As we begin another orbit around the sun, many people are setting New Year’s resolutions in search of a better version of themselves. Here are eight ideas for crypto advocates.
The new year is a fresh start for many, who see it as the perfect time to enhance their life. The most popular New Year’s resolutions tend to repeat themselves every year, with attaining financial goals or following a healthier lifestyle still in the top rankings in 2024.
America’s top New Year’s resolutions for 2024. Source: Statista
Cointelegraph presents eight initiatives that crypto advocates can pursue in 2024 for personal gain or to contribute to the community.
Can I pay with crypto?
One practical, cost-free method to raise awareness about crypto is to inquire about the possibility of paying with Bitcoin (BTC) or any other cryptocurrency at stores, restaurants, supermarkets, etc.
It may seem silly initially, but this is one of the most effective acts to expose the general population to crypto. It’s a great social thermometer to determine people’s baseline knowledge of crypto. Reactions may differ, from some having never heard of it to others claiming it’s only for criminals — while many may be surprise hodlers.
If a store receives enough suggestions to add a crypto payment option, it may do so. According to a study from Forrester Consulting, stores benefit from adopting crypto payments.
Three-year benifits of merchant adoption of crypto payments in BitPay study. Source: Cointelegraph
The main objective of this low-key activism is to create awareness. Once the conversation has been opened, people will surely have doubts and/or want to debate. This is an ideal moment to try to orange-pill them or simply share with them the benefits cryptocurrencies can offer the world.
To learn more, read Cointelegraph’s guide on how to buy things with Bitcoin.
Reinforce the Bitcoin network by running a node
The roots of the Bitcoin network infrastructure built by Satoshi Nakamoto began thanks to the voluntary acts of a small group. Their role has made Bitcoin one of the most robust software networks in the world. Launching a Bitcoin node has many advantages for the Bitcoin network and, thus, the crypto community. As a crypto advocate, it may be time to help reinforce the network.
Running a node contributes to the decentralization of the network. The more nodes there are, the more distributed and robust the network becomes. This helps prevent central points of failure and makes the network more resistant to censorship or attacks. The network’s overall security is improved, as the node independently verifies the transactions and blocks, ensuring they adhere to the consensus rules.
Having more nodes leads to a healthier, more reliable network. It helps in the efficient propagation of transactions and blocks across the network, reducing latency and improving overall performance.
Rise of reachable Bitcoin nodes during the last seven years. Source: Bitnodes
Running a node not only provides advantages for the community at large but also enables the preservation of transaction data privacy, eliminating the need to depend on external entities for information. Additionally, node users have a higher level of self-sovereignty, as they don’t rely on external entities for transaction verification or information about the state of the network.
Another great advantage of setting up a Bitcoin node is that it provides a better understanding of the protocol’s inner workings, helping users grasp the technical aspects of blockchain technology.
Earn passive income with Bitcoin Lightning nodes
Running a Bitcoin node on its layer 1 may have certain benefits, but there are no monetary rewards. However, running a Bitcoin Lightning node is not only positive for the BTC community but also economically profitable, if used appropriately.
The Lightning Network (LN) is a layer-2 (L2) scaling solution for the Bitcoin blockchain. It is designed to enable faster, more cost-effective transactions by conducting off-chain micropayments. Its proponents see it as the best solution to bring Bitcoin toward its original intent, a digital peer-to-peer currency.
Given that Bitcoin is not particularly practical for everyday transactions like buying coffee, L2 solutions like LN fill this need.
Running a Bitcoin Lightning node aids the overall health and efficiency of the LN, while Lightning transactions can increase privacy for the user. LN nodes also offer the possibility of participating in innovative use cases within the decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem.
Economically, a Bitcoin Lightning node is a way to earn passive income. Revenue can be gathered through routing fee payments through the node’s channels. For example, if the node processes a Lightning payment worth 100,000 sats, it might charge 0.05% as a fee, resulting in 50 sats of profit. One person could create hundreds of channels, connect to multiple other nodes and eventually route thousands of monthly payments, potentially leading to decent returns.
Vote and participate with governance tokens
Governance tokens empower the community to directly impact a project’s strategic management, giving holders voting powers.
Many tokens with governance capabilities — such as Aave (AAVE), Uniswap’s UNI (UNI) and PancakeSwap’s CAKE — have also benefited from strong rallies, leading buyers to invest in search of delicious profits.
One New Year resolution could be to use these tokens for their original purpose. Engaging in governance proposals and voting provides valuable knowledge of how decentralized crypto ecosystems are built. In parallel, voting can contribute to a protocol’s growth as more human interaction and diversity are injected into it, helping avoid one of the biggest problems for DAOs: voter apathy.
Stake ETH to support the PoS Ethereum blockchain
The Ethereum Merge drastically changed the mechanics of the blockchain, transitioning it from proof-of-work (PoW) to proof-of-stake (PoS). Staking Ether (ETH) has become one of its security measures against malicious attacks.
The greater the number of stakers, the more decentralized the network becomes, making it harder for 51% attacks to succeed. According to a JPMorgan Chase report from October 2023, Ethereum has become more centralized as staking has grown, since there has not been a great diversity of stakers.
