Jul 092015
 

Bitcoin Ad Networks

Bitcoin ad networks are great to advertise Bitcoin businesses that want to reach out to the Bitcoin community and for publishers to make money from their Bitcoin-based websites. Bitcoin and cryptocurrency is still a very niche area of technology and finance, and as such, if you want to run a business in this field, it might be hard to reach the targeted audience. Luckily, there are some good Bitcoin ad networks out there that can help you reach the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency communities. These are also good for publishers who run websites in the Bitcoin niche, and have a decent sized audience.

Anonymous Ads

This is one of the oldest ad networks specifically in the Bitcoin space. The project started in Bitcointalk forums back in 2011, and is still going pretty strong. Anonymous Ads is also one of the only good Pay-Per-Impression (CPM) Bitcoin ad networks out there. This is very good for both companies and publishers. It allows fair amount of targeting based on niches, and the websites themselves are tagged manually after an editorial review, so you can be sure that your ad is delivered to websites in specific areas only, such as Bitcoin and News. The site also provides a lot of network statistics that you can use to estimate costs. For publishers, anonymous ads pays out automatically as long as your daily balance is above 0.1mBTC. Anonymous ads network is recommended for smaller startups and services that don’t have a ton of marketing budget, but still want to get enough brand recognition in the community.

a-ads network stats

BuySellAds

This is one the few mainstream ad networks that has a dedicated Bitcoin portal for advertisers, so they can reach out to the larger publishers. BuySellAds is recommended for more ‘mainstream startups’ that have enough money to spend on an intelligent and well targeted marketing campaign BuySellAds is quite selective in its process of approving websites and blogs, so the quality is usually higher. This also comes at a price of course – you’ll probably pay higher here than with anonymous ads or other PPC ad networks in the Bitcoin ad networks space. Advertisers can browse through the inventory, in this case all the Bitcoin related websites that have inventory with BSA and select the ones that appeal to them. Interestingly, BuySellAds announced in September 2014 that they will begin accepting Bitcoin payments, so you’ll be helping out the Bitcoin ecosystem by working with them. An added benefit of BSA is that you can use the same platform and reach more mainstream publications as well.

As of February 2016, BuySellAds works with 16 publishers in the Bitcoin space, including such common names as CoinDesk and BitcoinAliens.

BuySellAds Bitcoin Publishers

CoinURL

CoinURL is one of the oldest pay-per-click (PPC) Bitcoin ad networks out there. Many advertisers prefer pay per click over pay per view, and if this describes you, CoinURL is a perfect place to advertise your business. This is recommended for smaller shops and ventures where you want to reach the community for a few cents per visit. Also, its look and feel is very similar to Google Adsense.

From a publisher perspective, CoinURL delivers highly targeted ads from the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency companies, and therefore gels nicer with the content theme than more mainstream ad networks like Google Adsense. In my experience, Adsense has a far higher pay per click, but the number of clicks are also lower. CoinURL can provide genuine value to the readers, since the businesses are targeted towards Bitcoin.

Sample CoinURL Ad Unit

BitMedia

BitMedia is a relatively newer Bitcoin ad network, based on pay-per-click (PPC). It is quite similar to CoinURL, so perhaps it is best to try them out in parallel and see which ones provide the best conversions for you. They aren’t a fly-by-night ad network, and raised $100,000 for their product.

They seem to have different sources of ad inventory, and BitMedia is fairly selective in terms of allowing websites to join the network. They have a fairly decent ad-space inventory. Their advertisers too are mostly in the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency space, so the ads work better with Bitcoin and cryptocurrency related content. The ads look like regular banners, with a tiny ‘BM’ on the right hand top corner, similar to what Google Adsense does.

Bitmedia Ad Unit

CoreMedia

CoreMedia is a fast-growing Bitcoin-based ad network. You can choose from a wide variety of publishers in a catalog, and publishers can see all the advertisers on the network as well. Thus CoreMedia provides a very transparent experience to both sides. Advertisers can also see the minimum rates on publisher sites, and also choose different categories, like faucets, blogs, news, etc.

CoinMedia Publishers

BlockAdz

BlockAdz is a relatively new Bitcoin ad network but is growing fast. It is a pay-per-impression (PPM) ad network, as opposed to BitMedia and CoinURL which are pay-per-click (PPC).

