Updated June 30, 2021

BlockFi vs Celsius

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Celsius and BlockFi are cryptocurrency lending and borrowing platforms where investors can earn interest on their crypto holdings. But which is right for you?

If cryptocurrency is the future of money, why can't you buy gas with Bitcoin? Or put Ethereum into your bank account?

Crypto interest accounts like Celsius and BlockFi want to help us get there.

By offering interest accounts and crypto-backed loans, these platforms are competing to dominate the growing world of crypto. But are they safe? Is one better than the other?

Read this detailed comparison to see how they stack up.

 BlockFi
 Visit SiteLearn More
 

BlockFi

Celsius Network

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Benefits and Features

Cryptocurrencies SupportedBitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Chainlink, PAX Gold, USDC, Binance USD, PAX, GUSD, BAT, DAI, UNIBitcoin, Ethereum, USDC, Gemini Dollar, Paxos Standard, LINK, BAT, COMP, UMA, SNX, AAVE, Bitcoin SV, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Mana, Uniswap, Polygon, Livepeer, Kyber Network, Binance USD, Ethereum Classic, EOS, TrueCAD, TrueHKD, TrueAUD, TrueGBP, TrueUSD, USDT, 0x, DAI, PAX Gold, OMG Network, Stellar, Ripple, Dash
Countries SupportedWorldwide, except for countries that are sanctioned or watch-listed
Over 100
Fiat Currencies Supported
USD
USD, AUD, GPB, EUR, CAD, CHF, DKK, NZD, NOK, SEK, RUB, BRL, CZK, RON, HUF, HKD, BGN, TRY, INR, IDR, HRK, PHP, MYR, ZAR, JPY, PLN, VND, ISK, CLP, COP, ARS, PEN, KES, TWD
Digital Wallet
Yes
Yes
Transaction Fee
No
No
Copy Trading
No
No
Limit Orders
No
No
Margin Trading
No
No
Spread
0.7% - 1.5%
1%
Interest Accounts
Up to 8%
Up to 17.78%
Crypto Loans
Yes
Yes
Bitcoin (BTC) Interest Rates
0.1% - 4.5%
3.51 - 6.20%
Ethereum (ETH) Interest Rates
0.25% - 5%
5.05 - 6.35%
Bank Account Purchase Fee
No
No
Litecoin (LTC) Interest Rates
0.1% - 4.75%
4.08 - 5.33%
Debit Card Purchase Fee
No
No
Tether (USDT) Interest Rates
5% - 8%
13.19%
USD Coin (USDC) Interest Rates
5% - 8%
10 - 13.19%
Mobile App
Yes
Yes
ACH Transfer Fee
No
0.1%
Wire Transfer Fee
No
0.5%
Crypto Conversion Fee
No
No
Other Fees2% Origination Fee on crypto-backed loans
Withdrawal Fee varying based on cryptocurrency: 0.00075 BTC, 0.02 ETH, 0.0025 LTC
Credit Card Fee: 3.5% or $10 minimum fee; or 2.99 for EEA and UK residents
Address Allowlisting
Yes
Yes
Anonymity
No
No
Biometric Login
Yes
Yes
Cold Storage
Yes
Yes
Maximum Trading AmountSingle-trade limit of $1.2m USD or equivalent
No
Two-Factor Authentication
Yes
Yes
Withdrawal Limit7-day Withdrawal Limit varies by cryptocurrency: 100 BTC, 5,000 ETH, 10,000 LTC.
Up to $5,000 USD via direct bank withdrawal
$1 USD minimum; $600,000 USD limit per 24 hours
 Visit SiteLearn More

BlockFi: Pricing information from published website as of 06/30/2021.

Celsius Network: Pricing information from published website as of 05/04/2021.

What are Celsius and BlockFi?

Celsius and BlockFi are crypto lending and borrowing platforms with similar business models. They both offer:

  1. Crypto-backed loans
  2. High-yield interest accounts
  3. Cryptocurrency exchanges (although limited)
  4. Services to expand the widespread use of cryptocurrency (more on this later)

They have their own unique features, as well. Celsius has a service called CelPay that allows you to pay and get paid in crypto. BlockFi offers a Bitcoin Rewards Credit Card that lets you earn cash back in Bitcoin when they shop. Here's how the platforms compare, at a glance:

Celsius

Screenshot of Celsius

Celsius was founded in 2017 by Alex Mashinsky, Nuke Goldstein, and S. Daniel Leon. Their goal was to bring financial features like credit and interest income to the crypto world.

