BlockFi Review (2021)

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BlockFi Review
  • Ease of Use
  • Interest Rates
  • Customer Support
4.3

Summary

BlockFi is a cryptocurrency lending platform that allows you to earn interest on Bitcoin (BTC) 12 other cryptocurrencies. It also provides cash loans (backed by your crypto holdings) and allows you to trade cryptocurrency.

It gives you up to 8% APY on some cryptocurrencies – with no minimum deposit, no lock-in period, and no hidden fees.

It’s quick and painless to get verified and super-easy to use too. Just deposit your cryptocurrency and you’ll automatically start earning interest on it.

Interest rates offered by high street banks in the UK are awful.

You’d be lucky to get even 1% interest on your hard-earned savings. The same is true across Europe and the United States.

But with BlockFi, it’s now possible to earn MUCH better interest than this on your cryptocurrency balances.

But how does it work? Is it legit and safe to use?

And how does it compare to the alternatives that are out there?

Check out this BlockFi review where I cover all this (and more).

Offer: Get a bonus (paid in BTC) when you create an account and deposit more than $100 worth of cryptocurrency. See here for details.

Advantages & Disadvantages

Advantages

  • Earn up to 8% APY on your cryptocurrency deposits.
  • No minimum deposit to start earning interest on your cryptocurrency
  • Flexible access to your cryptocurrency deposits (i.e., there’s no lock-in period).
  • You get one FREE cryptocurrency and one FREE stablecoin withdrawal per month.
  • BlockFi Interest Accounts are available in most countries.
  • Takes less than 5 minutes to register and get verified.

Disadvantages

  • Requires ID verification (to comply with KYC/AML regulations).
  • Alternative platforms support more cryptocurrencies.
  • Higher interest (on some cryptocurrencies) is available elsewhere.

What Is BlockFi?

BlockFi was established in 2017 by Zac Prince and Flori Marquez.

It’s based in New York – but they have offices in New Jersey, Poland, and Argentina too. They operate in most countries around the world (excluding New York, due to the tough regulations that exist there, and any country on sanction lists).

In this post on their website, BlockFi noted that they have more than $15 billion in assets on its site and “a 0% loss rate” since the company began lending. As of May 2021, it has more than 200,000 clients and a team of more than 500.

BlockFi have a 3.8-star rating on Trustpilot, but there are only around 200 reviews right now. Most of the recent negative reviews are about further identity verification that has been required when some people have attempted to withdraw funds.

What is goal of BlockFi?

BlockFi’s vision is to “bridge the worlds of traditional finance and blockchain technology to bring financial empowerment to clients on a global scale”.

Institutional investment in BlockFi

BlockFi has raised:

BlockFi’s Series D funding means that they’re currently valued at about $3 billion.

Investors include Valar Ventures, Galaxy, Winklevoss Capital, ConsenSys Ventures, and many more. You can see the full list on their website here.

BlockFi Products

BlockFi provides four products:

  • Cryptocurrency Interest Account: Deposit supporter cryptocurrencies into BlockFi and get interest every month on your balance (up to 8% APY on some of them).
  • Cryptocurrency Loans: Borrow money from BlockFi by using your cryptocurrency as collateral (up to 50% LTV ratio). Currently only available to US residents.
  • Cryptocurrency Trading: Trade between cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Chainlink (LINK), as well as stablecoins like USD Coin (USDC) and Tether (USDT).
  • Bitcoin Credit Card: This bitcoin debit card has no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, and gives you 1.5% cashback on all your spending (paid in BTC). Includes other benefits too. Currently only available to US residents.

How Does BlockFi Work?

BlockFi is a platform that allows you to earn interest on your cryptocurrency balances.

Just open a BlockFi Interest Account and deposit one of these supported cryptocurrencies:

  • Basic Attention Token (BAT)
  • Binance USD (BUSD)
  • Bitcoin (BTC)
  • Chainlink (LINK)
  • Dai (DAI)
  • Ethereum (ETH)
  • Gemini Dollar (GUSD)
  • Litecoin (LTC)
  • PAX Gold (PAXG)
  • Paxos Standard (PAX)
  • Tether (USDT)
  • Uniswap (UNI)
  • USD Coin (USDC)

It’s simple, quick, and easy to open a BlockFi account to get started.

Earning Interest With BlockFi
  • Head over to the BlockFi website.
  • Select ‘Get Started’ on the homepage.
  • Enter your email address and create a password.
  • Check your inbox for an email verification code.
  • Tell them a little about yourself and verify your identity. I passed through this automated process in just a few minutes.
  • Deposit a supported cryptocurrency and you’ll automatically start earning interest.
How do I deposit Bitcoin (BTC) into BlockFi?

The following is for the desktop version of the website, but it’s the same process via mobile.

