Best Cryptocurrency Interest Account 2021: Highest Rates & Best Security
Cryptocurrency interest accounts are making a strong case for the disintermediation of traditional interest-bearing accounts by offering 10x to 64x more APY. Platforms like BlockFi and Celsius offer around 8.6-11% APY on stablecoins– dollar-pegged assets now capable of earning 10x to 30x more than their fiat pegs at the highest yield savings accounts.
For example, Ally Bank, an “industry-leading” bank, offers 0.5% annual interest on deposits. Comparatively, someone would earn more interest in 1 month on BlockFi or Celsius (8.6%/12 = 0.71% per month) with a stablecoin like USDC than an entire year on Ally.
If you’re reading this article, you’re likely deep in your path of due diligence to decide whether a cryptocurrency interest account is worthy of your assets– as you should. For our cryptocurrency aficionado readers, we view crypto interest accounts as bigger than just interest rates. As HODLers, the best options to us historically have been to sit on our digital assets as they lull and rock through waves of volatility. Cryptocurrency interest accounts allow us, and new cryptocurrency users, to park their assets somewhere that brings back returns comparable to the S&P 500 (average 10%–11% since 1926) and real estate (9.4%.)
Editor’s note: While high-interest rates sound super attractive, don’t be too quick to jump the gun. A cryptocurrency interest account is much riskier than a fiat savings account for reasons we’ll get below. Keep reading 🙂
In the following review of the best cryptocurrency interest accounts, we’ll explore the best crypto interest account on the market right now:
Are cryptocurrency interest accounts legit? Better yet, are they worth your time?
Let’s explore the studs and the duds, the highest APY cryptocurrency interest account, and the various cryptocurrency interest accounts sign-up promotions.
Why is this the best darn cryptocurrency interest account review on the Internet?
Not only have we interviewed the leadership teams of many of these companies first hand (Alex Mashinsky, Celsius Founder in 2018 and 2020, BlockFi via a representative in 2019), we’re also customers ourselves.
To gain an added element of objectivity, we have a community of CoinCentral Insiders that have used or regularly use these platforms themselves. To that end, anyone in the CoinCentral community is welcome to email us or reach out on social if their experiences are contrary to what we’ve written.
So, can you trust a platform like BlockFi, Celsius, Abra, or Crypto.com?
We look at a few primary criteria:
- Notable investors and supporting casts. A company’s investors and partnerships will help navigate regulatory complexities, sustainably grow the business, and at a minimum, stay solvent.
- Leadership team. Gone are the days where a cryptocurrency project’s success is detached from its leadership team. As the cryptocurrency ecosystem grows, so do the reputational stakes. Further, does each platform have the professional firepower to accomplish its ambitious missions?
- Security measures. Most importantly, how safe is your money in a cryptocurrency interest account platform? What precautions do they take to keep your funds secure?
Before we dive into the thick of it all, let’s understand how cryptocurrency interest accounts are different from regular savings accounts.
Crypto “Savings” Accounts Vs. Regular Savings Accounts: What You Need to Know
Before you move a single Satoshi or stablecoin from your other wallets and exchanges, you need to be clear on a few aspects of cryptocurrency interest accounts.
- Is a cryptocurrency account risky? No, but it is not risk-free. A cryptocurrency interest account should be viewed as an investment and not a savings account. Non-USD deposits are not FDIC-insured, meaning that if something were to happen to your cryptocurrency, your losses aren’t covered by federal insurance. Calling them cryptocurrency savings accounts is a misnomer– they are investments.
- Are cryptocurrency interest rates guaranteed? In theory, no, but in practice, cryptocurrency interest rates have stayed relatively stable between 6-12%.
- Do I need to only use one cryptocurrency interest account? No, since many of these accounts offer comparable rates, some users might find value in keeping their cryptocurrency eggs spread over a few baskets.
- How is paying high interest on cryptocurrency deposits sustainable? Cryptocurrency interest account providers like BlockFi and Celsius make their money by lending user deposits, much like a traditional bank. In that sense, you can also get a cryptocurrency loan from any of these providers.
