Compare Crypto Loan Platforms for Borrowing Against Crypto 2022

  • November 30, 2022
  • 27 Min Read

Editor's Pick
USD Coin
Pax Gold
Pax Dollar

How do crypto loans work?

Crypto backed loans let you easily borrow cash using your Bitcoin or other crypto assets as collateral for your loan. This allows you to quickly access liquidity without needing to sell your crypto holdings, which can be tax advantageous for certain investors.

A handful of crypto lending platforms offer crypto loans with competitive interest rates, same-day funding, and limited to no credit checks. We compare each provider's rates, terms, and why you may want to use each to help you decide which crypto lender may be right for you.

When considering a crypto backed loan, keep in mind that cryptocurrencies are volatile; if the crypto collateral's value falls below a certain threshold, you will need to post more collateral or risk having your existing collateral liquidated. Therefore, it's essential to carefully consider the loan-to-value ratio and keep it as low as possible to get the best interest rates and withstand market volatility.

Key takeaways:

  • Crypto loans let you borrow fiat currency like US Dollars against your crypto holdings. You can use these proceeds to buy more crypto, purchase a car or home, or anything else you like.
  • Borrowers are not taxed on their loan proceeds, which is especially useful to those with large unrealized gains in their cryptocurrency portfolio.
  • Crypto assets put up as collateral are still owned by the borrower, so you continue to benefit if the price of the collateral appreciates.

What is a crypto loan?

Crypto loans allow you to borrow a lump sum of money in return for putting up your cryptocurrency assets as collateral. Lenders provide these loans through their platform with low interest rates and no origination fees.

A crypto loan works much like a traditional line of credit — a borrower is approved for a loan, funds are deposited into their account, and they are assigned a repayment schedule with a monthly payment that covers the principal of the loan as well as interest, or just interest in the case of an interest-only loan.

In the case of a traditional loan, a physical asset such as a vehicle or a real estate property may be the collateral for the loan. With crypto loans, the borrower deposits their cryptocurrency assets as collateral.

The borrower still owns these assets, even while they’re being held as collateral, so if the market price of the assets appreciates, the borrower still benefits from that appreciation.

What can I use a crypto loan for?

When you borrow against your crypto, you can use the loan proceeds for anything you desire. The lender will fund your loan directly to your bank account, and you can use the proceeds as you wish. Some common use-cases for crypto loans include:

  • Crypto real estate mortgages - some borrowers will borrow against their crypto to acquire real estate or in particular, rental properties. This allows the borrower to continue owning their crypto and benefiting from future price increases, while also acquiring a diversified asset (real estate) which will generate cash yields.
  • Buying more crypto - borrowing against your crypto provides you with cash that can be used to buy even more crypto. This helps investors "buy the dip" without needing to contribute more of their personal assets into their crypto portfolio. One benefit of this path is, if crypto goes down further, you have added more crypto to your portfolio which can be used to easily meet margin calls with the lending platform.
  • Paying your taxes - borrowing against your crypto is an easy way to raise cash to pay income taxes without needing to sell your crypto, which could trigger even more taxes due.

Tax benefits of crypto loans

Since loan proceeds are not taxed in countries like the USA, many crypto holders will use crypto loans to strategically navigate their tax liabilities.

When their crypto holdings appreciate significantly in price, rather than selling and incurring capital gains tax, these holders will instead take out a crypto loan using their newly appreciated assets as collateral.

This will give them access to liquidity just as if they had sold their crypto, but without incurring the tax liability.

Like we already mentioned, crypto loans incur an interest charge, but this is often a negligible fee to pay when compared to capital gains tax, so the loan strategy is preferred by many prudent traders.

DeFi Loans

Crypto loans can also be used to borrow assets other than fiat currency. Most popular cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum are available for borrowing against other crypto assets like Solana, for example.

This route can be useful for those looking to trade or stake more crypto than they have on hand. Many platforms even offer the ability to borrow crypto against fiat collateral.

