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Compare bitcoin loans and lending services

How to earn money by lending cryptocurrency to borrowers, or using your cryptocurrency as collateral for a loan.

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Many cryptocurrency loans work as a form of peer-to-peer lending. The borrower uses their cryptocurrency as collateral to take out a loan, while the lender puts up their own cryptocurrency to serve as a loan and earns some of the interest that the borrower pays.

In this way, cryptocurrency users can be both borrowers and lenders, and either get a loan or earn interest on their cryptocurrency as desired.

While the basic principles remain the same, different platforms work in different ways.

Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrency or any specific provider, service or offering. It is not a recommendation to trade.

Compare cryptocurrency loans

Disclaimer: This should not be taken as an endorsement of any of these platforms, and you should do additional research to make sure you choose a reliable platform that suits your needs. Note that the availability of these platforms may vary by location, and some platforms may not be licensed or regulated in your jurisdiction.
Lending platform Loans available Loan features
CRED Fiat and cryptocurrency loans
  • Loans secured by cryptocurrency collateral (BTC, ETH, XRP, LBA)
  • Loans available in fiat currency or USDT
  • Loans of over $1 million available
Nexo Fiat currency loans
  • Loans secured by cryptocurrency collateral
  • Instant loans with no credit checks
  • Flexible line of credit
  • Access the funds you borrow via bank transfer or Nexo credit card
  • Loan limit based on the market value of the crypto assets in your Nexo wallet
  • APR starting from 8% when you are either repaying your loan using NEXO Tokens or for the part of the loan that is backed by NEXO Tokens. If you're not using NEXO Tokens, APR is 16%
  • No minimum loan repayments required and flexibility to make repayments whenever you want
  • More than 20 cryptocurrencies accepted as collateral
  • Loan amounts ranging from US$1,000 to US$2 million
Celsius Network Fiat currency loans
  • Crypto-backed loans using BTC, ETH, LTC, XRP or OMG as collateral
  • The more crypto you can offer as collateral, the better the interest rate you'll get
  • Interest rates range from 5-15% and loan-to-value ratios (LTV) from 20-75%
  • No credit checks
  • Loan terms ranging from 1 month to more than a year
  • No penalty for early repayment
  • Lenders can earn up to 7% APR on their crypto deposits
SALT Lending Fiat currency loans Only traditional lenders can offer loans through the platform. Borrowers must:
  • Hold at least one SALT membership
  • Own an asset on a blockchain
  • Meet the platform’s eligibility and screening requirements
  • Complete Anti Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) verification
ETHLend Fiat and cryptocurrency loans in ETH, LEND and USD
  • Loans secured by cryptocurrency collateral
  • Borrow up to 80% of the collateral value
  • No fees if LEND is used as the medium of exchange CRE (Credit Tokens) used to represent a borrower’s reputation and can be earned by making loan repayments
Unchained Capital Fiat currency loans
  • Loans secured by BTC or ETH as collateral
  • Loan terms from 3 to 60 months
  • Interest rates vary based on a number of factors but typically range from 12-18% p.a.
  • 50% LVR
  • Minimum loan amount US$10,000 for US borrowers and US$100,000 for international borrowers
  • Personal and business loans available
  • Borrowers must complete a KYC/AML program and deposit the appropriate collateral amount
BitBond Fiat and cryptocurrency loans in BTC, USD and EUR
  • Peer-to-peer lending platform
  • Small business loans of up to $25,000
  • Terms from 6 weeks to 12 months
  • Borrowers must provide employment and income details, PayPal transaction history, bank account transaction history, marketplace transactions and feedback (eg eBay and Amazon, and social media accounts)
  • Accepts both retail and institutional investors who must provide their name and contact details, provide proof of ID and complete a video verification process
BTCPOP Cryptocurrency loans in BTC
  • Peer-to-peer lending platform
  • Borrow up to 500 BTC
  • Annual percentage rates (APRs) starting from 15%
  • Borrowers must provide personal details and proof of ID
  • Users can loan BTC without verifying their ID
Credible Friends Cryptocurrency loans in BTC
  • Peer-to-peer lending platform
  • Allows users to extend BTC lines of credit to their friends
  • Sign up by providing your email address or linking a social media account
  • Borrowers are charged 25% APR interest and 60% of interest and fees goes to lender
Lendingblock Cryptocurrency loans
  • Peer-to-peer lending platform
  • Loans secured by cryptocurrency collateral (BTC, ETH, LTC)
  • Borrowers can be hedge funds, investors, market makers and traders
  • Lenders can be individuals or institutions
  • Platform not live at time of writing
CoinLoan Fiat currency loans in USD, EUR, GBP, CNY, JPY, RUB, CHF, PLN and CZK
  • Peer-to-peer lending platform
  • Loans secured by cryptocurrency
  • USD$50 minimum loan amount and no maximum
  • No credit checks
  • Any user can become a lender or borrower
  • Loan terms from 1 day to 5 years

How does cryptocurrency lending work?

Different platforms work in different ways, but the general principle is that of peer-to-peer lending. Borrowers use their cryptocurrency as collateral to get loans, while lenders deposit cryptocurrency, which is used to fund the loans.

Most platforms screen borrowers and issue the loans themselves, then simply share the profits with the lenders. This creates an experience similar to the way banks offer loans and pay interest to savings account holders.

Others act as marketplaces where borrowers and lenders can come together and browse each other’s offers.

In many cases, a platform will have its own native token, which can be optionally used to get preferable rates, discounts or other bonuses.

One of the most important features of these platforms, and one of the reasons they can offer relatively high earnings for lenders, is the fact that they use cryptocurrency as collateral with a typical LTV ratio of around 50%.

