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Simple Ways to Earn Interest On Crypto Holdings

If you earn interest at a 10% rate, your investment will double in about 7 years. That’s the incredible power of compounding. If you’re not taking advantage of simple ways to earn interest on your crypto, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to grow your wealth.

This post will guide you through 4 great options for earning interest on your crypto, including BlockFi, Celsius, Binance, and Crypto.com. We’ll provide a crypto interest rates comparison and more importantly, shed light on the important fine print lurking behind.

Note: interest rates are variables and will change from what you see here. Be sure to check each of the referenced websites to get the latest crypto interest rate details.

US-Resident Note: in 2022, regulatory guidance put certain limitations on exchanges mentioned in this article. They are in the process of revamping their products and services to continue offering great interest rates in a compliant manner.

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Not DeFi

Before hopping in, we should note this post is not about DeFi (Decentralized Finance). DeFi is a topic we’ll cover in a separate post that loosely refers to a decentralized, peer-to-peer financial framework that can be managed entirely on public blockchains.

While DeFi is incredible, it can also be complex, intimidating, and risky. This post will instead focus on simple ways to earn interest through trusted financial institutions.

That said, if you keep your crypto holdings purely in your own private wallets, this post may not be for you.

Earning Interest on Crypto

If you have purchased cryptocurrency and are holding it, it’s likely you anticipate its value will go up over time. That means you are an investor and you are targeting appreciation.

However, most sophisticated investors don’t rely on appreciation alone. They typically want both appreciation and cash flow. That is, great investments should be expected to become more valuable and also generate income.

While it seems obvious, when your money is earning interest, it’s working to give you additional cash. Each little unit of crypto you own is an employee working hard to make you more money.

It’s critical to have your money working for you.

The Magic of Compounding Crypto

If your crypto holdings are earning interest, you can withdraw that interest as income.

If you don’t need to take the income, you can add it to your investment pile. Each time you earn interest, you gain more “employees” working hard to make you more money, even while you sleep. This causes escalating earnings and is what allows your money to grow faster and faster over time.

As the rumor goes, when Albert Einstein was once asked what mankind’s greatest invention was, he replied: “Compound interest.”

Simple Ways to Earn Interest On Crypto Holdings 1
Investopedia Visual of Compound Interest Acceleration

How to Earn Interest on Crypto

With some basics in mind, the simplest way to earn interest on your crypto holdings is to deposit your cryptocurrency at a financial institution that pays interest. This is similar to keeping your money at a bank. And fortunately, there are a number of great options.

Just like traditional banks, interest-paying crypto-financial institutions make money by utilizing deposits to earn even more money. This may include activities like lending, investing, spreads, and even mining.

General Pros

  • Simple way to earn interest on crypto
  • Professional custody of your deposits

General Cons

  • Regulatory landscape is not mature
  • Requires you trust your deposits with a company
  • Different rates, products, and services across different jurisdictions
  • No FDIC or SIPC protection

What are interest rate tiers? You’ll see the concept of tiers come up throughout these comparisons. Most financial institutions pay different rates on different portions of your balance. For example, they may pay 10% on your first $1,000, 5% on the next $1,000, and then 1% on any balance above that. It is important to click past the advertised rate and understand what your holdings will actually earn. Some coins drop off very quickly.

1. BlockFi: Best Starting Point

Simplest option for most people.

BlockFi pays interest on crypto in a straightforward manner. The platform is simple to use. It feels familiar, like a modern version of traditional banks.

They cover many fees associated with moving crypto around. As of this writing, they are paying 9.5% on some stablecoins and 4.5% on the first Bitcoin tier.

Simple Ways to Earn Interest On Crypto Holdings 2
BlockFi Screenshot Showing Tier 1 Rates on Dec 15, 2021

Pros

  • Founded in 2017
  • Based out of New Jersey, USA
  • Good interest rates
  • Interest compounds
  • Beginner-friendly approach
  • Great user interface that is familiar and easy to use
  • Easy connection to traditional banks
  • Fast access to money with instant deposits and quick withdrawals
  • Strong security and compliance standards
  • Covers most fees

Cons

  • Limited number of cryptocurrencies supported
  • Interest rates drop at higher deposit amounts

BlockFi is our first recommendation as the best crypto interest account for most people.

2. Celsius: Best Addition to BlockFi

Critical! Celsius has frozen withdrawals. It is unclear what will happen to funds deposited at Celcius.

Best for people with higher account balances. Ideal to pair with BlockFi.

