Fed up of earning negative interest from your bank? Why not leave the traditional financial system behind and start earning up to 8.6% on your crypto assets with BlockFi. Or simply borrow against your crypto with collateralised loans with rates as low at 4.5%.
What is BlockFi?
Founded in 2017, BlockFi is a New York City-based lending platform that offers competitive interest-bearing savings accounts for cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and USD stable coins like GUSD, USDC, and PAX.
BlockFi generates interest on assets held by lending funds to institutional and corporate borrowers.
With Interest being accumulated from the day the platform receives your deposits. Plus they’re backed by some of the world’s top investors including Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures, who co-founded Paypal and was the first investor in Facebook.
Unlike nearly all of BlockFi’s competitors, they don’t offer native tokens. Instead, they offer simple products, with simple terms designed to help cryptocurrency holders to do more with their digital assets.
The company currently services clients worldwide, including 49 U.S. states, with interest-earning accounts and low-cost USD loans backed by crypto.
With BlockFi interest you can earn on cryptocurrency such as the likes of Bitcoin, ETH, LTC and stablecoins with rates of up to 8.6%.
This is great for whose crypto has been sitting idle in a wallet or exchange with the ability to earn more crypto while holding their assets.
Interest in paid monthly and compounds. If you add additional crypto to your BlockFi Interest Account, your interest will compound on the new balance.
BlockFi has recently made updates to their rates as of May 1st 2021. Below are the new rates which apply with changes applied to BTC, ETH, LINK, LTC and PAXG. If you’ve deposited between 0.5 and 20 BTC the new rate will now be at 2% APY, which is a huge drop from the former 6% for those staking 0 to 2.5 BTC.
Loans can be completed quickly with BlockFi and this is all done by collateralizing your crypto. Previously, if you wanted to free up some funds you’d need to sell your crypto. However, with BlockFi you can simply use your Bitcoin, Ethereum or Litecoin as collateral to borrow funds.
BlockFi is not yet licensed to offer loans to residents in certain jurisdictions, which include the UK. However, they state that they are working hard to make this available for their clients.
With BlockFi, you can borrow from $5,000. However, the limit you can borrow up to, will depend on the amount of collateral you deposit.
You can take a BlockFi loan equal to (or up to) around 50% of the crypto collateral you deposit. In other words, if your collateral is $1,000, you can get a loan of up to $500. This is done in order to protect the system.
Just in case there was a crash in the value of the crypto which is obviously very volatile.
Once you’ve got enough collateral, you’ll also need to pay interest on that loan. This is for a minimum duration of approximately 12 months.
If you want to pay a loan back early, there are no penalties and you can do this at anytime.
What Tokens are Accepted as Collateral?
At time of writing this BlockFi review you can use the following assets as collateral; Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Pax Gold (PAXG).
With BlockFi trading you can exchange and manage your crypto assets with the likes of BTC, ETH, LTC, USDC, USDT, GUSD, PAX and PAXG. Trading is quick and easy and you can start as soon as funds are deposited into your account.
The price that you see is the trade price and there are no additional fees to pay. Plus, you’ll continue earning interest when your trade goes through.
Although this is a simple way to exchange between cryptocurrencies, this will not be the cheapest option. This is because you’ll be paying a premium for this convenience.
BlockFi Reward Card
BlockFi has a Bitcoin reward credit card coming soon, where you can get 1.5% cashback with every purchase. Although the card is not yet available at the time of writing this article BlockFi users can join the waiting list.
The card will initially be available to US residents in qualified states in 2021.
With BlockFi, there are no fees for deposits or trading. However, there are some withdrawal fees and limits associated with your assets.
To see a full list please check out their Fees page.
Withdrawal Fees and Limits
You can withdraw your funds at any time. BlockFi currently offer one free crypto withdrawal and one free stablecoin withdrawal per calendar month.
Any further withdrawals may be assessed a fee as listed below.
Is BlockFi Regulated?
BlockFi is not decentralised. However, is still one of the most popular companies offering cryptocurrency-backed loans. They’re registered with the U.S. Department of Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“or FinCEN”) as a money services business.
BlockFi keep reserves stored with the crypto custodian Gemini, a New York trust company regulated by NYDFS.
Is BlockFi Safe?
BlockFi is backed by some of the largest and most reputable companies in the space such as; Coinbase, Consensys (Joseph Lubin Co-Founder of Ethereum and the Founder of ConsenSys), Fidelity, Morgan Creek, and Galaxy Digital (Michael Novogratz Founder & CEO). They also use custodial services like Gemini. Gemini keeps 95% of its assets in cold storage and 5% in hot wallets that are insured by Aon.
BlockFi Trust Pilot
As of December 2020, BlockFi has a Trust Pilot score of 3.1 with only 33 reviews. The majority of the negative reviews highlight issues with customer support. This could be a growth issue, with BlockFi unable to keep up with demand from more customers using their platform.
One issue I personally had, was not being unable to log-in to my account and this was very frustrating at the time. I contacted BlockFi via Twitter and after some time they did respond. I had to remove the App and download it again which resolved the issues.
When it comes to online review platforms it best to take them with a pinch of salt. It’s very easy to bash a company when things go wrong and unless you’re being paid or a company/business has gone out their way, what the incentive is there to leave a 5-star review?
For full transparency in this BlockFi review, according to their incident report, BlockFi had a security breach. This occurred on May 14, 2020. During this time, a BlockFi employee’s phone number was breached and utilized by an unauthorized third party. They did this to access a portion of BlockFi’s encrypted back-office system and this type of breach is commonly referred to as a SIM port.
The perpetrator attempted to make unauthorized withdrawals of client funds using the BlockFi platform. However, was unsuccessful in doing so. But they did manage to access BlockFi client information, used for marketing purposes throughout the duration of this incident.
BlockFi has confirmed that no funds, passwords, social security numbers, tax identification numbers, passports, licenses, bank account information, nor similar non-public identification information were exposed as a result of this incident.
BlockFi Referral Code
Sign up offers are available for BlockFi which are used to entice new users to their platform. For every person that signs up using your referral link and deposits $100 or more into their BlockFi Interest Account (BIA), you and that friend will each earn $10 in BTC.
At the time of this BlockFi review, BlockFi currently have a help centre with a lot of valuable information and FAQs. This is handy for those wanting some immediate answers to their queries. You can also submit a ticket through their website. Or leave a message through their online chat facility in the bottom right of the screen.
BlockFi Review Conclusion
Although the likes of BlockFi will never win over the hardcore crypto investors, BlockFi is potentially a bridge between the traditional financial system and crypto. Not everyone will be comfortable storing their own private keys themselves. Therefore, with platforms such as BlockFi, users can keep their crypto secure whilst also receiving a high yield.
I personally feel a sense of security with my assets earning interest on BlockFi. Mostly due to BlockFi being regulated in New York and being backed by some of the biggest names in the space.
I’ve been earning interest with BlockFi consistently for a few months now. Although their rates are not as competitive compared to the likes of Celsius Network and Nexo (although to get the best rates you’ll need to be paid in the native tokens of these platforms), I wouldn’t recommend storing 100% of your assets in a platform like BlockFi, I personally am happy to invest a percentage of my portfolio in the platform.
My biggest issue has been BlockFi´s App on iPhone, I’ve had a few issues where I haven’t been able to log-in as I mentioned perviously. Hopefully this is just teething problems and won’t be an re-occurring issue.