BlockFi vs Celsius: Fees, Rates, Security, Competitors

Over recent years, cryptocurrencies have gained massive popularity and have achieved the status of an easy money-making alternative. There are many crypto platforms to choose from to purchase, store, or perform different activities with your crypto funds.

However, among the many platforms that can be used for storing your crypto funds, it’s rather challenging to choose the best one for your purposes. Furthermore, holding cryptocurrencies is not the same as holding cash due to high volatility. Nevertheless, to profit the users from holding cryptos, some crypto exchanges allow you to hold crypto on deposit and earn interest like a savings account. There is also the possibility of availing loan or borrowing cash from certain crypto exchanges by putting your crypto up as collateral. 

Amongst the most popular platforms that allow you to earn interest over deposited crypto and borrow cash in return for crypto as collateral are Blockfi and Celsius. In this article, we will compare these in terms of fees, rates, and security. We also provide a brief comparison with these of their competitors.

Product Overview


Lately, crypto savings platforms have gained popularity because of the significantly higher returns offered on your investments than traditional banks. These platforms also provide lucrative opportunities for investors looking to diversify their portfolios, earn returns on idle crypto, or generate returns during crypto winter or stock market decline. Below we provide a brief overview of both products.

BlockFi


it is a cryptocurrency custodian that allows its customers to take out USD loans against their cryptocurrencies. Founded in August 2017 and based in Jersey City, New Jersey, BlockFi was created to provide credit services to markets with limited access to simple financial products.

They use Gemini, a New York trust company regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services, as their primary custodian. They have significant institutional backing from investors such as Valar Ventures, Galaxy Digital, Fidelity, Akuna Capital, SoFi, and Coinbase Ventures.

Offered services include cryptocurrency savings; interest-bearing accounts named the BlockFi Interest Accounts (BIA), loans, and trading. BlockFi also offers the first Visa Credit Card that pays rewards in Bitcoin. You can also trade cryptocurrencies on BlockFi.

They currently offer 22 (7 available for only Non-US clients) cryptocurrencies for trading. To date, BlockFi supports 1M+ users worldwide, containing over $10B+ in assets. Additionally, the platform has $700M+ in crypto interest and rewards earned.

Some of the key statistics of BlockFi are as follows:


  • $10B+ assets under management
  • 1M+ users
  • 22 coins supported
  • 66 crypto-to-crypto trading pairs supported

Advantages of BlockFi

  • No native tokens to get the highest rates
  • Available worldwide, except in sanctioned or watch-listed countries
  • No lock-up periods & great staking rewards
  • No min or max on BlockFi Interest Accounts
  • No monthly fees

Disadvantages of BlockFi

  • Interest paid out monthly (competitors offer weekly or even daily payouts)
  • Services are limited in several states
  • A limited number of coins supported
  • Only one free withdrawal per month
  • High loan fees

Celsius


Founded in 2017 and headquartered in Hoboken, NJ, Celsius is available in most countries worldwide. It is a custodian crypto wallet that also offers interest-bearing savings accounts, borrowing, and payments with digital and fiat assets.

Celsius also offers a product called CelPay that allows users to send and receive crypto for free. It further facilitates purchasing of crypto directly with a bank account or credit card and allows swapping of cryptocurrencies. Furthermore, it offers crypto-backed loans for as low as 1% APR and has interest accounts up to 18.63% APY on deposited cryptocurrency. However, Celsius does not offer any crypto trading features.

The system’s backbone is the CEL token, an ERC-20 token used within the platform to generate interest, take out loans, send peer-to-peer payments, and much more. Celsius does not use cold storage to store user assets as customer funds. Instead, the platform uses a third-party custodian service, Fireblocks, to secure user assets and employs hot wallet insurance to insure against the loss of user funds.

