Best Crypto Lending Platforms: 2022 Reviews & Comparisons

    Updated: Sep 12th, 2022
    James Hendy
    James Hendy
    Best Crypto Lending Platforms: 2022 Reviews & Comparisons

    Crypto lending platforms help match borrowers to those willing to lend digital assets. For loaning crypto, investors can earn annual percentage yields (APYs) that far outpace those offered by the traditional banking sector. Before jumping into lending crypto, there are several important factors to take into consideration such as the ease of use, loan and interest rates, supported crypto, fees and security.

    In this guide, we will review the best crypto lending platforms available in the market and what to look for when selecting a lending platform.

    Best Crypto Lending Platform 2022

    • Nexo (best for lending stablecoins)
    • BlockFi (best crypto lender for security)
    • Binance Earn (best for the range of crypto)
    • Celsius (best for overall lending rewards)
    • CoinLoan (best crypto loan platform for Bitcoin rates)

    This post contains affiliate links with our partners who may compensate us. Read our disclaimer for further information.

    Cryptocurrency Lending Platforms Reviewed

    1. Nexo - Best For Lending Stablecoins

    Nexo is a leading crypto lending platform that allows users to earn interest on cryptocurrency deposits and take out crypto-backed loans. The application was launched in 2017 and is headquartered in London, UK. According to the company’s website, since its inception, Nexo has grown to manage over $12 billion in assets and work with over 4 million users worldwide. Alongside crypto lending, the platform features the ability to buy and sell crypto, crypto-backed loans, and a crypto-backed credit card.

    HedgewithCrypto Score
    HedgewithCrypto Score
    4.7/5Our ratings take into account the ease of use, fees, deposit methods along with the exchange's reputation. All ratings are determined solely by our editorial team.
    StarStarStarStarEmpty Star
    Trading Fees:None
    Country:Global (USA allowed)
    Currency:USD, GBP, AUD, EUR & 36 others
    Promotion:$25 Bitcoin for >$100 deposit
    Ease of useStarStarStarStarEmpty Star
    ReputationStarStarStarStarEmpty Star
    Deposit methodsStarStarStarStarEmpty Star
    FeesStarStarStarStarEmpty Star

    Nexo supports 32 assets for lending which include 24 cryptocurrencies, 5 stablecoins, and 3 tokenized fiat tokens. The majority of popular cryptocurrencies are supported including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Polkadot, and Polygon. Crypto fixed APYs range from 4% - 8%, while stablecoins range from 8% - 12%. A list of example interest rates can be found in the table below.

    CryptocurrencyInterest Rates
    Bitcoin (BTC)4% - 8% APY
    Ethereum (ETH)4% - 8% APY
    Polkadot (DOT)10% - 15% APY
    Polygon (MATIC)10% - 16% APY
    USDT8% - 12% APY
    USDC8% - 12% APY
    Solana (SOL)4% - 8% APY

    For each of the supported coins, users can lend their assets and earn interest by simply holding assets within a Nexo account. This is known as a FLEX term and allows for crypto to be withdrawn at any time. For flexible contracts, daily payments are added to the cumulative total, which means rewards will compound on a daily basis. With flexible terms and the ability to earn compounding interest, Nexo is one of the best places for earning crypto interest in the market.

    Nexo supported loan assetsNexo supported loan assetsNexo supported loan assets.

    However, to reach the highest APYs offered by Nexo, users must opt for a fixed-term contract, and opt to have rewards paid in the platform’s native token, NEXO. It is only through this combination that the highest interest rates can be achieved.

    Fixed-term contracts range from 1 to 3 months and result in a lender’s assets being locked within the platform. For that loyalty, Nexo offers increased APYs. However, due to the lock-up period, fixed terms are only a viable option for those that will not need their crypto for a set period of time. There is also a $50,000 limit on all fixed-term contracts. Unlike FLEX, fixed-term payments are accrued and then added to a lender's balance at the end of each term period.

    To fully maximize either FLEX or fixed-term returns, a lender can also opt to ‘earn in kind’ and get rewards distributed in NEXO tokens. This is a blanket option which means that when the option is enabled it is applicable to all digital assets held within the Nexo platform.

