Crypto Lending

Crypto lending is where investors loan digital currencies to borrowers in exchange for interest payments or dividends, typically through an online platform or app. For token holders, crypto lending is seen as a way to generate passive income while for borrowers, it can be less complicated than getting traditional loans from banks.

In this guide to crypto lending, we explain how different services work, what to look for in an online crypto lending platform, and the associated risks for both loaners and borrowers, from taxes to regulations.

Best Crypto Lending Platforms

#1 - OKX

Why We Chose OKX

OKX is a respected cryptocurrency firm, established in 2017, that offers a large suite of products, from mining pools to NFTs. Traders can access over 400 crypto tokens via OTC trading and derivatives. With an excellent web platform, developer tools and dynamic charts, OKX is a popular choice for technical traders.

"OKX is a top pick for crypto traders looking for emerging coins and crypto projects to invest in. Traders can also make use of the broker's copy trading service and automated bots."

- DayTrading Review Team
  • Instruments: Spot, futures, perpetual swaps, options
  • Regulator: VARA
  • Platforms: AlgoTrader
  • Minimum Deposit: 10 USDT
  • Minimum Trade: Variable

#2 - CEX.IO

Why We Chose CEX.IO

CEX.IO is one-stop-shop for crypto investors where you can buy and sell popular digital tokens, speculate on prices with margin trading and earn rewards through staking. Since it launched in 2013, more than five million traders have deposited over $7.5 billion. CEX.IO is registered with the FinCEN in the US and the GFSC in the EU.

"CEX.IO continues to serve a range of crypto investors looking to buy, sell, trade, hold and earn with low fees. The tiered pricing structure will appeal to active traders while rookie investors will enjoy the straightforward platform interface and excellent education."

- DayTrading Review Team
  • Instruments: Cryptos
  • Regulator: GFSC
  • Platforms: TradingView
  • Minimum Deposit: $20
  • Minimum Trade: $1

#3 - Kucoin

Why We Chose Kucoin

Kucoin is a crypto exchange that offers trading on 1000+ tokens as well as leveraged trading opportunities via futures and perpetual swaps. This exchange has a slick trading platform that supports robots, allowing traders to implement automated strategies. Other attractive features include a demo account, flexible funding methods and DeFi features like staking and mining.

"Users who want to make automated crypto trades on a wide range of digital currencies should Kucoin. The brand is also good for crypto staking and mining."

- DayTrading Review Team
  • Instruments: ETFs, Cryptos, Futures
  • Platforms: Own
  • Minimum Deposit: $0
  • Minimum Trade: 0.0001 Lots

#4 - Nexo

Why We Chose Nexo

Nexo is a centralized crypto exchange founded in 2018 in Bulgaria and today operates across some 200 jurisdictions from its base in Switzerland. It provides services including spot trading, futures trading, peer-to-peer loans, cold wallet storage and fiat-on ramps to buy crypto tokens. The crypto firm is registered with some respected financial authorities, such as the ASIC, and offers some fairly unique additional services including a credit card.

"Nexo gives crypto traders the capability to trade, invest, lend and borrow digital assets in one place, and it’s especially good for its credit functions that pay out very high yields to lenders. However, its fees are relatively high and many day traders will prefer a more tightly regulated crypto broker."

- DayTrading Review Team
  • Instruments: Cryptos
  • Platforms: Nexo Pro
  • Minimum Deposit: $10
  • Minimum Trade: $30

#5 - Bybit

Why We Chose Bybit

Bybit is an established crypto exchange aimed at online traders. Clients can speculate on leading tokens like Bitcoin, access crypto staking and loans, or trade NFTs using the firm's digital marketplace. Millions of users have signed up with the firm since it launched in 2018.

"Bybit is a good choice for active traders who want a fast and straightforward way to buy crypto tokens and trade crypto derivatives."

