WarningBlockFi filed for voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Nov. 28, 2022, along with its eight subsidiaries. The platform paused withdrawals and other platform actions to work on stabilizing and restructuring its business. Explore other crypto investing opportunities on our list of the best crypto exchanges.
Cryptocurrency investors looking for more flexibility with their investments might want to take a look at BlockFi. This fintech platform pays interest on balances, and you can even borrow against your crypto, so you don't need to sell your coins when you need cash.
BlockFi is backed by some of the biggest names in the industry and continues to innovate its offering. If you're a cryptocurrency investor or thinking about starting to invest, continue reading to learn if BlockFi is right for you.
Seamlessly manage your crypto assets and maximize your earning potential with BlockFi.
- No minimum required to earn interest
- Buy crypto with cash
- Earn up to 8.6% APY with a BlockFi Interest Account
What is BlockFi?
BlockFi is a cryptocurrency trading platform that offers some of the features you've come to expect from a bank — accruing interest on your balances and the ability to borrow money. Co-founders Zac Prince and Flori Marquez started the company in 2017.
BlockFi received over $100 million in equity infusions and now has over $2 billion in assets under management. It has the backing of many major names in the industry, such as Akuna Capital, Consensys, Coinbase Ventures, SoFi, Valar Ventures, Winklevoss Capital, and Bain Capital Ventures.
However, BlockFi filed for bankruptcy on Nov. 28, 2022, two weeks after the collapse of FTX. before its collapse, FTX was the second-largest crypto exchange in the world and a major backer of BlockFi. FTX bailed BlockFi out of financial trouble earlier in 2022 with a $400 million line of credit.
Note that the bankruptcy filing does not necessarily mean that BlockFi will cease operations or that its customers will lose their funds. The company stated that the filing will give it the opportunity to stabilize its business and establish a reorganization plan.
|Account types available||
|Distributions||Interest on crypto balances is accrued daily and paid monthly|
|Best for...||Long-term investors in cryptocurrency who want liquidity without triggering capital gains taxes|
What does BlockFi offer?
BlockFi is on our list of the best cryptocurrency exchanges and offers a number of services that are primarily focused on how to invest money in cryptocurrency. Many of these services are similar to those offered by banks, such as earning interest and being able to borrow money.
Buy, Sell, and Exchange Crypto
If you are new to cryptocurrency, using BlockFi could be one way to learn how to buy bitcoin. You can buy, sell, or exchange a limited number of cryptocurrencies, or you can transfer certain crypto from another platform to your BlockFi account.
Cryptocurrencies supported by BlockFi include:
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Binance (BUSD)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Gemini (GUSD)
- Chainlink (LINK)
- Litecoin (LTC)
- Paxos (PAX)
- PAX Gold (PAXG)
- Tether (USDT)
- USD Coin (USDC)
Because of its limited offering, you won't find some of the cryptocurrencies and stablecoins that other exchanges might offer, such as Dogecoin (DOGE), Cardano (ADA), Stellar (XLM), and Polkadot (DOT). (While many cryptocurrencies are not backed by any assets, stablecoins offer greater price stability and are backed by a reserve asset, such as the U.S. dollar or gold.)
Earn interest on your balances
Your crypto balances earn interest with BlockFi. The interest accrues daily and is paid on the first business day of every month. Interest rates are tiered and vary based on which currency you have and how much you have on deposit.
Zero trading fees
With BlockFi Trading, you can buy, sell, or exchange cryptocurrency assets with instant trades and no transaction fees. Your trades are executed instantly, so you receive the most accurate pricing available. Trades can be executed manually or you can establish recurring trades to have them happen automatically.
The only fees you'll be charged is if you make multiple withdrawals per month. You may make one free crypto and one free stablecoin withdrawal per calendar month with no fees. Any additional withdrawals will be charged a fee based on which asset you are withdrawing.
To keep track of your account and make trades, BlockFi offers a mobile app for both iOS and Android devices. With the app, you can create a new account, transfer crypto from other platforms, borrow money, and more. New features are regularly being added. BlockFi states that in the future you will be able to trade crypto, perform bank transfers, and use facial recognition to log in via the app.
BlockFi customers can enable two-factor authentication (2FA) using Google Authenticator to secure their account with a second layer of protection. BlockFi also offers Allowlisting as an optional, self-service feature. This protocol ensures that your cryptocurrency can only be sent to known withdrawal addresses. You can even ban all withdrawals or restrict them to a list of known addresses.
BlockFi also uses analytics in the background to monitor client transactions and determine their risk level. Withdrawals may trigger a PII (personally identifiable information) verification, even when you have 2FA and Allowlisting enabled.