What do I need in order to get a crypto loan?

In addition to the basics like having cryptocurrency available to serve as collateral, borrowers need to cover some additional requirements before taking out a crypto backed loan.

Know Your Customer

Know Your Customer (KYC) verification is an identity check required by centralized platforms. KYC checks are usually automated, simple processes that involve providing your name and address information, as well as uploading pictures of your government ID.

Eligible Collateral

To get ready for taking out a crypto loan, set aside the collateral amount that you plan on using for your loan. Collateral is the most important factor in determining the amount of cash you are eligible to borrow.

Most lending platforms don’t take into account personal credit history, so the amount of the loan is determined solely by the crypto collateral deposited. For example, if you have one ETH and are taking out a 50% LTV loan, you would be able to borrow 1/2 of the current value of ETH in USD through your ETH loan. Due to these basic lending parameters, the underwriting process is quick and many platforms can deposit loan funds into a borrower’s account just a few hours after the loan application is completed.

What is loan-to-value (LTV) and how does it affect loan rates?

Loan-to-value, or LTV, refers to the ratio between your loan proceeds and the value of your posted collateral. The LTV of a crypto loan is calculated by dividing the loan amount by the market value of the tokens being used as collateral. For example, if you put down $10,000 worth of Bitcoin as collateral, and borrow $4,000 of USD, your LTV is 40%.

The LTV on a crypto loan is not static. Rather, it fluctuates based on the value of the assets used as collateral for the loan. This means that the LTV will also change — increasing when the value of the collateral declines, and decreasing when the value of the collateral increases.

The LTV can also affect crypto loan rates. The higher the LTV, the riskier the loan is — which typically translates to paying a higher interest rate in return. Some platforms cap the LTV at 50% and offer lower interest rates to borrowers with LTVs that are lower than 50%, while other platforms may allow borrowers LTVs up to 90% in return for higher-than-average interest payments.

Margin calls

The purpose of collateral is to compensate the lender in the case that a borrower does not repay their loan. Most lenders, however, do not wait for borrowers to default on their loans before acting. If market moves drastically change the value of the collateral, lenders may exercise a “margin call.”

Margin calls are when a lender asks a borrower to either pay down a portion of their loan, or add more collateral until their LTV is back in healthy territory. If the borrower fails to take either of these steps in time, the lender may being to liquidate the borrower’s collateral to protect themselves.

Each lending platform has a different threshold for triggering a margin call, however for most platforms it’s when a loan’s LTV increases above 80-90%.

Interest-only loans vs. interest & principal: How do they compare?

When you borrow crypto, you may have the choice between an interest-only loan or a conventional loan where you repay both interest and principal over time. There are potential benefits and downsides to both options.

An interest-only loan is a loan that only requires you to pay interest on the loan itself for a defined term, without paying down principal throughout the life of the loan. Once the term is over, you’ll owe any remaining amount for interest plus the principal in either one lump sum or in monthly payments. This type of loan can help keep your payments low initially but could have a high lump sum payment or high monthly payments over the long run.

An interest and principal loan is a loan that requires you to make regular (typically monthly) payments for both the interest and the principal combined. The repayment schedule typically starts shortly after the loan has been issued and continues for a specified term until the loan and interest are fully repaid. This type of loan does not start out with low initial payments, but the benefit is that it keeps your payments consistent from month to month throughout the loan.

Interest-only loans are typically more expensive than interest and principal loans, as the risk of default tends to be higher. And, because you are not gradually paying down the principal with an interest-only loan, your LTV will typically stay higher (unless the value of your collateral increases).

An example

To illustrate the differences between interest-only and interest and principal loans, let’s take a look at an example loan.

