If you’ve been a crypto investor for a while now, then you most certainly have heard about BlockFi. BlockFi is one of the best crypto investment firms to grow your digital currency.
I’m aware that Coinbase’s direct listing is making quite the buzz now. And that the exchange valuation according to private sales totals up to $100 billion. However, I still maintain that BlockFi is an interesting company for investors to bet on for several reasons.
First, BlockFi is a modern-day crypto bank that offers all the services provided by traditional financial institutions. The only difference is that account holders get a higher percentage of interest than applicable at traditional banks.
Also, the company has a track record of capturing the spread between the interest on loans and the lending interest rate. This success makes BlockFi one of the most profitable exchange companies in the crypto world.
Despite the solution provided by this crypto bank, many people still doubt their legitimacy. They want to know if BlockFi is safe, well-insured, and worth the hype.
This article provides an answer to those questions and many more. Here we will explore what BlockFi is, the risks involved in using it, their various accounts, and everything else you need to know. Let’s get started.
If you belong to the category of people who believe that cryptocurrency is the future and are ready to evolve as a crypto investor, your next big step is BlockFi.
They bring clients simple-low-cost applications designed to increase their portfolio. The following are the different category of clients that can benefit from BlockFi:
Apart from the clients mentioned above, BlockFi also allows you to earn 8.6% APY when you deposit coins into their crypto savings account. And it doubles as a lending platform to borrow USD loans against your coins. A crypto-backed loan protects you from liquidating your assets every time you need cash urgently or selling into a down market.
Right now, the company is running a bonus offer with a qualifying deposit of $25. And you can win up to a $250 bonus depending on your initial deposit. You must maintain the deposited sum of money for a specified time to claim the bonus.
Earlier, we mentioned that BlockFi has lots of mouth-watering offers in store for first-timers and old investors. However, you must register via a valid referral code to become eligible for the bonus.
The ongoing bonus round nets old account holders about $10 bitcoin worth when they refer a new person to the platform. You must have at least $100 in your BIA (BlockFI Asset Account) to join the referral system.
New clients who fund their accounts during promotional offers are eligible for a tiered bonus paid in BTC. Every user can earn up to $250BTC when they make a $25 or more deposit by using the right referral link.
The following are some bonuses offered by BlockFi and a referral code to win them.
1. Use the Referral Link during registration to win $250 BTC
The conditions for this bonus are easy to meet. With an initial deposit of $100, you get to win $250 worth of BTC. This is only applicable to first-timers who have passed the KYC test. Verification is easy and takes no time. All you need is to submit a snapshot of any government-issued ID card.
2. Win $10 BTC when you register for a free account.
This is also a welcome bonus; therefore, it is only available to new clients. Users will automatically get $10 worth of BTC when they open a new BlockFi account. By default, the bonus code will be in your field during registration.
You must maintain a balance of $100 in your BlockFi account for 30 days to redeem the offer.
Ensure that you visit https://blockfi.com/promotions for the latest BlockFi bonus promotions. Also, there are many fake bonus offers out there. Thus, you must be careful when using codes from unauthorized websites or people.
BlockFi is an investment platform that enables its customers to earn interest from their crypto. Unlike ordinary crypto exchanges, saving your crypto with them also means you can take USD loans using your asset as collateral.
It was founded in August 2017 by Flori Marques and Zac Prince. The company has offices in many nations around the world, with its headquarters located in New Jersey.
BlockFi has been a massive success and raised over $150m in revenue since its inception.
BlockFi offers wide-ranging products and services to its teeming users, comprising individuals, retail traders, and institutions.
The most impeccable offer is the BlockFi cryptocurrency savings account which enables savers to earn interest on their cryptocurrency. Correspondingly, they can also borrow USD loans against their investment portfolio.
BlockFi also performs all the peculiar functions of a typical crypto exchange like crypto trading. Currently, they support a limited number of altcoins and stable coins. But you can store and trade LTC, ETH, USDC, GUSD, and BTC with ease.
Let’s clear some things before we go deeper. Account-holders should know that the modality guiding a crypto savings account is different from that of crypto exchange and traditional banks.
