(…and trading’s not one of them)
The above quote from Naval deftly expresses part of crypto’s grand appeal: a boundless virtual world that anyone is free to enter. The challenge for many new to the space is there’s no instruction manual on how to play. With so many of the blockchain networks still in their nascent stages, simply holding tokens with the promise of future utility or enhanced value can feel frustrating. Worse, an itchy mouse finger can lead many to feel they need to actively trade to be involved. My advice — if you’re not a seasoned and savvy trader, then trying to beat the pros is best avoided.
A characteristic that differentiates crypto companies from other tech startups is that they are open networks in which anyone’s able to participate and contribute. Each of these networks has its own distinct economics, roles and rules of engagement. In some, you could validate transactions by mining (commonly known as Proof of Work) or by running a masternode. In others, you may provide a particular service to the network and in return receive more tokens or access to products.
In any case, even while the industry is still young, the opportunities to be active are plentiful. Here are my five suggestions for how you can get involved in crypto, without having to learn trading:
- Look for ambassador programmes
Every project needs its evangelists to bring more people into the network. Increasingly, projects are engaging super fans to play the role of community builders. For the project, it’s an opportunity to have someone from outside of their core team tell the network’s story. For the individual, it’s a chance to get closer to the project and really see what’s happening behind the scenes. It’s also a great CV builder and can even be a first step to getting a full-time role in the blockchain industry.
Most projects that are looking for ambassadors will include details on their website or Telegram groups. To get involved you’ll typically need to show, firstly, that you really understand the project and its vision, and secondly that you have some skills (professional or social) to contribute to the network.
2. Take part in competitions
Many crypto startups that launched in 2017 or 2018 are at the stage where they have their tech (e.g. app) in place and now are seeking to attract users. Competitions serve as a great marketing tactic to raise awareness and get people to engage. I’ve seen projects hold competitions in which participants are given a challenge related to writing, video production, branding or design. The prize will typically be for tokens, though some may offer other incentives such as tickets for tech events. If you have a creative mind then entering competitions can be a great way to have your talents recognised. If you’re successful, the project will likely promote your work on social media too.
3. Participate in bounties
Many crypto companies recognise that to realise their visions, they need to fully capitalise on the brainpower of their network. Offering bounties is a great way to incentivise people to provide help on tricky tasks like content creation, sharing insights via interview or even finding bugs in the source code. Depending on your skills and background, it’s worth monitoring opportunities on sites such as bounties.network to see if there are any tasks you can take on. If you do a good job, you’ll be duly rewarded for your efforts.
4. Attend or organise a meetup in your area
Crypto shouldn’t just be something you engage with through your computer. The ‘virus is spreading’, as Pomp would say, and in every city or town you can find other budding crypto fans. These events are a fantastic way to meet other enthusiasts, share ideas and have heated debates over a few beers. Check sites such as Meetup.com or Eventbrite to see what’s going on in your area. If you can’t see anything you like, or have a wicked idea for a new event, then start your own. Build it and the crypto geeks will come!
5. Create crypto content
If you’re a crypto addict, then no doubt you have plenty of ideas running through your head you’d like to explore. In a space with so many smart and informed people, it’s easy to feel intimidated or worry that an idea you express will be attacked and torn apart by someone more well-versed. Don’t be. Creating is an essential part of learning, and it’s only once you share your thoughts publicly that you’ll really test your knowledge. The great news is that there is no shortage of ways to get out there. Blogging on Medium, producing a daily YouTube video or livestreaming on Twitch are just some of the platforms you can utilise. Once you’ve got an audience in place, you might find that their comments and feedback provide you with further inspiration for new content. A word to the wise, if you decide to share strong opinions on twitter then be ready to back up your position!