- DayTrading Review Team
  • Instruments: Cryptos, Futures
  • Platforms: MT4, TradingView
  • Minimum Deposit: $0
  • Minimum Trade: 0.001 Lots

Crypto Lending Overview

Token holders are increasingly looking for access to fiat money by leveraging their crypto supply. Fortunately, holders of cryptocurrency can borrow physical money such as USD, EUR, and GBP or lend their digital assets in return for interest payments. Crypto lending is available on dozens of popular coins and stablecoins, including Bitcoin and Tether.

Lenders and borrowers are connected via an online platform or exchange such as Binance, Kraken, and Coinbase. Platforms act as a third-party and intermediary, managing the transaction between the borrower and lender.

What is crypto borrowing

The two primary crypto lending strategies are centred around:

  1. Stablecoins – these tokens are typically pegged to a major fiat currency, such as the US Dollar, bringing some stability to an otherwise unpredictable market. Stablecoins are generally considered the lower risk option.
  2. Traditional cryptocurrencies –  well-known cryptos and altcoins are usually more volatile and therefore the amount of interest you can earn can be unpredictable. This strategy suits those with a larger risk appetite.

Some investors also use crypto lending to capitalise on interest rate arbitrage. This is where you borrow an asset from one platform and lend it out on another at a higher price, profiting from temporary price discrepancies.

Crypto Lending For Investors

Investors can deposit their digital currencies into wallets on crypto lending platforms and receive weekly or monthly interest payments. Lending interest rates vary but can range from 3-7% for Bitcoin. Interest rates for more stable assets can be much higher, sometimes up to 17% for coins like USD Coin (USDC) and Binance USD (BUSD).

The worry of borrowers not repaying a loan is somewhat reduced with crypto lending as borrowers must stake between 25% and 50% of their own coins as security for the loan.

Crypto Lending For Borrowers

Crypto lending also allows you to borrow physical money so you can avoid selling your digital assets. Borrowers could be individuals or businesses looking for a temporary loan.

Generally, borrowers can use either crypto or fiat assets as collateral to secure a loan. Those borrowing against crypto assets normally need to ‘overcollateralise’, meaning they will need to lock up more than the overall value of the funds they are borrowing. Once you have paid back the loan, plus the incurred interest, the crypto collateral is returned. The key risk to highlight is the danger that the crypto collateral depreciates in value.

Crypto Lending Rates

Providers charge borrowers interest fees on their loans. Each crypto lending site will also have its own mark-up to take into account. Charges vary, but firms are fairly transparent about the fee structure at the sign-up stage.

The typical annual percentage yield (APY) for stablecoins is 10% to 18% while for standard cryptos, it’s 3% to 8%. The Kucoin exchange has even offered an APY of more than 25% for users lending cryptocurrency.

Note, if you don’t pay back your crypto loan, lenders can liquidate all or part of your collateral to recoup their losses. Also, collateral can be liquidised because of an unmet margin call—where platforms inform borrowers that they need to increase their collateral due to a change in the value of cryptos.

Low crypto lending rates

Pros Of Crypto Lending

Crypto lending has advantages for both borrowers and lenders:

Risks Of Crypto Lending

There are also a few drawbacks to crypto lending services:

How To Get A Crypto Loan

Use our step-by-step guide to obtaining a crypto loan:

Note, you can also get unsecured crypto loans, which offer borrowers short-term liquidity and can be paid back in either fiat or crypto cash. The fees and risks with these forms of loans tend to be higher for the borrower and investor.

Comparing Top Crypto Lending Platforms

There is a good range of companies, apps and platforms available today that offer crypto lending. The key distinctions are around the coins available and the interest rates charged. Security, customer reviews and mobile access are also worth including in your comparison. We’ve broken down the important considerations in more detail below.

Centralised Vs Decentralised

Crypto lending platforms can be either centralised or decentralised. Centralised ecosystems, such as Binance, allow lenders and borrowers to agree on the terms of a loan while the management and transfer of funds are facilitated by the platform. These crypto lending platforms essentially act as a middleman.

Users generally need to create an account and go through KYC protocols to help prevent fraud. Some centralised crypto lending platforms protect assets via insurance or keep them in cold storage with a wallet like Ledger.