Saving your crypto on a platform like BlockFi means you’re giving them ownership of your private key to the platform. They lend your crypto tokens to retail traders and institutions at a given interest rate and share a part of the interest with you annually. This shows that your crypto is being put to work. You’re investing your coin with BlockFi, and not merely saving.
As with other investment platforms, a crypto interest account comes with its inherent risk. Crypto platforms are forever hackers’ targets. A little mistake may get your account compromised and, ultimately, lose your fund. You may also lose some of your crypto holdings when you use them as collateral to borrow funds and price swings in an unfavorable position.
With BlockFi, you’re at least taking a calculated risk. I say this because the company has excellent protocols and trading strategy that minimizes investors’ risks. For example, LTV ratios are to curb large price swings and use a payout stack that rewards customers first. Their trading strategy has proven itself to be reliable in the face of an extremely severe bearish market. The company keeps custody of most of its funds on Gemini, an exchange platform regulated by the SEC.
We can go on. But there you have it. BlockFi is not without potential risks, but its pros sure outweigh the cons. The company has a good reputation and support of industry’s heavyweights. I have also tried BlockFi, and yes, I think the hype is very well worth it.
BlockFi’s team consists of people with decades of experience in the banking and financial world.
The founder and CEO, Zac Prince, worked for up-and-coming and successful tech companies for years before starting BlockFi. He headed the business development teams at Orchard Platform. Zac was an online consumer lender and also the RIA/ broker-dealer in the online lending sector.
Flori Marquez, the Co-Founder who is also the VP of operations. She has successfully managed many alternative lending products and helped in building a portfolio of $125MM for Bond Street. As the Head of Portfolio Management, she manages all default operations, litigation, and origination at BlockFi.
Rene Van Kesteren is the Chief Risk Officer. Before taking up the BlockFi assignment, he served as the Managing Director of BAML Professional Cleaning Prime Brokerage for 15 years. He formed the risk and regulatory compliance frameworks, including the equity and structured lending platform.
BlockFi's revenue has spontaneously grown over the years. All thanks to its ability to raise a total of $508.7M over the years, which takes its present worth to $3b
With a 0% loss rate and over $1.5Billion online assets, BlockFi has become a dominant name in FinTech.
Recently, BlockFi raised its greatest share of funding in a $350M Series D that major investors like Pomp Investments and Bain Capital Ventures led.
In a press release, the giant crypto bank pointed out its plans to channel the fund into market expansion, innovation, and acquisition of new opportunities.
BlockFi raised a total of $50 million during its Series C fundraising. This was led by Morgan Creek and other notable investors like Winklevoss Capital and CMT Digital.
Before series C, BlockFi had earlier raised $18.3 million in series A funding. This was led by Akuna Capital, Peter Thiel-backed Valar Ventures, ConsenSys Ventures, CMT Digital, etc.
The following is a full list of benefits you stand to enjoy as a BlockFi account holder:
This section highlights some of the inherent risks of using a BlockFi savings account. Risks of crypto-backed USD loans Cryptocurrency loans involve borrowing USD loans against your crypto and stable coin. Borrowing crypto is not dangerous in itself. However, you may suffer a major risk like margin calling during rapid price movement.
Margin calling arises when the value of securities in a margin account drops below the minimum threshold required by the lender.
For this purpose, a margin call occurs when the price of crypto you used as collateral falls against the USD.
To revert the situation, you may need to invest more crypto into a BIA account or risk your liquidated asset. Either way, the investor will lose some or part of their initial crypto portfolio while repaying the loan.
If the loan eventually get margin called, the borrower will not owe any more. And they won't be able to recover their coin either.
The Gap Risks
Another risk of using a BlockFi crypto interest account is ‘gap-risk.’ When you fund a BlockFi Interest Account (BIA) with Bitcoin, the coin is loaned out to someone else. When a lender borrows from BlockFi, they repay their loan in USD and at a rate higher than the present value of the Bitcoin they borrowed.
Imagine that the borrower defaults the loan, or their account gets margin called. BlockFi will be forced to sell off the asset to pay the investors’ return.