Cryptocurrency Industry Account Overview
The cryptocurrency industry account industry is relatively new, much like the greater cryptocurrency ecosystem. Still, it’s full of friendly and not-so-friendly corporate competition.
There are a few notable leaders:
BlockFi – The NYC-based BlockFi was founded in 2017 by Zac Prince and Flori Marquez. The company has attracted a star-studded line of venture capital investments, raising over $158M from Valar Ventures (Peter Thiel-backed), Winklevoss Capital, Galaxy Digital, ConsenSys Ventures, Morgan Creek Digital, and more.
You can read our full top-performing BlockFi review here.
You can get up to $250 (starting at $25) in USDC when you open a new BlockFi account with at least $500.
Celsius – Celsius was founded in 2017 by Alex Mashinsky (CEO), an NYC-based entrepreneur with accolades such as over $3 billion in exits and two of NYC’s top venture-backed exits since 2000. Mashinsky notes Celsius was founded on the premise of bringing 7.5B people from the traditional world of finance into the cryptocurrency sphere. The Celsius team boasts a return of 80% of company revenue to users.
You can read our full Celsius review here.
Abra – Abra allows users to earn around 10% and 4.5% interest on stable coins and Bitcoin respectively, with as little as $5. Best of all, it’s compounded daily.
You can read our full Abra review here.
Crypto.com – The Hong Kong-based Crypto.com was founded in 2016, and lists four co-founders: CEO Kris Marszalek, CFO Rafael Melo, CTO Gary Or, and Head of Corporate Development Bobby Bao. The company offers a Visa debit card, an app exchange, an instant loan product, and cryptocurrency “crypto earn” product.
Nexo – Nexo offers a high-yield savings account for cryptocurrency holders, and seems to cater its services to a European base of customers more than its competitors. Nexo uses BitGo as its custodian, a company backed by Goldman Sachs and is CCSS Level 3 and SOC 2 compliant. Nexo’s token, NEXO, provides holders a share of 30% of the company’s profits.
Linus – Linus comes in strong with a “what has your bank done for you lately” tagline. Linus’s interest account product is unique in this list in that it only accepts and allows withdrawals in USD, while obfuscating the cryptocurrency layer for the end-user. The account pays out 4% to 4.5% on USD deposits, which is an advertised 64x that of traditional USD savings accounts. It’s worth noting that the deposits are not FDIC-insured, despite being fiat.
What is the Best Cryptocurrency Interest Account Platform?
After CoinCentral’s due diligence, consisting of using the services ourselves for an extended period, opening customer support queries, interviewing company teams, we have determined the best cryptocurrency interest account platform, for now, is BlockFi, with Celsius coming in as a close second.
BlockFi wins our Best Cryptocurrency Interest Account moniker for the following reasons:
Fund safety: BlockFi uses cryptocurrency exchange Gemini as its custodian. In other words, BlockFi relies on partner Gemini to keep its funds safe. Not only has Gemini done tremendous work in working with regulators at a national, and arguably with the more difficult NYC financial regulators, it offers its own insurance for deposits. Gemini’s Digital Asset Insurance uses third-party underwriters to cover any losses due to theft or fraudulent transfers.
Company backing: BlockFi is a blossoming cryptocurrency startup darling, and has attracted support from many of the world’s best investment firms. As is typical in VC-backed FinTech companies, increasing user acquisition and reducing user churn tends to be a priority for companies. In theory, this should align BlockFi with providing a better user experience (for now) in order to showcase favorable growth rates to investors, should it consider raising subsequent rounds.
User convenience: BlockFi offers both mobile and desktop apps, which puts it a hair above competitors that don’t yet have one or the other. Celsius, for example, doesn’t have a desktop app. BlockFi pays out on a monthly basis, and our experience with them has been very streamlined.
BlockFi Vs. Celsius: Which is Better?
Both BlockFi and Celsius are excellent choices for a cryptocurrency interest account, and many members of our community with a cryptocurrency interest account tend to have both.
Celsius offers a few features that BlockFi doesn’t.