Celsius is the next natural step after BlockFi. It tends to pay higher interest rates, especially on traditional cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin. As of this writing, stablecoins are around 10% and the first Bitcoin tier is 6.2%. The highest rate currently listed is 13.99% on SNX.

Importantly, Celsius has higher tiers. That means you earn higher interest on a great portion of your holdings. If you have larger balances, Celsius will be a better fit. You can even cap out tier 1 on BlockFi and then move the rest to Celsius.

However, Celsius is less user-friendly than BlockFi. It does not allow direct connections to traditional banks. This means you need to acquire cryptocurrency elsewhere, then transfer it to Celsius. This is a significant hassle if you regularly invest a portion of your traditional pay into crypto. It also means you’ll incur extra fees along the way, like gas charges, which may take a while to offset in interest.

Simple Ways to Earn Interest On Crypto Holdings 3
Celsius Screenshot Showing Tiers and Rates on Dec 15, 2021

In the screenshot above, you can clearly see how Celsius tiers their interest rates.

Pros

  • Found in 2017
  • Based out of New Jersey, USA
  • High interest rates
  • Interest compounds
  • Better interest tiers for larger balances
  • Broader selection of cryptocurrencies
  • Strong security and compliance standards
  • Covers most fees

Cons

  • No bank connections, making moving funds to and from your bank cumbersome
  • You will likely incur other fees as you move money through an intermediary to Celsius

Celsius is our recommendation for people looking to earn interest on higher balances.

3. Binance: Easiest Way to Explore DeFi Concepts

Amazing intro to DeFi on a familiar platform.

Binance takes a different approach than BlockFi and Celsius.

Most crypto owners have passed through Binance at one point or another. It’s one of the best exchanges. But it’s also grown to much more.

You may be pleasantly surprised to see Binance also provides a huge variety of ways for you to earn interest on funds that are otherwise sitting idle. Binance makes this all surprisingly simple and fun. It gives you a way to explore and try otherwise complex DeFi transactions.

  • Binance.com Earn offers interest accounts, staking, liquidity farming, launchpad, and more. Just hover over the “Earn” menu and explore.
  • Binance.us Staking lets you stake without having to lock up your funds. Go to Resources > Staking to see your options.
Simple Ways to Earn Interest On Crypto Holdings 4
Binance Farming Subset on Dec 15, 2021
Simple Ways to Earn Interest On Crypto Holdings 5
Binance Staking Subset on Dec 15, 2021
Simple Ways to Earn Interest On Crypto Holdings 6
Binance US staking options as of June 2022

Pros

  • Great introduction to the DeFi world
  • Fun and easy interface
  • Some options have triple-digit interest rates

Cons

  • Traditional savings rates are lower than BlockFi and Celsius
  • Binance.US options are currently limited compared to Binance.com
  • Requires active engagement
  • High-yield options can have high risk, so evaluate your choices carefully

Binance is familiar to most of us and has some exciting options to explore.

4. Crypto.com: Hybrid Option for Experienced Crypto Investors

Hybrid option for experienced crypto investors.

Crypto.com is growing aggressively, bringing many new customers. It provides a wide array of services to get the most from your crypto holdings. These span from basic to advanced.

That said, even the basic options are more complicated than others on this list.

To get the best rates out of Crypto.com, you need to lock your holdings in for 3 months and stake $40,000 in CRO, which is Crypto.com’s coin. If you do both, you can earn 8.5% on your Bitcoin and 14% on certain stablecoins.

With that said, all interest rates aren’t equal. Crypto.com uses a “per annum” rate and pays “rewards” instead of traditional interest. This all means your interest is not compounded, so you don’t benefit from the magic of compounding.

Simple Ways to Earn Interest On Crypto Holdings 7
Crypto.com Approach to Rewards on Dec 15, 2021

Pros

  • Founded in 2016
  • Based out of Singapore
  • Fast growing with evolving services
  • For some depositers, reward rates are very high
  • Option to own your wallet keys and access to non-custodial DeFi services
  • Strong security and compliance standards

Cons

  • Interest is not paid on rewards, which means no compounding
  • Fairly advanced for average crypto savers
  • To earn competitive rates, you must stake CRO and choose a deposit term
  • Mobile app-only interface

Crypto.com is an intermediate option for people looking to explore alternate earning methods.

Conclusion

Having your money work for you can dramatically improve the value of your investments over time. If you are okay holding a portion of your cryptocurrency investments in financial institutions, you owe it to yourself to explore these options.

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