Crypto for Freelancers – Learn How It Can Benefit Your Business

Disclaimer: Cryptocurrencies are risk assets and investing in them is highly speculative. This article is not a recommendation by LibertyLancer or the writer to invest in cryptocurrencies or other cryptoassets, nor does it constitute financial advice.

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Freelancers and digital nomads are two overlapping groups who can benefit greatly from cryptocurrency and the decentralized finance (DeFi) tools it offers. Traditional finance companies like banks or payment providers charge high fees, are often slow, and can block access to their tools (and your own money) at a moment’s notice.

On the other hand, cryptocurrency provides numerous features that can benefit those who travel frequently, manage their own business finances, and want to make the most of their funds – all without any intermediaries or interruption. Find out below exactly how crypto can make your money go further.

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5 Ways to Benefit From Crypto and DeFi

Get Paid in Cryptocurrency

High fees, slow transfers, and account restrictions, are just a few of the downsides to traditional payment providers.

On the other hand, getting paid in crypto has some benefits you might not be aware of:

  • Instant payment – Getting paid with crypto is a matter of seconds or minutes, rather than the days you might experience with traditional payment providers or banks.
  • Low (or zero) transaction fees – Depending on the network, you (or your client) can make/receive a payment for extremely low or even zero fees.
  • Available to “unbanked” individuals – There are zero barriers to getting your own crypto wallet to accept payments, unlike traditional payment providers or banks.

We’ve written in-depth about how to receive crypto as a freelancer or small business, but the basics are as follows:

How To Get Paid in Cryptocurrency

  1. Choose a cryptocurrency and network to get paid with.

    I recommend using USDC (a $1-pegged stablecoin) to avoid price volatility, and either the Polygon or Binance Smart Chain networks for speed and low transaction fees.

  2. Set up your wallet.

    You can either choose to self-custody your funds, or receive payments directly to your exchange wallet. Keep in mind that while self-custody gives you full control, it’s also a little more complex. There’s nothing wrong with initially using an exchange before migrating to your own wallet.

  3. Give the sender your wallet address and network info.

    Send your public wallet address (never send your seed phrase or private key to anyone), and the network you’d like to receive the crypto on.

    Note that once your client has your wallet address, they’ll be able to see all the transactions that take place on this account (due to the open ledger). For this reason, it’s worth using an individual wallet for each client. You can then send your received payments to an exchange to sell or move them elsewhere so you break the observable flow of your funds to your clients.

Hardware Wallets

Hardware wallets are far more secure than software wallets since an attacker needs physical access to the device and your associated password to access the stored funds.

The following are my 3 top choices in hardware wallets – be sure to check the website of each provider before buying to confirm they support the cryptocurrency you use.

ProviderRecommended Hardware Wallet
LedgerLedger Nano S
TrezorTrezor One
GridPlusGridPlus Lattice
Software Wallets

Here are some recommended software wallets and their supported crypto networks. Keep in mind that transaction fees and network speeds differ per network – stay away from the main Ethereum network if you want to avoid high fees.

Wallet ProviderSupported Networks
MetaMaskEthereum, Arbitrum, Avalanche, Fantom, Harmony, Polygon (Matic), Binance Smart Chain, and several more
Coinbase WalletEthereum, Bitcoin, Arbitrum, Avalance, Polygon (Matic), Dogecoin, Litecoin, Stellar Lumens, and Ripple
LiqualityBitcoin, Ethereum, Rootstock, NEAR, and Polygon

I highly recommend using a hardware wallet to store your crypto – they pay for themselves extremely quickly and are invaluable in keeping your funds secure.

Store Your Income in USD ($)

If you get paid in a national currency that’s already weak or in the process of devaluation (Venezuela comes to mind), you can say goodbye to a whole lot of your money’s value in a short amount of time. One way of avoiding this is by converting your income into USD – arguably the strongest store of value of any global fiat currency. However, depending on where you live, getting access to a US dollar account can be a challenge.

A way around this is to convert some of your income to a USD-pegged stablecoin which you can sell back into your desired currency as and when you need. I use USDC, since multiple audits have proven it to be backed 1-1 by dollar-denominated assets. It’s also founded by two heavyweights in the crypto industry – Coinbase and Circle – granting it further legitimacy.

Click here to see my list of recommended exchanges below to buy into and sell out of USD stablecoins. Once you’re in a stablecoin, you can also look into earning interest on your crypto holdings to further compound your earnings and beat inflation.