For this example, we are borrowing $5,000 at a 50% LTV with a 12 month payback period. Here is how the payback schedules compare for an interest-only and an interest and principal loan:

Interest-onlyInterest and Principal
Loan Amount$5,000$5,000
Loan Term12 months12 months
Monthly Payment$28.96 for 11 months, + a lump sum of $5,028.96 in month 12$439.56 each month for 12 months
Total Amount Paid Back$5,347.52$5,274.72

As the table above illustrates, an interest-only loan has lower monthly payments for the first 11 months, but a large sum due all at once at the end of the loan term. The interest-only loan also has a larger final sum that the borrower owes due to its higher interest rate.

Are crypto-backed loans taxed?

In most countries, crypto loan proceeds are treated like normal loan proceeds and are therefore not taxed. This is in contrast to capital gains taxes which are triggered when crypto assets are sold for a profit.

Interest payments made in service of a loan may be tax deductible depending on your specific circumstances. Borrowers should speak with a qualified CPA to understand if their interest payments are tax deductible.

Can a company get a crypto loan with collateral?

Yes - many crypto lending platforms offer commercial loans to companies. The process of obtaining a commercial crypto loan is very similar to a personal crypto loan - the lender evaluates the crypto collateral the business has available, and will quote rates depending on the requested loan size and resulting loan-to-value ratio.

Common uses for commercial crypto loan proceeds include:

  • Crypto mining companies who wish to scale up their operations, or access liquidity without needing to sell their mined crypto.
  • Startup companies looking to fund their initial operations.
  • Businesses that accept crypto as payment for products or services, and want to borrow cash against the crypto on their corporate balance sheet.

What are the common crypto loan terms?

  • Principal: The principal of a loan is the initial amount of money or crypto that was borrowed. The principal balance of a loan will change throughout the term of your loan as you make payments to the lender and reduce the amount you owe.
  • Interest: The interest on your loan is a fee that’s paid to a lender in return for borrowing money. The interest rate on a loan is typically expressed as an annual percentage rate, or APR. This APR will represent a certain percentage of the total principal and is what you will need to repay in addition to the principal.
  • Collateral: The collateral is the asset that the borrower allows the lender to hold temporarily in order to secure a loan. With crypto loans, the most common type of collateral is crypto tokens, which are held by the exchange or lender until the loan and interest are paid.
  • Loan-To-Value (LTV): The percentage value that a loan amount represents when compared to the value of the collateral deposited. LTV is calculated by dividing the loan amount by the market value of the assets being used as collateral.
  • Margin call: A demand from a lender that requires a borrower to either pay down some of their loan amount or to put up more collateral. Failing to meet a margin call can result in the liquidation of the borrower’s collateral.
  • Grace period: The grace period of a loan is a period of time in which the lender will not require the borrower to make payments. For example, a 60-day grace period would be a 60-day period in which the borrower would not have to make any payments to the lender. Once that grace period is over, the repayment period starts, and the borrower will typically need to issue a payment for the portion of both the principal and interest to the lender each month.
  • Origination fee: A loan origination fee is a fee that’s charged by a lender in return for evaluating and processing a loan application. The origination fee is typically a one-time fee that’s charged up-front and is either calculated as a percentage of the loan’s face value or a fixed dollar amount.

What are the risks for crypto loans?

There is always a risk when it comes to investing, and crypto loans are no different. When it comes to crypto loans, the common risks include:

  • Margin calls: If the value of your collateral assets declines quickly, your loan may reach a liquidation threshold that triggers a margin call. You should always be ready to pay down a part of your loan or to deposit more collateral, otherwise you are at risk of having your collateral liquidated by the lender.
  • Platform insolvency: When you are borrowing from a crypto lender, your collateral will be stored with the lender until your loan is repaid. Should the platform become insolvent, you could run the risk of losing your tokens for good.
  • Cyber attacks: Hacking and other security issues are common in the crypto space, and when you’re handing over temporary custody of your tokens to a crypto exchange as collateral for a loan, any cyber attacks that occur could put your assets at risk.
  • Not FDIC insured: Another thing to consider is that crypto lending platforms are not insured in the same capacity as traditional lenders. That too could put the parties involved in a crypto loan at risk, should there be an issue that causes one or the other to lose their tokens.