On the BlockFi dashboard, select Deposit in the navigation bar.

Select what cryptocurrency you want to deposit.

You’ll then be provided with an address to send these funds to. Send the cryptocurrency over to BlockFi.

Check back in a little and you should see the transaction appear at the bottom of the BlockFi dashboard. It’ll take a little for it to be credited.

Once it’s credited, you’ll automatically start earning interest on it!

For more detailed information about your BlockFi Interest Account, select the highlighted area on BlockFi’s desktop version.

How does BlockFi make money on my deposits?

BlockFi makes its money by borrowing cryptocurrencies at a lower interest rate and then lending that cryptocurrency to others at a higher interest rate.

Example: You deposit 0.1 BTC into a BlockFi Interest Account and receive 4.5% APY. BlockFi takes that 0.1 BTC and lends it out to other people at an interest rate that covers its costs and secures them a profit.

BlockFi lends this cryptocurrency to “trusted institutional and corporate borrowers”. According to this blog post, this primarily consists of:

  • Traders and Investment Funds: This includes those that identify arbitrage opportunities between exchanges and borrow funds to exploit price differences across exchanges. It also includes traders who need additional cryptocurrency funds to execute trading strategies.
  • Over the Counter (OTC) Providers: OTC market makers help cryptocurrency buyers and sellers who don’t want to use public exchanges. They need cryptocurrency on-hand, but some might prefer to temporarily borrow it instead of buying it on an exchange.
  • Businesses That Require Cryptocurrency Liquidity: There are other companies, like cryptocurrency ATMs, that might prefer to temporarily borrow cryptocurrency to support their business models.

These loans are made on “over-collateralized terms”. In other words, they’re holding assets from the person that is borrowing the cryptocurrency that are worth more than the cryptocurrency they’re loaning out.

BlockFi Interest Rates

The rates offered on BlockFi interest accounts depend on what cryptocurrency you’re depositing.

You’ll get the best rates if you deposit Tether (USDT) and other stablecoins like USDC, GUSD, BUSD, and DAI.

The interest you earn on your cryptocurrency deposits also depends on how much you’re depositing. To illustrate, here’s a snapshot of BlockFi’s current rates for Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) deposits.

CryptocurrencyAmountAPY
Bitcoin (BTC)0 - 0.10 BTC4.5%
Bitcoin (BTC)0.10 - 0.35 BTC1.0%
Bitcoin (BTC)> 0.35 BTC0.10%
Ethereum (ETH)0 - 1.5 ETH5.0%
Ethereum (ETH)1.5 - 50 ETH1.5%
Ethereum (ETH)> 50 ETH0.25%

All of BlockFi’s interest rates are frequently updated – so it’s best to just head over to BlockFi’s website to check the rates for yourself.

How is cryptocurrency interest paid?

Interest is paid out in the cryptocurrency that you’re lending to BlockFi, not your local currency.

However, there is an option to change what cryptocurrency the interest is converted to. For example, you can deposit Bitcoin (BTC), but earn interest in Tether (USDT). You can change this by going to ‘Profile Settings’ and selecting ‘Interest’ in the left-sidebar.

How Does BlockFi Compare?

This is all great, but how does it compare to the BlockFi alternatives that are out there?

I took a look at what interest rates some of the most popular alternatives were offering for Bitcoin (BTC) deposits.

Here’s how BlockFi compares:

Lending PlatformBitcoin (BTC) Interest Rates# of Cryptocurrencies
BlockFiUp to 4.5% APY13
Celsius NetworkUp to 4.4% APY40+
Crypto.comUp to 6.2% APY40+
NexoUp to 8.0% APY20+

Crypto.com looks decent, but there’s a catch. To unlock these rates, you need to lock-up your Bitcoin (BTC) for 3 months and have a Jade/Indigo (or higher) Crypto.com Visa Card. If you want more flexible access, then you’re quoted lower rates.

Celsius Network currently has slightly lower Bitcoin (BTC) interest rates than BlockFi. However, it allows you to earn interest on many more cryptocurrencies.

Interest rates change everywhere on a regular basis. Ensure that you check each provider’s website to get the most up-to-date numbers.

BlockFi Limits & Fees

Like most other places, BlockFi charges fees to withdraw cryptocurrency from its platform.

However, you’re entitled to one FREE cryptocurrency withdrawal AND one FREE stablecoin withdrawal per month. You’ll only pay the below fees if you exceed this allowance.

