Compare lenders and learn about two types of crypto borrowing.
Compare lenders that offer crypto loans
|Lender||Type of loan||Notable features|
|BlockFi||Loans backed by crypto|
|Bitbond||Loans in crypto or backed by crypto|
|BTCPOP||Loans in crypto|
|Nexo||Loans backed by crypto|
|SALT lending||Loans backed by crypto|
|CRED||Loans backed by crypto in crypto|
|Celsius Network||Loans backed by crypto|
|Unchained Capital||Loans backed by crypto|
|Credible Friends||Loans in crypto|
|LendingBlock||Loans in crypto|
|CoinLoan||Loans backed by crypto|
|Helio||Loans backed by crypto|
What’s a crypto loan?
A crypto loan is any type of loan that involves cryptocurrency, like bitcoin, Ether or XRP. They can refer to loans made in cryptocurrency or loans backed by cryptocurrency. Some lenders advertise their crypto loans as “bitcoin loans,” even if they offer loans in other types of cryptocurrency.
Loans made in cryptocurrency
Loans made in cryptocurrency are like any other type of loan: You borrow money that you repay plus interest and fees over a fixed period of time. Some lenders ask for full repayment plus interest and fees all at once. You can find both secured and unsecured loans, though secured loans are more common — typically, you’ll put up your crypto as collateral.
To qualify with most lenders, you need to prove that you’re employed, have a verifiable income and live in a country where the currency you’re using is regulated.
Loans in crypto vs. traditional loans
The main difference between these two loan types is that, given the wildly fluctuating value of cryptocurrency, you could end up owing a lot more or a lot less than you originally borrowed.
The most common way to find a crypto loan is through a peer-to-peer platform. These platforms typically charge a fee for connecting you with a person willing to lend you money. Many of these platforms don’t rely on credit scores, instead developing their own ways of evaluating your eligibility based on your identity and financial history — which can involve lots of documentation.
How do I borrow in crypto?
- Compare crypto lending platforms. Look for a platform that offer loans in your preferred currency at a competitive rate you can qualify for.
- Sign up for an account. Many crypto sites require you to register before you can take out a loan. This might involve providing personal identification and financial details. You’ll likely need to supply documents for verification.
- Wait to get verified. You often can’t apply before the platform verifies your identity. Some also require a “trust score” or “credit score” as a way to evaluate your creditworthiness. This score is applied to your loan terms and amount.
- Apply for a loan. Once you know what you’re eligible to borrow, apply for the loan by setting the loan amount and terms you’re interested in.
- Wait for offers. After you submit your application, investors typically review your account and make a loan offer within a day or two. Review the terms and conditions before accepting an offer from an investor.
- Receive your funds. Because your loan doesn’t involve a bank transfer, you can often get your loan immediately after accepting the terms of your offer.
How do I lend in crypto?
Most crypto loans are through peer-to-peer platforms that allow anyone with enough crypto assets to sign up as an investor.
Investing typically involves setting up an online account, researching loan requests and choosing how much you’d like to invest in each loan. Select platforms require you to be an SEC-accredited investor , though many don’t.
You generally don’t need to back the whole loan. In fact, experts point out that it’s often less risky to invest small amounts in multiple loans. That way, if one borrower can’t repay a loan, it isn’t as much of a loss.
Loans backed by cryptocurrency
More common than loans in cryptocurrency are loans that use your crypto assets as collateral. Like with other secured loans, how much you borrow depends on the value of your assets. You borrow and repay the money in US dollars, but you risk losing your crypto assets if you repay the loan or your assets drop in value.
Because the value of cryptocurrency generally isn’t stable, you’re often limited to borrowing up to 50% of your loan value. You can find business loans from lenders like BlockFi, though personal loans are generally more common.
How do I get a loan backed by crypto?
You don’t need to go through a peer-to-peer platform for this type of loan. Many online lenders specialize in crypto-backed loans with a similar application process:
- Compare lenders. Look for a lender that offers crypto-backed loans in the currency you hold. Weigh rates, terms and fees to find the strongest loan you’re eligible for.
- Create an account. Many crypto-backed lenders require you to set up an account with your basic personal and financial information.