    What makes Nexo a top lending platform for cryptocurrency is that token holders can join a loyalty tier program which comprises Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Entry to each tier is based on the percentage of NEXO tokens held within an account. Each tier offers access to a range of platform benefits including lower APRs for loans and a higher number of free cryptocurrency withdrawals. Silver tier benefits start when an investor’s portfolio consists of 1% NEXO tokens. The subsequent Gold and Platinum tiers then start at 5% and 10% respectively. The higher a lender’s portfolio value, the more NEXO tokens are required to access tier benefits.

    Lending, repaying and exchanging crypto with NexoLending, repaying and exchanging crypto with NexoLending, repaying and exchanging crypto with Nexo.

    One of the only downsides to Nexo is that only 1 free cryptocurrency withdrawal can be completed per month. While crypto deposits are free, multiple cryptocurrency withdrawals incur a charge, which varies for each asset. The only way to increase the number of free withdrawals is to join Nexo’s loyalty program.

    As a result of its partnership with BitGo, Ledger, and Bakkt, the Nexo lending platform is insured for $375 million. While this does not cover the total $12 billion in AUM, the insurance may help if a small breach of the platform ever occurred. BitGo is also entrusted with the private keys of all retail digital assets. These private keys are stored within military-grade Class III vaults and carry a further $100 million in insurance protection.

    To ensure that the insurance is never required, Nexo employs encryption technology, biometric identity verification, two-factor authentication (2FA), address whitelisting, email confirmations, and requires all users to submit Know-Your-Customer (KYC) documentation.

    2. BlockFi - Best Lending Platform For Safety

    BlockFi is a US-based crypto lending platform offering trading, interest-earning, and lending services. According to the company’s website, it differentiates itself from other lending competitors with its institutional backing, which includes investors such as Galaxy Digital, Fidelity, and SoFi. Although the platform has few assets in its lending program compared to Nexo and Celsius, BlockFi still holds over $10 billion in AUM. In addition to crypto lending, BlockFi also offers users access to trading, lending services, and a crypto credit card.

    BlockFi supports over 37 different digital assets which include 30 cryptocurrencies, 6 stablecoins, and 1 tokenized gold token. The range of cryptocurrencies includes Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Chainlink, Cardano, and Binance Coin. Fixed APYs range from 0.1% to a maximum of 11% with cryptocurrency rewards distributed using a tiered structure.

    BlockFi supported lending assetsBlockFi supported lending assetsBlockFi supported lending assets.

    For example, an APY of 3% applies to balances between 0 and 0.10 BTC, whereas an APY of 1% applies to balances between 0.10 and 0.35 BTC. An APY of 0.10% applies to balances over 0.35 BTC. This means that the returns for high-volume crypto lenders might be more limited. A list of example interest rates can be found in the table below.

    CryptocurrencyInterest Rates
    Bitcoin (BTC)<0.1 BTC: 3.00%, 0.1-0.35 BTC: 1.00%, >0.35 BTC: 0.10%
    Ethereum (ETH)<1.5 ETH: 3.00%, 1.5 - 5 ETH: 1.50%, >5 ETH: 0.25%
    Binance (BNB)3.00%
    Cardano (ADA)10.00%
    Polkadot (DOT)15.00%
    Avalanche (AVAX)5.00%

    Unlike competing lending platforms that keep all cryptocurrencies within one account, users of BlockFi can choose to hold funds in one of two places. Digital assets held for trading purposes are stored within the BlockFi Wallet. All digital assets that investors would like to earn a yield on are then stored within a BlockFi Interest Account (BIA). While BIAs are accessible internationally, unfortunately, interest-earning products are not offered to residents within the US.

    To start earning interest on digital assets, lenders must first deposit cryptocurrencies into the standard BlockFi Wallet. From there, cryptos can be transferred into the BlockFi Interest Account to begin earning fixed APYs ranging from 0.1 to 11%. While APYs are not as high as its competitors, an attractive feature of BlockFi is that lenders have the opportunity to collect all interest payments in one specific cryptocurrency using the Interest Flex payment option. Although payout options are flexible, it is worth noting that earning interest on Ethereum and Bitcoin work on a tiered system.

