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Want to invest in crypto but wish that you could earn some passive income in the process? Enter: BlockFi.
BlockFi is an innovative cryptocurrency exchange that seeks to disrupt the financial world by letting you earn interest on your crypto assets.
But, despite its allure, is BlockFi the right exchange for your investment style?
In this BlockFi review, we’ll take a closer look at all of the firm’s features, pros, and cons. We’ll discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using BlockFi’s intuitive and low-cost platform so you can decide if it’s right for your needs.
on BlockFi’s website
Quick Summary: BlockFi is a New York-based cryptocurrency financial institution where users can buy and sell cryptocurrencies. BlockFi also offers interest-earning accounts, low-cost USD loans secured with crypto and fee-free trading.
What Is BlockFi?
BlockFi is a relatively new cryptocurrency exchange and fintech start-up that prides itself on the transparency and ease of use of its platform. The firm was established in 2017 as a way to redefine the world of banking by using cryptocurrencies to back loans and other financial products.
Since then, BlockFi has become a popular exchange among investors that want to do more than just buy and sell Bitcoin. BlockFi offers a clean and intuitive user interface, low fees, and an abundance of features to help investors make the most of their digital assets.
Indeed, the company has established itself as a leader in the crypto and fintech industries in the short time since its founding. As of the time of writing, BlockFi claims to have more than $15 billion in total assets under management and more than 225,000 active account holders.
How Does BlockFi Work?
Like all cryptocurrency exchanges, BlockFi provides a platform where investors can trade cryptocurrencies online. To use BlockFi’s platform or any of its features, you’ll first need to create and fund your account. Here’s what you need to know.
Before you open your BlockFi account, you need to check if you’re eligible to do so. Then, you need to gather any required documents for your application.
BlockFi supports account holders over the age of 18 from around the world. However, there are some features of BlockFi, including the firm’s interest-earning accounts, that are not available to people who live in US-sanctioned countries, such as Cuba and North Korea.
Additionally, before you open an account with BlockFi, you’ll need to have certain documents available. All new investors need to provide:
- Phone number
- Email address
- Physical address
- Date of birth
- Income information
- Social security number (for US residents)
Finally, you are required to provide a government-issued ID and a selfie for account verification when opening an account.
Opening an Account
Establishing a BlockFi account is a relatively straightforward process that you can complete on the firm’s website or mobile app.
To create an account, you’ll first enter your name and email address. Then, you’ll create a password, verify your email address, and input your physical address information. Next, you’ll enter your phone number, date of birth, income information, and social security number.
The final step of the account opening process is identity verification. As part of this step, you’ll be asked to upload your ID photo and selfie to the platform.
Once that’s done, you’ll be taken to your BlockFi account, where you can start buying and selling crypto.
An account with a crypto exchange like BlockFi won’t do you much good if you can’t fund it. So, you must know what your funding options are before you establish an account.
BlockFi currently supports three different account funding methods. You can transfer fiat currencies to your account using either wire transfers or ACH transfers. However, do note that all fiat currency held in your BlockFi account is converted immediately into Gemini Dollars (GUSD), which is a US dollar-pegged stablecoin.
You can also transfer existing cryptocurrency assets from your external wallet to BlockFi to use for trading or investing.
Cryptocurrencies Available on BlockFi
As of the time of writing, BlockFi supports a relatively small number of cryptocurrencies. Supported cryptocurrencies on the platform include:
- PAX Gold
- USD Coin
- Binance USD
- Gemini Dollar
BlockFi does not currently support many popular altcoins, including Polkadot and Bitcoin Cash. So, the platform is best for investors who are okay with a limited selection of well-established cryptocurrencies.