From an advertiser point of view, BlockAdz are instantaneous and anonymous. These are great features to have, and provide additional value to the advertisers. Such a system then indirectly helps the publishers as well, since it would push prices up on limited inventory. As for this writing, BlockAdz has generated almost 200 million impressions and 38,000 clicks. Considering the fairly small ecosystem, this is worth taking a look.

BlockAdz stats

Crypto Media Hub

Crypto Media Hub is owned and run by Tatiana Moroz, an artist and a long-time member of the Bitcoin community. It is more than just a banner-ad service, but instead offers a much fuller advertising and marketing solutions tailored towards Bitcoin businesses. This route is advisable for startups that have enough capital or are backed by venture capital funds and want to reach a wider Bitcoin audience. They claim a huge network of publisher sites in addition to several value-added marketing services.

Crypto Media Hub Publisher List

BitTeaser

BitTeaser is a paid-to-click type of advertising that integrates all the nice features (for webmasters and publishers) in one place. It allows simple registration and creation of ad campaigns, and you’re charged in a PPC (pay-per-click) manner. An interesting addition to the regular ad model is that it allows advertisers (and also publishers) to publish an article within their platform to promote your business – sort of a native advertising type campaign but the articles reside on their site instead. In addition, they have banners on this article, and share their revenue from these articles with the person who submitted it. If you’re a new business, this is a quick way to get a backlink to your site from a Bitcoin/crypto related website.

Mellow Ads

Mellow Ads is quite popular with a lot of faucet sites, which seem to get a good amount of traffic. If you’re looking for cheap traffic – millions of impressions at a reasonable price, mellow ads should be near the top of the list. It allows you to see exactly what publishers you can purchase clicks or impressions from. It is both Paid to Click (PPC) and pay per impression (CPM), depending on what you’re interested in. It’s becoming more prominent of late, and lots of sites seem to be using Mellow Ads. Their rates are low, so publishers are paid well too, which is always a plus. They are relatively new, however.

Cointelegraph Ad Network

Cointelegraph ad network

Cointelegraph is making a name for itself in the Bitcoin content space, competing even with heavyweights like CoinDesk at times. They have also formed an ad network where they partner with other websites out there in the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency space, and your ad is then displayed on this whole network. A lot of Bitcoin companies use this route to reach out the Bitcoin community, and this is worth exploring further if you’re a serious business in this niche and have a marketing budget.

In addition to banner advertising, since most of these sites are content-based, there are other forms of advertising that you can experiment with, from a contest or giveaway to social media campaign or a sponsored quiz.

Bonus Ideas

For advertisers, there are other ways to reach out the Bitcoin community than through Bitcoin ad networks. These are localized in scope, but still get a lot of eyeballs.

  • Reddit Ad: The Reddit Bitcoin subreddit has a sponsored link on top of all the content, and two banner ads to the side panel. This is a very high eyeball community, and it’s worth exploring options here. Reddit Bitcoin ad
  • Zeroblock Sponsored Story: Zeroblock app is especially popular for mobile users, which contains a quick snapshot of the health of the Bitcoin network (mining information, block times, price, etc.) and also news. In the news section, the top story is sponsored content. This is another nice way to market your business. Zeroblock Promoted Article

Note: If you want even more resources, you can search a tool like Thalamus for ‘Bitcoin’ and find additional sites.

Paid to Click Advertising

Paid to click advertising is another way to promote a Bitcoin business, or any other business, for cheap. The conversions through this route are generally not very favorable, and they are generally not very reputable, so paid to click advertising is not advisable for the more serious Bitcoin businesses. However, for smaller ventures and projects, this can be an option worth considering.

If you want to use Bitcoin paid to click advertising, some of the best sites in this niche are BitterBitsForClicks, BTCClicks, , Ads4BTC.

Photo Credit: Diego3336

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Dec 302014
 

Diversify Bitcoin to Real Estate

Full Disclosure: I am currently a customer of HomeUnion and they have agreed to waive 3 months of management fee for this article. The views expressed are my own though.

