Many crypto investors will store their digital assets on a fiat-to-crypto exchange or a hardware wallet for safekeeping. While this is considered a standard storage method, this strategy doesn't build your crypto wealth over time. Isn't that the whole point of investing?
In this review, we will assess the BlockFi platform which is not only an alternative cryptocurrency storage option, individuals (and companies) that are invested in Bitcoin and other altcoins can passively earn interest on crypto. So, we ask you these questions:
- Do you want to earn interest on Bitcoin holdings?
- Do you want to earn interest on other crypto assets?
Ease of use
What Is BlockFi?
BlockFi is an digital assets financial company with its head office located in New Jersey, USA that provides professional financial services to individuals and businesses worldwide. The company was founded in 2017 and is regulated at the federal and state level in the United States (48 states).
BlockFi is backed by world-class and innovative partners such as Galaxy Digital, Susquehanna, Fidelity, Recruit Strategic Partners, Arrington XRP Capital, ConsenSys Ventures, SoFi, Coinbase Ventures, CMT Digital and Morgan Creek Digital.
Who Created BlockFi?
BlockFi was founded in 2017 by Zac Prince and Flori Marquez. The pair are highly experienced and have held leadership roles at multiple successful tech companies and portfolio management at large financial institutions such as Goldman Sachs.
BlockFi is a popular way to make money online through the BlockFi interest account and lending platform. Here are a few other notable platforms in the crypto industry like BlockFi to earn interest on crypto or take out crypto-backed loans.
Up to 3.14% P.A
Up to 12% P.A
Up to 12% P.A
Is BlockFi Legit?
BlockFi is a legitimate and trustworthy company that is regulated at the federal and state level in 48 states within the USA. The company's primary custodian Gemini is a licensed New York trust company that is subject to the cyber security regulations promulgated by the New York Department of Financial Services.
Is BlockFi Safe?
BlockFi includes a number of mechanisms that have been designed to maintain 'bank-like' security for the safe custody of assets under its control. The platform only keeps a small portion of client funds for withdrawal purposes with third parties such as Gemini, BitGo, and Coinbase. The remainder of the funds are kept in cold storage wallets and accounts can be protection with Two Factor Authentication (2FA).
Has BlockFi Been Hacked?
BlockFi was involved in an attempted hack in May 2020 which involved a SIM card swapping incident involving a staff member that compromised the security systems of the platform for just under 90 minutes. According to reports, no customer funds were lost in the hack and information stored such as "user passwords, social security numbers, tax identification numbers, passports, licenses, bank account information, nor similar non-public identification information" were not exposed.
Products & Services
BlockFi empowers individuals around the world to do more with their money and cryptocurrency investment by offering cutting-edge financial services. The core products to use on BlockFi are:
- Earn interest on crypto (earn up to 8.6% APY without hidden fees and charges that starts accruing immediately and compounds per month)
- Lend crypto and borrow cash (leverage cryptocurrency assets and borrow fiat currency such as USD for day to day spending or to purchase more crypto)
- Trade cryptocurrency (speculate on the market by spot trading while earning compounding interest after a trade is placed)
BlockFi Interest Account
The BlockFi Interest Account (BIA) allows users to transfer and deposit their cryptocurrency investment such as Bitcoin and Ethereum to earn interest on their capital invested with the platform. The company generates interest on the stored assets by lending the funds to trusted institutional and corporate borrowers.
What Is the Interest Rate?
The BlockFi interest rates vary between 3.6% to 8.6% depending on the cryptocurrency asset that is transferred by the owner and held on the platform. The interest paid out is as follows.
Interest % (APY)
How Often Is Interest Paid Out?
Customers that deposit funds into a crypto savings and interest account will begin to accrue interest immediately with the return paid out at the beginning of each calendar month. The interest paid out is combined with the initial deposit which allows the account holder to earn compound interest.
BlockFi also offers a unique feature to provide the investor an option to be paid interest in a different cryptocurrency than the asset held within a crypto savings account. The Blockfi Interest Payment Flex allows users to be paid out in a preferred currency of choosing to diversify the portfolio without having to buy new crypto with fiat.