Now let’s say that a drastic price swing occurs when BlockFi wants to convert the digital asset to USD. The company will lose or gain a small amount of money on the transaction based on price movement.
Usually, BlockFi trades with robots that can predict the next market move to a fair accuracy, and they will most likely not fall victim to massive price swings.
BlockFi offers a diverse and lucrative suite of crypto services and products. Each of its offerings is properly explored in the following sections.
BlockFi Interest Account (BIA)
BlockFi started as a bitcoin-only investment platform but has since increased the number of supported crypto to accommodate more users.
The BlockFi interest account works in the same way as the traditional savings account. But this time you’re depositing crypto instead of fiat currency. Also, there is no central controlling agency over your fund and you can withdraw it whenever you want.
With BIA, you earn handsome interest after maintaining your crypto and stable coin deposits for a given time. The interest rate varies from crypto to crypto and from one stable coin to another. It also changes from time to time depending on price fluctuation. But those are nothing to worry about. Their interest rate is far higher than you will get in the highest yielding fixed deposit account.
As of February to April, BlockFi paid 8.6% APY on stable coins (like USDC and GUSD), 6% APY on BTC deposit, and 4.5% on ETH.
All you need to enjoy this reward is to sign up on the platform, complete the necessary KYC and fund your account with any of the supported coins. Got no coin? No problem. You can also deposit fiat and later convert it to cryptocurrency.
There is no minimum deposit or maintenance fee with the BlockFi interest account, and you can withdraw your interest monthly.
After funding your BlockFi account, there are still other ways to put your coin to use. We shall get into that shortly.
Another outstanding service offered by BlockFi is the crypto-backed loans. This feature enables users to borrow USD loans using their crypto deposits as collateral. With just 4.5% APR, you can start enjoying this offer.
Loan processing is quick, and you don’t have to pass through rigorous paperwork or credit check before acquiring them. All you need to borrow the loan is to have collateral and maintain your account at 50% LTV.
The BlockFi loan comes in handy for people with low credit scores or bad credit history. Individuals that need funds to purchase more crypto holdings will also find it helpful.
As part of BlockFi's commitment to helping investors do more with their digital assets, they recently announced a card to their growing list of services.
The BlockFi rewards card is still in work but will be the first of its kind in the crypto space.
Once launched, the BlockFi Bitcoin Rewards Credit Card will offer users the chance to earn 1.5% back in bitcoin on every purchase.
The card will be linked to your crypto account, and this means you can make purchases directly from your BlockFi account wherever credit cards are accepted.
Please take the language used by BlockFi into account to avoid controversy. They do not state that you’ll earn “up to” 1.5% of your deposit. Instead, you will earn 1.5% back on every purchase.
The website also mentioned an annual service fee of $200 for holding the card. That is quite on the high side, but the good news is you can avoid paying the card fee. BlockFi allocates a $250 worth of bitcoin bonus to users that spend up to $3,000 from their BIA accounts within the first three months.
You can join the waitlist for the BlockFi Bitcoin Rewards Credit Card by signing up for a free BlockFi Interest account. The signing up, verification, and funding of the BIA account is effortless and takes little time.
Trading & Exchange
You can now buy, sell and trade stable coins and cryptocurrencies on your BlockFi account at competitive prices, and earn interest along the way. You’re probably wondering why you should choose BlockFi out of the numerous exchanges in the market. Well, the answer is simple. There is no other platform that packs competitive prices, zero fees, and instant transactions. BlockFi also enables you to interchange your crypto and fiat currency easily. The platform supports both cryptocurrencies (LTC, ETH, BTC) and stable coins (PAX, USDT, USDC, and GUSD).
The BlockFi trading interface is intuitive and easy to use. All you need to get started is sign up, fund your account and press the trade button on your dashboard!
You should also note that BlockFi has a mobile app where you can trade on the get-go.
BlockFi provides a secure and robust interface where institutions and high-net organizations can trade actively.
The company offers specialized services like arbitrage trade opportunities and designated support, making it easy for them to provide digital assets to large-sized investors. With their custom term of agreements, they can walk institutions through their trading strategies and agree on higher interests than the advertised ones.
