BlockFi Review – The All in One Crypto Banking Service Trying to Overthrow Traditional Finance

With the recent surge that has happened in the past year across multiple different investment markets – Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies, stocks, even collectible markets like sports cards, pokemon cards, sneakers, etc, it appears that people, especially the newer generation, are now understanding that money sitting in a bank account is effectively a waste. People grew up on the premise that you need to save up money and have it stored in something such as a savings account that gets you less than one percent of returns in a year to be able to achieve long-lasting wealth, but there is a new company in town trying to overthrow this traditional model.
That company in town goes by the name BlockFi, which allows you to use your owned crypto assets to earn high-yield interest or borrow cash. Here, we take a closer look at the company in our BlockFi review.

What is BlockFi?

BlockFi, created by co-founders Zac Prince and Flori Marquez in 2017, has its headquarters in New York City and operates worldwide and for all 50 U.S states. It was made originally to bring the limited access of a savings account to smaller markets, but now has its eyes set on being the leading all-in-one crypto banking platform. BlockFi works best as a crypto exchange for people new to the crypto world and who are interested in a high, steady, annual rate of return that will allow their money to work for them.

How does BlockFi work?

Getting started with BlockFi is pretty simple. You go on the main page and click “Get Started.” You are then brought to a sign-up page.
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Once you have signed up, you will have to go in your email to verify your account. When that is completed, go back and try to log in and you will be prompted to choose between an individual or a business account.
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Then, there will be several other questions that take in your personal information like your address, your phone number, etc. After that is all done, you will be presented with a home screen dashboard for your interest account. If you click on your interest account, you can click the coin you want and it will show you the APY, your balance, total interest paid, and accrued interest.
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For the crypto-backed loans, you can go to the top where it says “Borrow” and submit for a loan. After you enter your desired amount, it will give you an offer, then you can review it and sign to receive the funds in your bank account without the need for selling your crypto.
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How much does BlockFi cost?

BlockFi prides itself on being a free-to-use crypto trading platform that has no hidden fees or minimum balances. It has both a desktop and mobile app for iOS and Android that are free as well.

BlockFi features

BlockFi interest account

Likely what has attracted the biggest following to BlockFi is the strong appeal for the BlockFi interest account. With this account, you can earn interest of up to 8.6% APY on crypto assets such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, all the way to even including stablecoins such as pax, usdt, usdc, gusd, and others. The interest accrues daily and is paid out monthly. The stablecoin interest is a huge deal considering these stablecoins are all tied to the U.S. dollar. Essentially the interest being earned on a stablecoin is the same as if it was being held in a bank savings account, except the fact that banks pride themselves on an APY that is always a fraction of just one percent. The interest rates are possible through lending BlockFi does with trusted institutional and corporate borrowers.

Crypto-backed loans

BlockFi has introduced a new kind of lending system that they call crypto-backed loans. Essentially you are allowed to borrow U.S. dollars from BlockFi by using your crypto assets through BlockFi loans. This can be a big deal for people that want to hold on to their crypto assets without selling. For tax purposes, this is a massive benefit of using crypto-backed loans because you can avoid selling while still owning crypto and can set yourself up to be taxed on long-term capital gains over short-term capital gains while also having cash created from owning crypto assets.
The crypto-backed loans are collateralized, so there needs to be crypto given to BlockFi and then they determine your loan to value ratio after you go through the quick 2-minute application process. An example rate for a loan to value ratio would be 50%, meaning that if you had $10,000 of Bitcoin, you could be given back $5,000 directly wired into your bank account. The rates on these loans are as low as 4.5% APR and there are no prepayment penalties.

