Number of cryptocurrencies:
$0 trading fees
Interest account, business account, individual account
Last Updated: June 14, 2022
Number of cryptocurrencies:
$0 trading fees
Interest account, business account, individual account
There are different kinds of investors: the risk-takers, the pragmatic lot, the speculators, those who let their money work for them… the list goes on, with some truly inspiring crypto success stories.
All these investors are likely to choose different cryptocurrency exchanges based on their preferences and goals.
Let’s focus on the last group: Investors who prefer to let their money work for them.
If a hundred of them were asked to choose a crypto exchange, a considerable number would likely settle on BlockFi.
Why? For starters, the platform allows them not just to buy crypto but also to lend their digital assets and earn interest.
Is there more? Keep pace with our BlockFi review to find out.
What Is BlockFi?
Headquartered in Jersey, United States, BlockFi is an exchange whose primary mission is to foster cryptocurrency inclusion in underserved communities.
The exchange, founded in 2017 by Zac Prince and Flori Marquez, had over $10 billion in assets under management and 1 million+ registered users as of March 2022.
BlockFi shot up to prominence because of its high-yield crypto accounts.
The company further endeared itself to clients by becoming the first to roll out a cryptocurrency rewards credit card. The scheme was designed to encourage investors to buy crypto on BlockFi.
The credit card allows investors to earn up to 1.5% in crypto on every transaction.
One of the most common criticisms against BlockFi is its limited cryptocurrency selection. The platform supported 15+ currencies by March 2022, which punches below the level of popular exchanges.
Binance, for instance, offered 500+ currencies at the time, while Coinbase supported 100+ coins.
Having said that, investors should note that funds in a Blockfi account are not FDIC & SIPC insured.
Since BlockFi is regulated, all users interested in onboarding must undergo Know Your Customer (KYC) vetting.
KYC is a standard practice in the financial services industry. It is geared at preventing money laundering, terrorism financing, and illegal activities.
How does BlockFi ensure it remains compliant?
This is achieved by verifying your government-issued identification and Personally Identifiable Information (PII).
How Large is BlockFi’s Presence?
BlockFi’s services are accessible in all US states except New York, Nevada, New Mexico, Vermont, and West Virginia. This is due to regulatory constraints.
Conversely, Arkansas, North Dakota, Louisiana, Iowa, and Mississippi residents can only trade eight assets with BlockFi.
These include Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Chainlink (LINK), Dai (DAI), and Basic Attention Token (BAT)
Nonetheless, BlockFi services are available in most countries worldwide.
How To Use BlockFi
One of BlockFi’s most conspicuous aspects is that the platform does not support fiat currencies. It converts your wire or bank transfer into the stablecoin GUSD. Apart from that, using the exchange is rather seamless.
Below are the steps of trading cryptocurrency using BlockFi. We will use Gemini dollar (GUSD) and BTC to illustrate this example.
- Click on the “Trade” button on your dashboard
- Select “Receive” GUSD.
- Select “Pay With” BTC.
- Enter the GUSD amount you would like to use to buy BTC.
- Press on the swap icon to calculate how much BTC you will receive based on prevailing market prices.
- Click “Confirm trade”.
- Click “Submit trade”.
- Blockfi will then send you an email confirming the transaction.
What Are the Account Requirements?
BlockFi account requirements differ based on the type of account and country. However, all users must be 18 years and above.
As a new user registering for an account, BlockFi will also ask you for personal information such as:
- Your name
- Email address
- Phone number & country code
BlockFi asks US residents to provide a set of information before the account can be operationalized.
- Date of birth
- The source of the funds being invested in crypto.
- The user’s social security number
The requirements for an international account are almost identical to those of a US account. The differences are minimal as outlined below:
- Date of birth
- Source of funds
- National ID, passport or driver’s license
- Visible picture of the user
To register for a business account, users will be asked to state:
- The name of the business
- The industry that the business operates
- Business type
- Tax ID
- Full name(s) and email address(es) of the business owner(s)
The platform runs a background check for all three accounts to verify whether the users meet the requirements. BlockFi does this to fulfill its legal Know Your Customer (KYC) obligations.
What Can You Trade?
BlockFi only supports 11 cryptocurrencies and five stable coins. One reason could be its late entry into the market.
However, the most plausible reason is that the platform is keen on tapping the high-volume cryptocurrencies first as it continues to develop its platform.
