Are you looking to make money from home or start your own side hustle? That might not be a bad idea given the state of the world right now.

The good news is that referral programs give you that very opportunity, with no upfront costs at all. As long as you have a phone or computer and an internet connection, you can make money online right now!

So how is that possible?

Everyone is connected, now more than ever, to an audience of acquaintances. In other words, you have access to quite a few potential customers and, even better, you have the opportunity to help them sort the wheat from the chaff and recommend the best possible product or service.

Referral and affiliate programs can be so lucrative that some businesses build their whole monetization strategy around them. Let’s get a bit more into that…

Online Businesses

Running a website is hard work. Site maintenance, regular updates, interacting with visitors, running social media channels and generally keeping the show on the virtual road takes time and effort. Anyone behind a successful site will tell you that keeping traffic high is a 24/7/52 kinda thing.

Make Money Online
Making Mone Online: Everyone’s Goal. Image via Shutterstock

Making a living from your site, or even just covering the running costs, can be tricky unless you’re selling a particular product or service. A healthy hit rate is all well and good, but it doesn’t necessarily mean a fat wallet.

Fortunately, there are ways in which websites can monetise their content and generate an income. The most obvious of these is from advertising – those banners, boxes and bloody pop-ups we’re all familiar with. The economics are simple enough: the more traffic your site attracts, the more you can charge advertisers. The time spent hauling your site up the Google rankings can pay off.

There is a Better Way to Monetise

Selling advertising space is one thing and the concept is nothing new. But all companies need paying customers and if your website is able to provide them, then this can prove to be a lucrative revenue stream. This is where affiliate or referral marketing comes in. This is a great way of earning a relatively passive income from your website by pointing visitors in the direction of other sites. When they spend money on these other sites, you pick up a fee or commission.

The crypto space is ideally suited to this sort of structure and there are tons of referral or affiliate (AFF) programs out there. Signing up to one of these allows you to sit back and bank those fees whenever paying customers visit the affiliate site from yours.

Referral Marketing
Referral Marketing. Image via Shutterstock

When you sign up for a site’s AFF program, you’ll be sent a referral URL that directs your visitors to the affiliate site. You distribute that URL however you see fit (more on this below). When a visitor to your site clicks on the URL and then spends money on the other site, you earn that commission.

The commission itself is usually paid in Bitcoin or fiat and the payments are credited to you either instantly, or on a daily or weekly basis depending on the site you’re affiliated with.

CPA & NRS

It’s time to get technical and indulge in some acronyms.

There are two ways that AFF programs reward those who refer customers. The first is through a cost per acquisition (CPA) scheme. This takes the form of a one-time fee for each referral. CPAs are often found where a customer is likely to make only one purchase (eg: for a single piece of kit). In some cases, this can be a hefty chunk of commission on the sale, but this accounts for the fact that it’s the only payment you’ll get for the referral.

How CPA Works
Simple Process to Bank CPA. Image Source

The other form of payment is through net revenue share (NRS). This will pay out a percentage of any money spent by the customer on the affiliate site over a period of time. This is more likely to be found on sites where recurring purchases or trades are made and can take the form of a chunk of every transaction fee a user incurs, or a commission on every trade they make.

NRS is where an AFF program can really start to pay out for those doing the referring. The time period over which you can earn varies: on some sites it can be only a few months, while on others it can be forever. Yes, that’s right: one referral can keep earning you a commission indefinitely.

This is known as long-tail revenue and it’s understandably seen as something of a holy grail for many website owners. The initial investment of time and effort involved in setting up and promoting the affiliate link is rewarded with a regular payout that doesn’t involve further input. It’s a cumulative thing, of course. The more affiliate sign-ups you attract, the higher that passive income will be.

Getting The Word Out

Once you’ve signed up to an affiliate link and have your referral URL ready to go, it’s time to start thinking about how to promote it.

This can take many forms and the most obvious is to post the AFF program link to your site. Context is key here though. Posting the link and pointing visitors towards it may generate some interest, but if you want to really up the numbers, then you’ll need to tell your loyal followers a bit more.

This can take the form of a review or rundown of the site you’re affiliated with: many review sites will include AFF links to the products they look at. Videos and blog posts are also great ways to distribute AFF links while giving them context.

