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Behind the Faucets

One thing that I’ve been curious about is what the behind the scenes of a Bitcoin faucet looks like.

What sort of challenges are faced by the owners and operators, why are they doing it, what sort of stories do they have to tell. So I’ve been interviewing various people in the Bitcoin faucet scene.

When I launched this site my goal wasn’t just to give reviews but rather scratch an itch for writing that I have and to hone my skills and further my potential craft. After launching the site I headed over to Bitcoin Talk an Internet forum about Bitcoin and decided to try and track down some of the owners and operators of Bitcoin faucets to see if any were willing to speak with me.

I had assumed it would be slow going as this is a fairly new site and I haven’t had much of an opportunity to share it out much but within minutes of my requests to speak with developers of faucets some responses started coming in.

I was insanely excited to start digging in to tell the stories and even possibly learn about what drives others who are creating these sites.

I spoke with devthedev who used to operate devfaucet that peaked at over 2,000 users, Boelens who used to operate the Domestic Pineapple faucet that had over 14,000 unique visits, and the owner behind CoinLearn to see what it is like being on the other side of the faucet.

Thanks to all of you guys for taking some time to speak with me.

How did you each get your start in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin?

devthedev:  I got my start when a friend introduced me to cryptocurrency.

CoinLearn: You can call me the second generation bitcoiner. I missed the boat of CPU/GPU mining. When I joined the bitcoin world, bitcoin was trading at its peak, i.e. 1000+ USD. Like most of the others of my time, I also got my first few Satoshis from faucets, as mining means a substantial investment now.

Boelens: I’ve been involved in the bitcoin community for well over a year right now, and I got started when I had made an investment in BTC and found Reddit and bitcointalk. I just posted occasionally, met some cool people, and got involved slowly.

What was the motivation for starting a Bitcoin faucet?

Boelens: My primary motivation was that it was easy to set up with TradeFortress’ script using at the time (which turned out not to be so easy after I had to change a lot), also it just seemed fun, you’ll share the wealth with others, get pageviews going for my site, which resulted in profit from ads. I never made a real profit, I just always ran even with what was paid out.

CoinLearn: Something I noticed, that most of the faucets are single page CAPTCHA based and does not provide any added value to the users or advertisers. So I just thought, why not code something where people would get something to learn as well as earn. Thereby the idea of CoinLearn struck me…

devthedev: To give back to the community and raise awareness of the innovative currency.

What were some of the challenges you faced or are facing running a faucet? Are adblockers an issue?

Boelens: There have definitely been some issues/challenges. In the beginning funding was an issue, and TradeFortress (owner of the script) also didn’t help well. There was a vulnerablity in the script which caused someone to get the API key and steal 0.18 BTC, after renewing it and having it “fixed” by TF, the same amount was stolen and I lost 0.36 BTC which was a huge setback. He also refused to refund it (which is sort of understandable since it’s my own risk). Otherwise I haven’t had that many issues, apart from the shutdown of, of course.

Adblockers weren’t a single issue for me, actually. I placed the ads in divs, used an image supplied by the sponsor and added a link to it. I don’t think adblocker detected those as ads. If you use something like Google ads to supply ads for you, it probably is an issue.

devthedev: One of the biggest challenges faced was the constant hacking attempts.

CoinLearn:  1. For months, while I was developing the site including logo, I knew was free. It got booked the day before I tried to actually book it online. So, again I needed to decide which domain I needed to settle upon and change logo and texts accordingly.

2. Within a few days of launch, we faced an attack of SQL injection. So I had to take down the site and add a patch to stop it in future.

3. I tried not to have a CAPTCHA for ease of use. But started to notice in the backend that people are using auto-pilot to earn coins. Now we have a CAPTCHA at the end of the learn page.

4. Initially no one was interested in advertising on the site. So I had to pay from my pocket. Now as we are riding up the alexa curve and getting tons of traffic, advertisers are rolling in.

Are Bitcoin faucets a good way to get started in Bitcoin? Do they serve as a gateway?

BoelensI used faucets a few times when I heard about it in 2010-ish, and then didn’t think much of it. (oh how I wish I had not formatted that HDD). I think they are a good gateway, it’s a slow way of earning but it introduced you to how transactions work, and give you a small amount of bitcoin to experiment with, see what all the possibilities with it are.

devthedev: Yes, that was our main goal and we believe we brought in new Crypto users.

Mike’s Thoughts

As I spoke to these various guys it really helped further assure me that faucets are a great way for people who have zero experience with Bitcoin to at least get a feel for how it all works.

Sure, the number of coins you actually get are really small but if you are just looking to wet your feet a little bit and have your first transaction come to your wallet these are likely a good way to get going.

Lots of faucets are popping up every single day and we are doing our best to keep up with them and give you honest reviews.

It is clear that most faucets are just breaking even and most will never even do that but they provide a great service.

Each of the people I spoke with in this part of the community was more than willing to answer the questions I presented them and were completely open and honest. It is cool to know that this community exists!

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