BlockFi Review: Earn Interest on Your Crypto Holdings

It’s becoming more common to earn interest on cryptocurrency through crypto-backed loans. In fact, you can earn up to 7.5% APY interest by storing your crypto tokens on BlockFi.

This cryptocurrency exchange also offers fee-free cryptocurrency and stablecoin trading and crypto-backed personal loans.

You can learn more about maximizing your cryptocurrency portfolio with his BlockFi review.

Table of Contents
  1. What is BlockFi?
    1. Account Options
  2. Who Should Use BlockFi?
  3. BlockFi Features
    1. BlockFi Interest Account
    2. BlockFi Trading Account
    3. BlockFi Loan
    4. BlockFi Credit Card
  4. BlockFi Fees
    1. Trading Fees
    2. Withdrawal Fees
    3. Crypto Loans
  5. BlockFi Promotions
  6. BlockFi FAQs
    1. Is BlockFi Safe?
    2. Is BlockFi Easy to Use?
    3. How Does BlockFi Make Money?
    4. What are the BlockFi Customer Support Options?
    5. How Do You Join BlockFi?
  7. BlockFi Pros and Cons
    1. Pros
    2. Cons
  8. BlockFi Alternatives
    1. Kraken
    2. Coinbase
    3. Gemini
    4. Celsius
  9. Summary

What is BlockFi?

BlockFi is a cryptocurrency trading platform with offices in New Jersey and New York.

The company is relatively young, launching in 2017. However, it has significant financial backing from the investment arms of these well-known cryptocurrency exchanges: Coinbase, Gemini (Winklevoss Capital), and Galaxy Digital.

Many people use this service to earn interest on their crypto holdings and get crypto-backed loans.

It’s free to join and it’s possible to not pay any add-on trading fees.

Some of the main BlockFi features include:

  • Interest Account: This is the platform’s most popular feature as you can earn at least 5% interest on select cryptocurrencies.
  • Trading Account: Buy, sell, or exchange cryptocurrencies commission-free.
  • Crypto-backed loans: Can borrow up to 50% of your crypto positions
  • Rewards credit card: Earn Bitcoin rewards on each purchase with a $0 annual fee BlockFi credit card.

You might use the platform only to earn interest on participating cryptocurrencies. There isn’t a minimum investment amount or holding period to invest and earn interest.

These products are available in most states. As cryptocurrency is an unregulated asset, BlockFi cannot offer investing and trading accounts in every state like an online stock brokerage.

Account Options

Individuals and businesses can create taxable investing accounts. You may also qualify for a self-directed IRA.

You can fund your BlockFi account with these three funding options:

  • ACH bank transfers
  • Wire transfers
  • Cryptocurrency transfers from another site or wallet

Learn more about BlockFi

Who Should Use BlockFi?

BlockFi can be an excellent fit for investors desiring these perks:

  • Earn interest on crypto holdings
  • Commission-free cryptocurrency trading
  • Access to crypto-backed loans
  • Easy-to-use platform

As the investment options are relatively limited, you can only invest in well-established cryptocurrencies and stablecoins. Another platform is necessary to trade altcoins.

BlockFi Features

Beginner and well-experienced cryptocurrency investors with a small or large balance can benefit from the following BlockFi products.

When creating a BlockFi account, you will see which features you’re eligible for.

BlockFi Interest Account

The BlockFi Interest Account is the best reason to join this platform. This interest rate is higher than most high-yield savings accounts and can be an exciting place to earn more interest on some of your extra cash.

Some of the best reasons to consider this account include:

  • No minimum holding period
  • No minimum investment (although the bank transfer minimum is $20)
  • Interest compounds daily
  • Stablecoins can earn interest
  • Proof-of-Work coins (Bitcoin) can earn interest

Keep in mind, these accounts are not FDIC-insured or SIPC-insured like banks and stock brokerages. Therefore, if BlockFi goes out of business, you cannot collect any of your balance from an insurance fund.  

Or if there is a market panic, BlockFi may be unable to fulfill your entire withdrawal request if they have insufficient cash reserves. In the event of bankruptcy, it is possible to lose your entire position.

Gemini Holdings (the Gemini cryptocurrency exchange) is the custodian for each position in your BlockFi accounts. The Gemini exchange is one of the biggest exchanges and has in-depth security practices.

When you fund your account with fiat currency such as the US dollar, the platform converts your cash into the Gemini dollar stablecoin (GUSD) that also earns one of the highest interest rates. Stablecoins have a 1:1 ratio to the US dollar and don’t have the extreme price volatility of traditional cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

You can convert your Gemini dollar position into other tokens fee-free. Not being able to buy other supported currencies with bank funds directly is a minor hassle.

If you currently have cryptocurrency at another exchange that’s not earning interest, BlockFi makes it easy to transfer your position. You get a scannable QR code or a copy-and-paste wallet address that you provide your current platform.