- Verify your identity. You might need to provide your passport, pay stubs and other documentation to prove your identity before you’re eligible to take out a loan.
- Deposit your assets into a third-party wallet. Before you apply, you might need to deposit your crypto assets into a secure wallet that you can access again after you pay off the loan.
- Apply for your loan. Platforms like Nexos don’t require you to apply — you simply click withdraw to deposit funds into your bank account. Others ask you to complete a quick form.
What do I need to apply for a crypto loan?
Crypto loans often require documentation to verify your income and identity, including:
- Personal information. You’ll provide your full name, address, birthday and other contact details.
- Passport. Many international crypto lending platforms prefer government-issued passports, rather than state-issued IDs like a driver’s license.
- Proof of address. Some crypto platforms require a utility bill in your name or a copy of your lease to confirm that you live where you say you do. Others like BTCPOP will mail you a letter with a verification code before you can apply.
- Social media sites. Providing links to your Facebook and Twitter helps to further verify your identity for crypto platforms.
- Online payment accounts. Businesses might be asked to connect their PayPal, eBay or other online payment accounts to the platform.
- Proof of income. Providing your most recent pay stubs or tax returns can prove that you have money regularly coming in — even if it isn’t crypto.
Is a crypto loan right for me?
Getting a loan in cryptocurrency might be a good choice if you’re looking to:
- Access the value of your crypto assets. You can continually access the value of your cryptocurrency if you’re not ready to sell.
- Avoid taxes. Borrowing against your cryptocurrency helps you avoid the taxes you’d pay if you traded in your crypto for dollars.
- Avoid the hassle of poor credit. Credit scores often don’t count when it comes to crypto loans. Many lenders only care that you have the assets to pledge as collateral.
- Borrow internationally. Many crypto lenders are based outside of the US, and some offer funds in multiple fiat and crypto currencies.
- Borrow more than once. Generally, the more crypto loans you take out with a lender, the more competitive rates and terms you’ll qualify for. Plus, you’re already verified, so funding can be much faster than your standard loan the second time around.
What are the drawbacks?
- Crypto isn’t stable. There’s a high chance your assets or your collateral will lose value, making it difficult for you to repay your loan.
- Higher rates for first-timers. Because crypto loans rely on trust scores based on your crypto borrowing history — not your personal credit score — you must build your reputation to qualify for the most competitive rates.
- It’s not fast at first. Verification and finding investors can take time. You might have to wait at least a week to receive a letter in the mail before you can verify your address.
- Little regulation. Cryptocurrency is new, and few laws are in place to govern crypto loans. Many crypto lending platforms aren’t based in the US, making it difficult to take legal action against a lender if something goes wrong. Watch out for informal loans through online forums like Reddit.
- Short terms. You often only have up to a year to repay a crypto loan, which can result in high monthly repayments.
Alternatives to cryptocurrency loans
If you’re looking to borrow with less risk, consider other options that include:
- Secured personal loans. Rather than backing your loan with cryptocurrency, consider securing your loan with another asset that offers a more stable value, such as your home or a car.
- Lines of credit. Want continual access to assets for an ongoing project like a home improvement? Consider applying for a personal line of credit.
- Short-term installment loans. If you have a low credit score or generally have trouble qualifying for a loan, you might still be eligible for an installment loan. Watch for higher rates and fees than traditional personal loans.
- Peer-to-peer loans. When you’re looking for an investor-funded loan, you can use a peer-to-peer platform like LendingClub or Prosper to get a loan in US dollars with a similar process.
Can I get a loan to buy cryptocurrency?
It’s possible to get a personal loan to purchase cryptocurrency, but it’s not recommended by most experts. Many lenders don’t allow you to use loan funds for investments. Currently, the IRS treats crypto like an investment, because it doesn’t have a stable value.
Peer-to-peer platforms may be an option if you want a loan funded in cryptocurrency, while online lenders could be your best bet if you’re looking for a loan backed by crypto. Though both options are available to borrowers with poor credit and spotty personal finances, they are risky, especially given recent volatility in the crypto market.
To learn more about safer personal financing options, start with our comprehensive guide to personal loans.