How To Earn Bitcoin Without Investing Hard Cash

Following my article ‘Why South Africa’s Stance on Cryptocurrency will Fail’, I got to thinking: can the average cash-strapped South African take advantage of the global cryptocurrency boom without spending a single cent of their hard-earned income? The answer, I found, lies in affiliate marketing.

Here’s a basic explanation on how this works along with a couple of options to get you started, and 6 ways that you can promote your affiliate link to maximise your potential for earning passive income through your bitcoin affiliate programme/s.

To kick off his article, let’s define what affiliate marketing actually is: …an arrangement by which an online retailer pays a commission to an individual for traffic or sales generated from his/her referrals.

But referrals don’t just happen. It takes some degree of skill and effort on the part of the affiliate to convince his/her friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and followers to actually click the link to the online retailers' website. When this happens, the website link contains the affiliates unique number, which is recorded and credited to the affiliate’s account by the online retailer. Of course, your referral has to actually buy something while at the online retailers store for you to earn a commission.

In the case of cryptocurrency trading, you had best be certain that the online trader or exchange that you’re referring your friends to is legitimate. In effect, you’re actually using your friends hard-earned cash to fund your own trading account. And there’s no quicker way to loose friends than by being the cause of loosing their money. Conversely, you’ll strengthen your friendships when they do make a ton of money.

If you’re anything like me, besides Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies like Litecoin, Ethereum, ZCash, Dash, Ripple, and Monero, are all foreign terms. Apparently, these are collectively known as altcoins (modified versions of Bitcoin), and there are over 700 of them. What really baffles my mind though, is the market capitalisation behind these altcoins (capitalisation is calculated by multiplying the total number of coins in circulation by the trading price). According to Investopedia, the total market capitalisation of the 6 aforementioned altcoins is $69.71 billion. By contrast, bitcoin’s market cap is $119.68 billion at a trading price of $6,959.83 USD (at the time of writing).

Most cryptocurrency trading exchanges require that the user makes an initial deposit into the platform, usually around R3000 ($250). For beginners, like me, auto trading platforms are best as these use cutting edge algorithmic trading automation to detect whether the value of a particular cryptocurrency will rise or fall and executes the trade on your behalf.

Here are two local African exchanges that I’ve researched and recommend for you to start earning bitcoin without investing your own hard cash (known as Fiat* currency in crypto-speak):


Established in 2013, iceCUBED is a CIPC** registered South African Bitcoin company (registered as Internet Currency Evolution Cubed (Pty) Ltd).

Two useful features of iceCUBED, from a beginners perspective, are the Bitcoin School and the Bitcoin Trading School.

The Bitcoin School provides answers to the most commonly asked questions about Bitcoin, while the Trading School takes you through basic levels of Bitcoin education, from preschool to kindergarten and elementary school.

iceCUBED’s Crypto Affiliate Exchange Programme allows you to register for free and start to earn commissions in real-time, and get paid out instantly in either South African Rand (ZAR) or in Nigerian Naira (NGN) currency on a daily basis. Affiliate commission is calculated instantly and updated every 3 hours. You earn a percentage (25 % — 5% FIAT & 10%-2.5% CRYPTO) of the commission charged on every single trade made by your referrals, as well on the trades made by your 2nd-tier referrals.

The cool thing about iceCUBED is there is no waiting period, no minimum trading requirements, and no minimum deposits required, so your affiliate referrals can start trading right away — and you can start earning right away too.

Once you’ve registered as an affiliate you can log in and see all of the latest buys and sells trading stats by cryptocurrency coin type. Clicking on the ‘Account’ tab displays your dashboard and in the ‘Affiliates’ tab, you’ll find your unique affiliate number link (the link that you’ll use to promote and refer people to iceCUBED). Here, you’ll also see all of your referrals and your commissions earned against their trading revenue streams.


CoinDirect is a relatively new African-focused cryptocurrency exchange launched in June 2018. Established by a consortium of technology investors with operations in London and now in South Africa, Coindirect is a digital exchange currency service provider that allows users to buy, convert, store, send or sell more than 43 cryptocurrencies to diversify your portfolio quickly and easily. The platform combines a peer-to-peer marketplace, wallets and an exchange to allow customers to access cryptocurrencies from their local currency.

