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.
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.
3. Celsius Network
Best for Borrowers
- Tokens Supported: All major tokens
- Platform Fees: None
- Other Perks: No deposit limits, flexible withdrawals
Note: As of June 12, 2022, Celsius has paused all account withdrawals, swaps, and transfers from accounts due to “extreme market conditions.” In a short blog post, Celsius said that the move was necessary to preserve the network’s liquidity and warned that “there is a lot of work ahead as we consider various options, this process will take time, and there may be delays.”
Celsius Network, one of the most borrower-friendly services, claims to have the lowest industry rates at just 1%. The platform also lets lenders withdraw at any time and has no fees whatsoever. Other advantages include:
- Low Interest Rates. Interest rates are among the lowest available, making the platform highly affordable for borrowers.
- ISO 27001 Certification. Celsius Network meets the high international standards for information security required for ISO 27001 compliance.
- Insurance. It insures wallets up to $100 million.
- Flexible Loan Types. Celsius Network deals in multiple currencies and lets users take out cash loans for crypto collateral.
Celsius’ low interest rates make it a better choice for borrowers than lenders, but lenders can still benefit from it. Similarly, the lack of a desktop version constricts its usage, but it remains an excellent overall choice.
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 Decentralized Lending
- Tokens Supported: Ethereum-based tokens
- Platform Fees: Variable fees, depending on transaction complexity
- Other Perks: No intermediary
Aave is different from 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.
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.