bitcoin using traditional fiat currencies such as dollars or euros. As a result, relatively few people owned Bitcoin at this time: it was still too inconvenient for the masses.

Supporting adoption

Gavin Andresen, an influential Bitcoin developer, decided to set up a website in 2010 where he gave away 20,000 Bitcoin. Such a website is called a faucet; because very small bits of crypto "trickle out." By now we can no longer call twenty thousand BTC small bits. But at the time, this amount only cost Gavin about fifty dollars.

The goal was to create a community of users. Getting more users was crucial to Bitcoin's success because the network effect is essential in the world of cryptocurrency.

Visitors only had to fill out the captcha to receive Bitcoin. A captcha is still widely used today, for example on websites that want to prevent spam or bots. With a captcha, one has to click on which pictures have road signs, for example, or type over some letters and numbers to prove you are not a bot.

This concept of handing out cryptocurrency via a faucet was later applied to other cryptocurrencies, such as Litecoin and Ethereum. Most of these faucet websites automatically create a wallet for users to receive small amounts of cryptocurrency. The tasks visitors had to complete sometimes went beyond just filling out a captcha, but back in the day, they were always meant to be simple and fun.

How do I get free Bitcoin from a faucet?

Although the original Bitcoin faucets are now gone or empty, Bitcoin and cryptocurrency faucets still exist today. However, it is important to note that they do not make you rich; users often have to do countless clicks to earn only a few pennies worth of cryptocurrency. These websites often contain many ads that are required to be viewed, and sometimes they include very scammy gambling elements.

Users often have to create an account and leave personal information, and sometimes they are expected to download files to receive their rewards, posing countless risks. On the other hand, faucet owners also have to fight against bots trying to drain their stock of cryptocurrency. This is why there is often a time lock on them and a computer can only use the faucet once in a while.

All in all, today's faucets are certainly not what they used to be, and it is best not to use them.

The information provided in our articles is intended solely for general informational purposes and does not constitute (financial) advice.

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