BlockFi Review – Borrow Against Your Crypto Holdings
BlockFi is a crypto lending platform that allows users to deposit or purchase cryptocurrency, and borrow against their holdings. BlockFi also offers a simple crypto exchange to buy, sell, and trade cryptocurrency quickly, as well as a secure digital wall for storing crypto.
BlockFi used to offer high-interest crypto savings accounts to U.S. investors, but now only offers them to international users. These accounts paid up to 10% (or more) on deposited cryptocurrencies. High net worth investors can earn interest by lending out cryptocurrency to borrowers, but must have at least $3 million in assets on the BlockFi platform.
Although BlockFi no longer offers one of its better features (interest accounts) to U.S. investors, the platform is still extremely intuitive and ideal for new crypto investors who want to buy and hold crypto, or borrow against their crypto assets at reasonable rates.
BlockFi earns money by charging interest on crypto-backed loans, as well as charging a spread on crypto trades. BlockFi also charges withdrawal fees for transferring assets off the platform, which can be as high as $50 or more. Here’s a breakdown of the fees on BlockFi:
|BlockFi Feature||BlockFi Fees|
|Crypto Loans||2% Origination Fee4.5% to 9.75% APR|
|Trade Crypto||1.0% spread fee (average)1.49%/3.49% for debit/credit card purchases|
|Deposit Fees (for crypto and USD)||None|
|Withdrawal Fees||Varies by currency|
Key Features of BlockFi
BlockFi is one of the top crypto lenders in the U.S., offering loans as low as 4.5% APR on Bitcoin and select other cryptocurrencies. Users can borrow up to half the market value of deposited crypto for 12 months, and loans can be paid out in U.S. dollars or stablecoins.
There are four supported crypto for loans, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and Paxos Gold (PAXG). Users can quickly get a loan quote by selecting how much they would like to borrow, and BlockFi will calculate how much collateral is needed for the loan. You can then directly deposit crypto into BlockFi’s secure digital wallet, and the loan application will be processed (usually) within 24 hours.
Loan interest rates are determined by how much is borrowed against the value of the crypto collateral, with users able to borrow up to 50% of the total value. When the loan-to-value (LTV) is lower, the interest rate is lower. Here’s how BlockFi assigns the annual interest rate on crypto loans:
- 50% LTV: 9.75% APR
- 35% LTV: 7.9% APR
- 20% LTV: 4.5% APR (BTC loans only, $20k max)
All loans are for a 12-month term length and charge an upfront 2% origination fee. The minimum loan amount is $10,000.
BlockFi supports around 15 cryptocurrencies for trading on its exchange, allowing users to buy, sell, or swap crypto. Although the exchange doesn’t have the largest selection, it makes it easy for users who want to apply for a crypto loan to buy crypto directly on the platform and then deposit for collateral. It is also ideal for investors who want to quickly exchange one crypto for another without having to move funds off BlockFi first.
Some of the supported crypto include:
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Litecoin (LTC)
- Paxos Gold (PAXG)
- Uniswap (UNI)
- Dai (DAI)
- Chainlink (LINK)
- Basic Attention Token (BAT)
- Algorand (ALGO)
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
- Dogecoin (DOGE)
- U.S. Dollar Coin (USDC)
The fees are about average, with spread fees for trades averaging about 1.0% per trade, and purchasing via debit or credit card incurring an additional 1.49% to 3.49% fee.
Crypto Rewards Credit Card
BlockFi released the first crypto rewards credit card, paying users 1.5% in crypto rewards on all purchases. The card is a standard credit card that was released in partnership with Visa, but rewards are paid directly into a user’s BlockFi account. BlockFi also offers high interest rates on all purchases over $50,000 per year, giving user’s a bump to 2% cash back.
BlockFi allows users to choose which crypto they want to receive rewards in, with a selection of over 15 supported crypto to choose from.
