Are we in the future? Considering banks and financial institutions are now using digital assets for loans, remittance services, and other financial transactions, it certainly seems to be the case.
Having established decentralized cryptocurrency as the future of money, the birth of a new era, and the death of the traditional banking system; we are left with correcting half-a-century’s worth of damage. Welcome to the new normal.
In this article, we will review (in detail) BlockFi one of the infrastructures championing this paradigm shift.
Update: BlockFi agreed to pay a $100 million dollar penalty to the SEC for offerings and selling it’s BlockFi Interest Account products. BlockFi has shifted it’s practices and is launching a product that will be initially open to U.S. accredited investors only and will be open to some U.S. customers at the start of 2023.
Update 11/22: BlockFi has filed for Bankruptcy
If you’re looking for a way to earn interest on your crypto holdings, and if you don’t want to sell the coins, then there are very few options.
You can use an exchange that offers lending services or a margin trading platform like Bitmex, but these have high fees and may not be available in all countries.
There is also the option of using peer-to-peer lending platforms like SALT Lending or ETHLend, but again there are limitations such as only offering loans in one cryptocurrency (currently SALT allows loans denominated in either USDT or BTC).
BlockFi is different because it allows users to borrow dollars against their crypto assets without having to liquidate them first.
We recently reviewed BlockFi’s new cryptocurrency lending platform and were impressed with what we saw and share our findings below.
- Operated by a reputable team of highly-regard US-based investors
- Funds stored in US-regulated wallets, such as Gemini
- Competitive Interest rates with flexible terms and conditions
- Zero charges for one withdrawal per month
- Available globally, except sanctioned or watch-listed countries.
- No minimum deposit limit
- APY and loan rate volatility
- Limited free withdrawals from your account
- No joint or custodial accounts
- Only three collateral options
BlockFi: How To Earn Interest On Your Crypto
Generally, a cryptocurrency investor stores his/her cryptocurrency funds at an exchange or a cold wallet for safe-keeping purposes. Without casting anything negative on this defined norm as it surely allows you to have a sense of your funds’ safety, still, this method does not help you to increase your wealth over time. Is not it what you had in mind when you started investing?
In our review today, I am going to discuss the BlockFi crypto management platform, which facilitates crypto enthusiasts and investors to bring their funds into its high-interest savings account and earn passive income against it. We will look at what it is, what services it provides, what security measure it employs, its advantages and disadvantages, along with other offerings. Without further ado, let’s get into it.
What is BlockFi?
BlockFi, in essence, is a cryptocurrency trading forum that facilitates its clientele much like everything they expect from traditional banks ⸺ additional profit on your balances, provides borrowing cash, trade cryptos, and the facility to gain rewards on your every credit card shopping.
Introduced in the crypto sphere in 2017, by Co-Founders Zac Prince and Flori Marquez, BlockFi strives to maintain its service quality one step ahead of its competitors. Since it started its services, BlockFi has successfully managed to attract over $100 million in capital contributions and possesses more than $2 billion in funds under management.
BlockFi facilitates several benefits to its community and has managed to gain endorsement by financial titans such as Fidelity, Akuna Capital, Consensys, Coinbase Ventures, Valar Ventures, Bain Capital Ventures, Winklevoss Capital, and SoFi. Thus, BlockFi presents a whole list of enjoyable products you’d like at any other renowned corporate bank.
Although BlockFi is an absolute independently-owned lending platform to provide the best rates, to keep its clients safe from any kind of mishap, it operates according to American Law and its financial regulations.
BlockFi: Key Features
To ensure its clientele experience worthwhile, BlockFi tenders several services that primarily focus on how to invest in digital currency. A number of these services, though, are similar to what you get from central banks or financial institutions. Down below, I will discuss each of them in detail.
Purchase, Sell and Transfer your Crypto
If you are a beginner to the crypto industry and lack the knowledge on where you can buy Bitcoin from. BlockFi can be one of the platforms to begin your adventure. Here, you can purchase, sell or trade a certain number of digital currencies. Not just that, you can also transfer your digital assets from other forums to your BlockFi account.
Following is the list of cryptocurrencies and stable coins that BlockFi supports on the platform.
