BlockFi vs. Linus: Is the Rate vs. Convenience Trade Worth It?

blockfi vs linus

If you’re interested in the relatively passive income that can come with crypto interest accounts, BlockFi vs. Linus makes for an excellent comparison. 

Linus is a relative newcomer and BlockFi is one of the most prominent players in the interest space. Each company has a unique set of pros and cons that appeal to different sorts of customers.

BlockFi is a traditional cryptocurrency interest account provider. You deposit BTC, ETH, USDC, or other digital assets, and earn interest paid in-kind. 

Linus, however, only allows users to deposit fiat (USD) and earn in fiat; it gives its users access to crypto interest-earning opportunities without buying or holding any crypto.

It’s worth noting that crypto interest accounts are unlike savings accounts; they pose unique risks such as not being FDIC insured. This review will cover the ins and outs of both companies and give you all of the information you need to decide whether BlockFi or Linus is better for you.

BlockFi vs Linus: Key Information

 

 

BlockFi

Linus

Reviews

BlockFi Review

Linus Review (Added soon!)

Site Type

Cryptocurrency Interest Account + Basic Exchange

Blockchain-based high yield savings account

Beginner Friendly

Yes

Yes

Mobile App

Yes

In development

Buy/Deposit Method

ACH, Wire Transfers, Crypto Deposits

Bank account transfer or debit card

Sell/Withdrawal Method

External Crypto Wallet, Bank Account

Bank account transfer

Available Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Link + Stablecoins

None

Company Launch

2017

2019

Location

Jersey City, NJ, USA

Brooklyn, NY, USA

Community Trust

Great

Still developing

Security

Great

Okay

Customer Support

Good

Good

Verification Required

Yes

Yes

Fees

Medium

Great

Site

Visit BlockFi

Visit Linus

Company Bios: How Do BlockFi and Linus Compare?

BlockFi was launched in 2017 by Zac Prince and Flori Marquez. The company has received investments from big names like SoFi, Winklevoss Capital, Pomp Investments, and ConsenSys Ventures.

BlockFi currently has around 225,000 users with $15 billion assets under management. The company received a $3 billion valuation when it completed its last round of funding, which took place in March 2021.

Linus is still a relatively new company. It completed a public beta and is currently preparing for a full launch. Linus was founded in 2019 by Matt Nemer and Matt Hamilton. Nemer previously worked at BTC Inc, while Hamilton previously worked at IBM.

The company doesn’t currently have any investors. It’s still in the pre-seed phase of its growth and hasn’t disclosed how many people participated in its public beta.

Feature #1: Crypto Interest Rates: BlockFi vs. Linus APY?

We have to start this section by saying that Linus doesn’t offer interest in crypto. Its focus is to give users who don’t want to buy and hold crypto access to crypto-based interest-earning opportunities. Instead, Linus offers its users a tiered APY structure on their USD. Below, we’ve provided BlockFi’s crypto APY and Linus’ tiered APY rates.

Bitcoin

BlockFi uses a tiered interest-rate system for Bitcoin, in which the APY you earn depends on how many bitcoin you store with the company.

The company’s current rates are:

  • 5% APY for 0 to 0.5 BTC
  • 2% APY for 0.5 to 20 BTC
  • 0.5% APY for 20+ BTC

Ethereum

BlockFi uses the same tiered-based approach for the Ethereum APYs that it offers. The company’s users are currently earning the following interest rates on ETH:

  • 4.5% APY for 0 to 15 ETH
  • 2% APY for 15 to 1,000 ETH
  • 0.5% APY for 1,000+ ETH

Stablecoins

BlockFi’s best rates are reserved for stablecoins. The company offers 8.6% APY on PAX, BUSD, GUSD, and USDC. It gives 9.3% APY on USDT.

Altcoins

BlockFi also offers interest on a few altcoins. For example, users can earn 5.5% APY on their LTC and 4.5% on their LINK.

Linus APY Structure

  • 4.0% APY for $1.00 to $2,499.99
  • 4.25% APY for $2,500 to $9,99.99 
  • 4.50% APY for $10,000+ 

How Do BlockFi and Linus Make Money?

BlockFi

BlockFi makes its money the same way most traditional banks do: it offers users lower interest rates on their crypto than what it gets for lending it out.

For example, BlockFi offers up to 8.6% APY on dollar-pegged stablecoins. But users who want a USD loan from the company have to accept an interest rate of 9.75%.

A user’s loan is backed by the market value of the crypto that they’ve deposited into their BlockFi account. Therefore, users need to maintain a minimum of a 50% loan-to-value (LTV) ratio to keep their outstanding loans in good standing.

BlockFi stablecoin interest account

BlockFi stablecoin interest account

For example, a user who takes out a $10,000 loan with BlockFi needs to keep $20,000 of crypto in their account to maintain the loan. If the total value of the user’s crypto drops below this point and they don’t deposit more, BlockFi will liquidate their holdings to pay back the loan.

Crypto is an exceptionally volatile asset class; one would usually want to maintain an LTV of much higher than 50% to be on the safe side. However, cutting it too close could put you into a situation where you’re forced to liquidate your holdings during a momentary market dip.

Linus

Linus makes its money in essentially the same way. The company’s users are given a set interest rate on the cash that they deposit into their accounts (above). Any excess APY that Linus can make by providing liquidity in crypto protocols goes into its pockets.

Linus

Linus interest rates over time

Linus takes its users’ dollar funds, converts them into USDC, and then places those stablecoins into liquidity pools on the Ethereum network. Crypto holders can borrow from these pools by using their crypto as collateral and paying an interest rate.

Providing liquidity in Ethereum smart contracts comes with unique risks like impermanent loss. 

