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Hackernoon logoHow Much Can You Earn From Margin Lending Cryptocurrencies? by@whalelend

How Much Can You Earn From Margin Lending Cryptocurrencies?

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@whalelendYichen Wu

At WhaleLend, we get asked daily the following questions by our users: “So…… what kinda of interest returns can I get from margin lending?”.

To which we typically respond with something academic: “Well, the lending market where WhaleLend gets the interest for you are public and very active, thus the rates fluctuate greatly on a liquid exchange such as BitFinex, etc…”

Then that user typically goes “aha, okay” or “Zzz. 😴”

To settle this question once for all, we went back to the cave, crunched millions of data points and came up with the WhaleLend Historical Interest Rate Graph for you guys based on BitFinex data. We did this because:

  • We want to provide our users with the most comprehensive interest rate data available on the internet so that they can make informed decisions regarding WhaleLend
  • We are a bunch of nerds at WhaleLend, we believe pictures (or data graph, ping r/dataisbeautiful) is worth more than a thousand words. There is nothing more powerful than a beautifully curated data graph that makes senses of an otherwise seemly chaotic pile of data points
  • It’s just fun and cool to do something that is the best of its kind and the first of its type
  • Lots of people need this information, so why not just make it freely available and give back to the crypto community. After all, without you guys, we wouldn’t be around

So…what am I looking at exactly?

There are two main sections of our Interest Rate Graph:

  1. The Rate + Volume Graph on the left in the red box, which shows the interest rates paid out on loans (this is what WhaleLend earns for its customers) in BitFinex as well as the volume of these margin loans
  2. The Token Selection Tiles on the right in the yellow box, where you can select up to 4 tokens of interests at the same time on the graph

1. The Rate + Volume Graph

Rate (% P.A.): Our backend combs through every single loan closed on BitFinex in real time and calculate a VWAR (Volume Weighted Average Rate) at 10 mins interval. The method is synonymous to that of VWAP, which is widely used in equity markets in traditional finance.

For example, there are roughly 7.6 million loans closed on BitFinex in USD alone in the past 12 months. A data point of volume-weighted average rate is then calculated for each and every 10 mins windows during the past year.

Do notice that the rates quoted on BitFinex are day rates, we annualize that by multiplying the raw day rate figure by 365 (12.5% per year is a lot easier to understand then 0.034% per day).

Vol: Volume of closed loans with a 10 mins window. This is particularly relevant for ticking out the abnormally high or low rates and understand any given interest rate’s context. The volume is always denominated in the token of the native selection, e.g. if you are looking at BTC rates, the Vol is shown in the quantity of BTC.

Time Period selection: you can use either the “From… To…” boxes above the graph or the slider below the graph to zoom in on your selection.

In the example below, we can see that on Wednesday, October the 17th, from 0750–0800 UTC, a total of 36.35 BTC loans were closed at a VWAR of 0.0364% per day or 13.28% per year.

2. The Token Selection Tiles

Each token tile serves two functions:

As a token rate information tile,

  • It shows the LATEST REAL-TIME TICKER annualized rate of the loan denominated in the said Token: the graph calculates all the loans closed every 10 mins to gives you one data point, which could easily consist of thousands of individual loans. The tile always shows the number from the LATEST SINGLE loan
  • It shows the direction of the rates movement: a purple downward facing triangle indicates a decline in rates in the latest loan compared to the previous one, a green upward facing triangle means the opposite
  • It shows a simple summary of one-week movement of each token: the sparkline (that little white wiggly line inside the tile) is a snapshot of the rates movement for the past week. Really it is a sneak preview.

As a selector,

  • You can select up to 4 assets to be displayed at the same time in the graph (as shown below)
Max 4 tokens can be selected to be shown in the graph at the same time

Errr….. so how much data is available exactly?

We have 3 subsets of data available for viewing and all are completely FREE.

  • Visitor: if you just stumble upon our site as a site visitor, you can view one-month worth of data for all tokens at 10 mins interval
  • Registered user: with a WhaleLend account or being an API user, you can view three-months’ worth of data for all tokens at 10 mins interval
  • Registered deposit user: if you are a WhaleLend saving account user, you can view twelve-months’ worth of data for all tokens at 10 mins interval

Okay then…. so is the rates here what I will be getting by using WhaleLend then?

It is not as simple as that. We will write a longer post explaining the details, but here is a short example:

Say on the 1st of Nov, 2018, the current market rate for BTC loans is exactly 10% annualized. This means if we loan BTC out for a whole year at this rate, the return would be 10%.

In reality, WhaleLend may loans out 100 BTC for 30 days. If the loan actually lasts 30 days, then the interest income would be 100 BTC x 10% /12 months which gives about 0.83 BTC as interest income.

Now the complications come from two things. 1) the loans rarely last its full maturity (sometimes they last merely hours) 2) because of this, your real return, in the end, is a series of loans given out at different rates and lasts as long as it does.

It is WhaleLend’s job to deal with all this complication and optimize to capture these high peaks of rates you see in these graphs. It is scientifically a non-trivial task.

Thus, the rates you see is a GOOD APPROXIMATION of your return but won’t match it exactly.

Alrighty…. now what?

We hope this will be a useful tool and interesting for you. If you have any comments or questions, please post those to our Telegram group. Remember that you get access to an unlimited version of the graph by signing up (you will get a 3 months 20% income boost with this link!) and making your first deposit.


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