The Celsius Network supports 40 cryptocurrencies to borrow against, 50 for interest account deposits, and 13 that can be purchased via a third party. To date, Celsius Network supports 1.7M+ users worldwide, containing over $21.6B in assets. Additionally, the platform has processed $8.20B in loans and facilitated nearly $5.5B in loan originations (about $11.9B at today’s BTC prices)

Key Statistics:

  • $21.6B assets under management
  • 1.7M+ users worldwide
  • Available in 150+ countries globally
  • 40+ crypto assets supported

Advantages of Celsius

  • Compound interest paid out weekly 
  • Free withdrawals
  • Good Loyalty Program
  • Instant, fee-free payments using CelPay
  • Easy to use platform- good for beginners

Disadvantages of Celsius

  • A limited number of coins supported
  • Minimal educational resources
  • Doesn’t have its own crypto exchange – limited trading via third-party vendors
  • U.S. residents don’t have access to the CEL token or its benefits

BlockFi vs Celsius: Which is a better choice?


Below we provide a detailed comparison of the two platforms by comparing the different features offered by each.

Celsius Network Overview

  • Headquarters in Hoboken, New Jersey
  • Security level is high
  • Not insured
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Easy to use platform- good for beginners
  • Highest interest rate (18.63%) is with SNX
  • Lowest interest rate is 0.50%
  • You can borrow, lend, stake and pay via Celsius Network
  • Celsius Network accepts fiat payments
  • Celsius has a native token (CEL)

BlockFi Overview

  • Headquarters in New Jersey, USA
  • Security level is medium
  • Insured via Gemini
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Highest interest rate (11%) is with MATIC
  • Lowest interest rate is 0.10%
  • You create interest accounts, trade and loan on BlockFi
  • BlockFi accepts fiat payments
  • BlockFi doesn’t have a native token

Beginner Friendliness


Both Celsius Network and BlockFi are focused on making borrowing and lending crypto as easy as possible. They offer mobile apps that enable users to borrow, lend easily, and access other features. Celsius Network is more beginner-friendly during the initial loan application process, which can take as little as 60 seconds. Blockfi is a good option if you are looking to test out crypto lending for the first time. There are no lockup periods when putting down some crypto collateral when lending on BlockFi—enabling users to move their crypto in and out of loan positions more quickly.

Trust & Security


Both platforms outsource the custody of their users’ crypto assets to third parties. In Celsius Network, crypto assets are secured by BitGo, whereas, BlockFi outsources users’ funds to Gemini. Both BitGo and Gemini offer high-end security in the crypto-assets space. However, in the first quarter of 2020, BlockFi’s marketing department was hacked, resulting in some client data being stolen. The hack was possible because a BlockFi employee was hacked via the SIM swap attack. Concerning the security of funds, the attempted hack failed, and BlockFi’s customer funds stayed secure.

On the other hand, Celsius Network has not faced any serious security incidents. Both Celsius and BlockFi have backers such as Coinbase, Voyager, the Litecoin Foundation, and many Hedge-funds and institutional investors such as Kenetic Capital, Sofi Invest, and Winklevoss Capital (Founders of Gemini).

They’re well-capitalized and supported with trustworthy stellar teams, audits, and partnerships. There are almost zero chances of them suffering losses from hacking as they use top-tier security procedures like Cold Storage and forced-collateral liquidation. Also, they both have decent insurance as well.

Key Security Features


Celsius Network

  • Security ISO certified & Two-factor Authentication
  • Whitelisted withdrawal addresses
  • “HODL mode” which can be activated to restrict withdrawals
  • Fireblocks and PrimeTrust (their custodians) both provide insurance on digital assets held by Celsius (Fireblocks are very reliable and work with industry leaders, for example Revolut.)
  • Borrowers are required to post collateral of up to 150% (50%, 75% is also possible)
  • $30M in insurance for assets stored in the Celsius wallet app

BlockFi

  • Majority of assets are kept in cold storage
  • All “hot wallet” storage servers have a security rating of FIPS 140-2 Level 3 or higher
  • SOC 2 Type 1 security compliant
  • Digital asset insurance provided by Gemini protects against the loss of cryptocurrency in case of security breaches, fraudulent transfers, or employee theft
  • Two-factor authentication
  • Asset balance sheets only get lent to trusted institutions and corporations
  • “Allowlisting” allows you to ban all cryptocurrency withdrawals, or restrict withdrawals to a list of known addresses onlyBlockFi accepts fiat payments

Software


Both Celsius Network and BlockFi offer web and mobile applications. Through web applications, users can easily access these platforms for borrowing and lending crypto via any operating system.