Hedge funds, crypto native and family companies, foundations, and bitcoin ATM providers can access the BlockFi specialized services without missing out on their normal offerings - like crypto-backed loans, the BlockFi interest account, OCT trading, and zero maintenance fees.
BlockFi is a safe platform to store and manage medium and high-volume crypto investments. They are funded and supported by household financial institutions like CMT Digital, Valar, Morgan Creek Capital Management, Akuna Capital, etc.
BlockFi Bitcoin Trust
In January 2021, BlockFi registered what is called the BlockFi Bitcoin Trust with the SEC. And in February, they announced that institutions could now hold an investment trust with them in any of the listed cryptocurrencies (BTC, ETH, and LTC).
The Fidelity Digital Assets Services (FDAS) has been appointed to keep the custody of the digital assets due to their safety and industry reputation. But other under the hood activities are managed by BlockFi Management LLC itself.
The reason behind the BlockFi Bitcoin Trust is logical, and the timing can never be more perfect. The crypto market is a blossoming one, and everyday institutions look for a safe way to hold a share of the market volume. And that is where BlockFi comes in.
Their trust structure is designed such that institutions can easily access the nascent crypto market without friction. It’s cost-effective, simple, and transparent. The trust also provides a diversified set of product offerings and an alternative entry point into the crypto market.
The BlockFi trust will work just like other proposed bitcoin ETFs. It will issue shares via a private placement and the selected institution will hold the value of bitcoins equal to their shares.
By extension, they would be able to buy BlockFi’s shares just like they would purchase an ETF, but the value of the fund would remain in underlying BTC assets. As the sponsor, BlockFi would charge a small management fee (1.75%), and the Trust’s holders would lose or make money as bitcoin rises or falls.
BlockFi has great mobile apps for iOS and Android users. This mobile app makes it a lot easier for you to manage your BlockFi account at any time and from anywhere.
You can trade, view your balance, earn interest, borrow money – all on the mobile app.
Some of the trademark features within the BlockFi mobile app include:
BlockFi started as a bitcoin interest account for private investors. However, it has since enlisted many excellent products and services to draw retail traders and institutions to its platforms. After four years of steady operation, here is what the industry experts and individuals have to say about BlockFi
BlockFi’s got a team of rockstars. Unlike a lot of the crypto lending platforms out there, this one actually makes loans quickly and I got approved and received a wire in the same day. Super smooth and simple to pay back. I’d say I’d use their service again, but I already have.
Earl Myers, CMO at Blockstake Repeat BlockFi customer
BlockFi was my first choice when looking to use crypto as collateral for a fiat loan. While borrowing against crypto will be more commonplace in the future thanks to micro and macro lending technology, it still remains a new concept for many, but is now a reality and much faster than traditional loans. BlockFi’s friendly and professional staff helped make for a very smooth process from start to finish.
Really excited to finally use BlockFi and am amazed at how quick the turnaround on the application was! Incredibly impressed by the service. Will be singing praise for BlockFi louder than ever.
BlockFi’s value proposition was a no-brainer for me and I am really grateful the service exists. It’s a convenient and simple way to get liquidity out of my bitcoin holdings, with very responsive customer service.
BlockFi’s process was fast, professional, and easy, and I would highly recommend this service to anyone looking for a crypto-backed loan. The terms are fair, the loan servicing simple, and everyone I dealt with was friendly and accommodating. Highly recommended!
The following are screenshots of what users say about BlockFi, on Reddit and the BlockFi official Facebook page.
BlockFi understands the importance of privacy, and they respect their clients' information and internet history. The website has strong SSL encryption that helps protect your activities on its website.
Some of the information required of users may range from identity and transaction data on device information, financial data, visual data, etc. These pieces of information may be collected through obvious and non-obvious means. However, you have nothing to worry about since they are lawfully used.
BlockFi doesn’t need and will never ask users for sensitive details. You may also check out their Privacy Notice for more information on how they acquire, use and protect your biodata.
