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BlockFi cryptocurrency loans review

Access the value of your crypto assets without cashing them in.

Bottom line: BlockFi offers same-day personal loans backed by Bitcoin, Ether or Litecoin. But you must have enough collateral to support a $10,000 loan — or more, if you want to qualify for the lowest rate.

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4.5% - 9.75%

Interest Rate

Details

Interest Rate4.5% - 9.75%
LTV50%
Min. Loan Amount$10,000
Min. Margin Call Threshold65%
Liquidation Threshold80%

Pros

  • Same-day funding
  • Option to release collateral if value increases
  • No prepayment penalties
  • Detailed online help center

Cons

  • Loans start at a high $10,000
  • 2% origination fee
  • Lowest interest rate requires 20% LTV
  • You must turn ownership of your collateral over to BlockFi’s custodian

Our take on BlockFi crypto loans

BlockFi crypto loans are for crypto investors who own at least $20,000 in Bitcoin, Ether or Litecoin and want to tap into their value without having to sell and incur capital gains tax.

BlockFi loans start at $10,000 with no stated maximum and no credit check or income history required. Instead, the maximum you can borrow depends on how much cryptoassets you’re willing to put up.

Because its minimum loan amount and crypto collateral requirements are so high, BlockFi loans are best for seasoned crypto investors who plan on holding their assets for the long term and have additional reserves of crypto they can use to fund their account if crypto prices drop.

BlockFi loans may also appeal to investors who want to leverage their existing cryptoassets to purchase more coins. However, this strategy is risky due to the extreme volatility of cryptocurrency prices. You could lose money too.

With BlockFi, phone support is available Monday through Friday, but unlike other crypto lenders like CoinRabbit or MyConstant, there is no live chat option.

BlockFi loans start at $10,000, with rates starting at 4.5% APR

You must borrow at least $10,000, and BlockFi’s maximum loan-to-value ratio (LTV) is 50%. This means that to get a $10,000 loan at an LTV of 50%, you’d need to pledge at least $20,000 in crypto. And to get a $10,000 loan at an LTV of 35%, you’d need to pledge $28,571 in crypto.

Advertised rates are from 4.5% to 9.75% APR, depending on the LTV — the lower the LTV, the lower the rate. This includes a 2% origination fee that’s due when you pay down your balance at the term’s end. This is on the lower end of the spectrum — other lenders like Guarda and Unchained Capital charge rates as high as 14% APR.

Pledge BTC, ETH or LTC as collateral

BlockFi accepts three types of cryptocurrency as collateral, with only one type of token accepted as collateral per loan:

  • Bitcoin (BTC)
  • Ether (ETH)
  • Litecoin (LTC)

If you own other types of coins and want a crypto-backed loan or you want to mix and match your collateral, you’ll want to look for another lender like MyConstant or Guarda.

Get your loan the same business day

BlockFi states that you’ll receive your funds the same business day that it receives your collateral. It issues loans in USD, this means you can exchange your funds to CAD and start spending your cash as soon as you receive the loan.

But if you want to use your loan to buy more crypto, you have to exchange your loan funds for the assets you’d like to purchase.

How is my collateral protected?

BlockFi protects your collateral by sending it to a wallet held by its custodian, Gemini. BlockFi and Gemini are not insured by the CDIC, but the company takes measures to protect your assets, including:

  • Keeping a “sizable” amount of material collateral that’s available for customers to withdraw.
  • Lending its assets to multiple counterparties to spread out and minimize risk of loss.
  • Security features like strong data encryption, multi-factor authentication and logging of transactions.

While these protocols are designed to mitigate risk, you’re still at risk of losing your assets should BlockFi go out of business or become insolvent. You’re also at risk of losing your collateral if the crypto market suddenly drops and your LTV reaches the 80% liquidation threshold set by BlockFi.

Talk to a legal or financial advisor to confirm these claims if you’re concerned about losing your collateral.

What else should I know?

BlockFi was founded in August 2017 by Flori Marquez and Zac Prince and is headquartered in Jersey City, New Jersey, with additional offices in New York, Singapore, Poland and Argentina. Unlike many other cryptocurrency platforms, BlockFi is both based and regulated in the US.

Additionally, BlockFi’s primary custodian, Gemini Trust Company, LLC, is a New York trust company that is regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services.

In July of 2021, BlockFi was hit with a cease and desist order from New Jersey’s acting attorney general to stop signing up new customers for its interest-bearing accounts, alleging these accounts are subject to more risk than assets held at traditional financial institutions.

Steps to apply for a BlockFi loan

To apply for a BlockFi loan:

  1. Visit the BlockFi website and set up an account.
  2. Enter your loan details, such as the type of cryptocurrency you’d like to work with and your desired loan amount, up to 50% LTV.
  3. Wait up to 24 hours to receive a reply from BlockFi.
  4. Review your offer and sign the loan agreement, if approved.

Before you get your funds, BlockFi requires you to send your cryptoassets to a secure storage wallet run by its custodian, Gemini. After your money is in the third-party wallet, BlockFi transfers your funds to your bank account. You can get your money as fast as the same day you’re approved.

BlockFi requires monthly interest-only payments

You’re required to make payments on interest every month for the length of your loan. You can make payments in GUSD, USDC or PAX. After the year is up, you can either choose to refinance the loan at the same rates or pay off the principal in one lump sum.

Here’s how much a one-year, $10,000 loan at a 9.75% APR interest rate and 2% origination fee would cost, according to BlockFi’s website.

Monthly interest payment for 11 monthsOne-time payment at maturityTotal cost
$82.88$10,200 + $88.28 = $10,288.28$11,199.96

What happens if my crypto drops in value?

BlockFi has a clearly defined loan margin process that requires you to add more collateral to your loan if your crypto drops in value and increases the LTV. There are three LTV triggers that require action:

  • At a 65% LTV, you will receive a notification that your loan is approaching a margin call and that you should consider adding more funds to keep your LTV as close to 50% as possible.
  • At a 70% LTV, your loan enters a margin call. If this happens, action is required on your part to get your loan below 70% LTV. You will have 72 hours to do this.
  • At an 80% LTV or above, you will receive a final notification stating that your loan has defaulted. At this stage, BlockFi will initiate the liquidation of your collateral.

Carefully watch the value of your cryptocurrency. If it decreases by 50% or more from its value when you first took out the loan, BlockFi requires you to secure your loan with additional collateral or fully repay what you owe within 72 hours.

Reach out to customer service if you think you might have trouble making repayments.

BlockFi reviews are average

BlockFi earns mixed reviews on sites like Trustpilot. Reviews are for the entire platform and not just loans, and seem to center around high fees and delays with withdrawing money.

Its app does slightly better on GooglePlay. Many customers report being satisfied with the app and customer service response times, and others say that the interface is usable but less than optimal.

BlockFi isn’t accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), which has knocked some points off its rating due to how it’s handled 12 customer complaints in the past three years. Complaints mention long hold times on funds and not being able to withdraw funds as fast as expected.

Alternatives to BlockFi crypto loans

BlockFi loans may be a good option if you own at least $20,000 in BTC, ETH or LTC and want to access quick cash without having to sell.

But if you don’t already own cryptocurrency — or don’t own enough to secure a low rate at a lower LTV — you may be able to secure financing through more traditional methods:

Learn more about crypto loans and how you can keep your crytpoassets while leveraging them to your advantage.

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