I have to admit; I’ve had more fun in crypto the past few months than I have in a long time.
Focusing less on prices, and more on playing with dApps I enjoy, has made me really appreciate the efforts going into blockchains. Even if the internet were to implode tomorrow, I would look back on my time playing with ETH, Steem, and other cryptocurrencies with wonder.
So this is a listicle for those of you who like to tinker around and try new things in 2020. None of the following require any coding or IT knowledge; most internet users should be able to work through these if they can follow directions. Some (1, 2, and 5) require a browser extension like Meta Mask, which is not too technical and fairly straightforward.
All of cryptocurrency is still very much in beta, so do these at your own risk and don’t use an amount of money you’re not afraid to lose. In fact, everything below can be done for less than $5 total. I’m not recommending it as an investment of your money, but an investment of your time. Each and every one of these I have played with personally.
Maker’s DAI is *the* stablecoin par excellence. If you hold ETH, you can deposit it into a Vault and create DAI.
This is much easier done than explained, so try it out and see for yourself how easy it has become your own bank. You can even hold your DAI and earn a 6% interest rate!
Non Fungible Tokens, or NFTs, are a booming industry, and Open Sea is the place to find many of them. Each of these items is digitally unique, so once they’re in your crypto wallet you own them. If you’ve used Steam (the gaming platform, not Steem the blockchain), you’re familiar with the Steam marketplace, which allows users to trade in game items and shwag. With the case of Steam, however, we don’t truly own our digital collectibles. If Valve (the company behind Steam) wanted to close our accounts, they could do so, and we’d lose everything. Many of the collectibles are valuable, and they’re not freely tradable like NFTs are.
You can find and buy NFTs for less than a dollar right now; like Beanie Babies, most are a terrible “investment”. I only recommend getting a few to play around with or as a gag gift for a friend. Don’t go buying a rare Cryptokitty thinking you’re going to flip it in a couple years and pay for college.
Gods Unchained is a collectible card game, similar to Magic the Gathering or Steem Monsters. It had a major growth spike after Blizzard banned a Hearthstone player for showing support for Hong Kong’s protestors. Gamers are more interested in playing fun games than they are in censorship resistance, but this was a wake up call to many. Regardless, GU is a fun and complex game with a large player base and active deck creation/strategy crafting.
4. Stake Tokens
Staking is a quickly growing trend in the blockchain space, and there are a ton of different tokens to stake. With staking, you don’t need to buy expensive hardware to mine a coin or earn rewards. Of course, not all staking is the same, and some “staking” tokens are garbage projects. Nevertheless, it’s worth it to spend a little time looking into some of these projects and playing around with them.
Probably the easiest for beginners is holding Tezos on Coinbase or Kraken, where you’ll earn about 5% with no technical knowledge necessary. ZRX is also incredibly easy to stake, although it takes a couple steps.
This is not an endorsement of either project, as much as it is an endorsement of learning to stake tokens online. The tech is still early; an unknown bug could wipe you out completely.
Gitcoin has made it easy to give grants to projects you love. This includes both public goods projects (ie some of the teams building Eth 2.0) as well as Ethereum focused media (like Week in Ethereum by @evanvanness).
There are also quests where you can earn Non Fungible Tokens called Kudos. Quests are essentially mini quizzes. They’re a great way to grow your knowledge of blockchain tech, and also fun and addicting.
Of course, there are leaderboards. People like to be recognized for giving, even if they have pseudonymous personalities online.
This list is far from complete, but it should give most people a few ideas to play around with. Enjoy, and let me know in the comments (or on Twitter) what projects you’ve enjoyed playing with!