Falling trust in traditional financial systems is pushing more people toward cryptocurrency. The user-driven, more transparent world of digital assets can offer people more confidence and control over their money than a traditional bank. Lending platforms have become more popular as a result.
These platforms let people lend and borrow cryptocurrency. While they work like a traditional lending service, they operate on peer-to-peer interactions, which some people may trust more. Considering how currencies like Bitcoin have reached all-time highs in 2021, this also gives lenders a chance to make a handsome profit.
Best Crypto Lending Platforms
Crypto lending platforms are abundant today, but not all are created equal.
One of the most important considerations for choosing one is its security. Third-party crypto platforms mean users must trust their security with their assets, making hacking or privacy breaches a relevant concern. Users should look for security features like multifactor authentication (MFA) and encryption.
Interest rates are another important factor. Lenders can benefit from high rates, but borrowers want lower rates to keep their interest payments down.
The best crypto lending platforms are also flexible. Support for multiple currencies — beyond the basics of bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH) — and a variety of loan amounts and other financial services make a platform more usable.
Financial factors like low fees, flexible loan durations, and a lack of deposit limits (which limit how much or how little lenders can deposit at once) are also key features to look for in a loan platform.
With these factors in mind, here are some of the best crypto lending platforms.
1. SALT Lending
Best for Crypto Credit Card Fans (And Borrowers in General)
SALT Lending offers personal and business loans backed by a variety of cryptocurrencies. Unlike most of the other platforms on this list, the goal isn’t to get HODLers the best return on their crypto — it’s to help HODLers invest in themselves and their business ideas without selling their coins.
Here’s the skinny on SALT loans:
- Principal balances (loan amounts) start at $1,000
- APRs start below 1% but are subject to change with market conditions
- LTVs range from 20% to 70%, depending on the coins backing the loan and other factors
- Terms range from 12 to 60 months
- No origination or prepayment fees
- No impact on your credit score
- No borrowing against future income (which helps control risk)
SALT has another feature that sets it apart: a crypto credit card. Currently in waitlist mode, SALT’s crypto card offers a revolving credit line based on the value of your collateral coins — letting you scale up your spending power as you grow your holdings.
Best All-around for Both Lenders and Borrowers
- Tokens Supported: All major tokens
- Platform Fees: Administration and monthly withdrawal fees
- Other Perks: No deposit limits, flexible withdrawals, easy setup
BlockFi manages more than $10 billion in crypto assets and has become one of the most popular crypto lending platforms. It supports a wide range of currencies, has no minimum or maximum deposit limits, and is one of the only services to offer compound interest. Some of its most compelling benefits include:
- High Security. BlockFi offers MFA, and signing up includes Know Your Customer (KYC) identity verification.
- Compound Interest. Lenders can choose to include compound interest, leading to growing profits over time.
- Low Administration Fees. BlockFi’s administration fees are as low as 1%. There are also no early withdrawal penalties, and there’s just one withdrawal fee per month.
- Zero-Fee Trading. Users can trade between cryptocurrencies on the platform with no fees.
The one downside to BlockFi is that its withdrawal fee is relatively high. However, users only pay it once per month instead of on every withdrawal, which can offset the cost.
Best for Users Concerned About Security
- Tokens supported: All major tokens and several other cryptocurrencies
- Platform fees: None
- Other perks: No deposit limits, competitive interest rates
Whereas some platforms only deal in a few currencies, Nexo supports more than 20 across 200 jurisdictions. The platform also offers crypto loans as small as $50, making it more accessible for borrowers. Where Nexo stands out the most, though, is in its security. Features include:
- Cold Storage. Nexo keeps its funds in cold storage, meaning they’re offline and safe from hackers.
- Insurance. All accounts on the platform are insured up to $375 million, protecting users in case of a breach.
- Daily Payouts. Lenders can withdraw funds every day if they want, making lending more flexible.
- Multiple Fiat Currency Support. Nexo supports various fiat currencies, giving more loan options for people worldwide.
All these features make the platform one of the safest and most flexible crypto lending services available. While it’s better for lenders than borrowers, it’s an excellent choice overall.
Best for Using Multiple Cryptocurrencies
- Tokens Supported: All major tokens plus more than 100 smaller currencies
- Platform Fees: Spot trading, withdrawal and deposit fees based on currency
- Other Perks: Regular coin value updates, easy-to-use interface
Binance may be a familiar name even to beginners because it’s the world’s largest crypto exchange. Its loan service is similarly large, supporting more cryptocurrencies than any other alternative, including some lesser-known altcoins. There are also no deposit limits and additional benefits, including:
- Two Lending Types. Users can choose between fixed and flexible deposits, offering more freedom.
- Flexible Interest Rates. Interest rates vary depending on a currency’s latest value, ensuring both parties get the fairest deal.
- Instant Loans. Binance is verification-free, so as long as users have an account, they can start lending and borrowing immediately.