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Litecoin (LTC)
- Tether (USDT)
- Binance (BUSD)
- Gemini (GUSD)
- Chainlink (LINK)
- Paxos (PAX)
- PAX Gold (PAXG)
- USD Coin (USDC)
Blockfi Interest Account (BIA)
If you hold funds in your BlockFi account, no matter if you bought it from BlockFi or anywhere else, you will gain up to 8.6% APY interest.
Normally, the BlockFi customer will be receiving interest ranging from 3.6% to 8.6% APY that depends upon the type and the amount of crypto you hold in your account.
Listed below, I have written down the interest rate for each cryptocurrency offered by the BlockFi lending platform.
- For depositing 1 Bitcoin (BTC) into your BlockFi account, the user will get 6% (APY) as annual interest rate, 2% (APY) for depositing more than 1 to 20, and the user will receive a 0.5% (APY) interest rate for depositing more than 20 BTC.
- Users will get a reward of 5.25% (APY) for depositing up to 100 Ethereums on the platform. For bringing 100-1000 Ethereums to the BlockFi, the interest rate will be 2% (APY), and 0.5% (APY) for depositing ETH above 1000 coins.
- The platform rewards its users for holding Litecoin of any count by 6.5% (APY) interest rate.
- ChainLink: 5.5% (APY) on all deposits.
- For depositing stable coins named USD Coins (USDC), Gemini Dollars (GUCSD), PAX, and BUSD, users will get 8.6% (APY) interest on all deposits.
- By depositing Tether (USDT), BlockFi clients will be rewarded with a 9.3% (APY) interest rate.
- If the user deposits PAXG to their BlockFi interest account, they will receive 5% (APY) as an interest.
The platform calculates this interest daily and you will receive it at the beginning of every month. It is also worth mentioning that the client will receive these interest amount on top of their initial deposits, that enable them to earn compound interest.
Moreover, BlockFi also facilitates its account holders to choose the crypto, other than their collateral crypto, in which they want their interest to be paid out. In this way, a client can diversify their investment portfolio without the need to purchase new cryptocurrencies.
Borrowing against your crypto
As we have mentioned above, through BlockFi you can also borrow cash of up to 50% of your holdings, to meet your needs. In this way, you will keep yourself from the capital gains tax. Once you have applied for the borrow request, the platform will deposit the asking money to your account on the same day, which you can spend per your will. Also worth mentioning that you can pay these loans whenever you want without any penalties or charges on your down payment.
Having said that, the interest rate you will need to pay upon repaying the loan depends upon the amount you borrowed and your account balance at the time of borrowing(Loan-To-Value ratio or LTV). Besides this, you will also need to pay 2% origination charges per loan to the platform.
In other words, if you got a loan worth $20,000, then you will need to pay $400 as origination charges.
There is, however, one thing that you need to be aware of, is if your collateral funds’ price depreciates, then a margin call can be initiated on your loan just like any other traditional margin account operates.
Bitcoin Rewards via BlockFi Credit Card
Crypto enthusiasts can also earn rewards in Bitcoins via using BlockFi credit cards for their purchasing. Although the platform has not yet released its credit cards officially. But you can apply for it by providing your email address and join others in the waiting queue.
Once you are the owner of BlockFi credit card and do any purchasing through it, you will be able to earn 1.5% of Bitcoin to your purchasing amount. The company will deposit this rewarding amount into your BlockFi account at the beginning of next month.
Besides this reward, BlockFi credit card owners can also gain a bonus of $250 in BTC if they spend $3000 during the period of the initial three months of ownership. By the month of four to six, you will be eligible to get 3.5% on all of your shopping. Moreover, you can also refer your friends to the platform and get a $30 bonus for it as well.
Trade on BlockFi for Free
Yes, you read it correctly. On the BlockFi trading platform, one can purchase, sell, or trade digital assets, not just instantly, but also free of any transactional charges. BlockFi presents you the with best and most accurate price available in the market. With BlockFi, you can either perform these trades manually or you can create periodic trades to be executed automatically.
Similar is the case with the withdrawal, no withdrawal fee, but the platform limited it to one withdrawal per month. BlockFi offers its clientele to make one digital coin and one stablecoin withdrawal in a calendar month with no charges. When making multiple withdrawals, you will be subjected to pay(depending on the currency) to the platform.