Celsius offers weekly payouts: BlockFi only pays once per month, whereas Celsius users can look forward to a weekly notification of a deposit of interest earned.
Celsius seems more like a grassroots endeavor: Whereas BlockFi leans heavily on its venture capital financing, Celsius raised the bulk of its capital via ICO (one of the few companies that ICO’d that actually went on to accomplish tremendous things.) It has an active Telegram community of over 17,000 people
Celsius has Alex Mashinsky. We’ve interviewed Alex on several occasions and his personality and vision for the cryptocurrency community is on par with his resume as a successful serial entrepreneur.
Are Abra, Crypto.com, Nexo, and Linus Good Crypto Interest Options?
The rest of the lot are still decent options for a cryptocurrency interest account, otherwise, they wouldn’t have made this list.
That being said, the leaders of the pack, BlockFi, and Celsius are a full head and shoulders ahead.
Nexo was founded in 2018 and is led by CEO Antoni Trenchev.
The site’s communications lean heavily on its lending model; optimistically, this points to the company developing a sustainable business model fueled by lending.
It has an “Earn in Nexo” option similar to Celsius’s (Earn in CEL), from which users get about a 2% boost per asset. Without the “Earn in Nexo” option, Nexo customers can earn around 10% APY on stablecoins, which is a higher return than BlockFi but lower than Celsius. Nexo also offers an XRP interest account.
The platform seems to cater its services to an international crowd, and it can be an excellent option for our readers in Europe.
Crypto.com seems to have the most visibility of the “other” category” and it would be almost comparable to the same tier as BlockFi and Celsius, but we found the crypto.com experience very lacking, unnecessarily complicated, and subpar to its peers.
Essentially, to earn anywhere close to the same rates as BlockFi or Celsius, you have to purchase some of Crypto.com’s dubious tokens (our dropped by 50% while writing this article, don’t say we never did nothin’ for you guys) and lock them up to achieve the highest tier of earnings.
Crypto.com’s platform is so confusing that we’d be doing our readers a disservice by explaining it in this article. Not only is the platform very complicated for new users, its rates only lead the industry by a hair (if you decide to lock up your funds and their token.)
You can learn more about it in our crypto.com guide.
Abra offers daily compounded interest, which is unique in the space. With 10% interest on stablecoin deposits and a very intuitive interface, it’s a strong choice for anyone looking to start earning interest on their cryptocurrency.
Linus offers 4% to 4.5% on USD deposits, and only allows the deposit and withdrawal in USD. For our readers that are a bit hesitant to enter the cryptocurrency industry but want to reap some of the benefit, Linus is an excellent option. However, it isn’t risk-free– its deposits are not FDIC insured.
The business model is unique: users deposit dollars into Linus, Linus exchanges them for various cryptocurrency assets to lend out, and when users want to withdraw, Linus converts crypto back into fiat. All the end-user sees is USD, whereas Linus takes care of the fiat-crypto exchanges. This convenience comes at about a 4.6% – 6% less return than other competitors, but may be a fit for a particular set of customers that prefer this feature.
What is the highest APY cryptocurrency interest account?
The highest APY cryptocurrency interest account is crypto.com… but there’s a catch.
Crypto.com offers 12% APY on stablecoins IF you lock your deposit up for three months, buy and stake (lock-up) 25,000 CRO (about $2,000). This interest is also simple daily interest and will not be compounded.
Now, don’t get us wrong, the Crypto.com ecosystem isn’t half-bad. It provides a variety of credit cards with CRO lock up tiers– 25,000 CRO gets you 3% back on spending and reimbursements (in CRO) for Spotify and Netflix.
However, if we’re just talking brass tacks here, crypto.com has many more hoops to jump through than its competitors.
Celsius, for example, offers 10.5% APY on stablecoins, paid weekly, with no lock-up period or token requirement. Abra offers 10%.
BlockFi offers 8.6% on stablecoins, paid monthly with no lock-up period or token requirement.
Cryptocurrency Interest Account Promotions
The following crypto interest account promotions are active, but subject to change. We’ll do our best to keep these updated, but get them while they’re hot if you want them.