Ask any experienced cryptocurrency trader what their biggest hassle with altcoin trading is, and they’ll tell you that it’s keeping track of their e-wallets and the cost of transferring funds from one wallet to another. They also worry about the security of these wallets. With CoinDirect, not only can users open new wallets for every altcoin they’re interested in, but they can also transfer between wallets (and to wallets outside of the network, like your iceCUBED wallet) with just a couple of clicks. No approvals needed, and no minimum waiting periods.

Users also receive weekly ‘Crypto Market Gainers Vs. Losers’ emails to keep abreast on what’s trending, along with informative ‘read more’ article links and a regularly updated blog.

On the affiliate side, Coindirect offers 20% commission for life on any customer you refer. Highlights of their affiliate programme include the ability to earn in the base currency that your friend buys in and they payout daily. You earn commission regardless if you bring in buyers or sellers. However, sellers have higher trading volumes (and order values), so there is potential for you to earn more by referring sellers. Your affiliate referrals pay just 0.25% on transactions fees and can fund their crypto trading account from local bank accounts (currently in 5 African countries — Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, and South Africa — and 19 international countries with more on the way).

Marketing Your Affiliate Link

If you’ve read this far, you’re probably wondering how to go about getting referrals. Here are 6 ways that you can promote your affiliate link to maximise your potential for earning passive income through your affiliate programme:

1. Create a Sales Funnel

The quickest and easiest way I’ve found to create lead-generating and sales-closing funnels are by using ClickFunnels. It’s exactly what its name says it is — an easy-to-use and intuitive bit of online software that creates clickable sales funnels. Here you’ll have everything you need to market your affiliate programme. You can generate leads, run a webinar, create ‘smart’ lists, send bulk emails, and up-sell online, without requiring a website or hiring expensive technology development teams. Best of all is their ‘Backpack’ module — an easy all-in-one affiliate software that allows you to add an affiliate programme to the back of your sales funnel in just minutes using pre-designed template pages. And you can try out their system on a free 14-day trial basis. There’s even a short ‘Blogging / Affiliate’ quiz to get your affiliate sales off to a flying start.

2. Share with Friends, Family and Social Media Followers

Seems obvious, but another way to share your affiliate link is directly through your WhatsApp contacts and social media followers on channels like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Sharing your unique link on any platform will build up your list of referrals, and you’ll earn from each of their transactions.

3. Create Review Videos

YouTube can be one of the most effective places to promote your affiliate link as there is a large potential audience hungry for useful cryptocurrency content. Create videos showing how simple it is to buy or sell altcoins.

4. Start a Blog or Post Articles and Reviews on your Website

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency are going to be trending for some time to come. Everyone from the mainstream media and business insiders to governments and even your next-door neighbours are part of the conversation. Creating a blog that talks about bitcoin or any of the altcoins out there would be a smart way to promote your link. Reviewing your experience or writing about how to buy the different coins in your country would entice your audience to click through. The volumes of people seeking out useful cryptocurrency content are surging, so this might be your opportunity to benefit from this newfound interest. You could even document your cryptocurrency investment journey.

5. Used Paid Ads

One way for affiliates to make money is to advertise their reviews using paid advertising such as AdWords and other pay per click (PPC) advertising networks. The goal of using PPC ads is to make more money than you are spending on your ads so that you can make a profit. Paid ads give you high volumes in terms of exposure, which could lead to the right people clicking through and buying using your affiliate link.

NB: For all of the above, be sure to copy and paste your own unique affiliate link so the programme you’ve joined can accurately track your referrals.

So, what’s holding you back? Click on the links provided (which contain my own affiliate referral number of course) and start earning some bitcoin without investing your own Fiat!

  • *Fiat is a currency without intrinsic value that has been established as money, often by government regulation, but it is not backed by a physical commodity. The value of fiat money is derived from the relationship between supply and demand rather than the value of the material from which the money is made.
  • **CIPC is the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission

Travel & Motoring Journalist specialising in Africa.