BlockFi Review & Guide

BlockFi manages to provide an accessible introduction for cryptocurrency holders to start earning higher-interest on their digital assets.
BlockFi Review Guide

Introduction

BlockFi was founded in 2017 and has quickly become one of the more popular non-bank alternatives for lending and savings accounts. They provide loans based on cryptocurrency collateral and a savings account that allows you to earn high interest on your crypto.

The platform has been around for a couple of years now and has proven to be safe to use. BlockFi is also a regulated service provider in the United States. It has to meet specific requirements to ensure that it is capable of providing a safe and secure service to its customers. 

BlockFi has experienced that one of their employees was once sim-hacked, however, due to proper security mechanisms in place, the hackers were unable to do anything and did not gain access to any funds.

The reason for BlockFi’s fast growth and popularity is tied to its very competitive interest rates, which are the best amongst all of its main competitors. 

BlockFi Referral Code – $20 Sign Up Promotion

BlockFi Earn Interest
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BlockFI allows users to earn up to 8.6% interest on major cryptocurrencies and stablecoins, which is rather astonishing. I’m quite impressed to see such high-interest rates, particularly on stablecoins which are non-volatile and hold the same value as the dollar.

If you would like to take advantage of their high-interest rates, click the image or the button below to sign up using our unique BlockFi referral code which will grant you $20 as a welcome bonus.

Creating an Account

Blockfi Signup

After you click the links presented above to sign up, you don’t need need to enter any referral codes to receive a bonus, this is automatically provided with the Honest Crypto link.

blockfi verify

In order to use BlockFi, you will be required to verify your identity in the form of government I.D. such as driving license or passport and a quick selfie done through their own app.

blockfi verify2

The process itself is surprisingly quick and easy to do, you can take the selfie on your laptop or your cellphone and after you have provided one piece of government I.D. After you have done so you will be verified in minutes! 

It was a much smoother experience than what you would expect from sites requiring full KYC (know your customer). BlockFi requires your information due to the “Bank Secrecy Act,” which is a requirement for regulated businesses to avoid money laundering or other illegal activities.

Depositing

blockfi deposit

Depositing is very simple, all asset classes supported by BlockFi have their own digital wallet, except for USD which has to be sent through a wire transfer (bank). 

Due to the simplicity and quickness, I would recommend sending over one of the following digital assets that are supported: 

  • Bitcoin (BTC)
  • Ethereum (ETH)
  • Litecoin (LTC)
  • USD Coin (USDC)
  • Gemini Dollar (GUSD)
  • Paxos Standard (PAX)

The three last ones are stablecoins, which means they hold their value identical to the American dollar. They are popular as they come with the benefits of using digital assets but none of the volatility. 

After you have deposited, you don’t need to do anything else to start earning interest! It happens automatically when you receive the sent digital assets in your BlockFi account. 

When choosing what to deposit, you would need to look at the current interest rates to determine what you can expect in interest and compare the alternatives.

There is no minimum balance required to start earning interest. 

Interest Rates

blockfi interest rate

BlockFi offers competitive interest rates, direct comparisons to competitors is sometimes tricky to make since the big lending platforms tend to have a different selection of cryptocurrencies available. Still, we will take a further look at competitor comparison deeper in the article. 

The selection of cryptocurrencies on the majority of lending sites tends to be somewhat exclusive, in the sense that they only have a few cryptocurrencies available. BlockFi is undoubtedly on the slimmer end of what they are able to offer. 

The most impressive service BlockFi interest rate is the one belonging to bitcoin (BTC). It can offer a 6% annual interest on your bitcoin if your amount is five bitcoin or lower, if you surpass five bitcoin your interest will lower to 3.2%. 

6% annual interest on your bitcoin is industry-leading on lending sites. As annual rates vary widely depending on cryptocurrency, I would recommend choosing a reputable lending site with the highest interest on the digital asset you are interested in. 

Withdrawing

blockfi withdrawal

When clicking withdraw, you will be asked to select what cryptocurrency you want to withdraw and to which wallet.

BlockFi Withdrawal Fee

blockfi withdrawal fee

BlockFi offers one free withdrawal each month, all withdrawals past that amount will be charged with a withdrawal fee of 0.0025 BTC or 0.0015 ETH. 

Since they are a lending site, they cannot provide unlimited withdrawal sizes as this could cause issues with their core business. However, 100 bitcoin or 1 million USD in stablecoins withdrawal will likely be enough for most users. 

The withdrawals will be processed after being held for around 24 hours for security reasons. On weekdays, withdrawals are processed by 8:00 PM EST. 

Minimum withdrawal sizes are  0.003 BTC and 0.056 ETH. Withdrawals for balances smaller than these amounts may take up to 30 days to process.

Trade

blockfi trade

In order to make it easier for customers to earn interest on their desired cryptocurrency, BlockFi allows live trades between their provided digital assets so customers can acquire what they need without making new deposits. 

BlockFi states no additional fees are using the trade function, but to no surprise, the prices are slightly higher than spot. When comparing bitcoin prices, I find them to be around $60 higher, which is around a 5% difference with the lowest spot price. 

This is not that much, but worth being aware of if you plan to trade significant size or have the option to acquire spot before you deposit to the platform. 

BlockFi Loan

loan blockfi
BlockFi Loan Calculator

The reason you can earn interest on your cryptocurrency is because there has to be a counter-party lending said crypto for an interest rate they pay. Naturally, BlockFi offers loan services to customers as well. 

