Cryptocurrency has seen a rise in popularity, and mainstream adoption means more avenues for growing savings and boosting investments. One of these avenues is through crypto lending. With a crypto loan, you can pledge a portion of the crypto you hold as collateral for the money you borrow. As with other secure loans, such as mortgages or car loans, you retain ownership of the cryptocurrency as you pay off the loan.
In most cases, lending platforms will allow you to borrow up to 50% of your digital asset balance, though some platforms will let you borrow as much as 90% of your portfolio’s value. Depending on the platform you use, you may receive your funds in US dollars or specific cryptocurrencies.
The lending platforms operate in a straightforward manner, making it easy for even novice crypto investors to get involved. As a result, more and more people are attracted to crypto lending platforms because they offer low-interest rates and fast funding. And, these platforms typically don’t run credit checks, making them an attractive option for those with poor credit or no credit history.
Here’s a look at our top bitcoin and altcoin lending platforms on the market.
|Name||Ease of Use||Minimum Loan Amount ($)||Collateral Required||Customer Service||Score|
What is Crypto Lending and How Does it Work?
Crypto lending platforms operate much like traditional peer-to-peer lending platforms. The lender deposits their crypto (such as bitcoin or other altcoins) into the lending platform. The lending platform then makes the funds available to the borrowers at an agreed rate.
The borrowers may be individuals or corporations. The borrower will take out the loan for a specific period and then return the funds when the loan period expires at the agreed-upon interest rate. If the borrower can’t pay the loan back plus interest, they’ll lose all or a portion of the collateral they put up. In this case, the collateral is always crypto.
What to Look for in a Lending Platform
Choosing the right crypto lending platform is just as important as choosing the right cryptocurrency for investing. Some key factors to consider when choosing a lending platform include:
- Fees: Compare origination fees, closing fees, early termination fees, and default fees.
- Interest Rates: Interest rates typically range from 1% to 12%, so look into the rates before taking out a loan.
- Deposit Limit: Some platforms have a minimum deposit requirement.
- Lending Duration: Check the lending duration and whether or not it’s fixed.
- Platform Risk: Do thorough research on the track record of the platform to understand your risks.
The most important factor to consider for lenders is how good the returns are for a particular coin. For example, you’ll find that some lending platforms provide a better rate of return for bitcoin, while others may provide a better rate of return for Ether.
On the other hand, borrowers should focus on finding the lowest interest rate. But, you should consider all of the above factors, as the interest rate doesn’t provide the whole picture.
CoinLoan is a peer-to-peer lending marketplace, where lenders can deposit fiat currency to accrue interest, while borrowers deposit cryptocurrency and then take out loans in fiat. Collateral levels can be as low as 5%, and you can get a loan up to 70% of the value of your collateral. If you have $10,000 in bitcoin, this means you can get a loan for as much as $7,000. The CoinLoan platform is available globally for both lenders and borrowers. BMJ Score: 5.0
Celcius allows users to take low-interest loans in fiat, or to store cryptocurrencies and earn interest rates of more than 7% annually. Started in July 2018, it’s already handed out over $600 million in loans. Celcius charges no origination or closing fees, no penalties, no early termination fees, and no default fees. The platform has not liquidated or repossessed a single loan since launching. BMJ Score:5.0
World-leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance has two types of lending products. The first is Fixed Deposits, in which users lock their funds for a set period of time for a set interest rate. The second is Flexible Deposits, and this allows users to withdraw their funds whenever they like, but the interest rates will also change. BMJ Score: 4.5
Aave is an open-source non-custodial liquidity protocol that allows users to earn interest on deposits as well as borrow assets. As a decentralized finance (DeFi) platform, Aave runs on the Ethereum blockchain, leveraging smart contracts to enable assets to be managed by a distributed network of computers. As it is decentralized, users do not need to trust or require the trust of institutions or decision-makers who control finances. Instead, the trust is built by borrowers who must post collateral before they can borrow, allowing them to borrow only up to the value of their submitted collateral. Borrowers receive funds in the form of a special token known as an aToken, a digital currency pegged to the value of another asset. BMJ Score: 4.5
Bitfinex is a cryptocurrency exchange, but since 2016, it’s given users the ability to lend both fiat and digital assets to others through its Margin Funding program. The Bitfinex margin funding market provides a secure way to earn interest on fiat and digital assets by providing funding to traders wanting to trade with leverage. Users can offer funding across a wide range of currencies and assets at the rate and duration of their choice. In addition to this, users can use the Auto-Renew feature to renew offers automatically upon expiry. BMJ Score: 4.5
BlockFi allows users to earn interest of up to 8.6% annually on their bitcoin and ether. Borrowers can make payments in either crypto or fiat currencies, and loans are available to residents of most countries worldwide. BMJ Score: 4.5
Nexo is backed by European fintech company Credissimo and specializes in instant loans and lines of credit based on crypto deposits. One of the superior features of Nexo is the instant availability of fiat after crypto is deposited. Users also appreciate the Nexo debit card and the ability to deposit directly to a bank account. This means assets can be spent immediately. The platform works with more than 20 cryptocurrencies in addition to bitcoin, and loans can be made in over 45 different fiat currencies. BMJ Score:4.5
Salt Lending is one of the oldest blockchain-based bitcoin and stablecoin lenders. It has its own cryptocurrency called SALT which is used to purchase a membership to the platform, allowing users to access the loan platform. Loans are given based on bitcoin and other altcoin deposits and the collateral ranges from 30% to 70%. Interest rates can be as low as 3.5%. Lenders are required to be Accredited Investors under SEC regulations, as well as to be able to pass a SALT Lending Sustainability test. BMJ Score:4.0
Bitbond is peer-to-peer lending that works on the bitcoin blockchain and allows users to borrow as much as $25,000. The target borrowers are small businesses, particularly online e-commerce companies as Shopify store owners, Amazon sellers, and eBay sellers. Loan durations of 6 weeks to 12 months are available to many countries across the globe. BMJ Score: 4.0
Poloniex is one of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges. In addition to its exchange and margin trading services, it also allows its traders to lend their coins to others, setting the interest rate and duration of the loan. Because the lending is being done to cover margin positions on the exchange, lenders could face more risk here, especially in volatile markets. Margin maintenance levels are quite low, exposing lenders to the threat of a default. BMJ Score: 4.0
Unchained was founded by people who believe that cryptocurrencies have the potential to change the world, but only if they’re useful. These folks decided to build financial products for long-term crypto investors to get more value from their assets today and in the future. That led to the Unchained lending platform, which is unique since it allows users to maintain control of their bitcoin private keys. BMJ Score: 3.5
Lendingblock allows lenders and borrowers of digital assets access to securities lending in the crypto markets. Details of all loans are shown on the Lendingblock order book. Built for institutional investors, Lendingblock enables hedge funds, exchanges, asset managers, traders, miners, and market makers to find liquidity, generate additional yield, facilitate arbitrage strategies, settle shorts, and capture directional views of market participants. Lendingblock supports numerous major cryptocurrencies and stablecoins for use as either principal or collateral. BMJ Score: 3.0
CoinLoan and Celsius prove to be the best lending platforms overall due to their superior customer service, fair interest rates, and bonus features. However, the best crypto lending platform overall may not be the best lending platform for you. Take time to research each of the above recommendations to find the right one.
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