    For example, an APY of 3% can be earned on a Bitcoin balance between 0 and 0.10 BTC, whereas 1% applies to balances between 0.10 and 0.35 BTC. Tiered interest payments are not in place for all supported cryptocurrencies. DOT, for example, has no limit and earns a maximum of 9.5% APY.

    Blockfi lending calculator for BitcoinBlockfi lending calculator for Bitcoin

    A crucial downside with BlockFi is that, unlike competitors, the company does charge more fees for general interaction with the platform. All withdrawals via wire transfer incur a minimum $20 fee for processing. Some cryptocurrencies can be withdrawn for free whereas BTC and ETH incur a charge. BTC withdrawals cost 0.00075 BTC, while ETH withdrawals cost 0.015 ETH. If a lender is likely to deposit and withdraw cryptocurrencies frequently, other options might be more suitable.

    While BlockFi may be less competitive with regard to fees and perks, the platform performs extremely well when it comes to security. As a US-based company, BlockFi must adhere to strict security protocols. The majority of funds held within the lending platform are stored offline through the company’s custodian, the Gemini Trust Company. The Gemini Trust Company is regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services. In addition to offline storage, BlockFi also implements biometric logins, 2FA, and offers users the ability to whitelist crypto wallet addresses. In short, BlockFi is one of the safest lending platforms for crypto within the industry.

    3. Binance Earn - Best Platform For Loan Assets

    Binance is known as a world-leading cryptocurrency exchange, thanks to the platform’s ongoing success. The exchange now offers several lending products that are similar to those offered by specialized crypto-lending platforms. Alongside the ability to buy and sell cryptocurrencies and trade derivatives, earning and financing products now include Binance’s Earn module, Crypto Loans, the Binance Visa Card, and Binance Pay. By leveraging its deep liquidity and market connections, these crypto lending services support an expansive range of cryptocurrencies. Moreover, new users can get $50 for free using a Binance referral code.

    Thanks to Binance's far-reaching ecosystem, over 60 cryptocurrencies are supported within the lending section, which is far higher than many other crypto lending platforms. Digital assets include Bitcoin, Ethereum, Binance USD, Polkadot, and Near. At the time of writing, APYs range from 0.5% to an impressive 25%, but are not fixed and can vary on a daily basis.

    One of the disadvantages of Binance’s savings products is the tiered reward structure, which can limit the returns for high-volume lenders. For example, when subscribing to the BTC flexible savings product, lenders can earn 5% APY on the first 0.01 BTC, 0.8% APY between 0.01 and 0.5 BTC, and 0.1% APY for any deposits above 0.5 BTC. A list of example interest rates can be found in the table below.

    CryptocurrencyInterest rate
    Bitcoin (BTC)<0.01 BTC: 5.00%, 0.01-0.50 BTC: 0.80%, >0.50 BTC: 0.10%
    Ethereum (ETH)<0.2 ETH: 2.40%, >0.2 ETH: 0.10%
    Binance USD (BUSD)<2000 BUSD: 10.00%, 2000-20,000 BUSD: 2.00%, >20,000 BUSD: 1.00%
    Near (NEAR)<200 NEAR: 6.00%, >200 NEAR: 0.4%
    Waves (WAVES)20.00%
    Polkadot (DOT)5.00%

    While the tiered rewards structure is not as optimal as other crypto lending platforms, it is hard to overlook the broad ecosystem situated behind Binance’s lending services. For those already using the Binance cryptocurrency exchange, savings products are an extremely useful and convenient service to put idle digital assets to work.

    To start lending and earning interest on Binance, users must first deposit assets into the regular Binance spot wallet. From there, lenders then have the choice to subscribe to a range of flexible or locked savings products located within the Binance Earn module. Cryptocurrency deposits and transfers to the Binance Earn module are free but all withdrawals incur a flat rate charge.

    Related: How to withdraw from Binance (tutorial).

    Binance Earn crypto lending productsBinance Earn crypto lending productsBinance Earn crypto lending products.

    There are 189 flexible products on Binance which range from 0.5% to 20% APY. Lenders can subscribe and unsubscribe at any time. In comparison, locked products require users to subscribe and lock in cryptocurrencies for a set period. Periods range from 7 to 90 days.

    There are far fewer locked products available but APYs are slightly higher as a result of the time commitment made by crypto lenders. The longer the locking period, the higher the APY rewards. Like Nexo, locked savings rewards are distributed at the end of the locking period rather than on a daily basis.