Top five liquid staking providers on the Ethereum network. Source: Dune Analytics/JPMorgan
The ideal option for staking is to run an independent Ethereum node, which requires locking 32 ETH as collateral. There are other options as well, but they do not help to decentralize the network.
Be active in pursuit of clear regulatory guidelines
In 2023, many in the crypto community, especially in the U.S., felt attacked by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which went after several leading cryptocurrency exchanges, including Binance and FTX. The tension eventually reached a boiling point, leading to a cascade of reactions against SEC Chair Gary Gensler.
Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong decided to confront the SEC’s allegations in court when Coinbase was accused. He also called for action with the launch of Coinbase’s “Stand With Crypto” movement in an attempt to lobby for a transparent crypto regulatory environment in the United States. The campaign featured many pathways for activism, from actively contacting congresspeople to donating crypto or even minting nonfungible tokens (NFTs).
1/ The community is clearly fired up about sensible crypto policy. Here’s how to continue the support
1️⃣: Mint a Stand With Crypto commemorative NFT
2️⃣: Add a shield emoji next to your Twitter display name ️
— Coinbase ️ (@coinbase) April 24, 2023
As a crypto advocate, especially for U.S. residents, there are not always many circumstances in which the crypto industry unites to counterattack the SEC’s regulatory approach or push back against the political waves led by anti-crypto politicians like Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Who could be so brazen as to write legislation that would effectively ban #crypto?
Senator @RogerMarshallMD, the GOP frontman of the crypto ban bill, revealed the American Bankers Association wrote it. #StopCryptoBan pic.twitter.com/dHufIaXB7i
— Chamber of Digital Commerce (@DigitalChamber) December 19, 2023
Lock down the security of cryptocurrency portfolios
Many users still keep their crypto holdings on exchanges. Over the years, cryptocurrency exchanges have reinforced their security, but hacks still occur — though they are declining. Hackers have concentrated their efforts on the DeFi ecosystem, finding and exploiting protocols with weak security.
Top 10 crypto hacks in 2023. Source: Immunefi
Crypto exchanges, both centralized and decentralized, are essential for the crypto markets to work properly. However, many users still fail to understand the dangers of using them as a custody service. Self-custody in cold wallets has always been an answer to this constant threat.
A new year is an excellent opportunity to assess the security of one’s crypto portfolio. Here are some tips:
- Have several copies of seed phrases in different safe locations. For example, keep one copy somewhere fireproof.
- Use multisignature wallets, which require the confirmation of several people and may help save crypto holdings during a $5 wrench attack.
- Update all passwords and use multifactor authentication from an independent device rather than a smartphone, if possible.
- Be sure cold wallet hardware devices are still functional, especially for long-term holders. Also, review whether the company behind the device has a reliable safety record.
- Avoid the spotlight, and never post about crypto holdings or successful trades online.
Donate crypto to charities and nonprofits
The crypto community has a history of being philanthropic and responding to emergencies accordingly. At the same time, donating cryptocurrencies helps boost crypto adoption indirectly.
According to crypto donation platform The Giving Block’s “2023 Annual Report on Crypto Philanthropy”:
“In the three years [2020, 2021 and 2021] we’ve studied CPAI [Crypto Philanthropy Adoption Index] data, we’ve seen the crypto philanthropy growth rate outperform the broader crypto market. […] Several indicators showed that crypto philanthropy has strengthened its position as a reliable vehicle for charitable giving.”
Many organizations have discovered how effective it can be to accept cryptocurrencies for donations. For example, the Ukrainian government had received over $225 million in crypto donations by the summer of 2023, initially launching the fundraising initiative in February 2022.
Stand with the people of Ukraine. Now accepting cryptocurrency donations. Bitcoin, Ethereum and USDT.
BTC – 357a3So9CbsNfBBgFYACGvxxS6tMaDoa1P
ETH and USDT (ERC-20) – 0x165CD37b4C644C2921454429E7F9358d18A45e14
— Ukraine / Україна (@Ukraine) February 26, 2022
Following Ukraine’s initial success with BTC, ETH and Tether (USDT), donors were eventually allowed to make contributions in other cryptocurrencies.
Ukraine donations by cryptocurrency as of July 2023. Source: Crystal Blockchain
Ukraine’s success stands out as one of the most notable positive representations of crypto in the mainstream media. Accepting crypto for donations can raise awareness of a campaign’s existence and offer an opportunity to explain its purpose.
These days, it’s easy to donate crypto, and there is a wide range of organizations that accept it, including:
- BitGive Foundation: a Bitcoin and blockchain nonprofit fighting to close the gap between innovative technology and its practical applications for nonprofits and humanitarian work in the developing world.
- Save The Children: a 100-year-old nongovernmental organization fighting for the right to be healthy, educated and protected. It works in conflict zones such as Gaza and has received over $7 million in crypto donations.
- Children of Heroes: a nonprofit helping the youngest Ukrainians affected by the Russian invasion.
- Water Aid: an international NGO that aims to provide everyone with clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene worldwide.
- Develop Africa: a nonprofit promoting education in Africa.
Why not start the year with a benevolent deed? After all, don’t forget that Satoshi Nakamoto gave Bitcoin to society for free.
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