BlockFi Review: Pros, Cons, Bonuses and More

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You might think that the only way to make money with cryptocurrency is by purchasing coins at a low price and selling them for a higher value. Luckily, that is not the case.

BlockFi lets you make money from your crypto investments in both bull and bear markets. It’s possible to earn up to 7.5% interest on your current holdings while avoiding high fees.

There are several other features you can enjoy with BlockFi, and this review will help you decide if the service is right for you.

BlockFi logo
4.2
Overall Rating

Summary

BlockFi is a cryptoasset service provider that lets you earn a competitive interest rate on cryptocurrency and stablecoins. You can also get low-interest crypto-backed loans. There are no trading fees, but the investment options are limited.

  • Account options

    4

  • Fees

    5

  • Investment options

    3

  • Funding options

    5

  • Customer service

    4

Pros

  • Earn interest on all positions
  • No transaction fees
  • No account minimums
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Limited investment options
  • No advanced research tools
  • Up to two free monthly withdrawals
  • No FDIC or SIPC insurance

What is BlockFi?

BlockFi is a cryptoasset service provider that offers several features other crypto trading services do not. 

Many people use the service to earn interest on cryptocurrency without a minimum holding period. This is similar to an interest-bearing savings account.

Some of the main platform features include:

  • Interest accounts: Earn interest on certain crypto and stablecoins
  • Trading account: Buy, sell or exchange crypto with $0 transaction fees
  • Crypto-backed loans: Use your crypto holdings to borrow fiat currency

You can deposit cash from a linked bank account or transfer existing cryptocurrency holdings from another exchange or crypto wallet.

It’s free to join the platform, and there isn’t a minimum balance requirement.

However, some services are not available in certain states or countries. You will need to open an account to see which features you can use.

What Does BlockFi Offer?

The service offers several ways for you to earn cryptocurrency rewards and buy crypto. You may also be able to get a low-interest loan through the platform.

BlockFi Interest Account

A BlockFi Interest Account can be the best reason to use the platform. This is because your cryptocurrency balance accrues interest daily, and there are no minimum holding periods.

Since your balance can earn up to 7.5% APY (as of July 28, 2021), this account can be an attractive alternative to a high-yield savings account

On the other hand, the best savings accounts only make up to 1.00% APY but are FDIC-insured.

These cryptos currently earn interest on BlockFi:

  • Bitcoin (BTC)
  • Ether (ETH)
  • Litecoin (LTC)
  • Chainlink (LINK)
  • USD Coin (USDC)
  • Gemini dollar (GUSD)
  • Paxos Standard (PAX)
  • PAX Gold (PAXG)
  • Tether (USDT)
  • Binance USD (BUSD)
  • Dai (DAI)
  • Uniswap (UNI)
  • Basic Attention Token (BAT)

Most of the interest-earning opportunities are for stablecoins that peg their value to the United States dollar. 

This account can be less risky than other cryptocurrency staking accounts that also support altcoins.

Your BlockFi Interest Account won’t be able to earn interest on altcoins like similar platforms. Instead, consider Gemini to earn interest on popular altcoins like Dogecoin, Aave and The Graph.

Potential Interest Account Downsides

What’s the catch to earn an above-average interest rate on cryptocurrency? 

Here are some of the potential downsides of this interest-bearing account:

  • No FDIC insurance or SIPC insurance
  • Only select cryptocurrencies earn interest
  • Interest rates are variable

You can earn a fantastic interest rate because the platform lends your holdings to margin traders and can collect interest.

A lack of trading demand can result in lower yields. Also, you can lose your entire balance if the BlockFi platform closes or financially fails.

Since BlockFi accounts don’t have the same financial protections as a traditional savings account, you won’t want to convert all of your cash into cryptocurrency to receive a higher yield.

Additionally, cryptocurrency values are more volatile than fiat currency, such as the U.S. Dollar. 

Regardless, this account can be an excellent place to make a short-term investment with some of your extra cash.

Crypto Loans

If you plan on holding your crypto positions for at least 12 months but need to borrow money, a BlockFi crypto-backed loan can help you pay off debt.

You won’t have to sell your cryptocurrency to raise cash or report the sale on your taxes. Instead, you use up to half of your crypto portfolio as collateral to get a 12-month loan.

