Remember when you used to be able to earn several percentage points of interest on money parked in your savings or checking accounts? With interest rates near all time lows, the days of earning any meaningful amount of interest in your traditional savings accounts are long gone.
On the bright side, many crypto-lending platforms like BlockFi offer a compelling alternative with accounts that allow you to earn meaningful interest rates on your USD Coin (USDC) deposits.
USD Coin (USDC) is a type of cryptocurrency called a stable coin. USDC is issued by Circle and Coinbase, two leading regulated financial institutions, and is fully backed by reserve assets. The price of 1 USDC is pegged to $1 (US dollar), meaning that each USDC is redeemable 1:1 for US Dollars. USDC is widely considered to be the gold standard in USD-pegged stable coins and is effectively a digital dollar that allows global transactions denominated in USD between crypto-wallets. USD Coin is an Ethereum token powered by the Ethereum network, meaning that it can be stored in any Ethereum-based wallet.
There are multiple ways that you can earn interest on your USD Coin that offer varying returns depending on your risk appetite. On the low-risk end, Coinbase offers a 0.15% interest rate on your USDC deposits, acting effectively as a savings account for your USDC. If you want to earn meaningful returns on your USDC however, then crypto lending platforms offer interest rates in the high single digits, but these do come with some risk.
Here at WalletBurst, I use and recommend BlockFi as my crypto-lending platform of choice for earning interest on my USDC. You can read more about my experience with depositing USDC at BlockFi below.
BlockFi is a privately-held cryptocurrency financial services platform that was founded in 2017 and is based in New York. BlockFi's Interest Account product allows users to deposit various crypto tokens like bitcoin, ethereum, and stablecoins like USDC which earn interest on these deposits. They then use these funds to provide crypto-backed loans to trusted institutional and corporate borrowers.
Signing up for an account with BlockFi is easy and can be done in about 2 minutes. Use this sign-up link above to get a bonus of up to $250 when you open a new BlockFi Interest Account. After opening this link, simply click "Sign Up" to open your account. Depending on how much you deposit in your account, you could earn up to $250 worth of bitcoin. Once you've opened your account, there are several ways you can add funds to your account:
After doing my research and comparing all the crypto interest platforms out there, I decided to go with BlockFi a few months ago and my experience has been excellent. I currently have a few thousand USDC deposited with BlockFi earning a very attractive 8.6% interest. The high interest rates for stablecoins like USDC and GUSD make this the most attractive use case for me. BlockFi also allows you to choose which currency your interest is paid in (it can be any of the ones in the table above), which is a cool feature. I chose to recieve interest payments in bitcoin.
It's important to do your own research and due diligence before depositing your funds with BlockFi. A key thing to understand is that unlike traditional banks, your deposits at BlockFi are not FDIC insured. This means that, in the unlikely event that BlockFi's creditors were unable to pay back their loans, your deposit could be lost, with no backstopping from the Federal Reserve. With this in mind, BlockFi has several lines of defense in place to mitigate the risk to your deposits. Lyn Alden does an excellent job of covering these in her review of BlockFi. To summarize, these lines of defense include:
As far as reputation goes, BlockFi is widely considered to be the most reputable player in the crypto-lending space for several reasons. They are the largest player in the space and have institutional backing from investors including Valar Ventures, Galaxy Digital, Fidelity, Akuna Capital, SoFi and Coinbase Ventures. BlockFi's primary crypto custodian is Gemini Trust Company, LLC, a New York trust company regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services. This is the same Gemini crypto exchange started by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, which has institutional-grade security and is widely considered one of the most secure custodians in the crypto space. Additionally, BlockFi is domiciled in the United States and has built a team of professionals with decades of FinTech experience.
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