Have you ever found yourself in an emergency? I’m not talking about a “that shark is getting too close for comfort” type of emergency, but a “my car isn’t starting, I have $10 in my bank account, and my boss told me he’d fire me if I don’t show up” situation. Luckily, crypto lending through platforms like BlockFi and the Celsius Network can help you out of these jams.
These things happen more often than you’d think, and most people aren’t ready for them. 40% of Americans wouldn’t be able to cover a $400 emergency, and the traditional banking system knows (some say they encourage) that.
The Financial System Keeps Their Brass Ring Out of Reach
It’s why they get away with making you sign away your soul and children’s college fund to get help. When you need money, traditional banks are the sharks that we mentioned earlier, and when they smell blood in the water, they aren’t satisfied with getting a small return. They want everything you’ve got.
Paycheck lending programs are even worse, as they make money by hoping that you can’t pay them back in time. They offer a “convenient” way of saving your credit score. You only have to take out another payday loan through them for the amount you owe, meaning that if you hit a rough patch, that $300 you owe them could balloon to $1,000 after a month. Believe it or not, it could get much worse.
It’s a system designed to keep you down so that you have to keep borrowing money from people living in mansions.
George Carlin said it best:
If you’re tired of propping up their system and making other people rich, cryptocurrency lending and borrowing is the way to go. There are two major markets right now for getting and giving crypto loans: Celsius and BlockFi. Read on for a comparison of the two and see which one I think is the best.
What is Celsius Crypto Lending Network?
Celsius is a crypto loaning application that you can download on either Android or Apple phones. Alex Mashinsky and Daniel Leon founded the company in 2017. Both founders have an impressive track record, with Mashinsky (CEO) having pioneered Wi-Fi access in the NYC subway system and airplanes after creating VoIP and Leon sitting on the board of companies like Beyon3D and GroundLink.
It’s similar to a traditional savings account in that you can store cryptocurrency in an account and receive interest payments on your coins.
Celsius loans the funds you and everyone deposits to institutional and retail borrowers. Those borrowers pay an interest rate on the money they borrow, and Celsius distributes that money to account holders. Every Monday, you’ll receive a payment based on the funds that Celsius makes from the loans.
You can also take out loans from the network using your coins as collateral. The great thing about this is that the loan amount and approval depend on the number of coins as collateral you put up and not on your credit score.
In fact, they don’t even check your credit when you apply for a loan! You can take out loans in either cash or stablecoins, depending on your needs. In most cases, you’ll find out if they have approved you for a loan within minutes, so you don’t have to wait like you would with a traditional bank loan.
What is BlockFi?
BlockFi might be the most popular crypto lending platform out there; if it’s not the most popular, it’s at the very top.
This platform allows you to put your coins into an account and earn interest, and you can also borrow against your coins as collateral like you can with Celsius. BlockFi also has its own exchange so that you can trade coins for one of their other supported currencies.
With BlockFi, you can receive the interest payments you receive from the company in any supported coin of your choice, which is handy if you want to diversify your portfolio.
Interest with BlockFi pays out monthly, and you start earning as soon as your coins hit your account. Depending on the type of coin you have, you can earn up to 8.6% APY. For example, if you have 1 bitcoin, you would earn 3,554.42 in interest over the course of a year with current interest rates.
Now that you have a basic overview of what the two exchanges are, let’s look at individual metrics to see which one is the best for you.
|Ease of Use||4/5||4.5/5|
|Fees and Interest Rates||4/5||5/5|
Both companies have done a good job of making it safe to lend Bitcoin and make money off the interest, but there are some issues that make us lean towards favoring Celsius in terms of keeping your account safe.
Celsius Network Security
Celsius secures customer funds through a few different partners, including BitGo, On Chain, Prime Trust, Kingdom Trust, and Fireblocks.
Celsius supports over 100,000 users around the world and holds more than $700 million in assets. The company itself has made over $12 million off of interest from loans, so it’s used to dealing with a sizable amount of money.
So far, they haven’t had any major security concerns. The only thing security-wise that’s a negative is that they hold control of the keys to your crypto wallets. It isn’t something that they try to hide, but this concerns some people.
Personally, I’m a big fan of the saying “not your keys, not your coins”, but I’ve never had a problem with Celsius, as they operate differently than a traditional wallet.
BlockFi uses Gemini as their principal custodian to hold coins. Gemini is a very respected name in the crypto security field, so this is a major plus.