Sign-up Process


Both crypto lending platforms offer almost similar sign-up processes. Initially, the users are required to provide simple information, like their name and an email address. However, a complete account verification process (KYC) is performed to access features like loans and interest accounts.

Celsius Network has created a streamlined application process that allows users to gain access to loans in minutes rather than days. In most situations, account verification on Celsius Network will take a few minutes. However, the process can take up to 24 hours in rare cases where the process cannot be automated entirely due to an issue with one of the documents or some of the information provided by the user.

Available Cryptocurrencies


Celsius Network is the clear winner when it comes to the variety of crypto assets accessible to users. BlockFi supports 22 cryptos (tokens and coins), out of which seven are only available to non-US clients. On the other hand, 40+ different crypto assets are accessible to users on Celsius Network.

Additionally, Celsius Network also has its native token called CEL. This additional token allows Celsius Network users to gain access to other features, like higher interest rates on their crypto holdings and lower rates of interest for loans. E.g., interest rates on loans are 0.7% when payments are made via CEL and 1.0% when payments are made in traditional fiat currencies.

Highest Interest Rates Available and Lock-in Terms


Celsius Network provides higher interest rates to its users. However, these rates need to be understood in how they can be attained. Firstly, the interest rates offered to Celsius Network users are much higher for stablecoins than traditional cryptocurrencies. Interest rates paid out for traditional cryptocurrencies are usually less than 5%, while the rates for stablecoin interest accounts are 9.32% or more. Additionally, the highest rate of return on your holdings is 18.63% if interest payments are received in the platform’s proprietary CEL token or 14.05% if received in the same kind.

BlockFi has lower interest rates for its interest account holders; however, BlockFi provides users with much more flexibility for deposits and withdrawals. While Celsius Network users must lock up their crypto holdings for months, BlockFi users can move their crypto assets around much more frequently.

Standout Features


The use of the proprietary token, CEL, is Celsius Network’s standout feature. Other than allowing users to gain access to cheaper loans and more lucrative interest accounts, holders of CEL also get a share of the profits earned by the Celsius Network regularly.

For BlockFi, the main standout feature is the integrated exchange platform. The exchange allows users to easily switch between different crypto assets and manage their overall crypto portfolio without moving funds to another crypto financial institution. Another feature is its Bitcoin Reward Visa Card.

Better Yields


Since Celsius supports more cryptocurrencies that can be lent out or be staked as collateral for a loan, it offers better rates for these than BlockFi.

On the other hand, BlockFi currently supports a limited number of stablecoins and cryptos, and the rates are pretty competitive with one another. Typically, Celsius’s Stablecoin rates are relatively higher (30% or higher than BlockFi’s), and Bitcoin rates are moderately higher. Still, when it comes to Ethereum and Litecoin, Celsius is just a hair higher in their interest rates (0.05%/year).

Therefore, it is right to say that if you have small amounts to put into Crypto-Lending, then you should opt for just using Celsius. However, if you have lots of funds, you may want to diversify some of the Litecoin or Ethereum you may be lending out into BlockFi, just to diversify more.

Fees Structure


Both Celsius and BlockFi don’t charge much in terms of fees. Celsius doesn’t seem to charge any fees whatsoever. BlockFi has a few, but they aren’t that much of an issue. 