You can minimize these risks by investing with an established platform or exchange to help facilitate your crypto loan.

There are numerous options to choose from in both the centralized and decentralized spaces, so be sure to compare the platforms and features before committing to any crypto lending platform.

Are there any other fees for crypto loans?

If you’re looking for a crypto loan, you may encounter a number of different types of fees tied to these loans. These fees typically vary by platform, but can include exchange fees, network fees, deposit or withdrawal fees, and origination fees, among others.

One common type of crypto loan fee is an origination fee, which is a one-time fee that is typically calculated as either a flat fee or a percentage of the loan amount.

Not all lenders will charge this fee, but it can be costly if they do. For example, some exchanges may charge a 2% origination fee on crypto loans, so you’ll need to account for that amount if you’re borrowing on this platform.

Below is a table with basic fees broken down across a few popular lending platforms.

Origination Fee0%0%
Withdrawal FeeBase tier - 1 free crypto withdrawal per monthVariable
Prepayment fee0%0%

Given that each platform charges its own fees for crypto loans, it’s important to do your research beforehand to find out which one works best for you. Look at all of the potential fees and charges associated with each platform before making your pick.

Top 3 crypto loan platforms for September, 2022

Below are our editors' picks for crypto lending platforms, including important information about each lender:

1. Nexo

Nexo is another top borrowing platform, thanks in part to the fact that the platform offers a loyalty program that can benefit borrowers in big ways. With Nexo, borrowers can borrow both stablecoins and other cryptocurrencies, but what’s unique about the platform is that the interest rates you pay on borrowing are directly related to your loyalty level.

That makes it possible to borrow at between 0% to 1.9% in some cases, which are excellent rates for any borrower. And, borrowers can also use their crypto as collateral for borrowing fiat such as plain old American dollars.

That means you can borrow cash for a rate that’s far lower than any traditional bank will offer you.

  • Interest rates: Fixed
  • Min/Max Loan Size: $50 to $2,000,000.

Why borrow with Nexo?

  • Rates start at 0% for borrowing and never exceed 13.9% — which means that this platform is often the cheapest way to borrow.
  • You have the choice between fiat, crypto, or a combination of both to repay your loan.
  • Approval can be instant for borrowers and the funds are typically available within 24 hours.
Supported collateral assetsInterest rate rangeOrigination feesLoan types offeredLTV Range
NexoBTC ETH BNB DAI +more0% - 13.9%0%Custom repayment schedules15% - 90%

Learn more about Nexo by reading our full Nexo review or start borrowing at Nexo now.

2. Binance

As the world’s leading crypto platform, Binance is another solid option for crypto borrowers. With this platform, you can borrow several types of cryptocurrencies, including BUSD and USDT.

As long as you’re a registered Binance user, you can quickly access a crypto loan on the platform. The loan terms are flexible and the interest is calculated hourly.

Plus, the funds you borrow can be used for any purpose, whether it’s staking, trading, withdrawing, or something else entirely.

  • Interest rates: Fixed
  • Min/Max loan size: No minimum or maximum. You can borrow any amount if you can post collateral and comply with the required risk ratio.

Why borrow with Binance?

  • The platform supports borrowing for numerous types of cryptos.
  • Terms are flexible and borrowers can choose from terms that include 7, 14, 30, 90 or 180 days.
  • There are no early repayment penalties if you want to pay back what you borrowed before the term is up.
  • The borrowing fees are relatively low in comparison to other platforms.
Supported collateral assetsInterest rate rangeOrigination feesLoan types offeredLTV Range
BinanceBTC ETH SOL DAI + many moreDynamically calculated0%Principal + interest due in lump sum at the end of the loan term60-65% depending on the collateralized asset

Learn more about Binance by reading our full Binance review or start borrowing at Binance now.