Special features offered by BlockFi
Borrowing against your crypto
Rather than selling your cryptocurrency when you need cash, and becoming subject to capital gains tax, BlockFi allows you to borrow up to 50% of the value of your account. The money is deposited into your account on the same business day and you can use the money as you wish. Loans can be paid back at any time without any prepayment penalties or fees.
The interest rate you are charged on these loans varies depending on how much you borrow relative to your account balance (your loan-to-value ratio, or LTV). Additionally, there is a 2% origination fee on every loan. This means that a $30,000 loan would have an origination fee of $600.
|LTV||Interest rate (as of Apr. 19, 2021)||Origination fee|
One thing to be aware of is that if the value of your cryptocurrency falls, it is possible your crypto-backed loan could experience a margin call.
- If your LTV reaches 70% due to a change in your currency’s value, you will have 72 hours to take action in response to the margin call. If this happens you will have to deposit additional assets or pay down your loan below the 70% LTV limit.
- If your LTV reaches 80%, BlockFi will automatically sell a portion of your portfolio to bring you back down to a 70% LTV.
This is very similar to how a traditional margin account works.
Because cryptocurrencies have a history of substantial fluctuations in value, the ideal borrower should have additional assets available to add to their account should a margin call happen. Otherwise, the margin call could force you to sell off crypto at prices below your expectations. Due to the fluctuations in value, crypto-backed loans are best reserved for short-term loans that can be repaid quickly.
When does BlockFi pay interest?
One of the attractions of the BlockFi platform is the ability to earn interest, but how does it work? With BlockFi, eligible crypto balances start earning interest immediately. The interest accrues on a daily basis and is paid to account holders monthly.
The daily interest accrued is determined by the type of crypto asset and how much you have of it. The interest is tiered, with larger balances earning less than smaller amounts. For example, if you deposit three bitcoin, the first bitcoin would earn a 6.00% APY and the remaining two would earn a 2.00% APY.
|Currency||Amount||APY (as of Apr. 19, 2021)|
|Bitcoin (BTC Tier 1)||0 - 1||6.00%|
|Bitcoin (BTC Tier 2)||> 1.0 to 20 BTC||2.00%|
|Bitcoin (BTC Tier 3)||> 20 BTC and above||0.50%|
|Binance (BUSD)||> 0||8.60%|
|Chainlink (LINK)||> 0||5.50%|
|Ethereum (ETH Tier 1)||0 to 100 ETH||5.25%|
|Ethereum (ETH Tier 2)||> 100 to 1000 ETH||2.00%|
|Ethereum (ETH Tier 3)||> 1,000 ETH and above||0.50%|
|Litecoin (LTC)||> 0||6.50%|
|USD Coin (USDC)||> 0||8.60%|
|Gemini (GUSD)||> 0||8.60%|
|Paxos (PAX)||> 0||8.60%|
|PAX Gold (PAXG)||> 0||5.00%|
|Tether (USDT)||> 0||9.30%|
For people who trade or exchange digital assets throughout the month, your interest will change based on the type of cryptocurrency you have, how much of it, and for how many days. For example, say you deposit bitcoin on May 1, then convert it to ether on May 15. At the end of the month, you'll earn 14 days of Bitcoin interest and 16 days of Ether interest.
It should be noted that BlockFi operates similarly to a bank, and the reason they pay you interest is because they are lending your assets to institutions and corporations. As the lender, BlockFi generates income by charging interest on those loaned funds. The cryptocurrency in your account is actually replaced with an obligation to return the asset upon your request.
Pros and cons of BlockFi
- Immediate trades at a low cost
- Earn interest on crypto balances
- Borrow up to 50% of your investments
- Refer friends and both you and your friend will earn bitcoin
- Doesn't support all cryptocurrencies
- Higher balances earn a lower interest rate
- Not available in the state of New York
- Margin calls possible on crypto loans
- Actual asset replaced by obligation to return the asset
Who can open an account with BlockFi?
As one of the best investment apps for cryptocurrency, both individuals and businesses can open an account with BlockFi. You may also open your account in a trust or through a self-directed IRA. However, you cannot open an account jointly with someone else at this time.
Beneficiaries cannot be named on accounts, but you can input this information and BlockFi will store it in its back-end until that feature is released.
Account owners must be at least 18 years of age and reside in any jurisdiction where BlockFi is offered. BlockFi interest accounts are available in most countries around the world. In the U.S., account holders may reside in any state except New York.
BlockFi accounts are best for investors who own or want to buy cryptocurrency and want to be rewarded with interest for holding their crypto assets in one place. Investors should also consider BlockFi if they want to borrow against their assets without having to sell them and therefore trigger a capital gains tax liability. It is a good way to invest in cryptocurrency for beginners since it has low fees and offers interest on your balances.