They issued their own proprietary crypto coin, CEL, in 2018 which unlocks access to their higher-end interest and loan products. They currently only allow access through their mobile app.

Celsius is headquartered in London.

BlockFi

Screenshot of BlockFi

BlockFi was also founded in 2017, with the similar goal of providing financial services to markets that traditionally hadn't had access.

They make most of their money by lending your savings out to institutional borrowers (like traders, investment funds, market makers, and businesses requiring crypto liquidity) and taking interest on the loans.

BlockFi is based in New York.

Pros and Cons

Both platforms have strong reputations and prioritize security for their investors.

The right fit for you depends on where you're located (Celsius is the clear winner outside the U.S.) and which unique features speak to you personally (BlockFi's's Bitcoin Card or Celsius's CelPay platform). Review our main pros and cons below:

Celsius Pros & Cons

  • Higher interest rates on accounts
  • Lower interest rates on loans
  • Free withdrawals
  • No minimum deposits
  • No maximum deposits
  • Best rates not available to U.S.
  • CEL not available in the U.S.
  • No desktop site
  • Slow support
  • 24-hour address lock after update or HODL mode deactivation

Choose Celsius if: You want the best rates for accounts and/or loans, want the ability to send/receive instant crypto payments, or are outside the U.S.

BlockFi Pros & Cons

  • Better interest rates for select coins
  • Gemini as custodian
  • No need to use native coin
  • Bitcoin Rewards credit card
  • Higher rates on loans
  • 2% loan origination fee
  • Non-transparent spread fee
  • Limited number of currencies
  • Non-transparent fees on exchange
  • Slow withdrawal times and withdrawal limits

Choose BlockFi if: You want to earn interest on Litecoin holdings, want a Bitcoin Rewards Credit Card, or if desktop access is non-negotiable for you

BlockFi

Get Up to $250 in Bonus BTC

DepositCrypto Bonus
$100 - $1,499$15
$1,500 - $19,999$20
$20,000 - $39,999$40
$40,000 - $74,999$75
$75,000 - $99,999$100
$100,000+$250

What cryptocurrencies do they support?

Celsius
Celsius currently supports 14 cryptocurrencies and stablecoins:

  • Bitcoin, Ethereum, USDC, Gemini Dollar, Paxos Standard, LINK, BAT, COMP, UMA, SNX, AAVE, Bitcoin SV, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin.

BlockFi
BlockFi currently supports 12 cryptocurrencies and stablecoins:

  • Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Chainlink, PAX Gold, USDC, Binance USD, PAX, GUSD, BAT, DAI, UNI

Where are They Available?

Celsius
Celsius is available in over 100 countries.

They are currently not available in:

  • Iran, North Korea, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Cuba, or any other country against which the United States, the United Kingdom, or the European Union imposes financial sanctions or embargoes.

BlockFi
BlockFi is available worldwide, but not in countries that are currently sanctioned or watchlisted.

It is available in all 50 U.S. states. However, they do not currently have any trading pairs in:

  • New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Vermont, and West Virginia.

BlockFi Interest Account (BIA) is currently unavailable in the state of New York.

Features

BlockFi and Celsius offer many of the same features. But when choosing between the two, it's these details that matter most.

Interest-Earning Accounts

Both BlockFi and Celsius offer generous interest rates for a number of cryptocurrencies. Here's what you can expect from each:

BlockFi's Interest Account
With this account, you can earn up to 8.0% on their crypto assets, paid monthly, with no fees or minimum deposit. They offer 12 cryptocurrencies and stablecoins to earn from.

Some currencies, like Bitcoin and Ethereum, decrease in earning potential as the size of your deposit reaches certain thresholds:

BlockFi

Earn Interest on BTC - Up to 4.5% APY

AmountAPY
0 - 0.10 BTC4.5%
> 0.1 - 0.35 BTC1.0%
> 0.35 BTC0.1%

BlockFi

Earn Interest on ETH - Up to 5% APY

AmountAPY
0 - 1.5 ETH5%
> 1.5 - 50 ETH1.5%
> 50 ETH0.25%

Their full interest rates can be found on their site.