Invest (Wisely)

Of course, the main reason for the popularity of cryptocurrencies is their extreme price volatility. These are assets that can appreciate several hundred or even thousands of percent in a single year. This makes them considerable asymmetrical bets – a small amount invested can become a significant amount in the right project. Of course, this volatility exists to the downside as well as the upside, making cryptoassets risky picks compared to your traditional investments.

Due to this risk, I don’t recommend you go all-in, but it can’t hurt to hold a small percentage of your investments in crypto. If you’re not familiar with any crypto exchanges, below are some good picks. They each have a good selection of altcoins, various supported networks, and a pleasant user experience so buying your first cryptocurrency is as simple as possible.

Even if you don’t want to invest, the following are all good picks to sell your crypto payments back into fiat. Just ensure you use a strong password when signing up and set up two-factor authentication (2FA) as soon as possible.

ExchangeHeadquartersQuick Overview
BinanceCayman Islandsβ€’ Huge altcoin selection
β€’ Low fees
β€’ Ability to stake your crypto for interest
β€’ Limited selection for US users
CoinbaseUSβ€’ User-friendly interface
β€’ Headquartered and regulated in the US
β€’ Ability to earn free crypto
β€’ Higher than average fees
KucoinSingaporeβ€’ Wide selection of altcoins
β€’ Low fees
β€’ KYC not necessary until you reach high withdrawal limits
β€’ Not licensed in the US
LocalBitcoinsFinlandβ€’ Peer-to-peer crypto exchange
β€’ Escrow system
β€’ Fees only for advertisers (a.k.a. makers)

If you want to learn more about cryptocurrencies overall and how to invest in them, Josh Weintraub at The Crypto-Conundrum put together a well-rounded beginner guide on how to invest in crypto and a whole lot more.

Earn (Higher) Interest

Multiple centralized finance (CeFi) platforms have collapsed over the past couple of years, including Celsius, BlockFi, Voyager, and the catastrophic downfall of FTX. In several of these cases, customers funds (totaling in the billions of dollars) have likely been lost forever.

Due to the risks inherent with CeFi, we tend to stay away from practically all similar platforms and focus on DeFi instead. While there are still numerous risks in DeFi (as could be seen with the downfall of the LUNA and UST protocols), we feel that they’re easier to evaluate, versus the opaque nature of centralised institutions where a lot happens behind closed doors.

It’s no secret that bank interest rates have dramatically deteriorated over the years. So-called “savings” accounts are advertising annual rates of 0.05% (APY) – nowhere near enough to even keep up with inflation. This essentially means you’re losing money by keeping your savings in an account like this.

With crypto, and specifically decentralized finance (DeFi) and centralized finance (CeFi) platforms, you can access far better interest rates. This way you not only match inflation, but even earn on top of it.

Keep in mind that neither of these options are risk-free, with DeFi being more complicated to use, but often having more transparent mechanisms behind how platforms work (and smart contracts that can be openly audited).

My main piece of advice I can give is to seek out platforms that pay out “real yield” – basically yield that is being paid to users due to actual revenue that was generated by the platform. Too many platforms have tried to generate yield out of thin air by simply printing new tokens, which can quickly cause an inflationary feedback loop and run them into the ground (and leave you with worthless tokens). One of the main projects currently known for real yield is GMX – a decentralized spot and perpetual exchange that has a generous revenue-sharing model for stakers (while paying rewards in ETH, rather than its own token).

If you’d like some more info around finding worthwhile projects and crypto as a whole, The Crypto-Conundrum has a good introductory DeFi section, and Route 2 FI on Twitter frequently posts new DeFi strategies to take advantage of.

FAQ – Crypto and DeFi for Freelancers

How is cryptocurrency converted to cash?

Cryptocurrency can be converted to cash in multiple ways. The easiest way is to sign up for one of the recommended cryptocurrency exchanges above and simply sell and withdraw your crypto there. You can also buy items with crypto directly on certain websites, or even sign up for a crypto debit card to withdraw from ATMs or pay in stores.

Why get paid in crypto?

Getting paid in crypto has several benefits, primarily the extremely low fees, near-instant transaction speeds, and the ability to be your own bank. You also don’t need to worry about price volatility since you can be paid in a USD-pegged stablecoin that doesn’t fluctuate in value.

Which cryptos are accepted as payment?

You should agree with your client on which both of your preferred cryptocurrency and network is. To avoid volatility, I recommend using a USD-pegged stablecoin like USDC. Polygon and Binance Smart Chain are also two networks that support USDC while offering extremely low fees and fast transaction speeds.