Loan-To-Value Ratio
This will determine how much cryptocurrency you need to loan your desired amount, the higher it is the more you can loan, but this will also cause the interest rate to be higher. 

For example, if you want to borrow $15 000 using bitcoin as collateral and 50% LTV (loan-to-value), you will be paying 12.5% in interest and have to have 2.52 BTC in collateral. 

If you change the LTV to 20%, your required collateral will jump to 6.31 BTC but in return you will only pay 6.73% in interest. 

BlockFi Security

blockfi security

BlockFi client assets can be separated into two parts, the loan collateral and the amount in interest accounts. 

The loan collateral is considered very safe as this will be deposited with BlockFi’s primarily custodian, which is Gemina, and placed in a unique address in Gemini’s cold storage system. Gemini is also a New York Trust licensed company with digital asset insurance coverage. 

When it comes to your cryptocurrency in your interest account borrowed by other users and institutional investors, there is a slightly higher risk involved. 

As with all businesses borrowing money, losses can occur that a third party or the counter-party will be unable to cover. To mitigate this, BlockFi has organized its capital structure in such a way that BlockFi equity and BlockFi employee capital will be at risk before clients would have to take a loss. 

That is somewhat reassuring, but keep in mind, “There is no such thing as a free lunch” – Milton Friedman. 

I’m implying here that there is a risk involved with all lending platforms, as none of your money in your interest account is insured. You must not mistake this for a savings account that your bank provides. The only lending platform providing a fund to cover losses is Binance, you can read more about it here in regards to Binance Security.

After the failed hack attempt this year, BlockFi brought in a new security Chief Officer with over 15 years of experience in the U.S. Intelligence Community, Department of Defence, Microsoft and more. As the company grows the importance for up to date security measures increases and judging by their new hire and comments from the CEO it would seem the company understands that security has to be a top priority in this environment. 

Overview

Blockfi overview
Click to Enlarge

BlockFi provides an effortless and intuitive design, it is evident that this is a platform specializing in very few selected services. 

As a new user, you will have no trouble figuring out how to use the website and everything is one click away from the homepage. 

The web design itself seems relatively modern and appealing. 

BlockFi Mobile App

Blockfi Mobile App

BlockFi provides a mobile app with the same functionality that you have when you use the website, the app is available for both iOS and Android. 

The android app seems to be a little more buggy than the iOS app at the moment. Otherwise, it is a simple app that is easy to use and works fine. 

Most of the time, I prefer the website platforms on all my services, but since BlockFi is such a simple platform, it really does not matter that much. 

Apple App Store Download

Google Play Download

Alternative – Binance Savings

binance savings
Click to Register

If you prefer having all your trading and savings in one place, I recommend using Binance and opening a savings account there. It will allow for a lot of different cryptocurrencies, both flexible saving and locked saving as well as the comfort of having a large insurance fund for customers. 

Binance is unable to provide an equally high-interest rate on bitcoin but offers competitive rates on stablecoins and high-interest rates on smaller, more volatile digital assets. 

If you want try it out you can do so with a 10% lifetime discount through the button below.

You can also read our Binance Review

BlockFi Credit Card

The company has announced that they plan to release a credit card before the end of 2020. With many crypto credit cards in the works at the moment, it seems to be a very competitive space. 

BlockFi will implement a cash-back system that grants you bitcoin when using their credit card. 

Interest Calculator 

Blockfi compounding

In order to calculate the interest you can earn, particularly the compounding effect which is the interest you earn of your already earned interest. This means that the more frequent the compounding periods are the more compounding interest will be made over time. 

Interest calculator

The official interest calculator from the U.S. SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) can be used for this purpose. 

Go to the interest calculator.

Note
BlockFi uses monthly compounding periods.

BlockFi Review Summary

BlockFi manages to provide a very easy to use lending platform to customers seeking to increase their interest earned on their cryptocurrency. For many who only have a desire to hold their crypto and not trade it, it would be a reliable method to provide some additional passive income. 

The registration is surprisingly quick and easy despite the full verification requirements that all regulated lending platforms require. 

BlockFi is able to compete in the market with the best interest rate on bitcoin between all the major competitors, though it falls short when it comes to a few other cryptocurrencies they provide. 

At this time, BlockFi is the most attractive solution when it comes to earning interest, specifically on bitcoin. 

I understand this is a lending platform, as such, they want to avoid unnecessary withdrawals as this can cause issues with their core lending business. That said, I’m not very pleased with their withdrawal fees, which are much higher than their closest major competitors. I also wish that their minimum withdrawal amounts would be lower without potentially causing a 30-day delay. 

There are some improvements, but overall, the platform’s usability is excellent and it comes with an easy-to-use mobile app. It beats all the leading competitors when it comes to bitcoin’s interest rate and at the end of the day, that will be a deciding factor for many bitcoin holders. 

FAQ

Who does BlockFi lend to?

BlockFi primarily lends to institutional and corporate borrowers.

Who owns BlockFi?

Zac Prince is the CEO and co-founder of BlockFi alongside Flori Marquez who functions as senior V.P. of operations.

Blockfi funding
Click to Enlarge


Above is an overview of total funding for BlockFi and various equity stakeholders.

Where is BlockFi Based?

BlockFi is based in New York, United States.

How does BlockFi makes money?

The core business is borrowing money to institutional and corporate borrowers, it does so using the digital assets that are kept in the interest accounts. They will achieve a higher return than what the users will receive in interest thus they can maintain healthy profits through borrowing.