Celsius Earn
Celsius's Earn program offers interest rates ranging from 2.02% to 17.78%, more than double BlockFi's highest rate. However, the highest interest rates are not available to everyone.

This is where Celsius Token (CEL) comes in. Celsius has a tiered loyalty program that dictates your interest earnings. It's based on what percentage of your crypto holdings is made up of CEL:

  • Bronze: 5%-10% CEL (Earnings Bonus: 5%)
  • Silver: 10%-15% CEL (Earnings Bonus: 10%)
  • Gold: 15%-25% CEL (Earnings Bonus: 15%)
  • Platinum: >25% CEL (Earnings Bonus: 25%)

You must hold CEL if you want to earn the highest interest rates. If your Celsius portfolio is 100% Bitcoin or Ethereum, for example, you'll only earn the base rate.

You can also receive bonuses for taking interest payments in CEL, as opposed to "in-kind" with the currency they invested.

Important Note for U.S. investors: CEL is currently only available to international customers and accredited investors, which means that only the base rates will apply. Those rates range from 2.02% to 13.99%, with tiered returns on Bitcoin similar to those on BlockFi.

Review full rates, along with an earnings calculator on their site.

The Takeaway
Overall, Celsius has a wider range of coins available, with slightly higher interest rates than BlockFi, even for basic users.

However, there are some exceptions, like Litecoin, which earns 4.08% on Celsius and 6.5% on BlockFi. For that reason, it's worth checking BlockFi's rates if you have a specific cryptocurrency in mind.

Crypto-Backed Loans

Both Celsius and BlockFi offer crypto-backed loans, which allow traders to borrow cash or other coins against the value of their cryptocurrency holdings, rather than selling them.

This can prevent incurring tax penalties and protects investors against sudden market changes.

Here's what to consider when taking a crypto-backed loan:

  1. LTV (loan-to-value) Ratio (the percent of your collateral that you can take as a loan)
  2. Interest Rates (APR)
  3. Available Currencies
  4. Repayment Term
  5. Availability
  6. Fees

BlockFi Loans
BlockFi's lending program is available in 45 states. They currently offer loans against holdings of 4 currencies: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and PAX Gold.

You can get loans in USD, GUSD, and USDC. Loan interest rates depend on the LTV ratio, ranging from 20% - 50%:

  • 50% LTV - 9.75%
  • 35% LTV - 7.9%
  • 20% LTV - 4.5% (available only for BTC-backed loans valued up to $20k USD)

Loans are offered in 6- and 12-month terms. BlockFi charges a 2% origination fee for new loans.

Celsius Loans
Celsius accepts over 25 coins, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dash, as collateral for their crypto-backed loans.

There are no credit checks required, and the loans can be fulfilled in either cash or coin. There are no origination fees. Loan are offered in terms of 6, 12, 24, and 36 months.

Interest rates range from as low as 0.75% (for platinum level users who also pay in CEL, rather than cash) to as high as 8.95%. Here are the rates for base users:

  • 25% LTV: 1.0% APR
  • 33% LTV: 6.95% APR
  • 50% LTV: 8.95% APR

Higher tiers on Celsius' loyalty level mean discounts on loan interest:

  • Bronze: 5%-10% CEL (Loan Interest Discount: 5%)
  • Silver: 10%-15% CEL (Loan Interest Discount: 10%)
  • Gold: 15%-25% CEL (Loan Interest Discount: 15%)
  • Platinum: >25% CEL (Loan Interest Discount: 25%)

The Takeaway
Overall, Celsius offers slightly more affordable interest rates on their crypto-backed loans than BlockFi, especially those with a low LTV ratio.

With 25 cryptocurrencies to choose from as collateral compared to BlockFi's 4, it is likely the best choice if it's available where you live.

Is lending my crypto safe?
There's inherent risk in providing your cryptocurrencies for lending. Cryptocurrencies aren't insured by the FDIC or SIPC, and while lenders do their best to mitigate risk, there's always the chance the market will crash. The value of their collateral could become insufficient to repay the loan balances, and your investment could be lost. Only you can decide whether the returns are worth the risk.