As with many crypto exchanges, BlockFi is jam-packed with features. These are some of the most important features to consider before you open an account with the firm:
|Interest Rate on Deposits (APY)||Up to 7.5%|
|Earn Interest On||BTC, ETH, LTC, LINK, USDC, GUSD, PAX, PAXG, USDT, BUSD, DAI, UNI, BAT|
|Security||Two-factor authentication (2FA), cold storage, insurance on hot storage, AES-256 encryption and allowlisting|
|Supported Regions||Worldwide and 50 U.S. States|
|Apps||Mobile (iOS / Android)|
|Promotion||Earn up to $250 in Bitcoin|
|Support||Chat, Email, Phone and Support Tickets|
BlockFi Interest Account
The company’s flagship feature, the BlockFi Interest Account, is a way to earn passive income off of your cryptocurrency portfolio.
With a BlockFi Interest Account, you can accrue interest on any of the crypto held in your BlockFi hosted wallet. Although interest rates vary, the firm currently advertises rates from 0.5% to 7.5% APY.
BlockFi’s Interest Accounts have no minimum balance and no hidden fees. You can also withdraw your funds from the account at any time.
Do note that residents of US sanctioned and watchlist countries, such as Iran and Syria, are not eligible for a BlockFi Interest Account. Furthermore, this account is not currently available to residents of the state of New York.
|BTC||Up to 4.00%|
|ETH||Up to 4.00%|
|LTC||Up to 4.50%|
|LINK||Up to 3.00%|
|USDC||Up to 7.50%|
|GUSD||Up to 7.50%|
|PAX||Up to 7.50%|
|PAXG||Up to 2.00%|
|USDT||Up to 7.50%|
|BUSD||Up to 7.50%|
Although many account holders are drawn to BlockFi for the firm’s interest-bearing crypto accounts, the company also offers a crypto trading platform.
On the BlockFi trading platform, you can buy, sell, and exchange any of the firm’s supported cryptocurrencies. The platform is intuitive and user-friendly, so it’s a popular choice among new investors.
To use the platform, you simply need to log into your BlockFi account, select a cryptocurrency to trade, enter your desired trade value, and confirm your transaction. Doing so executes a market order and then transfers your purchased crypto to your interest-bearing wallet.
The best part? There’s no commission fee when trading on the BlockFi trading platform. Yep, that’s right—no fee whatsoever.
However, the ease of use of BlockFi’s trading platform comes at the cost of versatility. Since the platform can only execute market orders, it’s not ideal for traders that want access to advanced charting tools and order types.
In addition to a standard trading platform, BlockFi also offers an OTC trading desk. This trading desk acts as an intermediary between two parties to reduce risk in large crypto transactions.
The company currently supports OTC trades for Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin, but they plan to add new cryptocurrencies in the future.
It’s worth noting that BlockFi’s OTC desk is designed specifically for institutional investors and what the firm titles “ultra-high net worth” traders. While the company does not publicly list its fees or minimum trade sizes for the OTC desk, it’s implied that it’s only for very large transactions (think tens of thousands of dollars).
Therefore, the BlockFi OTC desk is a potentially great tool for investors looking to make large transactions. However, you’ll need to contact the company directly for a quote on fees for this service.
If there’s one feature of BlockFi that makes the firm stand out in the crypto exchange industry, it’s this: crypto-backed loans.
With BlockFi, you can leverage your crypto assets to get a US dollar loan—all without having to sell your crypto. The company allows you to take out a loan of up to 50% of the value of your crypto and they charge fees as low as 4.5% APR (plus a 2% origination fee) over a 12-month term.
When you apply for a crypto-backed loan through BlockFi, you will receive your funds on the same business day. You can also repay your balance early without any additional fees.
However, using crypto as collateral on a loan is risky. Crypto prices are volatile and there’s a chance that your loan value will exceed your collateral value. If this happens, you may need to add more collateral to your loan account or pay off a portion of your loan. Otherwise, you risk defaulting on your loan.
So, use crypto-backed loans with caution and only when you’re confident in your ability to repay.
|LTV||Interest Rate||Origination Fee|
Rewards Credit Card
BlockFi’s Rewards Credit Card is a credit card that gives you 1.5% back in Bitcoin rewards on every purchase. These rewards are paid out into your BlockFi Interest Account on a monthly cycle to help you maximize your earnings.
Plus, the card has no annual fee or foreign transaction fee. This makes the BlockFi Rewards Card a quick and easy way to earn free crypto just by making daily purchases.