    Binance Earn locked saving rates for lendingBinance Earn locked saving rates for lendingBinance Earn locked saving rates for lending.

    For full automation, flexible product lenders also have the option to utilize an Auto Transfer function. By enabling Auto Transfer for a specific cryptocurrency, Binance will automatically subscribe to the associated flexible savings product each time a lender deposits that cryptocurrency into their Binance spot wallet. The lender can then instantly begin accruing daily interest.

    All services hosted by Binance are accompanied by the security procedures and compliance implemented by the wider Binance ecosystem. This includes the provision of adequate KYC documentation, the offline storage of digital assets, the mandatory implementation of 2FA, security notifications, and real-time monitoring by Binance staff. At times of trouble, customer support can also be contacted via an online ticketing system or the native web chat solution.

    4. Celsius - Best Platform For Rewards

    Celsius has grown to become one of the leading competitors within the crypto lending market. Although slightly younger than Nexo or BlockFi, after launching in 2018 in London, UK, Celsius now competes with market leaders and holds over $16 billion in AUM. With a vision to support financial success for everyone, the platform boasts over 2 million users and has processed over $8.2 billion worth of loans. In addition to crypto lending, Celsius users can buy and sell cryptos, access crypto-backed loans, and utilize a free crypto swap function.

    Update: Celsius suspended withdrawals on June 13, 2022, due to market volatility. For more information, read their blog post.

    Within the Celsius platform, cryptocurrency investors can earn interest on 37 cryptocurrencies, 13 stablecoins, and 3 tokenized gold tokens, which means that the range of cryptocurrencies is slightly larger than competitors. Crypto holdings include Bitcoin, Ethereum, Polkadot, Polygon, Avalanche, and Solana.

    Supported lending assets on CelsiusSupported lending assets on CelsiusSupported lending assets on Celsius.

    Fixed APYs are slightly less uniform than other crypto lending providers and range from 0.25% all the way up to 18.63%. While APYs are high, unfortunately, the APYs for popular assets such as Bitcoin and Ethereum are implemented using a tiered structure, which can limit returns for lenders wishing to deposit larger amounts. A list of example interest rates can be found in the table below.

    Lenders can automatically begin accruing rewards by depositing cryptocurrencies into the platform. Once deposited, rewards are then distributed on a weekly basis, which allows for weekly compounding to take place.

    CryptocurrencyInterest Rates
    Bitcoin (BTC)<0.1 BTC: 6.50% to 8.53%, 0.1-3 BTC: 2.50% to 3.26%, >3 BTC: 1% to 1.31%
    Ethereum (ETH)<2 ETH: 6% to 7.87%, 2-25 ETH: 4% to 5.23%, >25 ETH: 3.52% to 4.6%
    Polkadot (DOT)9.02% to 11.87%
    Polygon (MATIC)7.25% to 9.52%
    USDT7.10% to 9.32%
    USDC7.10% to 9.32%
    Solana (SOL)5.50% to 7.21%

    One of the best factors about Celsius is the flexibility it provides to lenders. All digital assets deposited within the lending platform remain completely accessible and there are no requirements to lock digital assets away for a set period. This means that lenders can withdraw and move assets at any time. In addition to a lack of lock-up periods, Celsius also shelters users from both deposit and withdrawal fees.

    To further enhance crypto rewards, lenders can opt to get payouts distributed in the native Celsius token, CEL. Following the company’s strong optionality ethos, a lender can choose which digital assets have this option enabled, which is a greater level of control than competing platforms. For example, a user can opt to earn interest on Solana at a higher rate by having rewards paid in CEL, but at the same time can continue to earn ETH rewards on any Ethereum deposited into the platform.

    Like Nexo, Celsius operates a loyalty tier program that is based on the percentage of CEL tokens within an investor’s portfolio. Enhanced benefits start with the Bronze tier, where an investor must hold 5-10% of a portfolio in CEL. Benefits then peak with the Platinum tier, where an investor must hold over 25% of a portfolio in CEL. All CEL tokens held within a portfolio can also accrue interest within Celsius’s earn module.