Cryptocurrency Exchange

Both platforms have an exchange that allows you to buy, sell, and trade cryptocurrencies. The main factors to consider are the number of cryptocurrencies available and the fees incurred in trading.

Celsius currently offers 11 cryptocurrencies and stablecoins for trade, while BlockFi has 8.

Neither of them can compete here with a dedicated exchange, many of which offer 50 cryptocurrencies or more. However, they may suffice if you're only interested in the most common coins.

Celsius Trading
Celsius partnered with Gem to offer the ability to buy coins on the Celsius app.

Trading fees depend on the method you use for purchase, either through partner Simplex (credit cards) or partner GEM, which supports bank transfers and credit card purchases.

  • Simplex: 3.5% or $10 minimum fee included in price; can drop to 2.99% for users in the EEA and the U.K.
  • Gem (via Wyre): 0.1% ACH transfer (U.S. only)
  • GEM (via Coinify): 0.5% manual bank transfer; 2% credit card (EU); 3.5% credit card (non-EU)

BlockFi Trading
BlockFi Trading, which is slightly more robust than Celsius's offering, enables you to easily buy and sell coins on the BlockFi platform.

They claim to operate a zero-fee exchange, but in reality, they charge a spread on every trade, which appears to range from 0.70 - 1.5%.

The Takeaway
When it comes to buying and selling cryptocurrencies on BlockFi and Celsius, the right pick depends on your payment method and where you live. Celsius users in the U.S. will find the lowest rates for purchases via ACH transfer.

Remember that you can always buy coins elsewhere and send them to your BlockFi or Celsius account.

Bonus Features

BlockFi and Celsius do differ slightly in the extra features they're offering to members. If you're interested in a Bitcoin credit card or a modern crypto payment service, don't miss these features:

BlockFi's Bitcoin Rewards Credit Card
BlockFi's upcoming rewards card with Visa will offer 1.5% cash back in Bitcoin for every transaction. That Bitcoin will be automatically transferred to a BlockFi Interest Account every month to accrue interest.

BlockFi

Bitcoin Credit Card - Visa Crypto Rewards

  • Earn 3.5% back in Bitcoin during your first 3 months
  • Earn 2% back in Bitcoin on every purchase over $50,000 of annual spend
  • Earn an unlimited 1.5% back in Bitcoin on every purchase
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees

Celsius CelPay
With CelPay, Celsius hopes to enable users to send, receive, pay and get paid in crypto, rather than just hold it. You can send money via a secure link or text, or from a list of other Celsius users.

Investors holding CEL using CelPay also get 2% cash back on all CEL transactions when using CelPay. The system will also prioritize users holding the highest CEL balance should the availability of dollar loans become limited.

What Fees Do They Charge?

Here are some you should know about:

BlockFi
BlockFi charges Withdrawal Fees on their Interest Account, which vary by currency:[1]

  • Bitcoin: 0.00075 BTC
  • Ethereum: 0.02 ETH
  • Litecoin: 0.0025 LTC

Their crypto-backed loans incur an Origination Fee of 2%.

BlockFi also charges a Spread on crypto purchases, which reportedly ranges from 0.7 - 1.5%.

Celsius
Celsius does not charge fees directly on crypto purchases; however, their partners do:[2]

  • Simplex: 3.5% or $10 minimum fee included in price; can drop to 2.99% for users in the EEA and the U.K.
  • Gem (via Wyre): 0.1% ACH transfer (U.S. only)
  • GEM (via Coinify): 0.5% manual bank transfer; 2% credit card (EU); 3.5% credit card (non-EU)

There are no origination fees, termination fees, or withdrawal fees.

In terms of Fees, Celsius performs marginally better than BlockFi. Celsius users can save on free withdrawals, avoid the 2% origination fee that BlockFi charges on loans, and enjoy (apparently) free trading. Users in the U.S. will get the most for their money by using Wyre ACH transfers.

Security

Since with both BlockFi and Celsius, you'll be entrusting your cryptocurrency to the platform for extended periods, security is an important consideration. Let's see how these platforms compare.

Celsius

  • Two-Factor Authentication: Two-Factor Authentication helps to prevent unwanted access to your account.

  • Pin & Facial Recognition: Users are required to set up a 6-digit pin to enter on login. You can bypass it by activating facial recognition.