This means that there’s plenty of collateral to go around, even in the event of a crypto market drop. If a borrower drops below their agreed LTV ratio, their collateral can be quickly and easily liquidated. As an added bonus, it can almost always be sold incrementally as needed, at fair market rates, without any kind of depreciation beyond the price change.

This helps reduce, and theoretically completely eliminate, the risk of default from borrowers. It’s essentially just using one type of money as collateral for a loan of a smaller amount of another type of money. This safety means that these types of platforms don’t necessarily have to spend as much time and money conducting credit checks, screening borrowers, hiring debt collectors, chasing defaulted loans, setting up payment plans and doing all the other things lenders have to do.

In fact, it can even be used as a framework for completely automating the entire lending process, which some platforms are doing, to reduce costs even further.

How to get started

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Spotting a scam: Are these rates too good to be true?

One of the best ways to spot a cryptocurrency scam is to be wary of any offer that seems too good to be true.

But do any of the offers on this page qualify? To stay safe and avoid scams, it’s important to consider what “too good to be true” looks like in this context.

Cryptocurrency as collateral

As previously mentioned, cryptocurrency is an extremely effective type of collateral for loans because it’s essentially a type of money in its own right, and these platforms will typically offer LTV ratios of only 30% to 70%.

This means that, when a system is properly set up and managed, there’s practically zero risk for lenders.

This lack of risk would typically translate into extremely good rates for borrowers, but as you can see, that hasn’t happened here. Instead, it’s turning into higher returns for lenders.

When considering this, it’s reasonable to relax one’s assumptions of what a good rate looks like.

How much is a good rate?

Another reason these rates may seem too good to be true is because we’re comparing them to typical savings account rates of today, which have dropped sharply in recent years. But in the 80s and 90s, it was normal for bank customers to earn interest in the double digits from fixed term deposits.

To an extent, these interest earnings aren’t especially high. It’s just that the typical rates of today are so low.

A promise to double your money every year is too good to be true, but there’s nothing inherently unrealistic about 10% per annum in simple interest.

And are these offers really as good as they seem? In some cases, the rates for lenders that are shown on this page may be the upper end of what’s possible, and conditions may apply in order to get those rates.

If you look at the fine print, you may realise that many of these platforms aren’t as good as they first appear. For example, a platform that offers up to 18% per year will likely only pay that as simple interest, not compound, while requiring users to stake a certain amount of the native platform token.

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Pros and cons of cryptocurrency lending

Both borrowers and lenders have different pros and cons to watch out for when using these platforms.

For borrowers

Pros

  • Use cryptocurrency as collateral. Most banks and lenders don’t let you use cryptocurrency as collateral, but these platforms do.
  • Few strings attached. Loans are typically “no questions asked”. You don’t need to explain why you need the money, and there are typically no conditions on what you can use it for.
  • No credit checks. Many of these platforms look at your collateral as evidence of your creditworthiness, rather than checking through more traditional avenues.
  • Fast access to funds. While approval times vary between platforms, the lack of red tape means it can be quicker to access loans through these platforms than traditional avenues.

Cons

  • Requires cryptocurrency as collateral. You typically need to have cryptocurrency to use as collateral when borrowing from these platforms.
  • Volatility risk. Market volatility could lead borrowers to unexpectedly need to top up their collateral, or face partial liquidation.
  • Poor rates. Cryptocurrency loans tend to have very poor rates considering how little risk there is for lenders.
  • Custody and scam risk. You typically have to entrust funds to a platform. If you don’t feel comfortable with this, you may be able to find some which operate as a trustless smart contract instead.

For lenders

Pros

  • Earn cryptocurrency. These platforms offer a way of earning interest on cryptocurrency (or fiat currency, or stablecoin) holdings.
  • High earnings. The poor rates for borrowers translates into high earnings for lenders.
  • Minimal counterparty risk. Cryptocurrency’s unique features allow for loans with minimal counterparty risk.

Cons

  • Lack of regulation. Cryptocurrency regulation is still in its infancy, and many of these platforms are beyond the scope of current regulation. If something goes wrong, you may be left with no recourse.
  • Custodial platforms. While there are platforms that let users retain control of their private keys while earning interest, similar to staking cryptocurrency, many will require users to make deposits and entrust funds to the platform. If something goes wrong, you may not be able to recover your funds.
  • Scam risk. Not all purported cryptocurrency lending platforms are legitimate. Some are scams, and if you accidentally send money to one, you may lose your funds.

Compare cryptocurrency lending platforms

Risks and pitfalls of cryptocurrency lending

Some of the risks to be aware of when using cryptocurrency lending platforms, as either a lender or a borrower, include:

  • Using an unregulated or loosely-regulated platform, which may leave you with no recourse if something goes wrong
  • The chance of your chosen platform being a scam, getting hacked or otherwise losing your money
  • The risk of sudden cryptocurrency price drops that may leave borrowers under-collateralised, and lenders unable to sell if their cryptocurrency has been locked into a loan
  • The potential for technical errors or bugs causing unexpected outcomes
  • The risks inherent to holding whichever cryptocurrency you are choosing to borrow or lend, such as volatility or the counterparty risk associated with some stablecoins

The nature of these risks means there’s a chance of losing all the funds you commit to a platform, no matter how reputable and reliable. It’s important to be aware of this, and to avoid over-committing.

Frequently asked questions

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This should not be taken as an endorsement of any of these platforms, and you should do additional research to make sure you choose a reliable platform that suits your needs. Note that the availability of these platforms may vary by location, and some platforms may not be licensed or regulated in your jurisdiction.

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