If you’re looking to automate your crypto investments, recurring trades might be what you need. BlockFi’s recurring trades feature allows you to establish a daily, weekly, or monthly investment schedule so that you can regularly purchase more crypto.
For example, you could set up a trade to buy $100 of Ethereum every month using your Gemini dollar balance. That way, you can take advantage of dollar-cost averaging to help grow your assets over time. Plus, BlockFi doesn’t charge commission fees on this feature, helping you save money in the long run.
BlockFi Referral Program
BlockFi currently offers a rewards program where you can earn $10 in Bitcoin each time someone you refer to the platform establishes an account and deposits more than $100. When this happens, your referee gets $10 in Bitcoin, too, making this a win-win situation for everyone.
Plus, after you refer five people to the site, BlockFi increases your reward to $20 per referral. Of course, this program can change at any time, but as it stands, it’s a great way to earn extra Bitcoin just for introducing friends to BlockFi.
BlockFi Pricing & Fees
BlockFi is a low-cost crypto exchange and lender, but the company does charge a few relatively small fees.
As of the time of writing, BlockFi provides all account holders with one free crypto and one free stablecoin withdrawal per month. Any extra withdrawals from your account are charged a fee based on the currency you withdraw.
Additionally, if you take out a crypto-backed loan from BlockFi, you can expect to pay an origination fee of 2% on your loan value. This fee rate is for US-based accounts, though, so it may vary depending on your country of residence.
However, BlockFi does not charge a commission fee on trades, nor do they charge monthly fees on individual accounts.
|BTC||100 BTC per 7-day period||0.00075 BTC|
|ETH||5,000 ETH per 7-day period||0.02 ETH|
|LINK||65,000 LINK per 7-day period||0.95 LINK|
|LTC||10,000 LTC per 7-day period||0.0025 LTC|
|Stablecoins||$1,000,000 per 7-day period||$10.00 USD|
|PAXG||500 PAXG per 7 day period||0.015 PAXG|
|UNI||5,500 UNI per 7 day period||1 UNI|
|BAT||2,000,000 BAT per 7 day period||35 BAT|
BlockFi Security & Insurance
When it comes to securing your assets, BlockFi means business. The firm uses advanced security features, such as address whitelisting, 2-factor authentication, and strong encryption to keep bad actors at play.
Furthermore, BlockFi partners with well-known institutions, such as Gemini, for custodial services that provide extra asset coverage. The company also holds a sizable amount of SEC-regulated securities at other reputable institutions, including Fidelity, to ensure that they always have cash on hand to fulfill withdrawal requests.
But, always remember that digital assets are not FDIC or SIPC insured. While BlockFi has a quality security system in place, the most secure place to store crypto is usually in your cold wallet.
BlockFi Customer Support
Should an issue arise with your BlockFi account, you can find answers to most common questions on the firm’s online help pages. Additionally, you can use BlockFi’s chatbot to quickly get an answer to your question or to submit a support ticket.
Furthermore, BlockFi does technically have a customer support phone number. However, phone support is only available during business hours (Eastern Time) and it’s only for urgent concerns. Therefore, most BlockFi customer support is handled via the firm’s email-based support system.
- All features available in nearly every country and US state
- No commission fees on trades
- One free withdrawal per cryptocurrency each month
- Ability to earn interest on crypto held in your BlockFi account
- Firm has custodial backing from Gemini, a New York Trust Company
- Option to open a crypto rewards credit card
- Easy access to crypto-backed loans for quick funding
- Very small selection of available cryptocurrencies
- Limited customer support options
- Trading platform is very limited and only supports market orders
- Risk of defaulting on crypto-backed loans with market fluctuations
- No advanced investment options, such as futures or margins trading
Although BlockFi is a solid platform for crypto investors that want to accrue passive income from their digital assets, it’s not ideal for everyone. Here are some other exchanges to consider if BlockFi isn’t right for you.
One of the world’s leading exchanges, Coinbase is a popular crypto investment platform for new and experienced traders, alike. The firm offers basic and advanced trading platforms to help investors access crypto markets in the way that works best for them.
