BlockFi Review 2021: Pros, Cons and How It Compares

If you’re interested in using your cryptocurrency as a way to earn interest or are looking to free up some cash without selling your crypto assets, BlockFi’s loans and interest products may be worth considering.
Andy RosenNov 23, 2021

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Our Take

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: The BlockFi exchange’s fees are about average among its competitors, but it may appeal to users interested in earning interest or borrowing against their bitcoin.

BlockFi

BlockFi

Fees

$0

spread of about 1%

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Ability to earn interest on bitcoin
  • One free withdrawal each month

Cons

  • Services are limited in several states
  • Website is not easy to navigate

Compare to Similar Brokers

Coinbase
Gemini
SoFi Active Investing
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Fees

0.5% - 4.5%

varies by type of transaction; other fees may apply

Fees

0.5% - 3.99%

depending on payment method and platform

Fees

$0

per trade

Account Minimum

$2

Account Minimum

$0

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

Earn $5

in bitcoin for getting started on Coinbase

Promotion

$20 of BTC

for new users after trading $100 or more within 30 days

Promotion

$5 to $1,000

in free stock for users who sign up via mobile app

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Full Review

Where BlockFi shines

Interest and lending: BlockFi has made its name trying to extend traditional financial services into the world of cryptocurrency. People who use its platform can earn interest on their bitcoin or use it as collateral for loans — a service that many competitors do not offer. Customers can earn up to 4.5% APY on their Bitcoin, depending on how much they are holding on the platform.

Free monthly withdrawal: Though BlockFi’s withdrawal fees aren’t the lowest we’ve seen, you can avoid them by limiting the frequency with which you withdraw. The platform offers one free crypto withdrawal and one free stablecoin withdrawal each calendar month.

Where BlockFi falls short

Services limited in some states: BlockFi’s novel approach — combining aspects of the crypto world with some services traditionally offered by banks — has subjected it to a good deal of regulatory scrutiny. Several states have not cleared it to provide all of its services, and offerings such as interest accounts are facing additional uncertainty in states where they are currently allowed.

Website navigation: BlockFi’s website makes it difficult to find some critical information, such as how to close your account.

BlockFi is best for:

  • Crypto-to-crypto trading.

  • Interest accounts.

  • Borrowing against crypto.

BlockFi at a glance

Minimum trade

$20 for cash-to-crypto; $1.50 for crypto-to-crypto.

Trading and transaction fees

Spread of about 1%, but no transaction fee.

Number of cryptocurrencies

Up to 12.

Crypto-to-crypto trading pairs

Up to 66.

Website transparency

Some key information is difficult to find or unavailable on BlockFi's website.

Can use your own digital wallet?

Yes.

Mobile app

BlockFi's apps for iOS and Android average slightly below 3.5 stars.

Customer service

BlockFi has live customer support by phone from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday. It offers a chatbot off-hours.

More details about BlockFi's ratings

Minimum trade

BlockFi says users can begin trading with a minimum of $20 if they're using cash to trade via ACH. To trade stablecoin to cryptocurrency or crypto-asset to crypto-asset, the minimum is $1.50. There is no minimum balance for its crypto interest accounts.

Trading and transaction fees

BlockFi does not charge trading fees on its platform, but it does mark up crypto-assets with a spread of about 1%. The company says that figure can vary based on market conditions.

BlockFi offers one free monthly withdrawal of stablecoins and one free crypto withdrawal. After that, fees kick in, and they vary based on the type of cryptocurrency in question. A withdrawal of bitcoins, for example, would cost 0​​.00075 BTC, which would be worth about $35 in September of 2021.

Number of cryptocurrencies

BlockFi offers up to 12 cryptocurrencies, depending on state regulations.

Crypto-to-crypto trading pairs

BlockFi has as many as 66 trading pairs in some states, though the number is as low as 28 in states where it is not allowed to offer stablecoin trading. BlockFi doesn’t offer any trading pairs in New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Vermont, and West Virginia.

Digital wallet options and security

BlockFi allows customers to use their own digital wallets to transfer assets to and from the BlockFi platform.

The company says it takes security seriously and that it has taken both financial and technological steps to secure its accounts. However, it’s important to note that while BlockFi’s interest and lending services might be reminiscent of those offered by a bank, assets held on the platform are not subject to protections like Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. coverage.

Mobile app

BlockFi offers mobile apps for iOS and Android, both of which have earned 3-star ratings from users.

Customer support options

BlockFi has live customer support by phone from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday. The company also offers support by chatbot, which it says will help open a ticket to connect customers to live support for persistent problems.

Other features you should know about

BlockFi’s interest-earning products are distinct from “staking” programs that are operated by some other exchanges. Staking is a way of earning rewards on certain cryptocurrencies by using them to help verify transactions on a blockchain network.

But staking is not available for Bitcoin and often requires that you lock up your crypto for a set period of time. At BlockFi, you can earn interest on Bitcoin (in addition to other cryptocurrencies) and you do not have to lock up your crypto to do so; you can make withdrawals at any time.

Is BlockFi right for you?

If you’re interested in using your cryptocurrency as a way to earn interest or are looking to free up some cash without selling your crypto assets, BlockFi’s loans and interest products may be worth considering.

However, if you’re looking for a place to buy, sell and trade a variety of crypto assets without borrowing or earning interest, there are other platforms that offer greater selection or wider availability. (Here's our full list of the best crypto exchanges.)

How do we review crypto exchanges and platforms?

NerdWallet’s comprehensive review process evaluates and ranks the largest U.S. cryptocurrency exchanges, along with emerging industry players, using a multifaceted and iterative approach. Our aim is to provide an independent assessment of providers to help arm you with information to make sound, informed judgments on which ones will best meet your needs.

DATA COLLECTION AND REVIEW PROCESS We collect data directly from providers, and conduct firsthand testing and observation through provider demonstrations. The final output produces star ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.

RATING FACTORS Evaluations vary by provider type, but in each case are based upon the weighted averages of factors that include but are not limited to: trading and transaction fees, crypto withdrawal fees, cryptocurrency selection, crypto-to-crypto trade offerings and whether consumers can use their own cryptocurrency wallets. We also score providers based on website transparency regarding fees and offerings, their mobile platforms and customer support.

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