CryptocurrencyWithdrawal Limit (Per 7-Day Period)Fees
Bitcoin (BTC)1000.00075 BTC
Ethereum (ETH)5,0000.02 ETH
Chainlink (LINK)65,0000.95 LINK
Litecoin (LTC)10,0000.0025 LTC
Stablecoins1,000,000$10 USD
PAX Gold (PAXG)5000.015 PAXG
Uniswap (UNI)5,5001 UNI
Basic Attention Token (BAT)2,000,00035 BAT

Although there’s no minimum deposit required to start earning interest on your cryptocurrency, withdrawals will be delayed (by up to 30 days) if you attempt to withdraw less than 0.003 BTC or 0.056 ETH.

Supported Countries

You can open a BlockFi Interest Account in most countries around the world.

You’re only restricted from using BlockFi if you’re in New York, Connecticut, or a sanctioned/watchlist country. Access is restricted in New York because “BlockFi’s hands are tied” until the tough rules and regulations in this state are reviewed.

As a UK users, I’m also currently unable to access BlockFi’s crypto-loans or its new Bitcoin Credit Card.

List of Restricted Countries & Territories

Residents of the following countries/territories cannot use ANY of BlockFi’s services:

  • Afghanistan
  • Belarus
  • Burundi
  • Central African Republic
  • China
  • Congo
  • Cote D’ivoire
  • Cuba
  • Cyprus
  • Eritrea
  • Fiji
  • Haiti
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • North Korea
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Lebanon
  • Libya
  • Macedonia
  • Palestinian Occupied Territory
  • Russian Federation
  • Rwanda
  • Somalia
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sudan
  • Syria
  • Yemen
  • Zimbabwe

Is BlockFi Legit?

In short, everything points towards BlockFi being legitimate.

Here are the key things you should know:

  • BlockFi’s management team are well-qualified and have decades of combined experience in the financial world.
  • Zac Prince (CEO & Co-Founder) has previously had leadership roles in successful technology companies.
  • Flori Marquez (SVP of Operations & Co-Founder) has previously worked in the financial services industry (with alternative lending products).
  • They’re supported by numerous investors, including some of the most well-known investors in the crypto-space (e.g. Mike Novogratz and the Winklevoss brothers).
  • BlockFi’s social media accounts (e.g. Twitter) are active and they have a responsive/helpful customer service team.

Is BlockFi Safe?

Cryptocurrency is NOT considered to be legal tender, which means that your cryptocurrency deposits aren’t insured by any government. That doesn’t just apply to BlockFi, but to the whole cryptocurrency space.

But there is some good news.

BlockFi’s primary custodian is Gemini, which is the reputable and popular cryptocurrency exchange owned by the Winklevoss brothers. You can learn more about this company in my Gemini review.

Most of the funds stored on Gemini are kept in cold-storage wallets, with the keys to these wallets distributed across “secure, guarded, [and] geographically distributed facilities”. In other words, it sounds like Gemini are doing everything they can to keep safe the cryptocurrency they’ve been trusted with.

A small proportion of cryptocurrency deposits on Gemini are kept in hot wallets to satisfy immediate operational requirements. Gemini maintains insurance (from numerous underwriters) that is in excess of what is stored in these hot wallets.

Nothing like this is ever 100%, but BlockFi has definitely made moves to reduce the risks that you’re accepting when you use their lending platform.

You can also enable:

  • Two-Factor Authentication: This is an industry-standard that adds a second layer of protection to your account. Find out more about this here.
  • Wallet Whitelist: This means that you can specify which cryptocurrency wallet addresses you want to allow withdrawals to. If you like, you can also set this up to restrict all cryptocurrency withdrawals. Find out more about this here.

Summary: Earn Crypto Interest

My experience with BlockFi has been nothing but positive.

They’ve only been around a few years, but they’ve quickly become a popular and trusted place to earn interest on your cryptocurrency.

But earning interest on your cryptocurrency isn’t without its risks. Using something like BlockFi is just like leaving your funds on any other cryptocurrency exchange. This means there’s always the chance that they could be compromised and lose some, or all, of your cryptocurrency.

Not your keys, not your coins.

BlockFi does seem to go above and beyond to reduce the risk that your funds are lost or stolen, though. And this risk hasn’t stopped me from putting some Bitcoin (BTC) into BlockFi and alternatives like Crypto.com.

Offer: Get a bonus (paid in BTC) when you create an account and deposit more than $100 worth of cryptocurrency. See here for details.

What Do You Think?

Thanks for checking out this BlockFi review!

Have any questions I haven’t answered? Or want to share your thoughts?

Let me know in the comments below!

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2 thoughts on “BlockFi Review (2021)”

  1. I cant seem to open account (stuck at the What’s your address) section. It seemed like doesn’t recognise an UK address. How did you bypass this?

    Reply
    • UK users are currently only restricted from getting a loan using cryptocurrency as collateral from them. You should be able to open a BlockFi Interest Account without any special steps (see here).

      Check out this article for some things you could try. If that doesn’t work, you might want to reach out to their support team about it.

      Reply

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