BlockFi is a platform that helps you earn interest on your crypto. It also lets you take a loan in fiat currency against your crypto in the most simple and easiest way. You can earn up to 8.6% per annum of your crypto assets. In other words, it acts as a crypto bank.
Web based or App: App as well as web based (the website is widely used)
Started in: 2017
Founders: Zac Prince, CEO & Founder Flori Marquez. Co-Founder & SVP of Operations van Kesteren.
What is BlockFi?
BlockFi is a cryptocurrency trading, a crypto lending & borrowing platform. It provides interest-bearing accounts, low interest loans and is completely commission free. The platform is aimed at beginners and intermediate users who wish to bridge the gap between crypto and traditional finance.
BlockFi’s custodian Gemini is regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services and is one of the few trusted crypto exchanges based in the US.
Users can earn interest on their cryptocurrency holdings of up to 8.6% compound interest. Interest is accrued daily and added to the user’s account at the end of the month. The Interest Payment Flex option allows the user to choose the currency they want to receive the interest in. The account does not need a minimum balance and there are no hidden fees.
Borrowing: BlockFi provides an option for its users other than selling when they need cash, they can borrow in USD against their crypto holdings with 4.5% of interest levied.
This helps the users reduce their tax bill as they are not required to report capital gains. But, there is a risk in borrowing, there is a possibility for the user to lose their crypto assets which were used as collateral at the time of borrowing, if prices of the cryptocurrency falls by a liquidating margin.
A VISA Credit Card: BlockFi is the first company to issue a Bitcoin rewards VISA credit card which earns back 1.5% in Bitcoin after every purchase. These reward will be added to the users account and the interest is earned immediately. Note that this feature is not live to the public yet, users have to enroll into a waiting list to apply for the cards. Users have to be eligible for a certain rate of credit approval to avail the card.
Users can set up recurring trades which automatically buy or sell crypto daily, weekly or monthly when they have funds in their BlockFi Interest Account.
Who Should Use BlockFi?
- A beginner or intermediate cryptocurrency investor or trader.
- People open to strict regulation in exchange for high levels of security.
- Potential investors looking for personal and business crypto exchange accounts.
- Users who wish to earn interest on their crypto holdings.
- Users who are seeking crypto-backed loans to maintain liquidity without capital gain taxes levied.
BlockFi Accounts: Personal and Corporate
BlockFi offers personal crypto accounts as well as business crypto accounts. The users have to complete the KYC process to get their personal account approved.
Business accounts require extra documentation, this may vary from region to region. The documents have to confirm the existence and identity of the business entity and has to be recognized by the governing body of the entity.
BlockFi supports several types of business entities: Tt consists of Sole Proprietorship, General Partnership, Limited Partnership, Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), Limited Liability Company, Corporations, Trust Accounts and Self-Directed IRA. Besides these, BlockFi does not support other types of entities yet.
To find out further details about the accepted documentation, click here.
Personal Account verification takes up to a few minutes if the documents uploaded are supported and visually clear. Business Account verification might take 10-15 days.
How to register for a BlockFi account?
- Visit BlockFi’s official website.
- Tap the “Get Started” button in the top-right corner of the page.
- Enter the required correct details.
- Verify your email address.
- The account has been created.
This covers the initial registration process. Following this, the user has to undergo the KYC process to verify their identity. Note that BlockFi does not provide the user access to view their services or experience the platform to the maximum unless they complete the registration process, this frustrates potential users as they are unable to feel what they are signing up for.
Supported cryptocurrencies: Which Crypto does BlockFi support?
BlockFi supports six of the most popular cryptocurrencies and four stablecoins.
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- LINK (LINK)
- Paxos Standard (PAX)
- PAX Gold (PAXG)
- Litecoin (LTC)
- USD Coin (USDC)
- Tether (USDT)
- Binance USD (BUSD)
- Gemini Dollar (GUSD) – native currency of BlockFi’s custodian, Gemini
Key features of BlockFi
Currently, BlockFi offers four products.
BlockFi Interest Account (BIA)
BlockFi allows users to earn interest on their crypto holdings. This interest account supports several cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and more used as currency for the interest. The interest account is ideal for users who hold the supported cryptocurrencies, instead of leaving their crypto holdings idle, they can earn interest up to 8% APY.
This interest is transferred to the user’s account at the end of each month.
