Welcome to my BlockFi Review Australia, where I explore the popular platform which aims to redefine banking within the crypto space. Today I’ll cover what BlockFi is, whether it’s safe, its products and the pros and cons of this platform.
BlockFi is a cryptocurrency platform founded in 2017 by Zac Prince and Flori Marquez. The company was started to provide credit services to markets which lack access to traditional banking platforms. As such, they offer a banking alternative in the crypto space by providing crypto-backed loans, a trading account and crypto savings account among others.
BlockFi despite offering financial services, isn’t necessarily as safe as a bank. BlockFi’s primary custodian is Gemini Trust Company. This New York Trust company is a licensed depository trust that is regulated under the New York State Department of Financial Services. Additionally, Gemini is also SOC 2 Type 1 Compliant. As such, while BlockFi may not be as safe as traditional banking institutions, it is backed by a reputable depository trust. To provide additional security, BlockFi holds the majority of user funds in cold storage and alleges that client funds are placed ahead of any equity or employee funds in the event of a loss.
Security can also be bolstered on the app by enabling 2 Factor Authentication (2FA). Users who enable 2FA have an additional layer of security, as they will be asked to input a unique code generated by Google Authenticator whenever they log into their account.
An optional and additional security feature is Allowlisting. By activating Allowlisting, users may ban all cryptocurrency withdrawals or restrict withdrawals to a list of known addresses only. This acts as an additional security measure, as it prohibits hackers from withdrawing to unknown addresses.
As such, while BlockFi comes with an inherent layer of risk, it can be significantly mitigated by deploying these additional security features.
Similar to traditional banking services, BlockFi offers a range of services to its clients. These services include the BlockFi Interest Account, Trading Account, Crypto-Backed Loans and they are also planning to release a Bitcoin Credit Card soon.
The BlockFi Interest Account (BIA) is an interest-bearing account, which provides BlockFi users with market-leading yields. Operating similarly to traditional savings accounts, the BIA provides interest in 10 popular cryptocurrencies. These currencies include Bitcoin, Ethereum, Chainlink, Litecoin and Tether among others.
Interest rates on the BIA range from 3% – 9.3%, providing significantly higher returns than traditional savings accounts. As a bonus, BlockFi users have the option of having their interest paid out in the deposited cryptocurrency or they can all be paid out in the same cryptocurrency. This is great for long-term investors who want to accumulate a specific asset such as BTC. As all of their cryptos can be used to accumulate particular crypto assets. This is perhaps the most distinguishing aspect of BlockFi that separates it from its competitors.
For more information on how the BIA works, please refer to this guide:
As with most crypto platforms, BlockFi also offers the option to trade cryptocurrencies. While their options are limited to the 10 cryptocurrencies available on the platform, it is a streamlined service. Once users trade for crypto, the new crypto asset will start automatically earning interest in the BIA the following day.
As such, while the trading options are limited, it provides a convenient way to trade and earn passive income with cryptocurrency. Another perk is that the rates displayed when you place a trade are the final rates. This transparent process makes sure that users don’t get hit with additional hidden fees.
For more information on how the BlockFi Trading Account works, please refer to this guide:
Another popular product offered by BlockFi is their crypto-backed loans. With BlockFi loans, users can borrow up to 50% of the value of their crypto. This service allows users to gain access to further cash to invest in additional assets or spend as they see fit, without having to sell their holdings.
The process of getting a loan is simple, with users often receiving the loan on the day of their application. Additionally, there are no prepayment fees or penalties. Meaning that you can pay off the loan as quickly or as late as you want.
As with all loans, there are inherent risks to borrowing money, particularly regarding LVR and margin calls. For more information on these risks and how the product works, please refer to this guide:
While not officially released, the BlockFi Bitcoin Credit Card is perhaps the platform’s most appealing product. When it is released, this credit card will be the first of its kind. Allowing users to earn 1.5% cashback in BTC, this card is great for people looking to accumulate BTC.
According to the website, the BTC Credit Card will come with a range of exciting perks. These include a $250 BTC sign up bonus, additional APY on the BIA, cashback on trading fees and $30 BTC bonuses for all referrals. As such, the credit card will integrate seamlessly with the BlockFi ecosystem, enhancing user perks and providing an additional real-life use case for the platform.
Earning interest in cryptocurrency is far from a new prospect, with many competitors offering crypto interest accounts. What separates BlockFi from its competitors, however, is the ability for users to earn interest in a selected cryptocurrency. By enabling this feature, BlockFi users can put all of their assets to work to accumulate particular cryptos.
For long-term investors, this can be a great opportunity to accumulate BTC and dollar cost average into it over time. For more short-term investors, this can also be a useful opportunity to accumulate altcoins in preparation for a bull run. Alternatively, users who have a high amount of assets may choose to receive interest in the form of stable coins. This provides a reliable and stable passive income that can be used in day-to-day life. Regardless of whether you want to receive interest in the deposited cryptocurrency or a particular asset, this is a great feature that isn’t available elsewhere.
