People have been taking loans as long as banks have existed. Whether it’s opening a business, paying bills, or buying that one gadget that you wanted for a long time, loans can come in handy to bring your goals closer. Paying back the loan can also be easier than saving money as you can break it up into manageable chunks.
With the rise in popularity of crypto, crypto loans are also becoming a popular way to afford a big purchase, or get fiat without selling your crypto assets. In this article, we are taking a look at some of the most popular crypto loan services and what they can offer to crypto enthusiasts in return for holding onto their crypto.
What is BlockFi? Founded in 2017, BlockFi is a lending service without an affiliation to banks. They offer standard functions such as buying, selling, and storing crypto but besides that, users can also take a low-interest loan or compound interest on their crypto assets.
Both co-founders Zac Prince and Flori Marquez have had years of experience behind them when they started BlockFi in New Jersey. Zac has a background in consumer lending and Flori has worked in portfolio management. Their goal is to facilitate mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies and give crypto investors the same opportunities that traditional investors have had for decades.
Among their milestones are raising $350 million in the most recent funding round, launching a Visa credit card that allows users to earn up to 3,5% in BTC on every purchase, and, most recently, joining the list of companies applying for physically-backed Bitcoin funds.
As we focus more on loan services in this article, let’s see what conditions does BlockFi offers. You will need to have crypto assets as your collateral that would cover at least 50% of your loan. Loans are issued in US Dollar (USD), Gemini dollar (GUSD), or USD Coin (USDC). Collateral funds are accepted in Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), or Litecoin (LTC).
The minimum loan amount is $10,000 USD. Monthly payments on loans can be made via wire transfer or stablecoin. If the value of your collateral drops, you will receive an email with a warning and a recommended course of action. If the value rises, you can release the excess collateral if applicable. More information about loan conditions can be found in BlockFi Help Center.
BlockFi fees on loans include a 2% origination fee. The annual percentage rate (APR) is between 4.5% and 9.75%. The final rate will depend on the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio, more collateral means less APR percentage.
What is Cream Finance? It is a lending protocol that operates on the Ethereum blockchain and is a part of yearn.finance ecosystem. C.R.E.A.M. stands for “Crypto Rules Everything Around Me”. The platform lets users get crypto-backed loans as well as earn interest on lending their own assets. Cream Finance is also an AMM (autonomous market maker) and lets users buy and sell crypto on the platform.
This platform strives to follow DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization) system and encourages self-governance. For this purpose, CREAM is used as a governance token and helps users to lend, borrow, and stake assets as well as vote on which assets appear on the platform.
Just last month, there was a flash loan attack on Cream Finance with hackers stealing over $100 million worth of assets. This is just another case of a bug that was exploited and it’s fixed now. As far as can be understood from the platform’s official Twitter account, user funds affected by this hack will be paid back via network fees.
To take a loan in crypto on Cream Finance, you will need to deposit collateral in crypto that is greater in value than the crypto you are borrowing. This is called over-collateralization. For example, you can borrow USDT in place of your BTC, therefore, get some fiat to spend while also profiting from an upward trend of your crypto. The limit on funds you can borrow depends on the crypto that is used as collateral. The list of crypto and corresponding collateral factors is available here.
These loans are available without KYC or credit checks which are more attractive than traditional bank loans. There is also no time limit on when you have to pay back the loan as long as your collateral doesn’t drop in price. If it does and its value is less than, for example, allowed 60% of collateral factor, a part of it might be liquidated to supply the difference.
There is an option for advanced users to take out a flash loan without any collateral (this is the feature that came under attack recently). The fee to take out a flash loan is just 0.03%. APY on a regular loan will depend on the crypto used as collateral. APY is displayed individually for each user and each asset on the main dashboard of the app.
NOWLoans by ChangeNOW
ChangeNOW is a non-custodial instant cryptocurrency exchange that has been operating since 2017. They offer an instant exchange on 350+ crypto assets and users can also store their funds in the crypto wallet on the platform. ChangeNOW has also launched its own NOW utility token that helps operate the platform. It exists on both Ethereum and Binance Smart Chain.
The convenience of ChangeNOW is that most operations do not require registration or verification meaning any user can exchange their funds without a hassle. They also do not store your funds or ask for your private keys.
ChangeNOW has been partnering with many other reliable services such as Binance, Uniswap, Atomic and Cake wallets. They have iOS and Android apps that have been reviewed by thousands of users proving a good standing in the crypto community.
Any user registered on ChangeNOW can take out a loan. NOWLoans is another service that has been added to this multi-faceted platform earlier this year. Loans can be issued in as little as 5 minutes and are provided in USDT or USDC. For collateral, users can deposit a lot of different crypto assets including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, DogeCoin, Chainlink, and more.
For all of the collateral funds provided, there is a liquidation price (LP). If the crypto you provided drops and reaches that price, it will be liquidated. The minimum amount in collateral starts at $100 worth of crypto.
NOWLoans have 50% LTV (loan-to-value) and a 10% APR (annual percentage rate). A convenient loan calculator is available to see exactly what fees will need to be paid before you deposit your collateral and take out a loan. If you close your loan earlier than 30 days, an additional $100 will be charged as a closing fee.
Making a Profit on Your Loan
Crypto is a unique space where taking a loan might actually mean that you make a profit instead of paying more in interest rates. As ChangeNOW loan page has described, a user can deposit their BTC and get USDT in return. Then buy more BTC with the USDT received. Hold that BTC while the price follows an upward trend then sell it with profit. Use that money to buy back the BTC used as collateral for a loan. Thus, even after paying APR, users will still be left with a profit as long as the price of BTC has risen enough.
Also, for most of the loan services, liquidity is also needed. Even without taking a loan, you can let others borrow your crypto and delegate any risks of users not paying back to the service itself. In the meantime, you just accumulate the interest making your crypto work for you.
However, as with any financial decision, it’s important to measure the risks and only invest what you can afford to lose.