How much can you earn with BlockFi?
You can earn money in three primary ways with BlockFi: interest accrued in your account, market returns, and referrals.
Interest on your cryptocurrency balance
When you buy crypto with BlockFi or transfer your existing holdings to its platform, you'll earn up to 8.60% APY (as of Apr. 19, 2021). Interest is accrued daily and paid out monthly. The amount of interest you earn varies depending upon the type of crypto you own and how much of it you have in your account based on a tiered structure.
Buying cryptocurrency can be a volatile investment with significant movement up or down in short periods of time. Some investors hold their investments for the long term, while others buy and sell regularly. In this way, investing in cryptocurrency is similar to investing in stocks, commodities, and other assets.
You could make money trading in cryptocurrency, but investing of any kind is inherently risky and there are no guarantees you'll make any money. The amount you could earn depends on the performance of the asset, how long you hold it for, and your personal tolerance for risk.
Referring friends to BlockFi is an easy way to earn a bonus. Simply share your referral code and, for every person who uses your code and deposits $100 or more, you'll each earn $10 in bitcoin. After you've referred five people, your referral bonus will be bumped up to $20 in bitcoin per person. Each new referee will continue to receive $10 in bitcoin, even when your referral bonus increases.
FAQs about BlockFi
Is BlockFi legitimate?
Yes, BlockFi is a legitimate cryptocurrency trading platform with bank-like services, such as earning interest on your balances and the ability to borrow against them. It is based in the U.S. and regulated under U.S. laws.
The company has raised more than $100 million in equity funding and has more than $2 billion in assets under management. It is backed by some of the biggest names in the financial services industry, such as Morgan Creek Capital, Winklevoss Capital, and CMT Digital.
Can you lose money on BlockFi?
Yes, you can lose money on your investments with BlockFi, just as you can lose money any time you start investing. Cryptocurrency can be highly volatile and values can increase or decrease substantially in a short period of time.
When you deposit cryptocurrency with BlockFi, your assets are replaced with an obligation to return the same amount of that crypto plus the interest you've earned. This is similar to how bank operates. A bank receives deposits from you, lends the money to someone else, and pays you interest out of their profits.
BlockFi is not a bank or brokerage account, though. So its accounts are not subject to FDIC insurance, SIPC insurance, or other similar protections, which means you could lose money if BlockFi goes out of business or suffers other business failures.
What happens if BlockFi is hacked?
If BlockFi is hacked, it is possible to lose the cryptocurrency associated with your accounts. To reduce this risk, BlockFi has outsourced the custody of user's funds to Gemini, which is known for its strict adherence to regulations and compliance rules.
Gemini is a digital currency exchange and custodian company owned by the Winklevoss brothers, who you may know from their early involvement in Facebook. You can learn more by reading our Gemini review.
Is BlockFi a DeFi?
No, BlockFi is not a decentralized finance (DeFi) platform — it is a centralized service. Centralized services are primarily controlled by exchanges, who are responsible for keeping everyone's funds safe. DeFi platforms are technology-dependent and strive to be intrusion free, resulting in fewer restrictions on a user's actions.
Where is BlockFi located?
BlockFi has seven offices located around the world, including New York, Jersey City, Bueno Aires, London, Warsaw, Krakow, and Singapore. Its headquarters are located in Jersey City, New Jersey.
How to open a BlockFi account
If you're ready to open a BlockFi account, you'll need the following information:
- Email address
- Phone number
- Date of birth
- Source of funds
- Social Security number
- Answers to identity verification questions
As soon as you complete the email verification and answer the questions, your account is open and ready for funding. You can add a bank account and transfer funds to start buying crypto or you can transfer your existing cryptocurrency from another platform.
Other investing platforms to consider
If you're unsure of opening an account with BlockFi, but are still interested in how to buy cryptocurrency, there are other platforms you can try. In addition to checking out our list of the best brokerage accounts, you might take a look at these two apps.
Robinhood is an investing platform that allows investors to buy cryptocurrency as well as stocks, ETFs, and other investments. The company offers commission-free investing and gives you a free stock when you create your account. This service is good enough that it made our list of the best investment apps and it could be a good option if you don’t only want to trade in crypto.
Crypto.com is another cryptocurrency-focused fintech firm that offers interest on your crypto balances. The platform has over 10 million users and you can buy or sell over 100 different cryptocurrencies at true cost. When you spend with the Crypto.com Visa Card, you can get up to 8% back in rewards.
Disclaimer: All rates and fees are accurate as of Apr. 19, 2021.
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