The BlockFi supported coins include:
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Litecoin (LTC)
- Pax Gold (PAXG)
- Uniswap (UNI)
- Chainlink (LINK)
- Basic Attention Token (BAT)
- Dai (DAI)
- Algorand (ALGO)
- Dogecoin (DOGE)
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
- USD Coin (USDC)
- Tether (USDT)
- Gemini Dollar (GUSD)
- Binance USD (BUSD)
BlockFi employs several security protocols to keep investors’ funds safe.
BlockFi stores its crypto assets with the Gemini Trust Company, most of them in cold storage.
Investors can also set up two-factor authentication (2FA) and whitelisting as an extra layer of protection.
The security protocols BlockFi offers include:
- Two-factor authentication (2FA): BlockFi offers two-factor authentication (2FA) via the Google Authenticator App. This ensures that account logins are secure.
- PII verification: BlockFi runs advanced algorithms to detect suspicious activity in user accounts. The emphasis is placed on withdrawals. A PII verification is triggered if the system detects unusual activity and withdrawals are blocked. Once this happens, the user must resubmit their identification data to unlock their funds.
- Whitelisting approved addresses: BlockFi allows users to create an approved list that specifies which wallet addresses can withdraw cryptocurrency.
Biometric access: Users can enable biometric access such as facial recognition and fingerprints to secure their holdings further.
Speaking of security, the platform scores a major point owing to solid BlockFi reviews on TrustPilot.
Perks of Using BlockFi
BlockFi runs promotion campaigns to retain its existing customers and grow its fold from time to time.
For instance, in March 2022, the company was running a referral promotion campaign where new users could earn up to a $250 Bitcoin bonus.
The new user’s bonus was determined by the amount they deposited into their BlockFi Interest Account. The minimum deposit amount required to be eligible for the Bitcoin bonus was $100.
Is BlockFi Regulated?
BlockFi’s primary custodian — Gemini Trust Company, LLC, is regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services.
Nonetheless, in February 2022, BlockFi was fined $100 million for offering investors an unregistered crypto lending product — the BlockFi Interest Account.
BlockFi agreed to pay The Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) $50 million and another $50 million to 32 states.
The two levels of the government accused the company of failing to register the product as security and misrepresenting its risks — the BlockFi Interest Account dangled an 8% yield to crypto owners.
However, the crypto exchange did not admit to any wrongdoing. Instead, it agreed to halt the product and register a new one that complied with securities laws.
BlockFi doesn’t charge trading fees since it is a commission-free exchange. However, it charges a spread that ranges between 0.7% and 1.5%.
A spread is the difference between the prevailing market price of an asset and the price you buy or sell that asset.
BlockFi also charges a withdrawal fee. The fee depends on the crypto you are using, as illustrated below.
|Currency||Withdrawal Limit||BlockFi Withdrawal Fees|
|BlockFi allows one free crypto withdrawal per month||Fee charged for every subsequent withdrawal in the same calendar month|
|BTC||100 BTC per 7-day period||0.00075 BTC|
|LTC||10,000 LTC per 7-day period||0.001 LTC|
|GUSD, USDC, BUSD, PAX, DAI, USDT||1,000,000 per 7-day period||50 USD|
|Not Eligible for Free Withdrawals as of March 23, 2022||Fee Per Withdrawal|
|ETH||5,000 ETH per 7-day period||0.015 ETH|
|LINK||65,000 LINK per 7-day period||2 LINK|
|PAXG||500 PAXG per 7-day period||0.035 PAXG|
|UNI||5,500 UNI per 7-day period||2.5 UNI|
|BAT||2 million BAT per 7-day period||60 BAT|
BlockFi Mobile App
The BlockFi mobile app is available to Android and iOS users on Google Play and the App Store, respectively.
Once you download the app, you will be guided through the installation process.
BlockFi Customer Service
BlockFi lends support to its users through;
- Live chat: Users can chat with a bot any time of the day. In case the bot is unable to assist, it will help you submit a ticket.
- Phone calls: Available Monday – Friday from 9:30 AM to 8 PM ET.
- Email: BlockFi users can also send an email with their questions, complaints, or comments via email to a dedicated address provided on the company’s website. A customer service agent responds as soon as possible.
BlockFi reviews are largely positive. The platform gets warm approval on TrustPilot, with customer service being cited as one of its major strengths.
Many users however post negative reviews about the slow and limited withdrawals from the BlockFi interest account. Another common complaint cites the rather low interest rates for lending crypto other than stablecoins.
There are plenty of exchanges in the market. BlockFi is a solid platform, but how does it compare to its competitors? Let’s find out.