While not officially released, the Blockfi Bitcoin credit card is the first of its kind. Since BlockFi’s mission is to ‘redefine banking’, the release of a credit card is a pivotal step in reaching the platform’s vision. As a result, there will be a new influx of users who can add further liquidity to the BlockFi platform. This will increase the platform’s security and provide more funding to enhance its current products.
The Bitcoin credit card will provide users with 1.5% cashback on all purchases, making it a great way to slowly accumulate BTC. This provides users with passive income, simply by utilising the card for their regular purchases. The card also integrates with the rest of the BlockFi ecosystem, by providing discounts on trading fees, higher interest rates on the savings account and additional referral bonuses.
Something that makes platforms successful is its ability to be an independent ecosystem. BlockFi is currently providing a range of use cases, provided within the app. Operating much like a traditional bank, users can borrow crypto, earn interest on their assets and buy and trade 10 different cryptocurrencies. This will be enhanced by the addition of the Bitcoin credit card which will further integrate with these features.
For this reason, users who only want to invest in the available assets need not look any further. The additional liquidity provided by people using and investing in the platform can also be used to develop further functions. Meaning that the platform will likely become a stronger and more varied ecosystem as time goes on.
What separates the BIA from its competitors is the ability to earn interest in a chosen crypto asset. While this is a great feature that is unique to the BlockFi platform, its competitors such as Celsius Network and Nexo offer higher interest rates and a wider range of assets to earn passive income on. As such, users with a wide range of holdings will likely be unable to earn interest on the majority of their holdings via the BIA.
Another potential limitation with the BIA is that the payments are paid on the first of every month. Conversely, Celsius provides payments once per week on their savings accounts. Whereas Binance pays out interest daily. While likely not an issue for HODLers and long-term investors, more short-term investors may prefer these platforms due to being able to access interest sooner.
If you would like to know more information about these BlockFi competitors, I have written the following reviews:
Tying in with the above issue, there is another potential time-related con associated with BlockFi. For security purposes, BlockFi withdrawals have a 1 business day holding time. Meaning that your withdrawal won’t be processed until the following business day. While this is a good security measure, it can be frustrating for people looking to quickly move funds out of their BlockFi account.
With withdrawals being processed after 1 business day, this also means that any withdrawals processed on Friday may not be actioned until Monday. This can result in a 3-day hold in some instances, which in the crypto space can result in significant price fluctuations to your holdings. For these reasons and the ones mentioned previously, BlockFi may not be appropriate for people looking to quickly move and liquidate their holdings.
BlockFi’s main draws are its interest account and crypto loan products. As such, the trading feature hasn’t been developed as much as some of its competitors. While offering attractive fees on trades, the Trading Account is limited to 9 assets. Of these 9 assets, 4 are stable coins, making the range extremely limited.
By keeping the trading options limited, it ensures that anything traded on BlockFi can accumulate interest via the BIA. However, the limited options also prohibit users from investing in thousands of cryptocurrencies that aren’t available on the platform. For this reason, users looking to diversify into other assets will need to look elsewhere. Bitcoin and Ethereum maximalists, on the other hand, may find the trading options adequate.
|Ability to Earn Interest in Chosen Currency||Monthly Interest Payments|
|Bitcoin Credit Card||Withdrawal Times|
|It’s a Full Ecosystem||Limited Trading Options|
BlockFi is a fully developed ecosystem that is succeeding in its mission to redefine banking within the crypto space. Offering competitive interest rates through their savings account and crypto-based loans, it is a strong competitor in the crypto banking space. Similarly, their trading account while limited in its choices offers competitive trading fees. The addition of the Bitcoin credit card shortly will further add to BlockFi, making it one of the best platforms to earn passive income on cryptocurrencies.
What separates BlockFi from competitors such as Celsius Network and Binance is the ability to have interest paid out into a specific crypto asset. This unique perk makes BlockFi a great choice for people looking to accumulate major cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. It also offers a full ecosystem, similar to traditional banking institutions and is introducing the BTC credit card, which is the first of its kind.
However, there are some drawbacks to using BlockFi. These include lower interest payments than competitors, monthly interest payments as opposed to weekly/daily payments, a long withdrawal process and limited trading options. As such, for Investors looking to quickly move assets, capitalise on more frequent interest payments or invest in a diverse range of altcoins, they would likely benefit from other platforms such as Binance or Celsius Network.
All-in-all, BlockFi offers a strong program and fully functional ecosystem and if you are a casual investor or someone looking to accumulate large-cap cryptocurrencies, this may be the platform for you.
If you would like to sign up to BlockFi, you can earn $10 worth of BTC by using this referral code:
To claim your bonus, head to the BlockFi Sign-Up Page
Once there, enter your details and select a password. Underneath the ‘Create a Password’ box, you will have a box called ‘Referral Code (Optional). Simply enter the code: b35cf595
From there, confirm your details and submit them to create your account. Once your account is created and verified, you can claim your $10 BTC reward once you deposit $100 or more into your BlockFi Interest Account.
Check out my other reviews on popular crypto earn apps and exchanges here: