BlockFi vs Gemini: Fess, Rates, Security

With the unprecedented attention gathered by cryptocurrencies and DeFi, there has been an explosive growth in the number of crypto platforms available that facilitate users not only for the sale and purchase of cryptocurrencies but also to lend and borrow.

Due to high volatility, holding cryptocurrencies is not the same as holding cash. 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 Gemini. 

In this article, we will compare these in terms of different features like fees, interest rates, credit card capability, etc. 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 support 22 (7 available for only Non-US clients) cryptocurrencies for earning interest and 66 crypto-to-crypto trading pairs. To date, BlockFi supports 1M+ users worldwide, containing over $10B+ in assets. Additionally, the platform has $700M+ in crypto interest and rewards earned.

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

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 eight 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 paying their favourite 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. As of writing, Gemini has 30B+ crypto under custody with 13.6M+ verified users. It is available in 60+ countries. Currently, it supports eight fiat currencies and 106 crypto pairs. To provide their customers in case of fund loss due to theft and other circumstances, Gemini provides insurance and currently, there is $200M in insurance coverage.

Advantages of Gemini

  • Strong security measures & Learning hub
  • Over 80+ cryptocurrencies to choose from
  • Simple interface for beginners, combined with more advanced options for active traders
  • Available in all U.S. states
  • Earn up to 8.05% APY with Gemini Earn
  • Trading on both web and mobile apps
  • Insured against certain unauthorised withdrawals through private plans

Disadvantages of Gemini

  • High fees based on the market price
  • It may be a bit complicated for true beginners (this app is very straightforward, though)
  • Difficult to transfer cryptocurrencies between outside wallets by design
  • No live customer support
  • No anonymity while using cryptocurrencies

BlockFi vs Gemini: Which is a better choice?


Both BlockFi and Gemini are beginner-friendly platforms and have a straightforward user interface mobile apps. 

Some of the key features of BlockFi are:


  • With BlockFi, you can earn interest over your cryptocurrency.
  • You can also take out USD loans against your cryptos.
  • It facilitates the trading of cryptocurrencies. However, currently, a limited number of coins are supported.
  • BlockFi has launched a Bitcoin Rewards Visa Credit card that lets you earn rewards in Bitcoin on each spend.

Some of the key features of Gemini are:


  • The Gemini Earn program offers users to earn interest on their net balance of certain crypto coins. The rate of interest varies from asset to asset.
  • Gemini also provides public API keys that can be used for connecting to other services and tools. E.g., in case you wish to automate your trades, this would be helpful.
  • Gemini also offers the Gemini Pay service. The company has partnered up with more than 30,000 retailers. As a result, you can purchase goods using your Gemini account and its funds.

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

Gemini Overview

  • Headquarters in New York, USA
  • Security level is high
  • Insured
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Easy to use platform- good for beginners
  • Highest interest rate (8.05%) is with 1inch
  • Lowest interest rate is 0.50%
  • You can store, stake, trade and pay via Gemini Exchange
  • Gemini Network accepts fiat payments
  • Gemini has a native token (GUSD)
  • Spread is 0.5%

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 loans on BlockFi
  • BlockFi accepts fiat payments
  • BlockFi doesn’t have a native token
  • Spread is between 0.7-1.5%

Supporting Crypto Assets & LTV:


Both BlockFi and Gemini try to satisfy different needs of all kinds of crypto investors by offering a wide variety of crypto assets that can be invested to earn interest and grow their portfolios. 

BlockFi supports a total of 22 different crypto assets. Out of these, 10 crypto-assets can be used as collateral to get loans. It also offers Interest Accounts that yield interest over deposited cryptos. Supported assets include at least 6 of the primary coins, including BTC and ETH, and Stablecoins like USDC and Gemini’s GUSD. BlockFi offers three LTV options for crypto-backed loans. Investors can borrow at 20%, 35% or 50% LTV ratio. However, it should be remembered that the LTV chosen determines the interest rate that will be paid for the loan.

On the other hand, Gemini is one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency platforms and supports various crypto assets. It supports 70+ different crypto assets that traders can deposit to get interest yields. These assets include BTC, ETH, LTC, and a wide variety of ERC-20 tokens like 1INCH, AAVE, BNT, and DAI.

Security


Both of the platforms tend to be investor favorites as they are highly secure and tend to follow all the safety measures and US regulations. Along with that, security features like two-factor authentication are also adopted. Furthermore, they store their users’ funds either in cold storage or offline to keep them secure and out of the hacker’s reach. As a result, the chances of users’ funds getting stolen are minimized. Moreover, Gemini also provides security options for institutional traders, e.g., defined user access role permission for trading crypto or accessing the account. On the other hand, BlockFi has built a best-in-class compliance program to safeguard its user’s assets. Also, BlockFi is backed by industry-leading investors, including Valar Ventures, Morgan Creek Capital Management, Coinbase Ventures, etc. So you can trust the platform to have a sense that your funds are in safe hands.

Interest Rates, Lock-in Time, and Payouts:


As BlockFi and Gemini are among some of the largest crypto platforms, you can expect to get some of the highest interest yields upon depositing your crypto assets with either of the platforms.

By opening a BlockFi interest account, you can expect an interest yield of up to 7.25%, depending on the specific asset you deposit with the company and the tier level. Common digital currencies like BTC will earn you 4% APY, while the Stablecoins like USDC, BUSD, and GUSD will give you a higher yield of up to 7.25% APY.

BlockFi pays out the interest yields once at the beginning of every calendar month, but the interest on your assets will accrue daily. Additionally, the company does not have a lock-in period as you can withdraw your funds anytime you want. Also, the investors can keep earning from the deposited assets for up to 30 years.

Whereas Gemini offers investors a chance to earn up to 8.05% APY by depositing their digital coins with the company. Interest yields depend on the specific asset you deposit. For example, BTC earns 1.01% APY, ETH earns 1.26% APY, while 1INCH yields 8.02% APY. At the same time, stablecoins like GUSD earn up to6.90% APY, USDC 6.36% APY and TerraUSD yields 6.80% APY. When it comes to the Gemini payouts, the company will compound the interest yield daily to ensure you start earning after you deposit the assets. Additionally, it does not have any lock-in periods, meaning you can withdraw your funds anytime.

Fees


BlockFi doesn’t have any hidden charges or require minimum balances concerning the charged fees. You can instantly get a loan from the platform without waiting or paying high processing fees. On the contrary, Gemini doesn’t have any information about the fees it charges for a crypto-related loan. So we cannot say much about it.

You should never overlook the fees when choosing a cryptocurrency investment platform, as they will have a considerable impact on your overall experience and how much money you make.

Although BlockFi and Gemini try to keep the fees as low as possible and eliminate most of them, there are always some charges you need to know about, whether you are lending or borrowing.

BlockFi makes their fee very clear on their rates schedule. The most significant fee is the 2% origination fee standard for all crypto-backed loans. Hence, when you calculate the cost of getting a loan from BlockFi, you should add this fee to the actual interest rate you pay.

Gemini does not have any hidden fees, and since they do not offer any crypto-backed loans, there are no origination fees to worry about. However, the company charges transaction and convenience fees. E.g., when transacting anything less than $10, you must part with a $0.99 transaction fee.

Insurance


Because of the high volatility and risk associated with the crypto industry, it is always good to have some assurances that your funds will not be lost no matter what happens. Many crypto lending platforms now tend to offer various insurance schemes of which actual coverage differs from one to the other. While some companies have private insurance for user assets, others rely on their custodians for insurance coverage. 

BlockFi offers insurance coverage for its digital assets. However, unlike money kept in the bank, digital assets that BlockFi holds are not FDIC insured. Instead, the company relies on insurance from its custodian, Gemini. Gemini keeps 95% of the BlockFi digital assets in offline cold storage while the remaining 5% is held in hot wallets that the company insures with AON.

Besides being a custodian, Gemini is also an independent crypto trading and lending platform. Most of the cryptocurrency assets you deposit with Gemini will go to offline cold storage and hot wallet with commercial crime insurance. The coverage is by highly reputable third-party underwriters such as AON. 

Minimum Deposits & Withdrawal Limits


Most crypto lending platforms require a minimum deposit limit to earn interest yield or borrow against the assets. However, neither BlockFi nor Gemini have any such restrictions. BlockFi does not have any minimum deposit requirements, and neither does the company require the investors to maintain a specific number of assets in their account.

However, you need to have some assets in the interest account to earn yields, and the actual number of assets you have also determined the yield you will earn. E.g., investors with 0 to 0.10 BTC in their interest accounts will earn a 4% APY yield, while those with over 0.35 BTC earn 0.10% APY. BlockFi allows you to withdraw up to 100 BTC every seven days due to the withdrawal limit.

Investors can withdraw up to 5,000 ETH every week for other digital assets like ETH, while Stablecoin holders can withdraw up to $1 million every seven days. Gemini does not have a minimum deposit requirement whether you have an institutional or individual account. The company also allows you to withdraw up to $100,000 per day once your account is fully verified.