You can choose how overt you want to be when you promote these links. The crypto community are a web-savvy bunch, so it’s likely that they’ll know the deal when it comes to affiliate sites. Clicking through the links isn’t going to cost them and, in many cases, it will unlock deals and promotions they otherwise wouldn’t have had access to.

Review Sites Compare
Review Sites Comparing Products. Image via Shutterstock

It’s worth bearing in mind however that some users can object to being monetised without their knowledge. For that reason, many websites will add a full disclosure caveat where affiliate links are involved, stating that they will earn a commission on any sales generated via the link. Honesty is often the best policy here: Admitting that you’ll profit from an AFF link is unlikely to deter users from clicking through and can make you appear more transparent. If in doubt, shout it out.

You can cut right to the chase when getting those AFF links out there. If you’re engaged with followers on messaging apps such as WhatsApp or Telegram, then you can fire them out directly to their phones.

As long as you make sure to give some context and let them know the benefits to them of following the link, then you should be able to avoid coming across as spammy. Messaging apps are also a great way of promoting links more informally to friends or family. It’s a numbers game, after all – especially where NRS is involved.

Any way you reach your followers can be used to spread the word and start working towards that passive income. Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms are another ideal way to get those AFF links out there, and there are plenty of places that will help you do it. Some AFF links can also be placed as ads on your website.

Top Crypto Affiliate Programs

Now that you’ve digested that rundown of what AFF programs are and how they work, it’s time to look at some of the best out there in the crypto space.

For each one listed below, we’ll give you a breakdown of what the site is and what it does, as well as the specifics of the AFF deals on offer. This will include whether the reward program is a CPA or NRS, so you can get an idea of how revenue from the AFF link will be structured. Finally, we’ll also point you to where you can get started and get earning.

1. Unstoppable Domains

Overview: Unstoppable Domains is one of the big names in the blockchain domain market and the first port of call for many people looking to register their unique domain address. If you want to learn more about this growing sector, then you can check out our article on it.

Unstoppable Domains Affiliate
Joining the Unstoppable Domains Affiliate Program

Commission on offer: 20% on each blockchain domain purchased

Commission structure: CPA

2. Bybit

Overview: Bybit is one of the big crypto derivatives trading platforms. It’s been around since 2018 and is based in Singapore, with over a million users. It’s available in over 80 countries including the United States.

Bybit Earning Stats
What Bybit Affiliates Have Earned

Commission on offer: 30% on trading fees.

Commission structure: NRS

3. Crypto.com

Overview: Crypto.com provides an exchange platform, a mobile app and a range of crypto credit cards to help you spend those coins around the world. It’s been going since 2016 and is headquartered in Hong Kong. It’s native MCO token is trading at around $4 at the time of writing.

Crypto.com Ambassadors
Joining Crypto.com as an Ambassador

Commission on offer: $50 worth of MCO when a referral reserves a metal MCO Visa card. $50 worth of MCO for anyone who signs up (depending on them staking 50 MCO for an MCO Visa card).

Commission structure: CPA

4. Ledger Devices

Overview: Ledger is one of the two main manufacturers of hardware wallets for safely storing your crypto. Their two flagship products are the Ledger Nano S and the newer Nano X. Our article on the best hardware wallets has more information on both, as well as their competitors. Ledger’s affiliate program pays out in BTC on a monthly basis.

Ledger Affiliate
How to Earn with Ledger

Commission on offer: 10% on each sale

Commission structure: CPA

5. 3Commas

Overview: 3Commas is a crypto trading platform whose USP is the provision of crypto trading bots for its users. It works with some of the biggest exchanges including Binance, Bittrex, Coinbase Pro and Huobi. Traders can make use of tools like stop loss and take profit strategies, as well as social trading and portfolio tracking. It sees about $10 million in daily trading volume. Commissions are sent out fortnightly.

3commas Affiliate
Earning with 3Commas

Commission on offer: 25% (rising to 40% if your referrals then refer others who then also make referrals.)