BlockFi vs Coinbase
The most noticeable difference between BlockFi and Coinbase is the range of cryptocurrencies supported by the two platforms. BlockFi supports 15+ cryptocurrencies, while Coinbase supports 100+ coins.
BlockFi doesn’t have transaction fees and instead earns through charging a spread on cryptocurrency purchases and sales. It also earns through withdrawal fees. Coinbase, on the other hand, calculates its trading fees by using the maker-taker model. The fees range from 0% to 0.50%, depending on the past 30-day trading volume.
Coinbase is available in 49 states, excluding Hawaii, and in 35+ European countries, as well as the United Kingdom, Canada, and Singapore. Conversely, some coins offered by Coinbase are restricted in New York.
BlockFi, on the other hand, doesn’t offer any trading pairs in five states. However, it is available in all countries except those sanctioned by the US.
For more details, check out our BlockFi vs Coinbase comparison.
BlockFi vs Gemini
After being sanctioned by the SEC and the 32 states, BlockFi no longer offers its interest account service in the US.
International investors with a BlockFi interest account (BIA), however, could earn up to 11.0% APY as of March 25, 2022. The BlockFi APY for USDC (Tier One) during this period was 8% .
Gemini’s interest account is available in the US, with investors able to earn up to 8% from lending their coins.
BlockFi doesn’t charge transactions, while Gemini charges a $0.99-1.49% transaction fee.
BlockFi only supports 15+ cryptocurrencies, while Gemini offers 70+ coins.
Another significant variation is that BlockFi functions like a crypto bank. Hence it offers crypto loans to customers. Coinbase doesn’t offer crypto loans.
BlockFi vs Crypto.com
Crypto.com employs the maker-taker fee structure based on 30-day volumes from 0.04% to 0.4%. BlockFi doesn’t charge transaction fees.
Crypto.com’s spread ranges between 0.25% and 0.5%, while BlockFi’s spread oscillates between 0.7% and 1.5%.
BlockFi offers 10+ cryptocurrencies compared to Crypto.com’s 250+ coins.
Also, Crypto.com supports 20+ fiat currencies, while BlockFi doesn’t support any.
BlockFi doesn’t have a minimum deposit amount, while the minimum you can deposit on Crypto.com is $1.
On March 23, 2022, CoinMarketCap data showed 470+ cryptocurrency exchanges in the market.
All these platforms compete for attention from the same demographic while working hard to retain their existing users.
So if you’ve been scouting for a commission-free platform that allows you to earn interest on your crypto, you should check out BlockFi.
However, if a 15+ cryptocurrency range doesn’t cut it, you should probably look elsewhere.
Hopefully, you emerge from this BlockFi review better equipped to decide whether the platform is a good fit for you.
- It’s commission-free
- No minimum deposit
- Ability to earn interest on crypto holdings
- Good customer service
- Available in all countries in the world except those sanctioned by the US
- Limited cryptocurrency range
- Savings are not insured from bank failure
- Limited withdrawals from interest accounts
- Some services are limited in select states
Can you lose money on BlockFi?
Cryptocurrency is a volatile asset, meaning investors risk losing their money.
There are two main ways you can lose your money on BlockFi. One is if the value of an asset drops. The second way is if the exchange goes bust.
Although BlockFi wallets are not insured by a government institution, the company is keen to point out they are insured by Aon.
Make sure you do your homework to avoid losing funds.
Is BlockFi insured?
Funds in a BlockFi account are not FDIC insured. This means that if the exchange collapses, you won’t be able to claim your funds.
BlockFi accounts are also not SPIC (Securities Investor Protection Corporation) insured.
What cryptocurrencies does BlockFi support?
BlockFi supports 15+ cryptocurrencies.
The coins available on BlockFi include Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Pax Gold (PAXG), Uniswap (UNI), and Chainlink (LINK).
BlockFi also supports the Basic Attention Token (BAT), Dai (DAI), Algorand (ALGO), Dogecoin (DOGE), and Bitcoin Cash (BCH).
How often does BlockFi pay interest?
Monthly. Interest accrues daily and is deposited to an investor’s account at the end of a calendar month.
Blockfi interest rates depend on the digital asset.
The BlockFi Interest Payment Flex option allows investors to choose the currency the interest is paid in.
US investors also get a 1099 form detailing their BlockFi’s interest payouts.
Is BlockFi safe?
Yes. Gemini, BlockFi’s primary custodian, keeps its assets in cold storage and 5% of its holdings in hot wallets insured by Aon.
Check out more BlockFi reviews for more insight into the company.