Bitcoin price has been on a tear this year, with the total market capitalization reaching an all-time high and the price flirting with the psychologically important $1000/BTC mark. 2016 was an interesting year for cryptocurrency in general, with Bitcoin seeing a more than 100% price rise, Ethereum seeing almost 700% price rise, and the launch of many ICOs in the top 20 cryptos from Waves and Lisk to Augur and ICONOMI. With the price frenzy going on in the industry, let’s take a step back and review cryptocurrency in general and Bitcoin in particular from an investment point of view.

Many of my readers are old-timers who still remember Bitcoin trading in the single digits. Now, as the price approaches 4 digits, Bitcoin investors may look to diversify their holdings. Many of the traditional asset classes seem pricey, with the S&P 500 price-to-earnings at over 25, and the Shiller P/E ratio near an all-time high excluding previous economic shocks. This doesn’t mean stocks are not a good asset class, but merely that based on historical data they are unlikely to yield the kind of growth in the next 5 years as the previous 5.

In such cases, real-estate still remains an attractive investment option, as interest rates are still low based on historical standards (though increasing fast). The biggest challenge for long-term Bitcoin holders of diversifying into real estate is that real estate requires active management (as opposed to Bitcoin, which you just hold in your cold wallet and sit back). Managing real estate is not for everyone. Being a Bitcoin investor, when I looked into diversifying my own wealth into real estate, here were some of my criteria:

  • As passive as possible. I don’t want to be called in the middle of the night to fix a toilet.
  • Long time horizon. Even though things move at an accelerated pace in the Bitcoin world, I am looking for investments in the 20+ year time-frame. There is a risk that the Bitcoin experiment might fail in that long time horizon, thus the increased need for diversification. Tech changes faster than real-estate.
  • Little to no monthly cash outflow. I am interested in diversifying now, i.e. when the Bitcoin price is high. I don’t know how the price will do next year. Therefore I would like to have an initial cash outflow of course, but not incremental cash outflows throughout the life of the investment. Ideally, it will be cash-flow positive.
  • Diversification within real-estate. Buying a single house can be risky due to geographic risk, unit-specific risk, etc. I would ideally find a diversified portfolio.
  • Ease of finding the initial investment. I am not a real-estate expert, and don’t want to spend tens or hundreds of hours researching the best properties.

I was able to meet all my criteria via Home Union. They’re a startup that have raised over $20 million from venture capital firms. It has also filed to go public soon. The premise is to make single family homes investing as easy as say stock investing. It ensures that the process can be as passive as is possible, but with the option that you can make it active in the future.

They help you with the following:

  • Selecting a good investment, out of the potential hundreds of thousands throughout the US.
  • Acting as a buyers-agent, and bidding and negotiating on your behalf, and making an offer on your behalf.
  • Helping you with a mortgage, if you need financing. Taking care of the documentation, etc.
  • Doing any rehab on the property without your involvement, to make it rentable for the maximum amount.
  • Search for tenants to stay at the property.
  • Manage the tenancy – collecting rents, attending to emergencies, etc. All the 1am broken toilet calls go to them, not to you.
  • Provide good reporting dashboard and tools to track your proforma returns, actual returns, etc. and also have a single portal for all your rental investments, documents, etc.

From a wealth-diversification point of view, using the services of a company like HomeUnion is especially appealing if you don’t want to manage properties yourself, and like a Bitcoin investment, make it as passive as possible. Not very unsurprisingly, Bitcoin and real-estate have had a symbiotic relationship in the past, with New York’s Bitcoin Center, in the heart of Wall Street, being owned by a real-estate mogul who made it free for all to attend events there, greatly helping promote Bitcoin to New Yorkers and tourists alike. However, investing in Bitcoin-hotbeds like New York and Silicon Valley can get expensive really fast.

For me, taking the step into real-estate investing with Home Union was easy. It helps with diversification, and helps me learn about real-estate. The biggest advantage is I don’t even need to physically see a house before I buy it! It’s all about running the numbers – returns, cash-flow, debt, etc. and ensuring it makes sense. If you’re new to real-estate, I would recommend first reading up some material on single-family homes and investing. One classic that helped me is Building Wealth One House at a Time.

For some reason, Bitcoin has resonated with all the real-estate people I met (especially at the New York Bitcoin Center). Maybe there is some interest the other way around as well. Smart investors know not to put a majority of their wealth in one asset. If you’re in the asset-preservation rather than asset-growth stage of your investment, diversification from Bitcoin wealth should really benefit you. You can check out the investment houses on Home Union for free, and only hire them if some property appeals to you.