Commission structure: NRS (dependant on those further referrals)

6. Koinly

Overview: For those making good money on their crypto holdings, Koinly is a godsend. Its software helps to calculate the taxes owed on your crypto depending on which country you’re in. It can also help you reduce those taxes over time. The crypto tax landscape is a minefield for many and Koinly is one of the best platforms out there to help you navigate your way through it. There’s a video on it and other crypto tax software providers here. Payments can be made via PayPal or to BTC or ETH addresses.

Koinly Affiliate
Tax Solutions & Affiliate Income

Commission on offer: The base rate is 20% for 0-100 referrals. For 100-500 that goes up to 30% and for 500+ it’s a whopping 40%. If your referrals rebuy the software then those rates are 10, 15 and 20% respectively.

Commission structure: CPA (but there’s a commission on rebuys as well, so this can be a long-tail revenue stream too).

7. Binance

Overview: The big daddy of crypto exchanges and one of the most recognisable brands in the whole ecosystem. Binance is the largest crypto exchange out there and supports any and every coin worth trading. $2 billion goes through the exchange daily and its native Binance Coin (BNB) has a market cap of over $2.5 billion. It currently trades at around $18.50 per token, making it one of the most valuable in the space.

Earning Binance
Steps to Bank Commission on Binance

Commission on offer: Up to 50% if you refer more than 1,000 users. Below that, it’s 40%.

Commission structure: NRS

8. Trezor

Overview: Trezor a Czech company and is Ledger’s biggest rival in the hardware wallet field. The Trezor One is the entry-level model, while the Model T was recently launched with more features and coins supported. Payments are made monthly via BTC, or in EUR, USD or CZK.

Affiliate Trezor
Main Selling Points of Trezor Affiliate Program

Commission on offer: 12-15% on each sale.

Commission structure: CPA

9. Bitstarz

Overview: Just as there’s an ever-increasing number of ways to spend your hard-earned crypto, so too are there more ways in which you can fritter it all away. There are tons of crypto casinos out there and more are appearing every year. Likewise, many of the more established gambling sites will now also let you raise the stakes with your Bitcoin. BitStarz is one of the biggest around with over two million registered players and it offers all the usual brightly-coloured fare. It’s AFF scheme is generous and pays out in EUR or BTC on the first of each month.

Bitstarz Tiered Affiliate
Tiered Affiliate Program at Bitstarz

Commission on offer: Commission is based on how much referred players lose per month. Under €5,000 is 25%; €5,000 to €10,000 is 30%; €10,000 to €20,000 is 35% and €20,000+ is 40%. Refer a lot of high-rollers (who tend to bleed money) and you could make an absolute killing.

Commission structure: NRS

10. Coinbase

Overview: Coinbase is the most popular entry point in the crypto space for millions of people. It claims to have 35 million users in over 100 countries with $220 billion traded on the platform to date. It arguably pips Binance to the post as the most recognisable name in crypto. It pays out referral fees to PayPal or your bank account and in your native currency to boot.

Coinbase Affiliate Program
Overview of Coinbase Affiliate Program

Commission on offer: 50% of a referee’s trading fees for the first 3 months

Commission structure: NRS (though only for that initial 3 month period).

Conclusion

Depending on what sort of website you run and what sort of content you create, some AFF links will be ideal for your purposes and some less so. Your numbers will also be important in a lot of cases, especially with the bigger fish out there.

Some sites will insist on a minimum number of followers or subscribers in return for those AFF URLs, so be sure to do your own research before firing off an application.

While some AFF programs may be fine with you simply placing an add on your site or dropping a mention on your blog, others may want a certain level of exposure or content from you. Make sure that you’re able to meet your commitments in this regard.

There are many more AFF opportunities out there and this list is just some of the best and most interesting we could find. If you’re not looking into this revenue stream, then take this as a wake-up call: there’s money to be made out there.

Featured Image via Shutterstock

Disclaimer: These are the writer’s opinions and should not be considered investment advice. Readers should do their own research.

Posted by Mike Jenkins

Mike is a professional altcoin dabbler and investor from London, United Kingdom, with over 4 years of experience in the field. Mike has risen to stardom in the crypto space, thanks to being a childhood friend of Coin Bureau’s Guy the crypto guy. He is a strong advocate of the Altcoins and the opportunities that can be found in some of the more exotic corners of the space.