Additionally, Coinbase lets you earn crypto rewards by watching educational videos and by staking supported currencies. The company even has a separate online wallet app and the option to earn crypto rewards using a Visa debit card.
The downside? Coinbase has some hefty fees. But, it does support dozens of different cryptocurrencies. So, it’s a nice choice for people who want to actively trade crypto, rather than holding it for the long term. Read our full Coinbase review to learn more.
Celsius is a fintech company that offers a variety of crypto-backed financial products for investors and traders.
Like BlockFi, the firm supports crypto interest accounts where you can earn up to 17.00% interest on your crypto assets. Additionally, Celsius has crypto-backed loans with competitive rates so you can get access to cash when you need it.
So, what makes Celsius different from BlockFi? Well, the firm has a native coin (CEL) that offers the opportunity for extra rewards. Celsius also has a built-in payment system where you can quickly send and receive crypto.
But, Celsius isn’t supported in every country and most of its features aren’t available in the US. So, it’s best for non-US investors who primarily want to accrue interest on their crypto but that also want a low-cost way to send and receive crypto payments on the go.
Who is BlockFi Best for?
As one of the pioneers in the world of interest-bearing crypto accounts, BlockFi is the ideal platform for investors who want to make passive income off of their digital assets. As a result, it’s a great choice for anyone that simply wants a place to buy crypto and hold it for the long term.
Furthermore, BlockFi’s innovative crypto-backed loan feature and crypto rewards credit card mean that it’s a solid option for anyone looking to harness the power of digital assets. The company’s very low fees also make it a decent choice for cost-conscious investors.
However, BlockFi’s crypto trading features are limited and the firm doesn’t support many cryptocurrencies. To use BlockFi to its fullest extent, you’ll also have to keep your assets in the firm’s hosted hot wallet, which isn’t always ideal. But if passive income from your crypto is what you seek, then BlockFi is worth considering.
Here are our answers to some of your most common questions about BlockFi:
How Safe Is BlockFi?
BlockFi is a reputable cryptocurrency exchange with a track record of safety and security. Nevertheless, you can lose money while investing in crypto. Furthermore, there are always risks to keeping your crypto in an online wallet like BlockFi. So, for extra security, it’s often best to transfer your assets to a cold wallet.
Is BlockFi Legitimate?
BlockFi is a legitimate cryptocurrency exchange that’s subject to US federal financial regulation. The firm also has a custodian, Gemini, which is a New York Trust company that’s subject to additional strict regulations for extra legitimacy and peace of mind.
When Does BlockFi Pay Interest?
If your crypto is held in a BlockFi Interest Account, your assets will accrue interest daily and it will be paid on a monthly basis. Your interest should be available on the last day of every month.
Has BlockFi Been Hacked?
BlockFi was hacked in May 2020 after a fraudster successfully SIM swapped a BlockFi employee’s phone. The hacking incident lasted for just over one hour and the hacker was able to access personal information, though no funds were lost and no crypto wallets were compromised.
How Is My Cryptocurrency Protected with BlockFi?
BlockFi uses advanced security features, such as two-factor authentication, address whitelisting, and strong encryption to protect cryptocurrency held in BlockFi accounts. The firm also has a custodian (Gemini) and it runs regular disaster event scenarios to ensure that BlockFi is ready to protect your assets in the event of a major event or hacking attack.
If you’re looking for a platform where you can earn interest on your crypto with relative ease, BlockFi is well worth considering. The firm’s innovative interest-bearing accounts, rewards credit cards, and recurring trades features, combined with its super-low fees, make it a popular choice for anyone looking to invest for the long term.
That being said, BlockFi’s basic trading features and limited cryptocurrency options mean that it’s not ideal for active and advanced traders. However, if you want a simple and streamlined way to put your digital assets to work for you, BlockFi is one exchange that should be on your radar.
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Gaby is a freelance writer and self-employed business owner with a personal interest in all things finance-related. She has a professional certificate in business, finance, and financial analytics, as well as experience working as a volunteer tax prep assistant with the IRS.