Does BlockFi Interest Compound?
The interest earned on cryptocurrency and stablecoins within a BlockFi account is paid out each month into the account holders online wallet and updates the balance. This means the interest earned on the new balance compounds which increased the annual yield for the investor.
For example, a user that earns interest in Month 1, the next interest amount will be calculated off of the new total balance (old balance + interest payment from Month 1). An example of a 12 month outlook for a 1 BTC deposit compounding monthly using the BlockFi interest account is shown below.
Who Can Apply For a BlockFi Interest Account?
To be eligible for the interest payment, the user must transfer, deposit and hold the cryptocurrency with BlockFi for custody. In return, the customer will be paid monthly interest at the beginner of each month which will accrue the next day after the deposit.
Is There A Minimum Amount To Deposit?
BlockFi has no minimum or maximum deposit amount to start earning interest on cryptocurrency assets. This is ideal for beginners which can deposit fractions of BTC, ETH, LTC or other digital currencies supported by BlockFi.
The BlockFi loan allows users to deposit crypto assets as collateral and receive US Dollars direct to your own bank account. The benefit of using crypto as collateral in comparison to traditional financial lenders is that you can access cash from your crypto investment without having to sell and trigger a taxable event.
The accepted crypto assets that can be used to apply for a loan are Bitcoin, Ether and Litecoin.
The BlockFi interest rate depends on the Loan To Value Ratio that is selected. This is determined by the amount of collateral that you need to deposit to take out a loan. For example, a 50% LVR on a USD $25,000 loan equates to a 12.5% interest rate.
The BlockFi crypt-backed loan would appeal to a long term crypto investor that does not want to sell their investment before the price reaches maturity would benefit from the BlockFi. You can leverage your crypto holdings to borrow fiat currencies and use for other purposes such as diversifying your investment, pay off debts and expenses or start a new business.
To apply for a crypto-backed loan with BlockFi, follow these steps:
- Visit the website and create an account at BlockFi
- Click on 'New Loan' at the top navigational bar
- Select the collateral asset, desired loan amount and calculate offer
- Confirm the collateral amount, LVR, interest rate and click 'Proceed'
- Review your loan offer and sign the loan agreement
- Deposit the collateral into BlockFi’s secure storage wallet
- Receive the loan in USD to your bank account or stablecoin to your crypto wallet address
- Provide interest only payments monthly using USD, BTC, ETH or LTC
- Pay off the full principal amount at the end of term or refinance at the current interest rate
BlockFi has it's own cryptocurrency trading exchange that is available to its users that register an account. It allows investors on the platform to switch between cryptocurrency pairs. The best part is that you still earn compound interest while crypto trading betweenassets!
To sign up for a BlockFi trading account and trade crypto, follow these simple steps:
- Visit the BlockFi website and create an account
- Complete the email verification and login to your account
- Add funds to the account through the user dashboard
- Click on 'Trade' at the top navigation panel
- Select the crypto asset you want to exchange
- Enter the amount you want to purchase
- Review the order details
- Click on 'Submit Trade' to finalize the transaction
Purchase USD Stablecoins Using Wire Deposit
BlockFi have introduced a new feature that allows users to send cash deposits using wire transfer to the platform. This involves transmitting USD to purchase stablecoins directly on the platform to start a BlockFi Interest Account.
This makes it easy for crypto beginners that have never purchased cryptocurrencies before. They can sign up with BlockFi, deposit US Dollars using wire transfer and receive up to 8.6% in a BlockFi Interest Account.
USD deposits are automatically exchanged into Gemini Dollars (GUSD) which can be converted into crypto such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and USDC using the BlockFi trading platform (and still earn compound interest).
To purchase USD stablecoins with BlockFi, follow these steps:
- Log in to your BlockFi account.
- Click on ‘Deposit’ in the top navigation bar
- Select 'USD (wire transfer)' as your deposit currency.