Photo Credit: Rodrigo Soldon

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May 222014
 

Coins-eCoins-e, the cryptocurrency exchange that was established last year is celebrating its 1 year anniversary with a full week of zero-fee trading. This should be a very good opportunity for cryptocurrency traders and altcoin arbitrageurs who can exploit price discrepancies across different exchanges. Also, people looking to establish a decent long position or want to sell out their positions might do so on Coins-e now, as there would be no fee (of course, bear in mind that the volume/depth on Coins-e isn’t as great as some of the other exchanges like Cryptsy, Bter or MintPal).

Coins-e is a decent exchange that not many in the community seem to know about. It’s trading volumes are fairly low, so the markets aren’t too deep. However, the exchange has been very reliable with almost no issues while trading or depositing, so that’s a very good start. I’ve used Coins-e in the past when Cryptsy was down (which happens more often than you’d like) and it worked like a charm.

No trading fees can actually provide a good amount of liquidity to the exchange, so I suspect this promotion will help with volumes. We saw this in China when most exchanges had a zero fee policy to attract new customers, the trading volume was very high. When exchanges instituted a small fee, trading volume went downhill (although this was for the BTC/CNY market, the idea is the same).

Coins-e has the potential to be a serious contender in the growing cryptocurrency exchange business. It is old and has a spotless reputation. Somehow, it isn’t as visible in the community. Perhaps they need a new marketing coordinator who would help bring in volumes. Having such low volumes on a very well made exchange is a pity, especially in a market that is booming with new trading activity almost every day.

Until then, enjoy the week of free trading on Coins-e. The week starts on 23rd May 2013, per their announcement (and email they sent out to all members).

Used Coins-e for trading? How was your experience?

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Apr 132014
 

Buy Bitcoin with PayPal and Credit Cards

Have you been wondering how to buy Bitcoin with PayPal? Or credit card? This wouldn’t appeal to the veterans, but it sure as hell would appeal to a lot of people who are new to the cryptocurrency space, and is a great way to introduce your grandma to Bitcoin.

I am here to introduce an interesting service today, called Bitcoin Insanity, that makes it possible to buy Bitcoin with PayPal or credit card. This is a great way to conveniently buy some Bitcoin online through the most used payment processors of the day. Obviously, owing to the additional risk and the fees charged by these services, you’ll end up paying a premium on the current market value of Bitcoin but if you’re looking to introduce someone to Bitcoin for the first time and they don’t want to jump through hoops to create an account at an exchange, Bitcoin Insanity is a nice way to get your first Bitcoins without hassle. This service will probably not appeal to the seasoned traders and professionals out there.

The service allows you to buy a small amount of Bitcoins through PayPal or check out with credit card. They use Mijireh Checkout to process their transactions, so you don’t have to trust them with your credit card information. If you’re buying Bitcoin through PayPal, then you will just be redirected to the PayPal’s page and you can enter your credentials directly on PayPal’s site. This should help you trust a new service more with your payment.

Remember that both PayPal and credit card involve reversible transactions, so the site needs to take care of any possible chargebacks and avoid fraud. This is one of the reasons you are limited to only small quantities of Bitcoin you can buy, currently up to $25.

As of this writing, the current charges are –

18mBTC for $18
28mBTC for $28
40mBTC for $20
50mBTC for $25

As you can see, the prices are higher than the Bitstamp prices, which reflect the increased risk of chargebacks, the payment processing fees and their own profit of course. Bitcoin Insanity joins a troupe of smaller businesses who are gearing up to capture a smaller niche of the market who are new to Bitcoin and want to get their first Bitcoins as easily as possible. There are several sites out there today that offer this service, and it reduces the risk to consumers because both PayPal and credit card transactions are reversible. You can’t blame the average person curious about Bitcoin to want more protection, especially after the MtGox fiasco.

Also, they have an active Twitter account that you can follow for latest updates on price and other services.

The site has granted the readers of this blog a special coupon code – BTCGEEK. Use this at checkout to get 10% off on your purchase! Happy Bitcoin buying with PayPal!