Here is a quick look at how these loans work: 

  • You use your crypto holdings as loan collateral
  • Borrow up to 50% of your cryptocurrency position
  • Receive your funds the same business day
  • Make monthly payments for up to 12 months
  • No prepayment penalty
  • Hard credit check not required

The minimum borrowing amount is $10,000. As your maximum loan-to-value ratio (LTV) is 50%, you can only borrow up to half of your current balance for a participating cryptocurrency.

For example, a $10,000 Bitcoin-backed loan requires you to have at least $20,000 in Bitcoin.

The platform lets you adjust your collateral and borrowing amount to estimate your monthly payment and interest rate.

Having a lower LTV ratio means you qualify for a lower interest rate. Currently, the lowest interest rate is 4.50% APY. This is better than most personal loans.

You also avoid a credit check and receive the funds as fiat currency to your bank account.

Potential Crypto Loan Risks

There can be several advantages to pursuing a crypto-backed loan, but you should know about the potential downsides as well.

One shortcoming is that if the value of your crypto balance dips below the loan balance, the platform may sell some of your collateral to maintain a maximum 50% LTV ratio. This is a taxable event.

Since these loans don’t require a credit check or appear on your credit report, they won’t improve your credit score. Furthermore, collateral options are limited to Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin or PAX Gold.

You’ll also want to keep in mind that the repayment period for these loans is a short 12-month timespan. Not repaying your loan means you can lose your cryptocurrency collateral.

BlockFi Trading

You can buy, sell or exchange any of the cryptocurrencies that BlockFi currently supports. Then, you can earn interest on your purchases with a BlockFi Interest Account.

There are approximately 12 investment options, which is fewer than most competing platforms. For example, you will need to use another cryptocurrency exchange to trade altcoins.

When funding your trading account with cash from a linked bank account, BlockFi converts your money into the Gemini dollar (GUSD) stablecoin. 

Until you buy other currency, your uninvested balance earns interest.

Here are several benefits of BlockFi Trading:

  • Easy to navigate
  • No transaction fees
  • Can schedule recurring orders
  • Start earning interest immediately
  • Can instantly access bank transfers to buy crypto

The interface makes buying or selling cryptocurrency easy for beginners and advanced investors alike.

The trade ticket has you enter these details:

  • Trade amount: The dollar value of crypto you want to buy or sell
  • Buy cryptocurrency: The cryptocurrency you want to buy
  • Funding source: How you want to fund a buy order

You won’t pay any fees to buy or sell cryptos or stablecoins. Instead, the platform has you enter the amount of dollars or crypto you want to trade. You can then see the final trade value.

If you currently use Coinbase, BlockFi offers a similar platform experience without fees. Better yet, you also earn interest on your balance. 

Unfortunately, advanced investors won’t have access to an order book or technical analysis tools that other platforms provide. 

These tools are better for active traders that only execute trades at a specific price point to increase their odds of making a profit.

The basic trade window is sufficient for BlockFi and long-term investors not trying to time the market.

While it’s possible to pay a little more upfront, you can earn interest on your entire crypto balance. This long-term dividend income can provide more value.

Potential BlockFi Trading Downsides

While there are benefits to BlockFi Trading, it does have some shortcomings.

Here are some of the negatives about the trading platform:

  • Limited investment options
  • No advanced research tools
  • No SIPC insurance like stock brokerage apps
  • Doesn’t offer offline storage like some platforms

If you want to buy one of the cryptocurrencies that BlockFi supports and earn interest, the trading account is worth using. 

However, not being able to trade a majority of the most popular cryptocurrencies can be frustrating.

BlockFi Bitcoin Rewards Visa Credit Card

The platform’s newest feature is the BlockFi Bitcoin Rewards Visa Credit Card. You can earn 1.5% back in Bitcoin on purchases, and there is no annual fee.

This card is one of the few ways to earn Bitcoin rewards on every card purchase. However, you must be comfortable using a credit card and paying your balance in full to avoid interest charges.

You will need a good or excellent credit score (670+) to qualify for the card. It’s possible to pre-qualify for the card without a hard credit check, but you undergo a hard inquiry when you accept the credit offer.