Bitcoin Rewards credit card

Just recently introduced, BlockFi has created the world’s first Bitcoin Rewards credit card. The credit card is accepted anywhere that Visa is accepted, and it allows you to earn an unlimited 1.5% back in Bitcoin on every purchase. The cherry on top is the fact that the Bitcoin rewards are immediately transferred to your BlockFi Interest Account which means the moment any purchase goes through, it automatically is earning interest.
The process to get the credit card is as simple as just applying the way you would for any other credit card, and upon approval, you would get a credit limit at BlockFi’s discretion in USD and you can start using it to earn Bitcoin rewards. There are other benefits of the credit card such as a $250 sign-up bonus in Bitcoin if you spend $3,000 in your first 3 months, 2% extra APY on your average daily stablecoin balance which is paid in Bitcoin, up to $200, 3.5% bitcoin rewards on all purchases in months 4-6 of ownership (up to $100), and others. The BlockFi credit card is the perfect card for crypto maximalists or even the average person wanting to dive into the investing world. (Also, the card is metal!)

Who is BlockFi best for?

Beginners

BlockFi does a great job of showing a person that is just getting into cryptocurrency or even one that is not in it at all, a simple, quick, and free way to get your feet out the door in the crypto world. All someone has to do is transfer crypto into their BlockFi accounts and the rest is all done for you.

Safe investors

BlockFi is an absolute dream for the safe and risk-averse investors out there. The people that are content with making guaranteed, sustainable growth on their money. Especially with the ability to earn on stablecoins, even those skeptical of the potential volatility of earning interest on a cryptocurrency can still make good, consistent returns that put any bank’s savings account to shame.

Crypto maximalists

You could not come up with a better type of platform built with the best interests of a crypto maximalist. The fact that an investor can earn more of their favorite cryptocurrency just by doing nothing except having it in an account sounds like a pipe dream. The Bitcoin maximalist that has been trying to trade price swings on Coinbase or Binance no longer has to because they are making guaranteed APY on their Bitcoin with a BlockFi interest account. For those that truly think crypto is for the future and is here to stay, this is for them.

Who shouldn’t use BlockFi?

Hardcore traders

If you are a hardcore trader using BlockFi, chances are the platform is not for you. BlockFi is a platform built on trying to be the all-in-one crypto banking platform meant to overthrow traditional finance. It is not a full exchange meant to be buying and selling for quick price swings and heavy volatility. Although an APY of 8.6% is unprecedented for a savings account, many hardcore traders would likely not see the value in having a less risky, slower growth of returns to what they are used to.

Non-believers of digital finance

Chances are if you are looking at a BlockFi review, you have some interest in the new era of digital finance. However, for the people that share no belief that digital finance is the future, a platform like BlockFi may not be the right one for your investing needs. A more traditional and conservative investor may prefer to put their money towards investment markets like the stock market or real estate.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Heavy Institutional Backing. BlockFi is considered the only independent lender with investors like Galaxy Digital, Fidelity, SoFi, Coinbase Ventures, Valar Ventures, and more. It also has heavy support from the founders of the Gemini Exchange - the Winklevoss twins, founder of Morgan Creek Digital Anthony Pompliano, amongst other significant figures in the crypto space. BlockFi also recently completed a $350M Series D at a $3B valuation which further shuts down any doubters, especially after having a $50M Series C at a $450M valuation last year.
  • High Interest Rates. BlockFi has interest rates of up to 8.6% APY on your digital assets, which is a groundbreaking percentage for a savings account. The BlockFi interest rates put the typical bank savings accounts to shame.
  • Mobile and Desktop Friendly. A common issue many platforms run into with adoption is the fact that most limit you to having to be at a computer to be used to its fullest potential. With BlockFi, it is possible to only use the mobile app and get the exact same experience as a desktop user.
Cons
  • A small variety of coins to earn interest. For a platform that is wanting to be the center of all crypto banking, the catalog of coins available is rather weak. BlockFi only has five cryptocurrencies that are supported for interest-earning-- Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Chainlink, and PAX Gold. This is very likely disappointing for many and needs to be worked on to truly draw the eyes of most crypto fanatics.
  • Impromptu change of interest rate percentages. There is no denying that the interest rates of BlockFi crush what we see in traditional finance, but with the uptick in the cryptocurrency hype, BlockFi has been changing the interest rate tiers for some of the assets with basically no notice. Not long ago they changed the Bitcoin interest rate so that it is split into tiers and if you have 1 Bitcoin or greater, you earn less than you did before.
  • Slower interest payments compared to competitors. BlockFi interest accounts accrue interest daily, but it is paid out monthly, while other competitors have been paying out interest weekly and some even daily. This slow form of interest payment is likely putting BlockFi behind much of the competition considering investors on competing platforms can take their money out and interest rewards in a significantly quicker timeframe.