If you’re going to take out a crypto-backed loan, then Celsius is the better option as they do not charge an origination fee as BlockFi does. When you take out a Crypto-Backed loan, Celsius will not charge you an up-front fee. In contrast, BlockFi will charge currently around 2% of the loan amount up-front that either will be paid in the Crypto-collateral you deposited or will be taken out of the loan amount you receive. 

BlockFi also now charges a small withdrawal fee, but it’s generally only $5-10.

Sign-up Promotions


Celsius offers a variety of easy to get promotions, including a $50 sign-up bonus and various coin-specific promotions. BlockFi offers just one solid sign-up promotion offering up to $250 in bitcoin as a bonus. Overall it’s smart to use both of these platforms and take advantage of their sign-up bonuses, especially if you want to diversify your risk.

Social Media Stats

Social Network User Distribution of BlockFi
Social Network User Distribution of Celsius

Interest Generation


Returns are generated by lending out staked digital assets to institutional and retail borrowers. Celsius aims to return up to 80% of the revenues from lending out staked assets every week. Due to the rate of returns, it is possible to achieve change nearly every day in the lending market. Therefore the team adjusts the interest rates on their digital assets every week.

BlockFi generates interest on assets held in Interest Accounts by lending them to trusted institutional and corporate borrowers. To ensure loan performance, BlockFi lends crypto on over-collateralized terms (similar to the structure of our crypto-backed loans). Furthermore, BlockFi’s automated risk management system monitors positions 24/7, providing the same trusted risk management system used with BlockFi’s crypto-backed loans. BlockFi can terminate a borrow quickly and manages reserve balances to facilitate clients’ withdrawals from Interest Accounts. BlockFi ensures that the reserves are stored securely with their primary custodian Gemini, a New York trust company regulated by NYDFS.

Celsius Loyalty Program


Rewards tiers are based on the proportion of holdings held in CEL tokens. You can earn a higher reward rate if you earn your rewards in CEL. You can choose which coins you want to earn in CEL individually. Earning rewards in CEL is currently not available in the United States.

BlockFi Interest Account (BIA)


BlockFi’s interest-bearing account is named as BlockFi Interest Account (BIA). You can earn interest in BTC, ETH, LTC, USDC, GUSD, and PAX. No minimum balance is required.

CurrencyAmountAPY*
BTC (Tier 1)0 – 0.10 BTC4.5%
BTC (Tier 2)0.10 – 0.35 BTC1.0%
BTC (Tier 3)> 0.35 BTC0.1%
ETH (Tier 1)0 – 1.5 ETH5%
ETH (Tier 2)> 1.5 – 5 ETH1.5%
ETH (Tier 3)> 5 ETH0.25%
LTC (Tier 1)0 – 20 LTC3.50%
LTC (Tier 2)> 20 – 100 LTC1%
LTC (Tier 3)> 100 LTC0.1%
LINK (Tier 1)0 – 100 LINK2.50%
LINK (Tier 2)> 100 – 500 LINK0.20%
LINK (Tier 3)> 500 LINK0.1%
USDC (Tier 1)0 – 20,000 USDC8.75%
USDC (Tier 2)> 20,000 USDC7.75%
GUSD (Tier 1)0 – 20,000 GUSD8.75%
GUSD (Tier 2)> 20,000 GUSD7.75%
PAX (Tier 1)0 – 20,000 PAX8.75%
PAX (Tier 2)> 20,000 PAX7.75%
PAXG (Tier 1)0 – 1.5 PAXG3.25%
PAXG (Tier 2)1.5 – 5 PAXG0.2%
PAXG (Tier 3)> 5 PAXG0.1%
USDT (Tier 1)0 – 20,000 USDT9.25%
USDT (Tier 2)> 20,000 USDT8.25%
BUSD (Tier 1)0 – 20,000 BUSD8.75%
BUSD (Tier 2)> 20,000 BUSD7.75%
DAI (Tier 1)0 – 20,000 DAI8.75%
DAI (Tier 2)> 20,000 DAI7.75%
UNI (Tier 1)0 – 1003.25%
UNI (Tier 2)100 – 500 UNI0.2%
UNI (Tier 3)> 500 UNI0.1%
BAT (Tier 1)0 – 4,000 BAT1.0%
BAT (Tier 2)> 4,000 – 20,000 BAT0.2%
BAT (Tier 3)> 20,000 BAT0.1%