    Celsius loan statisticsCelsius loan statisticsCelsius loan statistics.

    To improve trust and ensure the platform complies with all regulatory requirements, Celsius holds multiple licenses from regulatory bodies including FinCEN, the Consumer Credit Loan Company, and ISO 27001. On top of regulation, the liquidity of Celsius is checked by Horizen Labs and all assets are also verified by Chainalysis.

    To enhance security, 2FA can be enabled via the app, crypto addresses can be whitelisted, and Celsius offers a HODL mode that deactivates all outgoing transactions from an account. To conclude why Celsius is a top lending platform for crypto, it offers customer support via an online bot agent, a dedicated customer support phone number, and detailed help center guides.

    5. CoinLoan - Great For Bitcoin Rates

    CoinLoan is the final website that we have on our list of best crypto lending platforms. Launched in crypto-friendly, Estonia, CoinLoan went live in 2018 with a vision to simplify the ways of interacting with cryptocurrencies and offer users an all-in-one platform. The company is regulated and holds a license from the Estonia Financial Authority, which ensures that the platform’s core products, including its Interest Accounts, Instant Loans, and its native cryptocurrency exchange are all compliant with all European and international regulations. It is also licensed by FinCEN and can be found within the IRS’s FATCA database.

    CoinLoan supports 25 different cryptocurrencies, which include 16 cryptocurrencies, 6 stablecoins, 2 tokenized fiat currencies, and 1 tokenized gold token. Although the crypto lending service has less coverage than comparable crypto lending providers such as Nexo, Celsius, and BlockFi, one of CoinLoan’s greatest advantages is that the company can serve customers everywhere in the world. Fixed APYs are also competitive and range from 3% to 12.3%. For example, CoinLoan offers one of the highest interest rates for XRP up to 7.2% APY. A list of example interest rates can be found in the table below.

    CryptocurrencyInterest Rates
    Bitcoin (BTC)5.2% to 7.2%
    Ethereum (ETH)5.2% to 7.2%
    Binance USD (BUSD)10.3 to 12.3%
    XRP5.2% to 7.2%
    USD Coin (USDC)5.2% to 7.2%
    Polkadot (DOT)5.2% to 7.2%

    To start automatically accruing interest, lenders can deposit cryptocurrencies into one of CoinLoan’s Interest Accounts for free. Interest is then accrued on a daily basis and is distributed at the end of each month. While this allows for monthly compounding, it will not offer the same compounding effect that is available with other platforms, such as Nexo or Celsius.

    Unlike other lending platforms, there are no fixed-term products to further boost APYs, however, this does mean that all assets are free to be withdrawn at any time. This could make the platform a strong choice for those that wish to get high APYs but still keep assets relatively liquid. To complement the flexibility of the Interest Account, all cryptocurrency deposits are free and only certain Ethereum-based tokens incur a withdrawal fee if multiple withdrawals are requested per month.

    All rates offered within the platform can be incrementally increased by staking set numbers of the platform’s native CLT token. The number of CLT tokens and the corresponding APY increases are as follows: 125 CLT = +0.1%, 375 CLT = +0.3%, 1000 CLT = +0.8%, 1,250 CLT = +1%, and 2500 CLT = +2%.

    Coinloan CLT tokenCoinloan CLT token

    Although all crypto APYs are high, CoinLoan is most famously known for offering one of the best rates for earning interest on Bitcoin. Basic APY rates for BTC start from 5.2%, but can be increased to 7.2% APY by staking CLT. There is no tiered structure to rewards and no upper limit to the amount of BTC that can be deposited.

    Like Nexo, CoinLoan lenders can also earn interest on tokenized versions of EUR and GBP. Basic APYs for these tokenized fiat currencies start from an impressive 10.3% and can be increased to 12.3% when staking the maximum number of CLT tokens. This far outpaces the returns from traditional banking institutions and also beats the returns offered by Nexo.

    To ensure protection for all users, CoinLoan places a high priority on security. The platform employs the latest encryption standards, which include firewall and DDoS protection. Login attempts are always sent to users and 2FA is actively encouraged. The company also supports a bug bounty program to search for any internal weaknesses.

    For all issues or concerns, CoinLoan offers a detailed help center guide or a customer support representative can be contacted via an online chat system. According to the website, users can expect a reply within a couple of minutes.