Like many other renowned trading platforms, BlockFi also facilitates an excellent intuitive, user-friendly and safe mobile application for both iOS and Android smartphone users to enjoy its services and products. With the platform’s app, you can monitor your BlockFi account and trades per your will. In addition to this, you can also create your new account, manage your BlockFi Interest Account, borrow funds against your crypto holdings, and transfer your digital funds from other forums.
BlockFi: How secure is it?
As we have mentioned above, even though the BlockFi lending platform is independently owned, but still it adheres to American law and state regulations. Additionally, yes they operate as a traditional bank but they are not a bank per se, and funds you deposit in your interest account are not FDIC or SPIC insured.
In order to protect its clientele’s digital assets and ensuring that funds are readily available to you, BlockFi uses many security measures discussed as below.
- The platform stores its reserves at its partners’ (third-party) wallets that include BitGo, Coinbase, and Gemini.
- BlockFi purchases its investments that are regulated by the American government, such as SEC-approved equities and CFTC-approved futures.
- The platform only issues loans after deep considerations. For Instance, they issue loans that are backed by at least 50% collateral or more.
Besides these security measures, BlockFi also facilitates its userbase with the 2FA feature, Google Authenticator, to enable them to secure their interest account with another layer of protection. Also, the BlockFi platform allows you to enable a security option dubbed allowlisting. With this option enabled, you can set your account to withdraw your funds to a certain address and ban all others. This feature is excellent and helpful as it keeps your account’s funds from cyber theft.
How to apply for a Loan on BlockFi?
As we have mentioned above in the products offering section, BlockFi customers can also apply for a loan by providing their crypto assets as collateral. Once the company receives the required collateral, your asking loan amount is directly sent to your account in US dollars.
This is good as you can deposit your digital assets as collateral to BlockFi on the pretext of safekeeping while enjoying cash loans to carry out your urgent meets. In other words, you will not need to sell your investments if you are in urgent need of cash for diversifying your investment, paying off expenses or debts, or starting a new venture. Notably, Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), PAX Gold (PAXG), and Litecoin (LTC) are the cryptocurrencies that you can deposit as collateral to BlockFi.
I am going to lay out a step-by-step procedure for applying for loans on BlockFi.
- Visit the BlockFi official website and set up your new account.
- Once your account is set up and is logged in, press on the “New Loan” button showing at the top navigational bar.
- After that, you will need to put down the amount you want to loan, choose your preferred collateral crypto, and then click on calculate the offer.
- After reviewing, confirm the amount needed as collateral, LVR, interest rate, and then click on Proceed.
- Go through the loan offer, sign the loan agreement.
- Put down the assets as collateral into the secure storage wallet that BlockFi recommends.
- Once all the above steps are carried out successfully, you will receive your loan either in USD to your bank account or as stable coins directly to your wallet.
- Until you repay your loan amount to the platform, you need to deposit the interest amount on your loan using USD, BTC, ETH, or LTC on monthly basis.
- Once the agreed term for the loan comes to an end, you can either repay the loan amount or refinance at the updated interest rate.
Conclusion: Is BlockFi Legit?
If you have read this review until this point, you will now begin to realize that BlockFi is surely a legit platform as it provides services like several other traditional banks, where you can deposit your digital assets and use them for multiple purposes. With the help of its excellent and user-friendly interface, BlockFi can be the right platform for beginner-level crypto enthusiasts to begin their crypto ventures.
Once you deposit your crypto investments into your BlockFi account, these funds will not help you to earn interest of 6% to 8.6% returns yearly, but also by putting some of your funds as collateral, you can also get a loan to meet your urgent worldly needs. Besides this, you can also trade your funds for various other cryptocurrencies and stablecoins.
Having said that, seeing the volatility trend of the cryptocurrency market, it is critical to carry out extensive research to know about a certain cryptocurrency program in the arena. If we look at the reviews present on the web by other forums, BlockFi gets overwhelmingly positive reviews. The reason behind it is the fact that you will not find better interest rates on most fiat savings accounts than BlockFi and the services given to the crypto enthusiasts are higher-rated.
Considering everything there is about BlockFi, cryptocurrency, in general, comes with inherent risks. Although, the interest rates are good, still, you should not forget that your portfolio could depreciate over time.
Update: BlockFi declared bankruptcy in November, 2022.