APYs reflect effective yield based on monthly compounding. The actual yield will vary based on account activity and compliance with BlockFi’s terms and conditions. Interest in BIAs is paid out monthly in Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin, USD Coin, or Gemini Dollar. You get to choose which coin interest is paid in. Choosing the payout coin is that you can diversify your portfolio across various coins.

BlockFi Bitcoin Rewards Visa Credit Card


BlockFi recently launched a Bitcoin Rewards Visa Credit Card. Similar to cash-back credit cards, the BlockFi Visa will earn you rewards in Bitcoin. The card is set to earn a 1.5% rewards rate in Bitcoin on all card purchases with no annual fee. You’ll earn 3.5% back in Bitcoin during your first three months with the card. 

What Advantages does Celsius have over BlockFi?


Celsius has no loan origination fees, withdrawal fees, or other fees whatsoever. While BlockFi has a loan origination fee and small withdrawal fees. Other than fees, Celsius also has much more cryptocurrencies available for deposit/purchase, and they offer interest and loans on tons of those assets at exceptionally good rates. Furthermore, Celsius Network has better (rapid and knowledgeable) support and communication than BlockFi.

What Advantages does BlockFi have over Celsius?


While Celsius has more advantages than BlockFi, this doesn’t mean BlockFi doesn’t have advantages. Their cryptocurrency exchange partner has lower fees for buying cryptocurrency, so if you don’t want to buy and then transfer to one of these platforms, then BlockFi may be better for you. The BlockFi Bitcoin reward card is another advantage of earning rewards in Bitcoin.

Comparison with Competitors: Gemini, Nexo, Voyager and Crypto.com


This section provides a brief comparison of BlockFi and Celsius with some of the leading competitor platforms. Namely, Nexo, Voyager and Crypto.com.

Nexo vs BlockFi vs Celsius 


Centralized Crypto Savings & Lending Platforms (CeFi) such as Celsius, Nexo, and BlockFi are the most reputable and best-known in this space. You can convert your fiat into crypto stablecoins and earn up to 12-20% interest on these CeFi platforms. Below we provide a comparison of these platforms.

Nexo was founded in 2017 and is a subsidiary of a company called Credissimo, a company that has been in the lending business since 2007. Hence, it is quite right to say that Nexo is backed by a team with a wealth of experience. Nexo allows you to buy and exchange crypto, earn interest and get crypto loans. It also offers Nexo debit cards in selected jurisdictions.

Celsius Network

  • Celsius has weekly payouts
  • Highest interest rate (18.63%) with SNX
  • The highest rate (9.32%) with stablecoins
  • No lock-up period
  • Requires KYC
  • Withdrawals are forever free
  • Native CEL token

BlockFi

  • BlockFi has monthly payouts
  • Highest interest rate (11%) with MATIC
  • Highest rate (7.25%) with stablecoins
  • No lock-up period
  • Requires KYC
  • 1 free withdrawal per calendar month
  • No native token

Nexo

  • Nexo has daily payouts
  • Highest interest rate (36%) with AXS
  • Highest rate (17%) with stablecoins
  • No lock-up period
  • Requires KYC
  • 1-5 free withdrawals (depends on your tier)
  • Native NEXO token

BlockFi vs Celsius vs Gemini


Gemini Trust Company LLC is a crypto exchange that was founded in 2014. It offers a secure, compliant crypto exchange platform to buy, sell and trade. Currently, the platform supports 106 cryptos and 8 fiat currencies and is considered an excellent option for both novice and experienced traders.