Photo Credit: ryanne lai

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Mar 042014
 

Tinkercoin Buy Bitcoin with Credit Card

Note: Tinkercoin has since “pivoted” and no longer provides this service. If you want to buy Bitcoin with Credit Card, the best service currently is Circle, which charges you around 3% extra from the spot price for using a credit card, but no other transaction fees. In addition, Coinbase still seems like one the best ways to buy your first Bitcoins. Other companies might fill in this niche.

If you’re new to Bitcoin and want to buy Bitcoin with a credit card, there’s a new service that just opened for you: Tinkercoin. There’s one catch though – you can only buy $20 worth of Bitcoin, once, and nothing else. This is, therefore, a great way to get introduced or introduce people to Bitcoin. Even though $20 worth of Bitcoin doesn’t sound like much, it seems like there is no quick and easy way for someone to get their hands on some Bitcoin and play around with it, just to get a feel for cryptocurrencies and how they work. Tinkercoin solves this problem in a very neat and efficient manner. So next time you have a friend who has no clue how to buy Bitcoin (with a credit card or otherwise) but is curious enough to spend a little to actually have some Bitcoins, Tinkercoin is a good site to refer her to.

Remember why it is so hard to buy Bitcoin with credit card: Bitcoin transactions are irreversible whereas credit card transactions/PayPal transactions are not. This means the seller of Bitcoin is taking and enormous risk by selling his Bitcoins for credit card because the charge can be reversed. Tinkercoin charges you $5 for this, so it covers their credit card fees and some buffer to cover potential chargebacks. Also, they reduce risk by asking you to connect your Facebook page, and some other details.

Tinkercoin is a great service to get someone introduced to Bitcoin. However, don’t try to think of it as a place where you can buy thousands of dollars worth of Bitcoin on your credit card. Also, beware of places that promise you the same.

If you’re in the US, Coinbase is perhaps the best way to buy Bitcoins by connecting it with your bank account. Once you’re verified to the highest level on Coinbase, they give you the option to connect your credit card. They hold the credit card on file – in case a normal ACH deposit comes back with insufficient funds, they will charge your credit card. I’ve contacted Coinbase and they said this is just a backup option and there is no way to really buy Bitcoin with credit cards on Coinbase without a rejected ACH withdrawal (I wouldn’t recommend this route due to charges involved).

If you’ve used Tinkercoin to buy Bitcoin with your credit card, please share your experience.

Photo Credit: Philip Taylor

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Aug 192013
 

Earn_Bitcoin_Video

Here are some ways to earn Bitcoin for watching videos online. Currently, Virool Videos is the only realistic way to earn Bitcoins watching videos online, so I’ll stick with sites that allow you to watch Virool Videos and in return, give you some Bitcoin.

Remember: For all Virool Videos, you only need to watch the video for 30 seconds to be credited.

Remember Also: You cannot watch the same videos on multiple sites, so the inventory is limited. Where you watch these are up to you, but it cannot be duplicated. So pick your sites carefully.

If you’re looking for more ideas, check out my more detailed post on How to Earn Bitcoin Online.

BitcoinGet: Quite a trusted site, easy to navigate and good interface. No unnecessarily complicated captchas. Additional income possible through CrowdFlower tasks (usually ranging from 40-500 uBTC/task).

Payout: 50uBTC/video

Minimum Payout: 100 uBTC. Payout is automatic, and very convenient.

CoinHD: A relatively new site, it has a nice interface and has a good inventory of videos to watch. The payout progressively decreases, so you get to watch the top paying videos first. The minimum payout is at 60uBTC, which is very reachable in a few days. The payout per video varies quite a bit.

ABitBack (not active anymore): Trusted site, slightly lower payment than BitcoinGet but the greatest feature is that you can withdraw to Bitcoin, Litecoin and even Amazon gift card. Plenty of other options to earn some Bitcoins, including Radio Loyalty, Supersonic Ads, etc. If you want to earn Litecoin online, this is the best way. If you have a smartphone, highly recommend Supersonic Ads – just install some game apps, open it, then delete it and you’ll get up to 5000 uBTC for it. Easy to accumulate points. Also has CrowdFlower tasks but fewer than at BitcoinGet.

