As Bitcoin set another all time high above 42,000 USD last week, it’s only natural to want to spend some of those well deserved gains. Since 2017, crypto lending and collateralized borrowing has been one of the safest options to generate yield or to borrow and repay any debts.
The principle is quite simple, users create & fund their account with a crypto lending provider, who then lends (with collateral requirements) to retail borrowers and institutions, provide liquidity to crypto mining pools, provide liquidity to de-fi projects and other activities that generate a return on investment. Depending on the company’s policy the yield can be distributed daily, weekly or monthly at different rates anywhere from 3-14% p.a. depending on the asset.
Basics of over-collateralized borrowing
Whether it is to repay the credit card, get you to the end of the month or to replace an important component of your house or car, collateralized crypto borrowing is almost instant, it doesn’t require credit checks for approval and the interest rates are a fraction of what banks or credit cards charge.
Once your account is funded, you will have to decide the duration of the loan and the LTV Loan to Value, that is the amount of collateral you will provide in relation to the amount of the loan. For example an LTV of 50% will require you to deposit $20,000 worth of crypto to borrow $10,000, while a 25% LTV would require you to deposit $40,000.
Now, we all know that the crypto market is quite volatile and that the USD value of the collateral may swing dramatically below the LTV requirement you chose. In this scenario, and depending on the loan provider’s policy, you will be required to provide more collateral (to match the original LTV), to pay back the loan or otherwise the company will liquidate your loan which means you will lose the collateral.
Best Crypto lending companies
Depending on the company the minimum loan amount can go from $100 up to a couple of millions but for reference we will compare 6 month loans of 10,000 USD using Bitcoin as collateral with a 50% LTV (since most of them only offer 50% LTV):
- Best borrowing offer: 0% APR
- 10k loan at 50% LTV: N/A
- Yield on BTC: 4.2% APY 3 month lock up – 5.4% APY 12 month lock up
- Sign up code: 84sxf, $5 for making a $50 transaction
Crypterium initially entered the space as a global on and off ramp for fiat and crypto. They currently only offer loans up to $2,000 with a 100% LTV for ETH or BTC collateral and 0% interest; although it may seem like a pretty good deal, it would be wise to have a decent amount of excess collateral to avoid any margin call due to price fluctuation.
- Best borrowing offer: 1% to 0.7% APR
- 10k loan at 50% LTV: 6.27% paid in CEL or 8.95% paid in cash
- Yield on BTC: 4.74% APY no lock up
- Sign up code: WEB30, $30 in BTC for depositing $200, locked for 30 days
Celsius is the first ce-fi company that provided yield on balances and crypto loans. It currently offers loans of 25%, 33% and 50% LTV for 34 cryptocurrencies and a duration of 6, 12, 24 and 36 months. The best offer available on the platform is for the safest 25% LTV loans that only cost 1% APR, regardless of the amount and duration, or 0.7% APR if the loans are paid back in CEL, the platform’s token.
- Best borrowing offer: 5.9% APR
- 10k loan at 50% LTV: 11.9% or 5.9% with a NEXO stake
- Yield on BTC: 5% APY
Nexo is another crypto lending provider that generates yield on 17 cryptocurrencies as well as GBP, USD and EUR fiat currencies. Just like Celsius and CEL, the NEXO token provides a bonus on yield and better borrowing rates. In order to get the 5.9% APR borrowing rate you will be required to have at least 10% of your portfolio in NEXO tokens.
- Best borrowing offer: 6.73% APR at 20% LTV
- 10k loan at 50% LTV: 12.5% APR
- Yield on BTC: 6% APY
- Signup link: here, $10 in BTC for $100 deposit
Backed by Coinbase Ventures, Galaxy Digital and Winklevoss Capital, BlockFi also offers multiple LTV loans and provides daily-compounded yield paid on a monthly basis.
- Best borrowing offer: 8% APR
- 10k loan at 50% LTV: 12% with a 2,500 CRO stake or 8% with a 25,000 stake
- Yield on BTC: 6.5% – 3 month lock up with a 25k CRO stake
- Sign up code: n74pck9z9s, $25 of CRO for staking 2500 CRO ($160) for their 2% cashback debit card
Find here another interesting article about bitcoin loans.
With over 5 million users around the world, CDC is by far one of the largest players in the space, even though their borrowing offering isn’t the best one on this list. CDC shines however in other areas of the space such as yield generated on deposits, cashback debit cards and exchange services.