Crypto.com: Sign up and get $25 USD to sign up for Crypto.com. You may have to stake 2500 CRO (about $200)– the promotion isn’t clear.
Cryptocurrency Interest Accounts FAQ
Are cryptocurrency interest accounts FDIC insured?
While the vast majority of bank accounts in the United States are covered up to $250,000 by FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) insurance, cryptocurrency accounts are not.
Digital assets such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and even fiat-pegged stablecoin deposits such as USDC, GUSD, and USDT aren’t covered by FDIC insurance.
However, some cryptocurrency interest account platforms such as BlockFi are secured by private insurance; in BlockFi’s case, since it uses cryptocurrency exchange Gemini as its custodial service (BlockFi relies on Gemini to hold and secure its deposits), it is covered by Gemini’s private insurance pioneered to offer coverage to digital assets on Gemini’s platform.
Although the platforms covered in this article go through extensive security protocols and have yet to experience a hack, we’d be doing our readers a disservice by not mentioning the risks, however minimal, involved with entrusting your cryptocurrency with a third-party provider.
Many of these interest-bearing cryptocurrency accounts are often referred to as cryptocurrency savings accounts, they should be viewed as investments rather than a traditional savings account.
Can I trust a cryptocurrency interest account?
We have deemed all the cryptocurrency interest accounts on this list as trustworthy, but again, don’t invest anything you cannot afford to lose.
How do cryptocurrency interest account companies make money?
Most of these companies lend out your crypto to borrowers at fairly high-interest rates. To better understand how cryptocurrency interest companies make money, you should peel back the onion into who is actually borrowing cryptocurrency from them. Some people borrow crypto to get more leverage on their trades, others prefer the simplicity of a one-stop crypto loan versus the traditional loan pathway, and some might not want to liquidate their cryptocurrency assets (for tax purposes or whatever) but need capital.
Final Thoughts – Are Cryptocurrency Interest Accounts Worth It?
If you’re someone looking to diversify your portfolio by buying and holding cryptocurrency, we strongly recommend checking out cryptocurrency interest accounts for yourself.
We urge our readers to always do their own research. Have this conversation with a financial advisor, and feel free to send them this article as a basis for the discussion. Cryptocurrency interest accounts like BlockFi and Celsius are actually investments and the returns are not guaranteed. Our content is purely intended to be educational and informational. A single dollar or bit shouldn’t leave your wallets without professional advice.
That being said, we’re a fairly paranoid editorial team that acknowledges the “be your own bank” and “not your private keys, not your bitcoin” ethos of the cryptocurrency industry.
The world’s best crypto interest accounts try to cater to user security, but at the end of the day, any time your funds leave your hardware wallets, you’re in the hands of the digital world. The risk is yours, and yours only, to make.
Before we let you go, let’s leave on this idea: if more digital asset holders are comfortable keeping their funds on a cryptocurrency interest platform, placated by relatively low-risk decent returns, volatility may decrease in the long-run.
With digital assets like Bitcoin seen as less volatile due to fewer people selling Bitcoin, the case for institutional capital to enter the ecosystem becomes much stronger.
We believe cryptocurrency interest accounts are a small, but very important part, of maturing cryptocurrency as an asset class.
To better understand why cryptocurrency interest accounts are important, versus simply just knowing the best ones, we recommend reading our interview with Celsius Founder, Alex Mashinsky, exclusive on CoinCentral.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alex Moskov is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of CoinCentral. Alex leans on his formal educational background (BSBA with a Major in Finance from the University of Florida) and his on-the-ground experiences with cryptocurrency starting in 2012. Alex works with cryptocurrency and blockchain-based companies on content strategy and business development. He privately consults entrepreneurs and venture capitalists on movements within the cryptocurrency industry.
His writing has been seen in The Hustle, VentureBeat, Yahoo Finance, Harvard Business Review, and Business Insider. His articles on CoinCentral have been cited on publications like Forbes, TechCrunch, Vice, The Guardian, Investopedia, The Motley Fool, Seeking Alpha, and more.
He also regrets not buying more Bitcoin back in 2012, just like you.
You can connect with Alex on Twitter.