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?
An alternative path is to leverage Decentralized Finance (DeFi) products and services which allow individuals to earn income through savings accounts and yield farming. One platform that enables customers to deposit crypto into a high-interest savings account to accrue monthly interest is BlockFi. In this review, we will assess the BlockFi platform which offers the ability for individuals (and companies) that are invested in Bitcoin and other altcoins to earn compound interest on crypto.
Important: BlockFi has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and can not be used. Here is a list of alternative exchanges to earn interest on crypto.
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 offers a range of DeFi products such as a crypto lending and borrowing platform which allows individuals to obtain access to finance without a bank.
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. The company 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.
BlockFi Pros & Cons
BlockFi is a world-class financial platform for individuals around the world to buy, store, earn and sell crypto. Its flagship products are its lending and borrowing services to earn interest on crypto and its unique debit card with Bitcoin rewards. However, there is no ability to earn interest on fiat, interest rates often change and a limited number of digital assets to use as collateral.
- 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 and subject to change
- Limited number of cryptocurrencies
- Does not allow customers to earn interest on fiat
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 protected with Two Factor Authentication (2FA).
|Cryptocurrency||13 (interest accounts), 4 (crypto loans)|
|Interest Rate||Up to 7.5%|
|Compound Interest||Yes (accrues daily)|
|Interest Payment Frequency||Monthly|
|Account Management Fee||None|
BlockFi is a popular way to make money online through the BlockFi interest account and lending platform. The platform is based in the United States and offers competitive rates for lenders and borrowers on a variety of crypto assets. Similar platforms to BlockFi that can be considered like-for-like alternatives are Nexo, Celsius and Crypto.com. For a comparison of the two best-rated platforms, read our comparison on:
|Exchange||available Coins||interest Rate||rating||Promotion||Website||Review|
|23||Up to 8.6% APY|
|Get up to $250 Bonus in Bitcoin||Visit BlockFi||BlockFi Review|
|8+||Up to 12% P.A|
|$25 Bitcoin for >$100 deposit||Visit Nexo||Nexo Review|
|25+||Up to 12% P.A|
|None available at this time||Visit Crypto.com||Crypto.com Review|
|25+||Up to 17% APY|
|None available at this time||Visit Celsius||Celsius Review|
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.
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. Fortunately, customer funds were not affected by the breach. For a list of the biggest hacks in DeFi, read this article.
Products & Features
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)
- Bitcoin-backed credit card (the world's first Bitcoin credit card to to earn up to 3.5% back in Bitcoin on every purchase)
BlockFi Interest Accounts
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 across the 13 supported cryptocurrency assets that varies for each coin and is determined by the amount. For example, BlockFi users can earn interest on Bitcoin with a 4% interest rate for deposits between 0 BTC and 0.25. Amounts greater than 5 BTC will accrue interest daily at 0.25% APY. When compared to other platforms such as Nexo which offers 6% APY on Bitcoin, the interest rate on BlockFi is much lower for Bitcoin.
|Cryptocurrency||Interest % (APY)|
|Bitcoin||0.1%, 1%, 4.5%|
|Ethereum||0.25%, 1.5%, 5%|
|Tether||5.5%, 7%, 8%|
|USD Coin||5.5%, 7%, 8%|
How Often Is Interest Paid Out?
Customers who 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. For example, a person can deposit Bitcoin into a savings account and earn interest in Ethereum.
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 (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC) and Paxos Gold (PAXG). The basic terms of BlockFi loans are shown below.
|Collateral assets||BTC, ETH, LTC, PAXG|
|Loan currency||USD, GUSD, USDC, PAX|
|Loan-to-value ratio||20%, 35%, 50%|
|Minimum amount||USD $10,000|
|Interest rate||Depends on crypto asset|
Loans can be obtained up to 50% of the value of the collateral at the time of the loan, with lower Loan-to-Value (LTV) amounts offering better rates. The interest rates change for each asset. There is also an up-front 2% origination fee and 12 months in duration which is a disadvantage for users that want to borrow any amounts.
BlockFi crypto-backed loans would appeal to a long-term crypto investor that does not want to sell a Bitcoin investment before the price reaches maturity would benefit from the BlockFi. You can leverage your crypto holdings to borrow fiat currencies and use them 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 between assets.
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
What Are The Fees?
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.
|Asset||Withdrawal Fee||Weekly Limit|
|Stablecoin||US 0.25||US 1,000,000|
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 protect customer data and funds.
BlockFi funds that are held with Gemini utilize 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 multi-signature digital signature scheme is utilized to eliminate single points of failure and improve resilience against the loss or compromise of a Bitcoin or crypto private key.
As such, Gemini employs and number of 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
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.
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.
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.
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 sizes to take advantage of the products and services offered by BlockFi.
Although, with the introduction of USD wire transfers, the door has now opened for crypto beginners and new investors to utilize the BlockFi products and immediately earn interest on their digital assets portfolio. In short, BlockFi is an excellent platform to earn interest in cryptocurrencies or obtain an instant cash loan.