Users can also enjoy various products and services, including a cryptocurrency rewards credit card, the opportunity to earn interest on crypto, a built-in hot wallet, and the option to pay their favorite retailers with crypto. Gemini Earn allows you to earn up to 8.90% APY on your cryptos. It also has a crypto lending program. Additionally, the platform also provides strong account security and compliance measures.

Celsius Network

  • Celsius has weekly payouts
  • Highest interest rate (18.63%) with SNX
  • Highest rate (9.32%) with stablecoins
  • No lock-up period
  • Requires KYC
  • Withdrawals are forever free
  • Native CEL token

BlockFi

  • BlockFi has monthly payouts
  • Highest interest rate (11%) with MATIC
  • Highest rate (7.25%) with stablecoins
  • No lock-up period
  • Requires KYC
  • 1 free withdrawal per calendar month
  • No native token

Gemini

  • Gemini has daily payouts
  • Highest interest rate (8%) with 1inch
  • Highest rate (6.90%) with stablecoins
  • No lock-up period
  • Requires KYC
  • 10 free withdrawals per calendar month
  • Native GUSD token

BlockFi vs Celsius vs Voyager


Voyager, founded in 2017, it’s a publicly-traded company with headquarters in New York. The cryptocurrency platform offers commission-free trading on 100+ digital assets. It is a crypto broker that offers a sleek mobile-first trading platform. With Voyager, investors can buy and sell dozens of cryptocurrencies. They can also access various features, like interest-bearing crypto savings accounts and unique crypto rewards programs, all without the high fees found at other firms.

Celsius Network

  • Celsius has weekly payouts
  • Highest interest rate (18.63%) with SNX
  • Highest rate (9.32%) with stablecoins
  • No lock-up period
  • Requires KYC
  • Withdrawals are forever free
  • Native CEL token

BlockFi

  • BlockFi has monthly payouts
  • Highest interest rate (11%) with MATIC
  • Highest rate (7.25%) with stablecoins
  • No lock-up period
  • Requires KYC
  • 1 free withdrawal per calendar month
  • No native token

Voyager

  • Voyager has monthly payouts
  • Highest interest rate (12%) with Polkadot
  • Highest rate (9%) with stablecoins
  • No lock-up period
  • Requires KYC
  • Flat fee depending on the crypto & balance
  • Native Voyager token

Crypto.com vs Celsius vs BlockFi


Launched in 2016, Crypto.com is amongst the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges with 10M+ active users. Starting off as a crypto-only exchange, it has evolved into a more comprehensive platform, offering crypto payments, borrowing and lending services, a non-custodial wallet, the Crypto.org blockchain with native CRO, and an NFT marketplace. The exchange is headquartered in Hong Kong but is accessible all around the world.

Celsius Network

  • Celsius has weekly payouts
  • Highest interest rate (18.63%) with SNX
  • Highest rate (9.32%) with stablecoins
  • No lock-up period
  • Requires KYC
  • Withdrawals are forever free
  • Native CEL token

BlockFi

  • BlockFi has monthly payouts
  • Highest interest rate (11%) with MATIC
  • Highest rate (7.25%) with stablecoins
  • No lock-up period
  • Requires KYC
  • 1 free withdrawal per calendar month
  • No native token

Crypto.com

  • Crypto.com has weekly payouts
  • Highest interest rate (14%) with Polygon
  • Highest rate (10%) with stablecoins
  • No lock-up period
  • Requires KYC
  • Depends on the crypto
  • Native CRO token

Conclusion


Celsius Network tends to have many attributes that make it seem like the straightforward platform of choice for more advanced cryptocurrency users. Higher interest rates are available through deposits of many more crypto assets that simply cannot be overlooked.

The flexibility of deposits and withdrawals on BlockFi is a key feature that must be factored into the equation. While most users may be attracted to the many features offered by Celsius Network, those who are just looking to dip their toes into the crypto lending space for the first time may find BlockFi’s flexible terms more suited for their needs.

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