3. CoinLoan

The CoinLoan platform may also be a good option to consider if you want to borrow crypto. CoinLoan lets you borrow fiat (cash) and crypto, and it offers a handy rate comparison tool so you can compare the rates you’re offered with other platforms, allowing you to see how competitive your rate on CoinLoan truly is.

In addition, the platform offers flexible loan terms, and as a borrower, you can set your own term length, repayment options, and other loan factors.

  • Interest rates: Fixed
  • Min/Max loan size: Unspecified– you can borrow up to 70% of your collateral.

Why borrow with CoinLoan?

  • The annual interest rates for borrowers start at 4.95% and go up to 11.95%, which is lower than a lot of competitor rates.
  • Crypto-to-crypto, crypto-to-fiat, and fiat-to-crypto loans are all options with this platform.
  • The rate comparison tool is handy for borrowers and lenders alike.
  • Borrowers set their own terms, including the loan length and repayment options.
Supported collateral assetsInterest rate rangeOrigination feesLoan types offeredLTV Range
CoinLoanBTC ETH SOL MKR + more4.95% - 11.95%1%Custom repayment options20% - 70%

Start borrowing at CoinLoan now.

Top 4 DeFi borrowing platforms of 2022

Another option for crypto loans is to go through a decentralized finance platform, which means you are borrowing directly from other crypto users via smart contracts on the blockchain instead of going through a centralized company.

Borrowing via a DeFi platform requires some level of technical knowledge, as you will need to utilize a DeFi-capable crypto wallet to interact with the DeFi protocol. Below are our editors' picks for the top DeFi borrowing platforms.

1. Aave

As a borrowing platform, Aave offers the most diverse number of loan types — and has become a market leader in the DeFi sector as a whole. The platform offers borrowing for at least 20 of the most popular cryptocurrencies, including most major stablecoins and DeFi tokens.

In addition, Aave has become a primary source for Flash loans — which give users the ability to borrow an unlimited amount of assets so long as they are paid back in the same block.

  • Interest rates: Variable

Why borrow from Aave?

  • Flash loans are an option, which can be useful for preventing Maker Vault liquidations and taking advantage of arbitrage opportunities.
  • Users can trade with leverage on Aave borrowing rates using Swap Rate.
  • Borrowing fees are incurred at inception.
  • Loans can be insured using Nexus Mutual.
Supported collateral assetsSupported borrow assetsInterest rate rangeFlash Loans Offered?LTV RangeInterest rate typesOther fees
AaveBTC ETH MKR USDC + moreWBTC MKR USDC + moreDepends on capital availableYes35% - 80%Fixed or variableETH gas fees

Learn more about Aave by reading our full Aave review or start borrowing at Aave now.

2. Maker

Maker is a permissionless lending platform that was responsible for the creation of DAI, the first decentralized stablecoin. The platform is built on the Ethereum blockchain, and allows users to borrow with a loan on a stable, trustless asset. Users can also opt to lend their tokens to borrowers in return for interest payments.

Using Oasis Borrow, users can lock collateral — which currently includes ETH, USDC or BAT — to mint Dai. Locked collateral incurs a “stability fee,” which can be paid back at any time.

  • Interest rates: Variable

Why borrow from Maker?

  • As a stablecoin, it’s easy to know exactly how much debt will be owed on any given loan.
  • Users can easily re-collateralize or draw additional Dai directly from the Oasis dashboard.
  • The platform offers asset management tools like DeFi Saver, which allow users to ensure Vaults are sufficiently collateralized, even when the market is volatile.
  • Maker Vaults are integrated into other asset management tools like InstaDapp or Zerion for easier tracking.
Supported collateral assetsSupported borrow assetsInterest rate rangeFlash Loans Offered?LTV RangeInterest rate typesOther fees
MakerWBTC ETH MATIC + moreDAI0% - 6%Yes54% - 99%VariableETH gas fees

Start borrowing at Maker now.