Payout: 1 point = 30uBTC/video (or) 1mLTC/video (or) $0.005/video

Minimum Payout: 30 points for BTC (30 videos), 250 points for LTC (250 videos), $1.00 through PayPal (200 videos)

LandOfBitcoin: An older site, with a few options to earn Bitcoins in addition to Virool Videos – very low paying but frequently recharged faucet, a few PTC ads, etc. A good option to consider if you don’t like the two sites above. Pay per video is 20% lower than BitcoinGet.

Payout: 40uBTC/video

Minimum Payout: No minimum payout

Did I miss any sites? Do you use any of these? Let me know in the comments below.

Bonus Tip: In most cases, refreshing the page can reveal additional videos, once you reach the page that says ‘No more videos to watch’. This is especially true on BitcoinGet.

Photo Credit: avsa

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Aug 012013
 

Bitcoin-Brokers Review

Here’s my Bitcoin-Brokers review as a seller of Bitcoin. Bitcoin-brokers is a service that allows you to buy Bitcoin anonymously for buyers, and sell Bitcoin at a premium to MtGox price for sellers. See the official BitcoinTalk thread for more details and latest updates.

I haven’t yet used their service for buying Bitcoin (by the way, if you’re interested in buying Bitcoin anonymously, check out Local Bitcoins, which tries to get buyers and sellers together in a given geography).

So how does Bitcoin-Brokers really work? It works differently for buyers and sellers:

For Buyers of Bitcoin: You will be given a bank account with name, account number and routing information. You walk into a bank with cash and deposit this money into this account. You then show a proof of the deposit to Bitcoin-Brokers and your Bitcoins will be sent to your wallet. Buyers pay a 2% fees.

For Sellers of Bitcoin: You will need to share your full name, bank account number and routing number which will be given to a potential buyer. You then transfer as many Bitcoins as you want to sell to a unique address given to you. Someone who wants to buy your Bitcoins is given your bank account information. When a buyer makes a payment into your bank account, you can release the Bitcoin to the buyer (you have until 8pm next day PST to confirm the same). Just in case you’re wondering, the information is “safe” and present on any bank check that you use, so there’s no real scope for misusing this information.

If this process sounds like you need a lot of trust in Bitcoin-Brokers, then you’re right. Remember that Bitcoin-Brokers never sees your money, which means they are not a financial exchange and thus not governed by the same laws that exchanges have to follow. This is another reason I think it’s important to put a Bitcoin-Brokers review out there, so anyone can share their experience.

Personal Experience

Here’s my personal experience with this service.

Firstly, I submitted a request to try the service out. The minimum currently is $400, so I decided to try the service out with 5 BTC.The first step is applying to the site as a seller, which means creating a support ticket. All communication is through this ticket, so it is a very manual process on both ends. You talk to the person in charge, who goes by Daniel Brown (Dan) through the ticket.

I’ve found Dan to be very responsive at least during the morning hours of EST. Once the process was confirmed, he gave me a personal wallet id to which I would send my Bitcoins that I wanted sold. Once again, I had to trust that he wouldn’t run away with my Bitcoins.

I bought 5 BTC on Coinbase. I am a level-2 verified member at Coinbase, so I when I want to buy Bitcoin, I get them instantaneously to my wallet (they don’t need to wait for confirmations). I immediately sent the 5 Bitcoins to the wallet id that Dan provided me with.

The 5 BTC were sold in 2 batches over a period of 3 days. This means there is a good amount of risk that you, as a seller, take on, because prices can fluctuate a lot during this time. Here are the financial details of how this went along:

Bought 5 Bitcoin from Coinbase (including fees): -$463.59
First batch of Bitcoin sold:                                      $375.00
Second batch of Bitcoin sold:                                 $132.90
Total:                                                                      $ 44.31

This was not too shabby. However, several things to note with my experience:

  • As a seller, you’re taking on a lot of risk especially when BTC/USD can fluctuates. In my case, it happened to favor me as the price of BTC was rising after I bought them and at the time of selling, it was higher. However, realize that there’s a good deal of risk in this because of the long time-frames involved.
  • You need to trust the person on the other end. There is no identity checks, business accreditation, etc. You are only hoping this works out for the good.

If you have experience with Bitcoin-Brokers, I’d like to hear from you and your thoughts on this. I was using it more as a Bitcoin arbitrage trade but perhaps there are others who are using this differently.

Photo Credit: Bitstamp Twitter

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