Decentralised crypto lending platforms remove the third-party element and simply connect borrowers to live lenders. Algorithms and sophisticated protocols automate loan payouts. These websites tend to offer less in the way of KYC checks and are subject to reduced regulations. Interest rates also tend to be lowered on DeFi platforms.

Fixed Vs Flexible

Crypto exchanges typically offer two types of loan: fixed and flexible. Fixed loans lock your deposit in at a predetermined rate for a set period (usually 3 months/90 days). The reward for leaving your crypto alone is higher interest payments.

Flexible lending and borrowing crypto is more aligned with a savings account at your local bank. Users can withdraw crypto at any time but the rate of return is lower. Gemini is a flexible crypto lending provider, paying a daily APY so you can earn compound interest on your coins.

Automation

There are two main types of crypto lending platforms: automated and manual. Automated platforms, such as Celsius, generate dividends for lenders as soon as they deposit assets into the platform’s digital wallet. This is a hassle-free option for users seeking passive income.

Conversely, manual crypto lending sites require you to personally stake and manage your assets to generate dividends. Borrowers set their requirements, from interest rates and the coins for collateral to loan volume and duration. Investors can then choose to accept or negotiate the terms of the loan.

How to start crypto lending

Coin Offering

Not all cryptos are available on every platform. Also, each crypto has a different yield. For example, the yield on stablecoins typically ranges from 10% to 18% while standard crypto tokens come in at between 3% and 8%. It may be worth testing out several crypto lending platforms to diversify your investments and to spread risk.

Other considerations include:

Final Word On Crypto Lending

Crypto lending offers a means of generating additional income for holders of popular tokens while for borrowers, services offer fast access to cash. There are, of course, serious risks to take into account, especially with the volatility of the cryptocurrency market. Also, some believe that the industry is in a bubble so caution is advised.

Use this guide to get started crypto lending, from choosing from the list of best exchanges to understanding the risks involved.

FAQs

What Countries Is Crypto Lending Available In?

Crypto lending is available in many jurisdictions around the world, including Australia, Canada, India, Singapore, Germany, the UK, and the USA. Despite this, some regulators in Europe and further afield are clamping down on websites with Indonesia’s Financial Services Authority identifying and blocking more than 300 illegal peer-to-peer lending platforms in 2019. In addition, only a limited number of providers hold reputable regulatory licenses.

Is Crypto Lending Halal Or Haram?

Investing and using cryptos such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) is generally considered Halal, so long as you are not gambling with your tokens. With that said, some believe that crypto lending, given the interest rate element, is considered Haram. It could be worth speaking to your local religious leader before getting started.

Is Crypto Lending Worth It?

Some spectators believe that the market size of crypto lending and borrowing is expected to reach $20.3 billion by 2027. Platforms can provide much-needed access to cash for borrowers while lenders can generate returns from tokens sitting idle. Of course, the cryptocurrency market is notoriously volatile so beginners should conduct thorough research before taking out a loan.

How Does Crypto Lending & Borrowing Work?

Individuals with tokens, such as Bitcoin, can loan their digital assets to others or put down their coins as collateral to get a fiat loan. Both centralised and decentralised platforms facilitate crypto lending services. Use our guide to finding the best providers with definitions of key terms explained.

Is Crypto Lending Safe?

Like most things, crypto lending is not risk-free. Prospective users should carefully consider the risks before getting started. It’s also important to choose a reliable platform with positive customer ratings.

What Are The Top 5 Crypto Lending Platforms In 2021?

There are several leading options on the market. Celsius is among the best with high lending rates on both stablecoins and standard cryptos. The platform offers 41 lendable coins including XRP and USDT. YouHodler is another popular option with high yields and close to 25 available coins. BlockFi is the largest crypto lending platform in the USA but has fewer lendable coins. Alternatively, Crypto.com, based in Hong Kong, offers among the highest yield rates and a large choice of coins but limits investment periods to 90 days. Other popular borrowing platforms include Genesis, Fulcrum, Nexo, Nuo, Gate.io and FTX. Solutions offer competitive lending rates, among staking pools, free aggregator calculators, micro lending, and more.