BlockFi doesn’t charge any fees to receive existing positions. However, your current platform may charge a transfer fee. The good news is that you start earning interest when the deposit clears.

BlockFi Rates

The yield is different for each cryptocurrency depending on current market demand and the rates for crypto-backed loans.

You will only be able to earn interest on the cryptocurrencies and stablecoins that BlockFi supports for trading. The interest compounds daily and distributes monthly.

The current offerings include:

CryptocurrencyMaximum APY
Bitcoin (BTC)4.50%
Ethereum (ETH)5.00%
Uniswap (UNI)3.25%
Litecoin (LTC)4.75%
Chainlink (LINK)3.50%
Basic Attention Token (BAT)3.25%
PAX Gold (PAXG)3.25%
Dai (DAI)8.00%
USD Coin (USD)8.00%
Binance Coin (BUSD)8.00%
Paxos (PAX)8.00%
Gemini USD (GUSD)8.00%

The above table shows the maximum interest rate per coin. BlockFi uses interest rate tiers and pays a lower rate for balances above a certain amount.

For example, let’s say you have an entire Bitcoin. The first 0.25 BTC earns 4% APY but you only earn 1.5% APY on the balance between 0.25 and 5 BTC.

The interest account yield is a variable interest rate. Yields can go lower if BlockFi must lend its assets at a lower rate to other institutions.

Learn more about BlockFi

BlockFi Trading Account

You can trade any of the cryptocurrencies that BlockFi supports. As the platform supports approximately 12 tokens, the investment selection is smaller than most exchanges.

While you will need to use another platform to get exposure to nearly every altcoin, the investment options are for some of the most well-established coins with high and consistent trading demand.

The trading window is easy to use for any investor. You can sell Gemini dollars for any of the other supported tokens. It’s also possible to trade cryptocurrency pairs, such as swapping Bitcoin for Ethereum.

There are no add-on trading fees and you see the real-time trading price in the trade ticket.

Each buy or sell order is a market-type order and the company states the trading price is usually within 1% above or below the current spot price.

This premium helps BlockFi hedge risk as they must find a trader willing to pay your current trading price. This practice is common for free investing apps with Robinhood being the most prominent example.

Unlike most platforms, you won’t see the order book or access technical analysis charts to project the price momentum and the most recent buy or sell prices. These advanced features are vital to active traders that use limit-type orders to fill a trade at a specific price point.

BlockFi Loan

Another unique feature is being able to get crypto-backed loans with a 12-month repayment period. This tool can give you a lower interest than a personal loan and can also be a great alternative to a 401k loan or selling your crypto position, a taxable event.

There isn’t a credit check and you can use up to 50% of your position in a single cryptocurrency as collateral. Using less collateral means you secure a lower interest rate.

However, you will need at least $20,000 in a participating cryptocurrency as the minimum loan amount is $10,000 US dollars.

You can use these cryptocurrencies as collateral:

  • Bitcoin (BTC)
  • Ether (ETH)
  • Litecoin (LTC)
  • Paxos Gold (PAXG)

The loan calculator lets you estimate your monthly payment.

Your loan interest rate depends on how much collateral you put up:

  • 50% loan-to-value ratio (LTV): 9.75% APR
  • 35% LTV: 9% APR
  • 20% LTV: 5% APR

A 2% origination fee applies to each loan.

You won’t earn interest on the collateral position until you repay your loan in full.

Some of the potential risks for this loan include margin calls. BlockFi may have to sell some of your collateral position if your collateral value drops below the minimum amount.

For example, if you have an investment $20,000 balance in your account and a $10,000 loan you have a 50% LTV. If the value of your crypto drops and your investment balance goes to $14,000 (your loan balance is still $10,000) then your LTV is 71% — which is higher than allowed.

To remedy this you can either deposit more money in your investment account, bringing it back up to $20,000, or sell $6,000 and pay it towards the loan. Thus bringing your investment account to $8,000 and your loan balance to $4,000 and restoring your 50% LTV.

This loan won’t impact your credit score but defaulting on the loan means losing your cryptocurrency collateral.

BlockFi Credit Card

The BlockFi Credit Card earns 1.5% in Bitcoin rewards on all purchases and doesn’t have an annual fee. There are no foreign transaction fees either.

If you make at least $50,000 in card purchases per year, your remaining purchases earn 2% back until your card anniversary.

Another perk of being a cardholder is receiving a 0.25% trading bonus (up to $500 in Bitcoin per month) when you buy any non-stablecoin with your BlockFi trading account.

This card does require a good or excellent credit score (670+) to qualify.

See more ways to earn free Bitcoin.

BlockFi Fees

You most likely won’t pay any fees unless you make multiple monthly withdrawals or get a crypto-backed loan.

Trading Fees

There are no disclosed trading fees but BlockFi states the trading price is within 1% above or below the spot price.

Withdrawal Fees

You can make one cryptocurrency and one stablecoin withdrawal each month. Any excess withdrawal is subject to a fee.