BlockFi vs. Nexo vs Celsius

While BlockFi has the biggest name and marketing of any of the crypto lending/interest platforms, it certainly has quite the competition. Nexo and Celsius are aiming to break through and claim the top spot, and they each have their distinct advantages over BlockFi as well.
PlatformInterest RatesCryptocurrencies SupportedLowest Loan APRInterest Payout Time FrameWithdrawal Fees
BlockFiUp to 8.6%5+ Cryptocurrencies / 5+ Stablecoins4.5%Monthly1 free crypto withdrawal a month / 1 free stablecoin per month
NexoUp to 12%11+ Cryptocurrencies / 6+ Stablecoins5.9%DailyUp to 5 Free withdraws a month
CelsiusUp to 17.78%27+ Cryptocurrencies / 12+ Stablecoins1%WeeklyNone

Nexo

Nexo takes the cake for the cleanest user interface among the three platforms. It is extremely easy and appealing to view. Nexo also has such a huge advantage in that the interest is paid out daily. It offers competitive interest rates, and if you hold the NEXO token (which also allows you to receive dividends), or choose to use their fixed interest rate terms, you can get a significant boost of extra annual interest that leaves the other competitors in the dust. Nexo also offers borrowing with no credit checks and automatic approval, which BlockFi does not have.

Celsius

Celsius has by far the most cryptocurrencies supported among the competition. It even has some defi coin options. Celsius also has free withdrawals and also has the highest interest rates across all the major platforms. It offers flexible loan terms of 6, 12, 24, or 36 months and a loan to value ratio of 25%, 33%, or 50%. Celsius also has its own cryptocurrency called CEL that allows you to receive higher interest rates on earning and or lower interest rates when you are borrowing. Celsius is a great bet among the three in terms of lending.

FAQs

Who can use BlockFi?
BlockFi is available worldwide and to all 50 U.S states. Any of BlockFi’s services including the BlockFi interest account, crypto-backed loans, and buying and selling crypto are all available worldwide.
How is BlockFi able to give out such high interest rates?
BlockFi can give high interest rates through smart lending to trusted institutional and corporate borrowers. The interest earned from BlockFi’s crypto-backed loans also helps give the ability for better interest rates for BlockFi interest account users.
Are my assets secure on BlockFi?
BlockFi claims that any asset that is sent or purchased on the BlockFi platform is replaced with the obligation to return the exact same amount plus any interest accrued. BlockFi engages in numerous activities such as having digital assets available to withdraw on the spot from third parties such as Gemini, BitGo, and Coinbase, using risk management for lending and purchasing SEC-regulated equities as principal.

The bottom line

If you’re looking for a new alternative for a savings account that challenges the traditional finance method, BlockFi is certainly a good option. It has by far the biggest support amongst investors and corporations than any of its competitors. With the dynamic trio of the BlockFi Interest Account, crypto-backed loans, and the world’s first bitcoin rewards credit card, BlockFi is looking to be the all-in-one crypto banking platform. With its strong appeal to beginners, risk-averse investors, and crypto maximalists, it looks like the demand for this service has still so much more room to grow.
While BlockFi is a suitable option for those intrigued by the new age of digital finance, it still is not for everyone. Hardcore traders and non-believers of digital finance likely will find more preferable options elsewhere. BlockFi also still has some serious competitors that honestly seriously outclass the platform across several areas. Thankfully, with the tremendous amount of backing it has, the platform for sure has the funding to clean up on its weakest points, and in time it is a pretty safe bet to say that BlockFi will be a mainstay with the potential to be one of the biggest financial services companies in existence.

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