3. Compound

Compound is a leading platform in the DeFi lending space, and has long been established as having a strong foundation for trusted cryptocurrency loans. The Compound platform supports fewer assets than Aave, but it offers very liquid capital pools in return.

The platform is also a trusted option across the board for other interest-earning opportunities, and it offers a wide range of tools for asset management and other functions.

  • Interest rates: Variable

Why borrow from Compound?

  • Compound has proven itself to be a reputable provider with a strong reputation and backing.
  • Borrowers can insure their loans using Nexus Mutual.
  • Users can leverage asset management tools like Zerion and DeFi Saver to manage their loans.
Supported collateral assetsSupported borrow assetsInterest rate rangeFlash Loans Offered?LTV RangeInterest rate typesOther fees
CompoundWBTC ETH YFI DAI + moreWBTC ETH YFI DAI + more1.31% - 6.46%Yes65% - 85%VariableGas fees

Learn more about Compound by reading our full Compound review or start borrowing at Compound now.

4. Alchemix

Alchemix is a decentralized platform that allows borrowers and lenders to capitalize on the crypto lending space with a unique twist. On Alchemix, borrowers can borrow up to 50% of the collateral they put down, and it won’t lock your deposit or charge you fees for borrowing — and your funds are accessible 100% of the time.

You can also repay your debt whenever you like, and the platform won’t liquidate your deposit. It also offers a wide range of collateral types, which makes it easier for borrowers to take advantage of what the platform offers.

  • Interest rates: Variable

Why borrow from Alchemix?

  • Borrow up to 50% of your deposited collateral.
  • You can choose to self-liquidate your own loan at your own discretion.
  • The platform doesn't lock your deposit or charge you fees.
  • The funds you put up for collateral are accessible 100% of the time.
  • The debt can be repaid whenever you like.
Supported collateral assetsSupported borrow assetsInterest rate rangeFlash Loans Offered?LTV RangeInterest rate typesOther fees
AlchemixWETH DAI USDC USDTYearn and Aave versions of your deposited asset0.17% - 3.85%No50%VariableETH Gas fees

Start borrowing at Alchemix now.

Popular crypto collateral tokens

There are a few different popular types of crypto tokens used as collateral, including:

Borrow against Bitcoin (BTC)

Another popular option for collateral is Bitcoin, or BTC. Not only is the token a big name in crypto and in borrowing, but certain platforms allow users to put up BTC as loan collateral to receive stablecoins, like USDC or DAI, in return.

Borrow against Ethereum (ETH)

Ethereum, or ETH, tokens are one of the most popular tokens used as collateral. A large percentage of borrowers opt to put up ETH as collateral, as it is supported by virtually every borrowing platform and the value doesn’t fluctuate as much as it does with many other types of tokens.

Other common tokens used as crypto collateral include:

  • LTC
  • AAVE
  • NEXO
  • AVAX
  • 1INCH
  • Numerous others

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are crypto loans safe?

  • Why do crypto borrowing interest rates change?

  • What do people use cryptocurrency loans for?

  • What do I need to get started with a crypto loan?

  • What is the biggest factor that affects interest rates when borrowing against crypto?

  • Is there a credit score check?

  • Can my business get a crypto loan?

  • Are there minimum or maximum loan sizes?

  • Do I need to personally guarantee my crypto loan?

  • Can I get a crypto loan without collateral?

Learn More About Crypto Loan Platforms


  • Avatar of George Hristov

    George is a tech writer interested in web3 startups and communities. In the dynamic world of crypto, he stays plugged in to the day-to-day headlines, deep dives, and industry commentary.

  • Avatar of Shannon Ullman

    Shannon Ullman is a senior editor for Shannon specializes in cryptocurrency and personal finance. Her work has appeared in publications like The Motley Fool and Insider.