Withdrawals attract a little charge. However, you are granted one free withdrawal per month. After that, you are required to pay a commission on each withdrawal.
Here is how BlockFi fees/charges work:
The company has announced a set of exclusive rewards for BlockFi credit cardholders. Apart from the 1.5% bitcoin rewards and $250 bonus, BlockFi card owners will receive the following:
The money you deposit with BlockFi is safe but not as secure as depositing in a bank. This is because the company’s interest rates are subject to market volatility. Gap risks, and hacking, among other things, are possible threats to crypto platforms.
But BlockFi is fairly safe compared to other crypto savings accounts. It keeps custody of most of its digital assets on Gemini, another financial institution based in the USA.
Although Gemini is uninsured, it takes measures like offline or cold storage solutions to secure your funds. And it places client funds ahead of any equity in the event of a loss.
Not to mention, Gemini is regulated by the NYDFS and recently received SOC2 compliance for its custody solution.
What is the fate of users’ funds during each of these events? How protected are they?
Certain situations known as the ‘what-ifs’ scenarios test the company’s true mettle. A few of these scenarios were presented to the BlockFi team, and here is their response:
What if BlockFi gets hacked?
“Gemini, BlockFi’s primary custodian keeps the vast majority of our digital assets offline and is insured by Aeon. They are licensed custodians that are regulated by the NYDFS. Gemini recently received an SOC2 Type 1 Compliance audit from Deloitte for their custody solution. And users can catch up on Gemini’s security through this link.”
What if a user account is compromised?
“Right from inception, BlockFi has not lost any customer funds. If it so happens that a user’s account is compromised, we freeze the individual’s account for one week. Then, we carry out a Video chat with the victim to verify their identity. We can then proceed to change their email address and password, so they can gain back the control of their account.”
What if everyone suddenly defaults on their cryptocurrency loans?
“We have a plan in place for lending crypto assets. When we lend, we do so to generate income. We have a high level of thorough risk management and credit analysis process. Our lending services are meant for, well-capitalized, large, institutional borrowers, or to counter-parties that are ready and willing to post collateral and offer the ability to margin call them on a 24/7 basis.”
How do I get in contact with BlockFi Customer Service?
You can reach customer support at [email protected]. I tried them out myself, and the experience was quite pleasant. Their average response time was 24 hours, and they are very polite.
Is BlockFi insured?
Since FDIC does not cover digital assets like cryptocurrency, your BlockFi funds are not insured by FDIC. However, BlockFi uses Gemini as its custodian, and Gemini has its insurance for deposits. Nevertheless, BlockFi has never experienced a user fund hack and hopefully never will!
How do I open a Block Fi account?
What is the Minimum Account Balance for BlockFi?
Regardless of the amount you have in your account, you can earn interest. However, BlockFi places a withdrawal minimum of 0.003 BTC on your account.
Here is where we examine how BlockFi measures against other top crypto savings account providers. The yardstick for the measurement is the critical products and services offered by each company.
BlockFi Vs. Nexo
The table below compares the essential features of BlockFi and Nexo based on the customer, supported cryptocurrencies, and the interest rates offered by both platforms.
BlockFi Vs Crypto.com
BlockFi's crypto savings account interest rate is highly competitive. And the company offers industry-best APY for some of the listed stable coins. Their USD loan goes for a decent rate and is very easy to acquire.
On top of that, BlockFi has an efficient trading interface that works across PCs and mobile phones. With all the benefits you stand to gain, you will be hard-pressed to jump on their offerings right away.
However, just like every other lending platform out there, BlockFi has its shortcomings. I highlighted the setbacks up there and the measures they put in place to tackle unforeseen situations.
Judging based on their track record, excellent customer service, industry support, and transparency, I think BlockFi is a pretty safe platform to diversify and grow your digital assets.
The crypto market is a risky one, but BlockFi is one of the safest ways to become a part of it. They have done all the homework for you.
From their blog, exchange services, and interest account to mobile app and trading resources, BlockFi gives experts and rookies a golden opportunity to make a good fortune through digital assets.
For all it’s worth, you should consider signing up and investing a small amount of your portfolio with them.
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