    Best Crypto Lending Platforms Compared

    For an overview of our picks for the best cryptocurrency lending platforms, see how we rated them in the comparison table below.

    What To Look For When Choosing A Crypto Lending Site

    While hugely beneficial to cryptocurrency investors, not all crypto lending platforms are created equally, which can make the process of choosing a platform confusing. Here are some general factors that everyone can use to help decide which crypto lending platform is best for them.

    • Interest rates. Many of the products and services offered by crypto lending platforms involve some form of interest rate. Interest-generating products offer APYs, while crypto-loans incur APRs. All interest rate details should be clearly outlined, understood, and compared.
    • Loan-to-value ratio. A loan-to-value (LTV) ratio is a specific term related to crypto-backed loans. The ratio often determines how high the APR is, which is extremely important for those looking to borrow assets.
    • Supported cryptocurrencies. It is important to look at what cryptocurrencies are supported within all of the products and services offered by a crypto lending platform. What digital assets can accrue interest? What digital assets can be deposited as collateral? The range of cryptocurrencies offered can quickly shorten a list of prospective lending platforms.
    • Fees. Not all of the services offered by crypto lending platforms will be free. In particular, crypto-backed loans typically incur an interest rate fee, as well as subsequent liquidation fees if loans cannot be repaid. Secondly, for those using interest-generating products, don’t forget to check whether there are any deposit and withdrawal fees that may eat into rewards.
    • Security. Like all cryptocurrency-focused platforms, security should be a top priority. Understand how digital assets are kept secure and whether a company implements a fail-safe if things go wrong. Check for industry-standard measures such as two-factor authentication (2FA) and email notifications.
    • Customer support. If things do go wrong, is there a dedicated customer support team to deal with inquiries? Is the team accessible via phone or can customer support only be reached through an online ticketing system?
    • User-friendliness. Managing digital assets can be a confusing process for many investors, which is why having an easy-to-understand user interface is so important. Is the correct information easily accessible within a few clicks? Can all of the processes be followed clearly, even by someone new to the cryptocurrency industry? Make sure that a platform is easy to navigate before committing funds.

    What Is A Crypto Lending Platform?

    Crypto lending sites and apps were developed to offer a safe and secure platform to leverage digital assets to either earn interest, borrow loans, or pay for goods and services. Fulfilling a role similar to a bank in traditional finance, crypto lending platforms are centralized organizations that offer financial solutions to cryptocurrency investors.

    Cryptocurrency assets deposited with a crypto lending platform become the custody of the associated company. The company then uses those digital assets to generate returns for customers, whether through loans or other yield farming crypto platforms. A proportion of those returns is then passed back to all cryptocurrency lenders utilizing the platform.

    How Crypto Lending Platforms Work

    The primary purpose of a crypto lending platform is to connect those looking to lend with those looking to borrow. Crypto lending platforms will lend customers digital assets to retail and institutional borrowers. All borrowers must agree to pay an associated Annual Percentage Rate (APR) along with any loan fees that may be applied. The culmination of APRs, loan fees, and, in some cases, liquidation fees, help to generate profit for all lenders. All transactions are brokered by the platform and a portion of the profit is paid to the lender as an interest payment on their deposit.

    Types of Crypto Lending Platforms

    The opportunity to earn high APYs by lending digital assets is no longer a unique feature associated with dedicated crypto lending platforms. While these services still dominate the crypto lending sector, several cryptocurrency exchanges and decentralized applications can also be grouped within the umbrella of a crypto lending platform.

    1. Centralized crypto lending platforms

    These are still one of the most popular ways for investors to put digital assets to work. These ‘bank-like’ service providers take custody of cryptos and put them to work, much the same as a traditional bank would. By optimally seeking the best returns from borrowers or by taking advantage of market inefficiencies, lenders are rewarded with high APYs. The efficiency and simplicity of these applications have made them extremely popular among crypto investors.

    Seeing the popularity of interest-earning opportunities, many cryptocurrency exchanges have now expanded to include crypto lending services. With deep liquidity and wider ecosystems, many crypto exchanges can offer investors a broader range of savings and lending accounts.

