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As Bitcoin and general cryptocurrency loans have come to the mainstream, the questions surrounding them have begun to increase. As these loans are generally new concepts within the overall community, it’s important to not only understand them, but also know which ones are reputable, which ones offer the best rates or advantages, and which ones are outright scams.
As a result, we’ve created this guide to overview the best Bitcoin loans and also provide insight as to platforms that we believe you can trust. We’ll overview cryptocurrency loans as an entity itself, and then delve directly into not only why it’s useful, but also how to get your own Bitcoin loan.
What is a Bitcoin Loan?
As human beings, we want things as fast as possible, and that applies to information, knowledge, beneficial results, and money. Many times we want to have access to something immediately, but aren’t able to, such as with money: In this case, banks and ‘creditors’ have for a long time been able to offer us money immediately as long as we promise to pay back whatever they lend us within a specific amount of time. Bitcoin and cryptocurrency loans can be very confusing, have multiple types, and are relatively new, so let’s compare them to things we might be accustomed to get a better understanding.
First, look at how loans work in the modern day:
- You need $10,000 to buy something very important to you, but don’t have $10,000 cash at this time; you know for a fact that you will have $10,000 and more, however, within the next 6 months.
- You go to a bank, or another lending institution, and ask for them to lend you $10,000. This means they give you $10,000 immediately. However, you promise that you will pay back the full $10,000 within 6 months time. You also promise to pay an interest rate, which is a percentage of the amount you’re borrowing that acts as the bank/lender’s incentive for giving you money.
- You submit an application for the loan which is then reviewed by the lender. This includes a plethora of materials that you’ll prepare so that the lender can make sure you’re trustworthy and willing to pay back the loan (This is what stops most people from being able to get loans).
- The lender will check your credit score, ensure you have the reliability to pay back the loan as you promise, and decide whether to give you the loan (Usually 45-60 day process entirety).
Please keep in mind, our stance isn’t to complain and state why banks are bad and crypto/Bitcoin is bad, it is more to spread knowledge on possibilities for institutions such as lenders and banks so that they can grow the global GDP and progressive human development for the better.
The Issues With This Loan Model
There are a few issues with this the loan model above because of
- The approval/review process is very exclusive and many are denied, which not only limits profit for banks and lendors but also limits the number of people that can use loans.
- The application, review, and establishment process is extremely lengthy, taking in some cases multiple months.
- Lender returns are in some cases stagnant or limited.
As a result, Bitcoin and cryptocurrency loans were created. Bitcoin loans not only expedite the review and application process making it faster for both businesses and users looking to get loans, but it also cuts expenses associated with the process exponentially, and opens up lending opportunities for larger amounts of people who otherwise can’t access them. For lenders, businesses, and banks, the profit margin for trusting others with your capital becomes even larger as well. There are multiple types of fundamental Bitcoin loans, so let’s review.
Peer to Peer (P2P) Bitcoin Loans
Peer to peer (P2P) Bitcoin loans is equivalent to modern-day peer to peer lending platforms. In these ecosystems, users with Bitcoin sign up for a platform and deposit Bitcoin that they put ‘Up for Lending’. They select how much interest rate, maximum repayment term, and specify the additional parameters in this section. Then, other users sign up for the platform and choose from the list of user-provided loans.
These models are more common in combination with collateral-based Bitcoin loans.
Loan to Value (LTV) / Collateralized Bitcoin Loans
The arguably most revolutionary crypto/Bitcoin loan type is the LTV/Collateralized loan model. In this model, a specific asset (Something with value) is put up as collateral for the loan. Collateral is traditionally some form of value that is locked-up and used in lending to 1.) Ensure that the loan will be repaid, and 2.) Give the lender confidence to issue a loan as you already own something in similar value. For example, completely unrealistic, but let’s say someone offered you a loan of $10,000 but before that, you have to keep $5,000 worth in jewelry with an escrow account. In this case, if it ever becomes apparent you’re not going to pay off the loan, the $5,000 worth of jewelry will be sold to pay for the loan. That might be confusing, but keep in mind it’s just an example, let’s get more into the details.
While collateralized loans are apparent in legacy finance, they are much more efficient and quick when used in cryptocurrency.
A loan-to-value (LTV) ratio is important to understand in this case: LTV ratio is an indicator of the value of certain collateral compared to the loan that has been given. This is very common in real estate and has been transferred more apparently for Bitcoin and crypto loans. LTV ratios are demonstrative of how close or far your loan is from liquidation, or selling your underlying collateral in order to pay back the loan. Confusing? Probably – so let’s use the image and scenario to assist:
Best Bitcoin Loan Platforms
Nexo is the world’s first crypto lending platform, subsequently making it one of our top tier choices for Bitcoin loans. Nexo functions as a multi-structured lending platform, meaning it not only acts in a P2P manner but also combines LTV and collateralized loans with cryptocurrency to provide lending in its main operations.
On Nexo, you can request Bitcoin-centric loans immediately, get approved, and have the loan in your bank account or wallet in a matter of mere minutes. How does this work? Well, first, create an account with the platform. Then head to ‘Request Loan’ on the platform and indicate how much worth you want to borrow; Nexo will calculate an LTV rate as well as an interest rate, will review your account (Which doesn’t require credit/or bank verification checks), and will have a loan offer for you directly after. Then, simply choose whether or not you want to engage in the loan and deposit your collateral cryptocurrency and access your loan!