- High Usability. Binance is accessible across all platforms, including Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.
While Binance supports all major cryptocurrencies, it doesn’t support fiat currencies, limiting it slightly. There are also limits on when users can withdraw, whereas plenty of alternatives have no such restrictions.
Best for Users Looking for Trust and Transparency
- Tokens Supported: All major tokens and a few smaller currencies
- Platform Fees: None
- Other Perks: Unlimited withdrawals, quick verification
CoinLoan is one of the oldest lending platforms on this list, and its experience shows. The service offers zero deposit and withdrawal fees and a user-friendly interface. It also features:
- Rate Comparison. Users can compare rates to other websites, showing how competitive they are.
- High Security. CoinLoan takes security seriously, boasting MFA, insurance, cold storage, and CCSS compliance.
- Flexible Loan Terms. Lenders and borrowers set their own terms, including the loan length, interest rate and repayment options.
- Accessibility. CoinLoan’s mobile app, quick signup process and easy-to-use interface make it one of the more accessible crypto lending platforms.
CoinLoan does have minimum deposit requirements of around $100 and a limited user base, restricting its usefulness. However, its other features make up for that.
Best for Overall Crypto Selection
- Tokens Supported: 64 different cryptocurrencies
- Platform Fees: Crypto loan fees from 12% to 16% APR
- Other Perks: No KYC or credit check needed, instant approval, unlimited loan term length
CoinRabbit is a newcomer to the crypto lending game, but offers a wide selection of crypto for borrowing against or earning interest on. With over 60 supported crypto and loans that are approved in minutes, CoinRabbit offers more crypto than most lending platforms. Users can also deposit crypto to earn up to 10% interest on stablecoins.
Some of the best features of CoinRabbit include:
- Crypto selection. Outside of Bitcoin, users can choose from over 60 cryptocurrencies to deposit on the platform and take out a loan against the balance.
- High Savings Account Interest Rates. CoinRabbit offers a flat 10% APY on deposited stablecoins, which is as high (or higher) than some competing programs.
- Unlimited Loan Term Length. Whereas most crypto lending programs have set loan term lengths, CoinRabbit allows users to keep loans open as long as they make the monthly payments.
- Instant Deposits. Applying for a loan is a simple process, and once the terms are selected and collateral deposited, the funds are immediately deposited into the crypto wallet of your choice.
One downside of CoinRabbit is the high interest rate on crypto loans, ranging from 12% to 16% APR. These fees can add up, but depositing additional funds into the 10%-yielding savings accounts can help offset the cost.
Best for Decentralized Lending
- Tokens Supported: Ethereum-based tokens
- Platform Fees: Variable fees, depending on transaction complexity
- Other Perks: No intermediary
Aave is different from most of the others on this list in that it’s a decentralized platform. Instead of placing itself in the middle of transactions, it uses code-based smart contracts to enable direct peer-to-peer lending. Smart contracts use the blockchain to verify transactions, offering more control, transparency, and security over the lending process. Other benefits include:
- Open-Source Software. The platform is open-source, leading to community security improvements and letting users build their own apps on the service.
- Few Limits. Aave has no deposit limits or lock-in periods, which are time limits where investors can’t sell their assets.
- Transparency. Third-party security audits are publicly available, and peer-to-peer lending without an intermediary removes many trust issues.
- Community Governance. Since Aave is completely user-driven, the community votes on governance issues, giving them more control.
Because Aave relies on smart contracts, it only accepts Ethereum-based cryptocurrencies, and its fees can be high at times. Despite these downsides, Aave is one of the best options for decentralized crypto lending.
8. Cake DeFi
Best for Overall Return Potential — Up to 33% on Liquidity Mining
Cake DeFi is another decentralized platform for people looking to earn daily returns on their crypto. In fact, while your experience will be unique, Cake DeFi offers the best overall return potential for users willing to take advantage of everything it has to offer.
Specifically, Cake DeFi users can earn:
- Up to 6.5% on crypto loans, with low price volatility and guaranteed returns within four weeks with lending batches — more if you get periodic bonuses
- Up to 33% on liquidity mining operations (yield farming)
- Up to 27% on staking when you join transparent masternode pools — no need to know how to operate one yourself
Cake DeFi supports some of the world’s most popular coins, including (but not limited to):
And for a limited time, Money Crashers readers can enjoy $30 in DFI with a first-time investment of $50 or more.
You may notice the absence of one big name, Coinbase, from this list. While Coinbase did plan to offer a lending service, it shut it down after opposition from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
There are enough crypto lending platforms available to meet any need. Whether users want security, profit, low interest rates, or transparency, there’s a service that provides what they’re after.
While these options are just a small selection of what’s available, they’re among the best. People should start here to find the crypto lending platform that works best, then choose a crypto wallet to keep their funds secure. They can then experience all crypto has to offer safely.