Linus doesn’t provide detailed information about its liquidity-providing practices or strategies to mitigate risk for its users, but it hasn’t disclosed its risk management practices. 

Both BlockFi and Linus earn their interest in relatively similar ways, but BlockFi pays higher rates and is better established, so it wins in this category.

Feature #2: Payouts and Withdrawals

The crypto you deposit into a BlockFi account accrues interest daily and pays interest monthly. In addition, users get one free crypto withdrawal and one free stablecoin withdrawal each month. Extra withdrawals incur a fee.

The money you deposit into a Linus account accrues interest continuously and updates your account dashboard every six hours. Users are free to withdraw their funds and the interest that they’ve earned anytime they want, without any fees.

Linus provides a better customer experience in this regard.

Feature #3: Security

BlockFi offers a few excellent security features for its users. The company stores 95% of its funds in cold storage wallets managed by its parent company, the Gemini Trust Company. Gemini is SOC certified by Deloitte.

BlockFi also offers a few security features to protect users from hacks. For example, it supports 2-factor authentication and allows users to whitelist specific cryptocurrency addresses. These whitelisted addresses become the only addresses that users can withdraw their tokens to unless they go through an extensive verification process to add a new one.

Linus, as a whole, is still a work in progress and the company’s security provisions reflect this. Like BlockFi, the company supports 2-factor authentication.

Linus claims that its users’ funds are backed by digital asset collateral and supported by third-party insurance coverage, which supposedly protects against hacks, theft, and loss of funds. Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer any detailed information on how it accomplishes this.

Feature #4: Promos and Bonuses

BlockFi and Linus both offer bonuses – BlockFi offers a tiered bonus to new users, and Linus offers a referral bonus.

BlockFi Bonuses

  • $15 for deposit totalling $100 to $1,499 
  • $20 for deposit totalling $1,500 to $19,999 
  • $40 for deposit totalling $20,000 to $39,999 
  • $75 for deposit totalling $40,000 to $74,999 
  • $100 for deposit totalling $75,000 to $99,999 
  • $250 for deposit totalling $100,000+ 

Sign up with this link to claim BlockFi’s bonus.

Linus Bonuses

From April to June 2021, all Linus users can earn a $20 bonus for making referrals. For users to receive this bonus, the referee must make a deposit totaling $100 or more with a link like this– Sign up for Linus.

Feature #5: Ease of Use

Both BlockFi and Linus are really easy to use. Each service allows you to deposit to your account with fiat from another bank account or a debit card. 

When you deposit fiat into your BlockFi account, it’ll automatically convert into GUSD and start earning an interest rate of 8.6% APY.

BlockFi has a mobile app while Linus doesn’t, so it may be a better solution for people who like to manage their finances on the go. 

But, with Linus, you don’t have to deal with fiat-to-crypto conversions or purchase any crypto at all. Because of that, it’s likely an easier choice for people who are new to crypto.

Linus wins on the convenience front– half the work, but also half the rates. 

Standout Features

BlockFi plans to release an interest-earning cryptocurrency credit card in the near future. It’ll allow users to earn 1.5% interest, paid in Bitcoin, on every purchase they make.

Linus is still very barebones since it hasn’t officially been launched to the public yet. However, one could consider the service itself a standout since Linus is one of the few companies that gives users access to crypto-backed yield opportunities without owning any crypto.

The Court of Public Opinion: BlockFi vs. Linus Reddit

Most Redditors discussing crypto interest accounts tend to like BlockFi, and there is minimal conversation about Linus. 

Those who do tend to criticize the company, as self-assumed experienced traders, bash the Linus 4.5% APY, claiming they can get more APY by providing their own liquidity on Ethereum while still taking roughly the same amount of risk.

However, these threads are likely created by experienced cryptocurrency enthusiasts with dabblings in DeFi products. Linus isn’t made for that base of customers. Instead, it’s meant for individuals who want to get higher APY on their fiat indirectly by accessing DeFi and cryptocurrency earning products without having to figure out how to do everything themselves.

Customer Support

You can get answers to common questions about BlockFi by visiting the company’s FAQ page. BlockFi also has an AI-powered chatbot and live phone support from 9:30 AM – 5 PM ET Monday through Friday.

Linus has an online FAQ page as well. The company also has an online chat option on its website and email support available at [email protected].

Can You Trust BlockFi and Linus?

BlockFi is backed by some of the biggest names in the cryptocurrency industry. In addition, it has earned stamps of approval for its security practices from both Deloitte and the New York Department of Financial Services.

Linus also appears trustworthy, but we would appreciate more details on how it protects its users’ funds from hacks, theft, and loss of funds with third-party insurance. 

Linus is a newer company and has yet to build its reputation yet, which is understandable considering the full version of its service hasn’t launched.

Linus did complete a public beta program without receiving any complaints about being a scam or losing users’ funds. Thus, the early results are optimistic, but cautious users may want to give the company more time to establish itself before entrusting it with its funds.

BlockFi vs. Linus: Which is the Better Crypto Interest Account?

BlockFi is the better crypto interest account if you’re looking to earn interest on popular coins like BTC, ETH, and LTC since Linus doesn’t offer these services.

The only real point of comparison for BlockFi vs. Linus is for people who want to earn higher interest on their USD funds. Linus provides a more straightforward experience for this, but BlockFi still has it beat– it automatically converts USD into GUSD, which earns 8.6%. 

Linus only offers 4.5% APY on USD

BlockFi has a mobile app while Linus doesn’t.

However, Linus may still be the better option for those users that don’t want the complications of owning any cryptocurrency and just want to deposit USD and get paid in USD.

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