  • Collateral: User funds that Celsius lends out to borrowers cannot be insured. Instead, they require 150% collateral from borrowers, who are only selected after due diligence reviews.

  • Insurance: Coins aren't always lent out. Fireblocks and PrimeTrust provide custody to un-lent crypto and offer insurance on digital assets.

  • Multi-Party Computation: Helps provide security and asset protection.

  • HODL Mode: Restrict withdrawals from your account by disabling outgoing transactions. There's a 24-hour period after deactivation of HODL Mode before outgoing transfers can be made.

  • Address Allowlisting: Choose which wallets you want withdrawals allowed to, and the address is locked for 24 hours after you make the change.

  • Cyber Intelligence and Incident Response experts: 24/7 asset monitoring, risk assessment and governance, threat monitoring, advanced data protection and crypto protocols.

BlockFi

  • Two-Factor Authentication: Use an authenticator app to protect your account from unwanted access.

  • Address Allowlisting: Lets you choose which wallets you want to allow your cryptocurrencies to be transferred to.

  • PII Verification : Ensures that it's you using your account, and not someone else.

  • Cold Storage: The majority of user assets are kept offline in cold storage.

  • Gemini as Custodian: Gemini, a security-minded exchange, goes to great lengths to protect user funds; they're also SOC 2 Type 1 security compliant.

  • Insurance: Gemini-held cash funds are FDIC-insured for up to $250,000 per customer; Gemini insures digital assets against theft, as long as it's not due to user error.

In terms of security, Celsius and BlockFi are comparably secure, and it should probably not be a determining factor for choosing one over the other.

Have BlockFi or Celsius been hacked?
BlockFi was victim in May 2019 of a "SIM Swap Attack," targeting an employee's phone. Hackers gained access for approximately 90 minutes, and acquired customer names, email addresses, dates of birth, addresses, and activity history but, according to BlockFi, no money.

While Celsius has never been hacked directly, in April 2020 a third-party email distribution system leaked customer information, and a number of users received fraudulent emails and SMS messages requesting access to their crypto wallets.

Ease of Use

Both Celsius and BlockFi have relatively straightforward, easy-to-use apps. Even new users should have no trouble depositing or withdrawing their crypto, using the exchange, or applying for a crypto-backed loan.

The only significant difference here is that BlockFi has a usable desktop site, while Celsius is accessible through the app only. Users who prefer larger screens may find this a drawback and might prefer BlockFi.

Customer Support

Celsius
Celsius has dedicated phone lines for U.S. and U.K users:

  • U.S. Support: (+1 201 824 2888)
  • U.K. Support: (+44 2033 185636)

You can also submit a support ticket on their website, or email them directly at app@celsius.network.

BlockFi
BlockFi offers phone support to active customers:

  • Number: (646) 779 -9688
  • Hours: 9:30AM - 5:00PM EST Monday - Friday

You can also contact them through their website contact page, or via the "Help" section of their app. An AI-bot will attempt to answer your questions first. After that, you'll be able to submit a ticket to their support team.

Bottom Line

Everything considered, Celsius is probably a better choice than BlockFi for users looking to take advantage of a crypto interest account. They have a wider variety of currencies available, slightly higher interest rates on their high-yield savings accounts, and slightly lower interest rates on crypto-backed loans.

They could certainly improve their standing further if they made it possible for investors in the U.S. to take advantage of the benefits from holding CEL Token, but even without it, they outperform BlockFi by a small but distinct margin.

That is not to say that BlockFi isn't a viable platform. If you are either unable to use Celsius or discover the platform isn't a good fit for them, they should definitely consider BlockFi as an alternative.

References

BlockFi

Get Up to $250 in Bonus BTC

DepositCrypto Bonus
$100 - $1,499$15
$1,500 - $19,999$20
$20,000 - $39,999$40
$40,000 - $74,999$75
$75,000 - $99,999$100
$100,000+$250

Crypto.com

USD $10 Sign Up Bonus

You will need to stake in $1000 CRO to earn USD $10 worth of CRO. Only the first amount of CRO you stake is used to calculate the sign-up bonus.

Jeremy Harshman is a protector of art and writing at CreditDonkey, a crypto comparison and reviews website. Write to Jeremy Harshman at jeremy.harshman@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

Note: This website is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content. You do not have to use our links, but you help support CreditDonkey if you do.

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