BlockFi offers a secure crypto wallet that functions as an extension of the crypto exchange. It allows users to trade crypto directly within the app, as well as secure funds via two-factor authentication (2FA) and “allow-listing,” which allows users to lock down outbound transfers only to approved wallet addresses. These extra security measures help prevent theft and protect user accounts and their crypto stored on the BlockFi platform.
Note: This crypto wallet does not give user’s direct custody of their crypto, and cannot connect to other third-party crypto applications.
Crypto Lending (Personalized Yield)
High net worth users who can commit at least $3 million USD in loaned assets on the BlockFi platform can earn interest from loaning out their crypto. Lending term lengths vary from one to six months, and interest rates can be negotiated with borrowers.
In addition to the ability to lend on the platform, BlockFi also offers white-glove onboarding support for high net worth individuals, as well as a personal relationship manager.
Advantages of BlockFi
Although BlockFi doesn’t offer interest accounts to U.S residents any longer, there’s plenty to like about the platform. With a super-simple mobile app, access to crypto-backed loans, and an easy-to-use exchange to quickly swap crypto, BlockFi is great for beginners. Here’s a few things that BlockFi does well:
- Crypto-Backed Loans. BlockFi offers reasonable rates on crypto-backed loans, allowing users to quickly deposit crypto and pull out cash. With rates as low as 4.5% APR, and the ability to borrow up to $20,000 (or more) within a few hours is pretty amazing.
- Crypto Rewards Credit Card. The BlockFi rewards card makes it easy to quickly build your crypto balance, paying 1.5% in crypto rewards on all purchases. And users that spend more get a rate increase to 2% crypto rewards on all spending over $50k annually.
- Built-in Crypto Exchange. The BlockFi app offers a simple crypto exchange experience. Users can purchase crypto with their bank account, and then quickly turn around and pull out a loan against their investment. The exchange is designed for beginners, with no confusing charts and complicated trading tools needed.
Disadvantages of BlockFi
It’s a bummer that BlockFi had to drop the interest accounts for U.S. residents, because that was the main draw to the platform. With interest rates up to 8% (at times), it was the crypto-lovers alternative to a regular savings account. BlockFi also doesn’t compete with most crypto exchanges on fees and selection. Here’s a few ways BlockFi could improve:
- Interest Accounts no Longer Available to U.S. Residents. BlockFi got in trouble with the SEC and had to shut down interest accounts for U.S. residents. While competitors like Celsius have reintroduced interest accounts for accredited investors, BlockFi has only created a crypto lending offering for very high net worth individuals.
- Limited Crypto Selection. Although the 15 crypto assets available for trading is lower than most crypto exchanges, some of the biggest coins are available, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. But BlockFi users can only use four different crypto as collateral for crypto loans, which competing platforms offer dozens of choices for loan collateral.
How BlockFi Stacks Up
Include a brief intro setting up a comparison between the Product/Service and a competitor and introducing the table below.
|Crypto Loan Rates||4.5% to 9.75% APR, plus a 2% origination fee||1.0% to 8.95% APR|
|Loan Minimums||$10,000 (USD only)||$100 for stablecoins or $1,000 for fiat currency|
|Available Crypto||4 for loan collateral, 15 for trading||40 for loan collateral, 50 for trading|
|Interest Account Rates||Up to 7% (not available to U.S. residents)||Up to 18% (accredited investors only in the U.S.)|
BlockFi is a simple-to-use platform that is ideal for investors that are new to crypto. With a slick mobile app, easy-to-use exchange, and the ability to quickly deposit crypto and pull out a cash loan, BlockFi helps users make the most of their crypto.
A huge downside is the loss of the crypto interest accounts, as U.S. residents can no longer deposit crypto and earn high rates on the BlockFi platform. Although users with $3 million or more in crypto can earn some interest by lending on the platform, most will not have that opportunity.
Overall, BlockFi is a solid beginner-level crypto app that can help users buy their first crypto or take a loan against their holdings. But if you’re looking to trade crypto, you will want to check out a top-rated crypto exchange with a larger selection and better fee structure.