Crypto lending platforms are one of the most revolutionary additions to the crypto industry. Although they’ve been around for a while, crypto loans became popular when the DeFi sector blew up in 2020.
In this guide, we will explain what crypto lending is and how it works, its positives and negatives, then for those who decide to try it out, we will also recommend the best crypto lending platforms in 2024.
What is crypto lending?
As the name suggests, crypto lending is a process of giving out loans in the form of cryptocurrency. Drawing its principles from traditional finance, crypto lending involves extending loans denominated in digital assets, or cryptocurrencies. Like traditional lending, borrowers receive funds that they later make a repayment, plus a percentage of earnings.
However, crypto lending diverges significantly from traditional lending in several key areas. First, it operates in a largely decentralized environment, underpinned by blockchain technology. This requires a peer-to-peer lending structure, allowing individuals to bypass traditional intermediaries such as banks or credit institutions.
The second key difference lies in the democratization of the lending process itself. In crypto lending, any participant can become a lender. This is achieved by 'locking up' or 'staking' their cryptocurrencies in a smart contract for a specific duration. The borrower, in turn, uses these funds and pays them back with additional earnings.
The interest paid by borrowers becomes the reward for the lenders, providing them with an avenue to generate passive earnings. This feature, combined with the inherent potential for higher growth rates compared to traditional savings accounts, makes crypto lending an attractive proposition for many digital currency holders.
Lastly, it's crucial to highlight the risks and uncertainties in the relatively new and volatile cryptocurrency market, which could affect the stability of returns from crypto lending. These include price volatility of the underlying cryptocurrency and potential risks associated with the platforms or protocols used for lending. But, like any financial venture, due diligence and careful consideration are essential when engaging in crypto lending.
Top 11 crypto lending platforms
Let’s take a look at some of the best crypto lending platforms available right now. All are legitimate platforms, so you must check them out and pick the one you like the most.
The first on the list is OKX. This is one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges and crypto lending is amongst its many offerings. The platform has more than 20 loanable assets, some with flexible rates and others with fixed ones. The rate for USDT for example is fixed at 2%. It also features highly competitive terms for major coins. For those who seek more flexible terms, the exchange also posts 24-hour APYs for assets.
Next, we have Unchained Capital which is based in Austin, Texas. It offers Bitcoin loans to businesses and individuals alike. All funds are kept safe within dedicated BTC multisig vaults. The platform offers a minimum APR of 12.58 and the estimated LTV ratio is at around 40%. This is an excellent option, however, it’s only available to US customers.
Compound finance, based in California, is one of the largest DeFi protocols out there. It is a lending protocol known for being innovative and fully community-governed. The platform’s lending/borrowing rates fluctuate due to its yield farming model. The lending terms are very flexible, with the BTC APR ranging anywhere in between 0.04% to 6.5%.
Coming in at number 4 is Swiss-based Aave — a liquidity protocol built around seven networks. It services 13 markets, and lenders can take advantage of interest rates accrued in real time. The APY is hard to pin down due to its incentivization protocol, but they range from 0.1% to 18% for some assets. For borrowers, the APR can be as low as 0.1% (MKR), 0.5% (AAVE) and 1.3% (BUSD). However, for stablecoins, interest rates tend to be higher.
CoinRabbit is based in London and it’s a very popular choice due to the wide range of coins it has to offer. It has no credit check or KYC and it allows you to take out loans as small as $100. If you wish to lend, you can earn up to 10% interest on popular projects, which include USDT, BSC, USDC, BUSD and alike. On top of that, there are also no platform fees for users and borrowers can choose among 70 different coins, with the APR ranging between 12% and 16%.
Halfway down the list, there is SpectroCoin. This is a Belarus-based DeFi platform that has been in the crypto world since 2013. Throughout the years, it has received consistently high ratings, which has allowed it to stand out from the crowd. The platform features low APR for borrowers, with interest rates being as low as 4.95% and as high as 17.95%. The LTV can be anywhere from 25% to 75%, and the loans can go from 25 EUR to 1 million EUR.
Next, we have Midas.Investments, who are based in Singapore. Its focus is on building wealth via passive income, and it manages more than 200 million in assets. It lets users earn high yields while funding their accounts. Most assets on the platform have an APY that yields between 9% and 18%. It’s also worth mentioning that it has no limits, lockups or tiers. Additionally, if participants are willing to stake funds in MIDAS token, the APY is increased by a further 2-3%. However, it uses high-risk investment strategies, which might not be to everyone’s liking.
Another Swiss-based platform, YouHodler focuses on crypto-backed loans, whilst also offering a crypto savings account. Instead of lending assets, users can earn as much as 12% on them by opening one of these accounts. The minimum amount required to earn passive income is $100. If you need to borrow funds, the platform lets you take loans using any of the top 50 coins. The LTV ratio can go up to 90%, which is one of the highest in the industry. However, the downside is a high APR, which can go from 13.68% to nearly double that amount.
Nebeus, which is an Irish firm authorized by the country’s central bank, whose loans are backed by an insurance fund of $100 million. The platform lets you earn 12.85% per year by lending your crypto assets. The earnings can be withdrawn in the form of EUR or stablecoin every 24 hours. Loans come in two types — flexible loans and quick loans. Quick loans are great for everyday needs, and there is 0% interest for three months. Flexible loans can have up to 80% in LTV ratio, with interest rates going from 6% to 13.5%.
Nearing the end of the list, we have Nexo, which is regulated and licensed by the EU authorities. It manages assets of nearly 4 million users and operates in 200 jurisdictions. Borrowers can obtain loans from 0% APR, while lenders can earn up to 16% interest. This interest is paid out daily. While the APR starts at 0%, it can go up to 13.9%.
Finally, we have Mango Markets, which is a DEX based on Solana’s network. Its users earn interest on deposits automatically. However, users can also take fully collateralized loans against deposited assets. The interest rate fluctuates as it depends on the pool's utilization. However, users can see existing deposits and borrowing APR on the platform. It offers 14 different assets, including stablecoins and other cryptocurrencies.
Are crypto loans worth it?
Crypto loans offer a number of benefits that traditional loans cannot. They're decentralized and the process is fully automated thanks to smart contracts. They're available to everyone in the world, with no credit scores or KYCs. All you need to prove is that you can pay it back, and you do that by depositing collateral.
Lending your own coins allows you to earn passive income, which can pile up over time. The process is simple and fairly safe. There are crypto lending strategies that can improve your earnings. As with any type of loan, there are crypto lending benefits and crypto lending risks, however, if you are aware of them and careful enough, you benefit from these services.
What is crypto lending?
Crypto lending is the process of borrowing money in the form of cryptocurrency. However, users can also deposit their funds to a lending pool and offer it to others. In exchange, they receive passive income.
Is crypto lending safe?
Like everything related to digital assets, crypto lending comes with risks. These include hacking threats, or sharp price changes. For the most part, it is safe, if you keep these and similar risks in mind.
What is the difference between lending and staking crypto?
When you lend crypto, it is given to borrowers, who then pay it back with interest. When you stake crypto, you are contributing to the security of a crypto project. In both cases, you earn rewards, but the funds are used differently.
What are the advantages of crypto lending?
Crypto lending is available to everyone in the world, as long as they can match the terms. It requires no paperwork, it is quick and fairly simple. Interest rates can also be quite low, depending on the terms of the deal.
How do I start lending crypto?
Start by learning everything about the risks and benefits. Then, select a platform, and see which coins can be lent or borrowed. Obtain said coins, and deposit them to the lending pool, or obtain collateral in order to borrow the funds.
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