    2. Decentralized protocols

    DEX's protocols are another type of crypto lending that individuals can use to maximize returns from digital assets. These applications are built using programmable smart contracts and run on a blockchain, such as Ethereum. Examples include UniSwap, PancakeSwap and Curve Finance.

    Unlike dedicated crypto lending providers and cryptocurrency exchanges, these applications are not controlled by a single entity and generate returns by lending liquidity to other decentralized finance (DeFi) applications.

    Related: What is DeFi and how does it work?

    CeFi vs. DeFi Lending Platforms

    Centralized crypto lending platforms should not be confused with decentralized finance (DeFi) applications that are built on a blockchain. Many DeFi protocols also provide opportunities for investors to earn and borrow cryptocurrencies, however, all processes are completed using pre-programmed smart contracts. Unlike crypto lending platforms, there is no one entity in control. Historically, the risks of using DeFi are slightly higher than licensed CeFi platforms.

    How Safe Are Crypto Lending Platforms?

    Lending crypto assets to a crypto lending platform always carries risk. By depositing digital assets with a centralized organization, the control and responsibility of those assets are passed to the crypto lending company. Unless all of the company’s funds are insured, there is no guarantee that digital assets will be returned if something goes wrong.

    Unlike banks, crypto lending platforms do not need to keep a minimum amount of reserves within the platform to cover liquidation events. As a result, crypto lending platforms are free to put a higher percentage of digital assets to work and, therefore, generate higher revenues. However, this can also mean lending platforms can become overleveraged if not managed accordingly. A recent example is the Celsius platform which overleveraged its holdings and had to freeze withdrawals. Many platforms try to lower this risk by implementing measures such as overcollateralized loans.

    However, most crypto lending platforms implement state-of-the-art security measures to ensure that doesn’t happen. Particularly for those regulated and licensed, crypto lending platforms can be considered safe.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Yes, the interest rates offered by the top-tier crypto lending websites offer up to 12% APY on cryptocurrency deposits. Given the crypto-asset holds its value or increases, diversifying into a reputable lending platform can be a profitable passive income strategy.

    Nexo and BlockFi are two market leaders in the crypto lending space that are highly reputable, trustworthy and secure. Both platforms offer competitive rates between 3% and 8% on popular cryptos such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, and up to 12% APY on stablecoins.

    Whether loaning crypto is a good idea depends solely on each cryptocurrency investor. Each investor will have a certain level of liquidity that they will be happy to deposit into a lending platform. The remainder they may then wish to keep locked offline within a cold storage crypto wallet. With more than 38 Billion locked into DeFi at the time of writing, lending crypto is a very popular investment option but there are some risks involved. As a result, how much an investor wishes to deposit and put to work will depend on an individual's circumstances.

    Many cryptocurrency investors purchase digital assets with the expectation of holding long-term and waiting for capital appreciation. However, this typically means leaving cryptocurrencies sitting idle within a cryptocurrency wallet, effectively locking away liquidity. Delegating a portion of crypto into a lending platform can provide dividend-like returns and allow the asset to appreciate with the market.

    When a crypto loan is not paid back, or if the loan-to-value ratio becomes too high, a crypto lending platform will begin to liquidate the cryptocurrency used as collateral. The cryptocurrency will be sold at the current market rate and used to cover any liquidations. This is why most crypto lending platforms such as Nexo offer over-collateralized loans so that the risk to the company, and by association lenders, is lessened.


    Cryptocurrency loan platforms are extremely useful for users to fully maximize and leverage digital assets. These platforms, created by centralized organizations, are arguably much safer and much easier to understand than many decentralized exchanges and finance protocols and provide products and services not dissimilar from the traditional banking industry.

    There is a wide variety of options available so it is crucial to perform thorough due diligence when choosing a platform. Look for the interest rates offered, what cryptocurrencies are supported, the fees involved, and, most importantly, check how funds will be kept safe. Find a crypto lending website that can offer the right balance and start to put digital assets to work.

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    James HendyJames HendyJames Hendy

    James has been involved in the cryptocurrency markets since 2018. He is a sought-after crypto writer that has published works for many cryptocurrency exchanges, fintech platforms, financial publications and investment disruptors worldwide. James work has been featured on the comparison website Finder and Real Vision covering topics in finance, business and the global economy.

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