Nexo is not only insured, but it is also partnered with popular mainstream creditor Creddissimo. Because of the massive institutional and regulatory stance Nexo has taken, we strongly recommend it.
- Requires ID verification
- Getting started on the platform can be a bit confusing due to its hybrid LTV/P2P structure
Check out our Nexo review for more information about this platform.
Preliminary Note: There have been a number of negative ‘botted’ reviews for BlockFi: We have deducted our review on factual and actual results, rather than botted reviews on third-party sites. While we still will always advise that you move forward with caution in terms of choosing any type of cryptocurrency platform, we’ve done our homework and concluded that BlockFi is, in fact, a reputable optimal choice for Bitcoin/Cryptocurrency loans.
At this current time of writing in May 2019, BlockFi has over $50M worth of cryptocurrency that is stored by users where they are being paid interest. BlockFi offers some of the most competitive loan and interest providing products within the industry; their annual interest account, insured and considered to be risk-free offers over 6% interest. The best part? In any case, you’re using any interest-bearing product on BlockFi, you can compound the interest automatically on the platform, which is an excellent feature.
The process for getting started on BlockFi is simple; head to their platform and create a preliminary account. This only requires your email address. Then, select which type of account you want to set up: This will be either a strictly interest-bearing account, or a cryptocurrency loan. Regardless of which one you select, you’ll be asked to provide identification to validate your account ownership, as well as validate where you live. Then, you’ll be asked to specify the parameters around your loan and/or interest-bearing account. With an interest-bearing account, once done, you can simply deposit certain cryptocurrency and have it immediately active for garnering compound interest. In the case of requesting a cryptocurrency loan, you’ll need to verify your account first. Then, once done, input how much you want to borrow, and BlockFi will calculate an appropriate interest rate for your term as well as an appropriate LTV. Then your loan will be ready!
- As far as collateral goes, BlockFi currently only enables Bitcoin, Ether, and Litecoin as collateral options, which can be fairly limiting.
- BlockFi has relatively high minimum loan amounts ($10,000 to get started)
- You still have to verify your profile and the legitimacy of your investor profile
Kiva is one of the more alternative options as far as Bitcoin/Cryptocurrency loans goes in that it enables a cryptocurrency and Bitcoin loan environment in a pure P2P structure (Unlike hybrid structures in case of Nexo; both have their advantages) and only enables loans for donations and grants. This essentially means loans are issued and received on a P2P basis entirely for charitable and non-profit causes. This takes a very unique twist on platforms for fundraising such as GoFundMe, in that when providing your capital out for loans, you actually get rewarded. To sum: Kiva is a P2P lending platform, but those looking for loans can only be looking to raise capital for a verified cause and must repay loans, while 100% of all capital that is lent to these causes is directly allocated to these charitable or non-profit instances.
Obtaining a loan on Kiva is a bit different and more arduous than it is on most other platforms. This is namely because as we mentioned, Kiva is only a lending platform for verified business purposes with a goal of connecting those that otherwise wouldn’t have a shot at receiving funding. If you’re looking to lend, however, which is Kiva’s main purpose and what it is excellent at serving for, then the application process is very quick and streamlined. Simply enter in your account information, provide the identification that is needed, and submit your donation.
In the case of seeking a loan, you have to follow a fairly long process to validate that the funds you’re seeking are going to be transparently and finitely used for the purposes that you state their intentions are for. This includes completing a lengthy application as well, whose page and additional information you can find here.
- Unique P2P setting that takes on a more incentivized version of GoFundMe
- 97% repayment rate for those issuing loans; among the highest repayment rates in most lending platforms
- Anyone can get involved with as little as $25 in Bitcoin
- Providing loans to users is fairly easy, however getting approved for a loan listing is extremely difficult and requires a lot of verification.
- The platform is tailored exclusively for getting Bitcoin loans aimed at targeting good causes and charitable projects.
Best Bitcoin Loans in Your Country
For those looking to get a Bitcoin loan in the UK, we highly recommend Nexo, as it is supported and fully functional at this time for UK residents. Kiva works in the UK as well.
Getting a Bitcoin loan in Canada or US is fairly easy! All that’s required is a valid account on either BlockFi or Nexo; both are supported in US/Canada. Kiva is also a great option!
Australian residents looking for a Bitcoin loan can use either Nexo or Kiva, depending on their preferences.
Bitcoin and cryptocurrency loans are among some of the most revolutionary, game-changing products and technological developments in quite a long time. They open the door for a plethora of subsequent profit, in both cases of lending and being lent a certain amount of funds.
For absolute beginners in Bitcoin that are still confused by this guide, check out our main Bitcoin Buying guide which details the ins and outs of this complex, new technology.
Yes! Most if not all crypto/bitcoin lending platforms enable loans without looking at all at your credit or previous finances.
In most cases, Bitcoin loans are issued only if loan collateral is enabled, as to hedge from that exact situation from ever happening.
Feel free to reach out to our team at InsideBitcoins to assist you in understanding bitcoin loans if this is the case. In other cases, most if not all crypto lenders have dedicated 24/7 service at your disposal.
Yes, absolutely! As a matter of fact, many use crypto P2P lending as viable money makers.
While currently, the market is fairly small and early as far as crypto lending platforms, we highly recommend Nexo as it seems to be the most profitable and be the most regulated option.
This depends per platform, but they are usually very small. For example, Kiva’s minimum loan amount is $25.