Gemini Credit Card™* vs BlockFi Rewards Visa® Signature Card


Gemini Credit card offers chances of earning up to 3% back on dining, 2% on groceries, and 1% on all other purchases. Crypto rewards are paid out at the time of purchase and are automatically deposited into the cardholders’ Gemini account. Furthermore, there is no annual fee on the card. Cardholders will have access to customer support through various channels, including 24/7 live agent support.

As compared to this, the BlockFi Bitcoin Rewards Credit Card earns 0.25% back in crypto on all eligible trades, 1.5% for every purchase, and the ability to earn 2% back in crypto after $50,000 of annual spending.

The significant differentiating factor between the Gemini Credit Card and the BlockFi Credit Card is the timing of your crypto earnings. The Gemini Credit Card converts your rewards to cryptocurrency in real-time. In contrast, you earn cashback with the BlockFi Credit Card, which gets converted to crypto each month when your statement closes.

This makes a big difference depending on how quickly you would like to convert your rewards to crypto. If you’d like your rewards to be converted instantly, the Gemini Credit Card is better. The BlockFi Rewards Credit Card offers a better return on your everyday spending, but Gemini allows you to convert your rewards to any cryptocurrency available on Gemini’s platform.

Sign Up Bonuses:


upon signing up BlockFi offers bonuses through this promo link and funds your account to earn up to $250 in BTC. See the “Partner Offer” terms on this page for details.

Sign up through this promo link on Gemini, trade $500 within three days of signing up, and receive $50 in BTC. Alternatively, you can sign up through this referral link, buy or sell $100 within 30 days, and receive $10 in BTC.

BlockFi vs Gemini Reddit:


Both BlockFi and Gemini have active Reddit handles. BlockFi has 21.7k users, whereas Gemini has 19.2k users. Several discussions on different features of the two platforms can help users decide which platform is suitable for their needs. Some of the links to the discussion are shared below:

Comparison with leading competitors


In this section, we provide a brief comparison of the feature of Blockfi and Gemini with some of the leading competitors in the crypto space.

BlockFi vs Coinbase vs Gemini


(when we have three projects to compare, we should create like a pros & cons chart but instead of  focusing on writing, for example, ‘Blockfi supports 180+ cryptocurrencies’, we should focus more on text within the chart):

Gemini

  • Gemini has daily payouts
  • Highest interest rate (8.05%) with 1inch
  • Highest rate (6.90%) with stablecoins
  • No lock-up period
  • Requires KYC
  • 10 free withdrawals per calendar month
  • Native GUSD 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

Coinbase

  • It depends on the asset you have staked
  • Highest interest rate (5%) with Cosmos
  • Highest rate (0.15%) with stablecoins
  • No lock-up period
  • Requires KYC
  • Fees depend on the asset
  • No native token

BlockFi vs Voyager vs Gemini


Gemini

  • Gemini has daily payouts
  • Highest interest rate (8.05%) with 1inch
  • Highest rate (6.90%) with stablecoins
  • No lock-up period
  • Requires KYC
  • 10 free withdrawals per calendar month
  • Native GUSD 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 Dot
  • Highest rate (9%) with stablecoins
  • No lock-up period
  • Requires KYC
  • flat fee & depends on the asset
  • No native token

Celsius vs BlockFi vs Gemini


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

Conclusion 


BlockFi and Gemini are two of the most reliable crypto lending platforms. Besides offering some of the highest interest yields, the two companies allow investors to invest most of the common crypto assets and are also straightforward to use.  Other things that make the two platforms worth trying include having some highly secure systems and insurance coverage for their hot wallets. When deciding between the two top-tier companies, it will mostly boil down to your preferences as a crypto investor, given that each platform has its merits and shortcomings. 

Value for money is one of the most critical metrics that one should consider while comparing cryptocurrency exchanges, as it shows whether the brand offers acceptable quality compared to the price. In this case, Gemini has a higher value for money score than BlockFi. It’s also beneficial to look at the number of active users. If comparing Gemini vs BlockFi, the more significant active user base is gathered by Gemini, with around 13.6M users. Whereas BlockFi has everywhere 1M active user. 

If we look at the cryptocurrencies accepted by these exchanges, we can see that Gemini has a higher number of good crypto than BlockFi. It’s also essential to make a thorough cryptocurrency exchange fee comparison. Analyzing this metric, it’s clear that BlockFi has the lowest trading fee percentage of 0, while the second place goes to Gemini with a fee of Up to 1%.

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