The card benefits include: 

  • Earn 1.5% back in Bitcoin on purchases
  • Each purchase earns 2% back after making $50,000 in annual card purchases
  • No annual fee
  • Purchase rewards deposit at the end of the statement cycle
  • No foreign transaction fee

Once the monthly statement period ends, your purchase rewards deposit into your account and earn interest.

This card also has a one-time signup bonus that lets you earn 3.5% back on the first $5,000 in purchases during the first three months. 

Does BlockFi Charge Fees?

You most likely won’t encounter any BlockFi fees unless you make multiple withdrawals per month or get a crypto loan.

Withdrawal Fees

You can make one cryptocurrency withdrawal and one stablecoin withdrawal per month for free.

Any additional withdrawal is subject to a fee. The platform also has a maximum withdrawal amount for a rolling seven-day period.

Here is the current fee schedule for excess withdrawals.

CryptocurrencySeven-Day Withdrawal LimitWithdrawal Fee
Bitcoin (BTC)100 BTC0.00075 BTC
Ether (ETH)5,000 ETH0.02 ETH
Chainlink (LINK)65,000 LINK0.95 LINK
Litecoin (LTC)10,000 LTC0.0025 LTC
Stablecoins1,000,000 units$10.00 US dollars
PAX Gold (PAXG)500 PAXG0.015 PAXG
Uniswap (UNI)5,500 UNI1 UNI
Basic Attention Token (BAT)2,000,000 BAT35 BAT

Again, you get up to two free withdrawals per month. 

As the Gemini cryptocurrency exchange handles some of the BlockFi transactions, there are withdrawal minimums for Bitcoin and Ethereum.

The withdrawals minimums are:

  • Bitcoin: 0.003 BTC
  • Ether: 0.056 ETH

Withdrawal minimums do not apply to the other supported cryptocurrencies and stablecoins.

Crypto Loans

You will pay an interest rate as low as 4.50% APR for crypto-backed loans. This is the only fee you pay to get a BlockFi loan. 

Trading Fees

There are no fees to buy, sell or exchange cryptocurrency. BlockFi includes any transaction expenses in the trading price, but you cannot see a price breakdown.

It’s important to note that the trade price may not be as favorable as other exchanges. 

If you’re looking for the best rates, you should get sample quotes from several exchanges to see which platform offers the best value for your trading strategy.

BlockFi Bonuses

You can receive up to $250 in free Bitcoin when you deposit at least $100 in existing cryptocurrency.

Cash deposits and wire transfers from a bank account won’t qualify for the bonus. 

FAQs

Here are some questions you may have about BlockFi and how the platform works.

How do I open a BlockFi account?

You can open an account on the BlockFi website or mobile app. The app is available on both iOS and Android devices.

To set up an account, enter your legal name and home address. Then submit your Social Security Number, verify your email address or phone number and fund your account with cash or cryptocurrency.

You can fund your trading account by linking a checking account, scheduling a bank wire transfer or transferring a current cryptocurrency position.

Is BlockFi safe?

BlockFi can be as safe as competing cryptocurrency platforms. Data security practices include two-factor authentication (2FA) and using a strong password.

Unfortunately, cryptocurrency isn’t subject to the same financial regulations as bank and stock brokerage accounts. Your BlockFi balance doesn’t have FDIC insurance or SIPC insurance if BlockFi financially fails.

Is BlockFi worth it?

BlockFi can be worth using if you want to earn a high interest rate from the least volatile cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum and stablecoins.

Not having to pay trading fees is another reason to consider the platform.

However, other platforms are a better option if you want more trading options, interest-bearing cryptocurrencies and advanced research tools

What customer service options does BlockFi offer?

BlockFi offers more customer support options than most exchanges. You can call their customer service department for urgent matters Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern.

As a comparison, most brokerages only offer email support and an online FAQ database. BlockFi also provides these two support options for general questions.

Summary

If you want to earn interest on cryptocurrency and avoid trading fees, BlockFi is an excellent option. However, they are not available in every state, and their investment options are limited.

The platform is best for holding legacy coins like Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin. Having access to several stablecoins is another perk if you want to earn passive income with minimal risk.