For example, your first Bitcoin withdrawal each month is free. However, you pay a fee if you make a second Bitcoin withdrawal.

The fee for stablecoins is $10 US dollars. For crypto tokens, BlockFi withholds a fraction of the currency.

Crypto Loans

Each crypto-backed loan has a maximum APR of 9.75% and a one-time 2% origination fee.

Learn more about BlockFi

BlockFi Promotions

You may be able to earn cryptocurrency rewards when you join BlockFi and make a qualifying transfer.

The current promotion is getting up to $250 in bonus crypto when you transfer at least $100 in a supported cryptocurrency. The minimum reward is $15 in Bitcoin rewards when you move between $100 and $1,499.

BlockFi FAQs

Here are several questions about BlockFi you might have.

Is BlockFi Safe?

BlockFi uses standard data security practices to prevent account theft. In addition, you can enroll in 2-factor authentication (2FA) to bolster your account security.

The platform stores your portfolio balance at Gemini, one of America’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges.

Unfortunately, BlockFi doesn’t offer FDIC insurance or SIPC insurance. Other platforms may offer FDIC insurance for select stablecoins that earn interest.

Is BlockFi Easy to Use?

Yes, BlockFi is one of the easiest trading platforms to navigate for new and experienced investors. You can easily decide which cryptocurrencies to trade and also track your interest income.

How Does BlockFi Make Money?

BlockFi primarily makes money by lending your positions to institutions and collecting interest payments. Individual crypto-backed loans are also an income stream along with the trading premium from when you buy or sell crypto.

What are the BlockFi Customer Support Options?

You can call BlockFi for urgent account matters from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM Eastern Monday-Friday. Unfortunately, most exchanges don’t offer phone support.

The platform also lets you send emails or access an online FAQ library for non-urgent items.

How Do You Join BlockFi?

The BlockFi signup process is free and only takes a few minutes.

You will need to provide these details:

  • Legal name
  • Home address
  • Social Security number

For transactions above a specific dollar amount, you may have to upload a copy of a photo ID.

BlockFi collects this know your customer (KYC) data to produce your end-of-year tax documents.

After opening your account, you can link a bank account or schedule wire transfers to fund your account with cash.

BlockFi Pros and Cons

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of using BlockFi.

Pros

  • Earn interest on your entire crypto portfolio
  • No trading fees or investment minimums
  • Easy-to-use platform
  • Unique features (i.e., crypto-backed loans and a rewards credit card)

Cons

  • Limited investment options
  • No advanced research tools
  • Cannot place limit-type orders
  • Withdrawal fees may apply

BlockFi Alternatives

You may need to use another platform to dabble in altcoins or if BlockFi isn’t available in your home state.

Kraken

Kraken lets you earn rewards by staking select cryptocurrencies. The trading platform also supports many altcoins and has advanced research tools.

Read our Kraken review to learn more.

Learn more about Kraken

Coinbase

Coinbase doesn’t offer interest accounts but you can earn free cryptocurrency rewards by taking short quizzes. The standard platform is easy to navigate and similar in appearance to BlockFi.

Use the Coinbase Pro platform to get advanced research tools and also pay lower trading fees.

Learn more about Coinbase

Gemini

Gemini lets you trade over 40 cryptocurrencies and earn interest on many tokens. This service is also the custodian for several platforms and stores your BlockFi portfolio.

This platform also has advanced trading tools that experienced traders will appreciate.

Celsius

Celsius is another platform that focuses on earning interest from crypto and stablecoins. The platform supports more altcoins and also makes weekly interest payments.

Want even more options? Here’s our list of the best crypto exchanges.

Summary

BlockFi makes it easy to earn interest on the most popular cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin and Ethereum. The stablecoins can earn a higher interest rate and are less volatile than cryptocurrency.

In addition to no platform fees, you may also benefit from the other perks that can help long-term cryptocurrency holders.

BlockFi

9

Product Rating

9.0/10

Strengths

  • Earn interest on your entire crypto portfolio
  • No trading fees or investment minimums
  • Easy-to-use platform
  • Unique features (i.e., crypto-backed loans and a rewards credit card)

Weaknesses

  • Limited investment options
  • No advanced research tools
  • Cannot place limit-type orders
  • Withdrawal fees may apply

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About Josh Patoka

After graduating in $50k with student loans in May 2008 from Virginia Military Institute with a B.A. International Studies and Political Science with a minor in Spanish (I studied abroad in Sevilla, Spain for 3 months), Josh decided to sell his soul for seven years by working in the transportation industry to get out of debt ASAP and focus on doing something else with a better work-life balance.

He is a father of three and has been writing about (almost) everything personal finance since 2015. You can also find him at his own blog Money Buffalo where he shares his personal experience of becoming debt-free (twice) and taking a 50%+ pay cut when he changed careers.

Today, Josh relishes the flexibility of being self-employed and debt-free and encourages others to pursue their dreams. Josh enjoys spending his free time reading books and spending time with his wife and three children.

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