The biggest issue with BlockFi is that in early 2020, they did have a data breach through their marketing department. No customer funds were lost, but users had their personal information exposed, including their name, address, phone numbers, and email accounts.
Users’ social security information and bank account information stayed safe, but the idea of something like a SIM swap getting used against a member of their team was enough to spook people.
For that reason alone, their security rates below Celsius, who haven’t faced any security issues.
Ease of Use
Signing up for an account with the two platforms is pretty much identical with both requiring your name, address, social security number, etc to earn interest on your coins. This has nothing to do with the individual platforms as much as it does with federal regulations, which require this information.
Getting your coins onto the platforms is also easy enough. It’s a basic transfer, similar to what you would do with any wallet.
Withdrawing your funds, however, is where things get tricky, and where Celsius once again holds an advantage over BlockFi. I’ve never had a problem getting my funds off of Celsius, but with BlockFi, you could wait up to seven days to see the money hit your bank account.
The seven day waiting period doesn’t happen every time, but when it does, it’s a gigantic pain, and there’s not much customer support can do to speed up the process. They’ll tell you to be patient and confirm that it’s on the way. It may not seem like a long time, if you’ve got thousands of dollars in limbo, it can wreck your nerves.
BlockFi has the advantage of having a web-based website, though. With Celsius, it’s really a phone app or bust. Personally, I think Celsius will develop a web-based system in the future once they get more users, but even if they don’t, it’s a small thing to consider when looking at withdrawals and security.
Fees and Interest Rates
For fees, Celsius wins again for one reason: withdrawals.
When you withdraw with BlockFi, you’ll get one a month for free. After that, you’ll pay a fee that’s equal to .0.00075 BTC or 0.002 ETH. You can withdraw amounts over $5,000 directly to your bank account, but for amounts less than that, you have to withdraw using stable coins.
That’s a good amount of money to spend if you need to make several withdrawals a month.
Interest rates on Celsius are also better than BlockFi, particularly if you use the CEL coin. With this coin, your rates could reach as high as 12%, which is outstanding when compared to any other platform or traditional savings accounts.
Rates for traditional coins tend to be less than 5%, but still higher than a regular savings account, while stablecoin interest accounts draw around 8.5% or higher.
BlockFi offers lower interest rates in most cases, but they do have the advantage of being able to move their coins around because the platform is also an exchange. I don’t think this makes that much of a difference, since if you’re interested in interest you’re probably thinking about holding long term, but it’s still important to point that out.
This category is a toss-up, but if I had to give a slight edge to one platform over the other, BlockFi would win here.
Celsius has its own coin and offers better interest rates when you use it, which is great, but that’s really the only unique feature they have. You’ll also receive a share of the Celsius Network profits by holding this coin, which is a decent incentive for buying it up.
BlockFi has two things going for it. First is the fact that it also serves as an exchange, which is nice to have if you want to change things up.
Celsius does kind of counter this feature, though, because they offer a lot more coins than BlockFi does. You can exchange coins on BlockFi, but your options are very limited. With Celsius, you can earn interest with more coins, meaning you can make more money long-term.
BlockFi’s biggest advantage is that they’re going to offer a BlockFi Bitcoin Rewards Credit Card that allows you to earn 1.5% in cashback (in bitcoin) on every purchase. Right now, you can sign up for the waiting list, meaning you’ll get notified when you can apply for the card.
There’s a good chance that this card will have fairly high credit requirements, though. It’s a cool feature, but not one that makes BlockFi win out in this comparison.
My Verdict: Celsius Wins Out
Celsius wins out, and it’s not really as close as you might have thought it would be. That’s not to say that BlockFi is a poor option: it’s still better than a lot of other platforms out there. If they were to get their withdrawal situation fixed and charge lower fees for withdrawal, they would be more competitive against Celsius.
For right now, Celsius is the superior network. If you’re looking to grow your money, I’d strongly recommend putting some coins into Celsius, as Bitcoin lending is taking off because of the spike in value over the past few months. The sooner you start, the better off you’ll be. It’s a long play, but a smart one.
If you do sign up for Celsius, please use my referral, we can both earn $50 in BTC with the code below when you deposit $400 or more (and hold it for 30 days): 1529325918
For the rest of your coins, make sure you’re keeping them safe in a secure wallet. If you’re looking for a great wallet, I have an entire list of the ones I love here. Personally, I recommend the Ledger Nano X because it’s easy to use.
Drop a comment below if you have any experience with these two crypto lending platforms, and let me know what you think!