BlockFi offers a tiered interest structure for the BIA as stated above. Another interesting feature of the BIA is the Interest Payment Flex where users can choose the currency they want the accrued interest to be paid out in.
Bitcoin charges withdrawal fees which is subtracted from the total withdrawal amount. Users can avail 1 free withdrawal per month.
|100 BTC per 1 week period
|5,000 ETH per 1 week period
|65,000 LINK per 1 week period
|10,000 LTC per 1 week period
|1,000,000 per 1 week period
|500 PAXG per 1 week period
BlockFi clearly states that “you should not view the BlockFi Interest Account as a savings account or brokerage account with FDIC or SIPC insurance”, a reminder to the users to not set aside all of their savings into crypto as they might lose it.
BlockFi allows its users to take a loan in the form of USD, GUSD, USDC by utilizing their crypto holdings as collateral. This platform’s Loan-to-value(LTV) is set to 50% which insists that users can take up to 50% as a loan on their collateralized crypto assets.
Traders and investors utilize this feature when they wish to liquidize their assets and enjoy the tax benefit that comes along with it. When the users borrow a loan of USD against their crypto holdings, it is a non-taxable event. The borrowing interest rate starts from 4.5%.
Crypto Trading is a relatively new feature to be introduced on the BlockFi platform, the user can use this feature to liquidate some of their crypto assets when the price spikes and invest in a stablecoin, perhaps. They can re-purchase the asset when the price falls. This is aimed at traders and investors who trade occasionally who find it handy while earning interest as well as trade crypto. BlockFi offers ACH instantly which makes it easier for the user to transfer funds, trade crypto and earn interest.
BlockFi VISA Credit Card
BlockFi is the first ever company to offer a VISA Bitcoin Credit Card. This card is available for all verified and eligible users of BlockFi in the US. An interesting characteristic of this feature is it avails a 1.5% cashback or crypto-back(in Bitcoin) after every purchase. The users who wish to opt for a card have to enroll into a waiting list by the platform.
How does BlockFi earn money?
BlockFi earns money by borrowing capital at a particular rate and lending capital at higher rate of interest, benefiting from the profit. The company’s liquidity stems from institutional counter parties for trading as well as lending crypto. They behave as borrowers and some of these borrowers are:
- Investment funds & traders
- Over the counter(OTC) market makers
- Business entities that need a crypto inventory for providing liquidity to their clients
Is BlockFi secure? Can BlockFi be Trusted?
BlockFi is regulated by the U.S. federal and state regulations. But, unlike most crypto assets, BlockFi’s funds are not backed by neither the FDIC nor SPIC.
However, it does implement security measures to protect the users assets and ensure availability of funds.
It maintains reserves with third parties such as Gemini, BitGo, and Coinbase. BlockFi purchases investments regulated by the US government, namely SEC-regulated equities and CFTC-regulated futures.
The platform lends cautiously, with loans up to 50% as collateral.
In addition to that, BlockFi is backed by reputed investors such as Valar Ventures, Morgan Creek Capital Management, Coinbase Ventures, and more.
BlockFi allows its users to opt for an allow listing, a security feature that allows users to restrict or ban withdrawals to specific addresses, this mechanism prevents theft from BlockFi accounts.
Users can enable a 2-factor authentication code for securing their accounts.
Disadvantages with BlockFi: What I did not like about BlockFi?
- Tedious withdrawal process with limited free withdrawals, available periodically.
- Geographical restrictions, BlockFi is not universally available.
- Custodial accounts are unavailable, which means you can’t open an account for someone who is a minor and transfer the ownership to him/her when he/she becomes 18+ years old. BlockFi is only for users 18 years old and above.
- Fluctuation of interest rates over a period of time based on market demand and supply.
- They do not have DEFI as their offering.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Are there any alternatives to BlockFi?
Yes. Crypto.com, Celsius Network and Binance Lending are some great alternatives.
How to contact BlockFi’s customer service?
BlockFi’s customer service is well above average, you can reach them at [email protected] for any queries.
Does BlockFi provide insurance?
No, the platform does not.FDIC insurance is not applicable on digital assets, but the platform uses the custodian partner, Gemini’s insurance for insuring its deposits. So far, BlockFi has not been hacked yet. So we do not know how will they be reimbursing if that happens.
What I finally think about BlockFi?
BlockFi is a relatively interesting platform which combines trading, lending (or borrowing) and accumulation of interest. It is simple to use and the registration process is easy.It is regulated to a large extent and there have been no major security concerns so far.