- Select ‘Wire’ as the payment method
- Enter in your details and send your wire to BlockFi
Users that create a BlockFi Interest Account are subject to withdrawal limits that varies on the cryptocurrency being transferred from a BlockFi wallet. There is no minimum balance amount to earn interest with BlockFi.
Customer funds stored on the BlockFi platform are managed by their primary custodian, Gemini. The exchange is a licensed depository trust and the world’s first crypto exchange and custodian that has achieved SOC 2 Type 2 examination security compliance to protecting customer data and funds.
BlockFi funds that are held with Gemini utilise a cold wallet solution with multi-layer encryption which has achieved a FIPS 140-2 Level 3 rating or higher according to the website. In addition, a multisignature digital signature scheme is utilized to eliminate single points of failure and improve resilience against the loss or compromise of any individual private key.
As such, Gemini employs and number security protocols to protect their client's assets explained in the next section. Gemini also has commercial crime insurance that exceeds the value of assets stored on behalf of their clients in the online hot wallets.
In summary, BlockFi utilizes the following security measures to keep its clients funds safe and secure while obtaining interest in a savings account:
- Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) for login and withdrawals
- Hardware Security Keys and WebAuthn for account security
- Whitelisting to limit withdrawal activity to designated addresses only
- Encryption to secure passwords, personal information and other sensitive information
BlockFi offers a comprehensive customer support and help section for new user's to find answers to common troubleshooting issues or problems. The help section includes the following main categories that comprise of detailed articles and how-to guides.
- General (learn more about BlockFi, account set up, security etc.)
- BlockFi Interest Account (setting up an interest account, trading and withdrawals)
- BlockFi Loans (obtaining a loan, depositing funds, repayments and supported currency)
- BlockFi Rewards Bitcoin Credit Card (how to register, new features)
A BlockFi customer that does not find adequate information in the Help Section can contact BlockFi through social media channels or submit a ticket. The ticket system requires standard information such as name, email address and a description of the query. In our experience, we received a response within 24 hours which is reasonable time for a customer support team.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is BlockFi a Wallet?
Customer funds that are transferred or purchased directly using the platform are stored in a BlockFi wallet by the primary custodian, Gemini exchange. The platform adheres to strict security protocols and procedures to ensure funds are kept safe on the BlockFi wallet.
Does BlockFi Require KYC?
BlockFi must comply with financial regulations under the Bank Secrecy Act and must implement policies and procedures to keep customers funds safe, detect and prevent money laundering and terrorist financing. Therefore, customers that want to open a savings account with BlockFi or loan their crypto must complete a Know Your Customer (KYC) process.
Can I Use BlockFi In The UK?
BlockFi supports customers from all around the world including the UK to deposit funds an obtain a cash loan in GBP or earn interest. Residents can transfer digital currencies from a UK crypto exchange and deposit into BlockFi to start earning interest.
Does BlockFi Have A Mobile App?
BlockFi offers a highly intuitive, ease to use and safe mobile app for its customers to access the offered products and services. The app can be used to manage BlockFi Interest Account, borrow money against crypto holdings or transfer funds directly from a crypto wallet. The BlockFi mobile app is supported by Android and iOS devices.
To conclude our BlockFi review, the platform is well-suited for long term holders of cryptocurrencies with significant portfolio size to take advantage of the products and services offered by BlockFi.
Although, with the introduction of USD wire transfers, the door has now opened to crypto beginners and new investors to utilize the BlockFi products and immediately earning interest on their digital assets portfolio. In summary, here is our opinion on the pros and cons of using BlockFi:
- Offers game-changing, quality financial services to crypto investors
- Allows everyday investors to earn more crypto and grow their long term crypto portfolio
- BlockFi interest rates are unmatched compared to the traditional banking sector
- Interest is paid every month, allowing crypto profits to compound over time
- Crypto-backed loans can unlock capital without having to sell your assets (e.g. not trigger a taxable event)
- Earn compound interest on your portfolio while trading assets
- Interest rate is not fixed
- Limited number of cryptocurrencies
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If there are other cryptocurrency platforms, services or exchanges that you would like us to review, please let us know and contact us with your request.
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