Within the larger cryptocurrency landscape, the trend of lending assets for a passive return is quickly taking center stage. Seeing as Bitcoin is currently the largest cryptocurrency on the market, it only makes sense that there are a growing number of reputable providers offering a passive return in the form of an annualized interest rate for lending BTC.
Here at DeFi Rate, we’ve aggregated the industry’s leading Bitcoin lending platforms, along with comparing their lending approach to their DeFi counterparts. It’s important to note that while we’ve seen a vast amount of progress being made for Bitcoin to enter the larger DeFi ecosystem, the most reputable providers today are established companies that provide secure custody, fixed rates, and – in some cases – insured deposits.
Recent News for Bitcoin in DeFi
Perhaps the biggest trend regarding Bitcoin in DeFi has been the number of new products geared at bridging Bitcoin and Ethereum to tap into the diverse set of lending and borrowing products DeFi has to offer. Best exemplified by Maker and it’s recent support for wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) which has fueled the creation of Dai, DeFi is seeing strong signals that more Bitcoin holders are looking to port their assets over to the industry-leading smart contracting platform.
Outside of wBTC, we’ve also seen solutions like tBTC go live in recent weeks, giving Bitcoin holders a trustless means of porting their assets to Ethereum. When it comes to DeFi loans, we covered a project called Atomic Loans – a Toronto-based initiative which allows Bitcoin holders to lock BTC as collateral in exchange for an Ethereum-based loan in the form of stablecoins like USDC and DAI.
Beyond lending, dYdX launched 10x leverage perpetual futures on Bitcoin, allowing for permissionless trading of the world’s most popular cryptocurrency in a pseudo-anonymous fashion. This product has quickly sparked the most trading volume of any DeFi spot market, signalling a clear demand that Bitcoin stands to benefit from different access points created by the composable DeFi landscape.
If one thing is for sure, we expect the trend of Bitcoin’s role in DeFi to continue to grow in the coming year, with dozens of projects integrating native and wrapped forms of BTC into leading DeFi products.
Top Pick for Bitcoin Lending in 2021
While it may seem intuitive to lend with the provider offering the highest return, it’s paramount to ensure that the platform is backed by a strong foundation to ensure loans are only being issued to trusted borrowers who are highly unlikely to default or make late payments. That’s why our top pick for lending Bitcoin in 2020 is BlockFi.
As a leading US-based cryptocurrency lending platform, BlockFi currently offers the highest returns on Bitcoin lending in a secure and trusted manner. With support for Bitcoin, Ether and stablecoins like USDC, BlockFi has quickly taken a lead when it comes to lending for a number of reasons. With over $100M in funding according to Crunchbase, BlockFi is backed by industry giants like Coinbase Ventures and Winklevoss Capital. Why BlockFi?
- Bitcoin supplied to BlockFi is secured using Gemini Custody – a leading US exchange praised specifically for its advanced security measures.
- Users providing capital to BlockFi can choose to collect interest in a number of different assets. This means users can choose to lend Bitcoin and receive USDC or lend USDC and receive interest in Bitcoin.
- Interest earned on BlockFi is paid out monthly and can be withdrawn at any time.
- BlockFi recently introduced a fiat onramp with US-leader Silvergate – meaning users can now purchase Bitcoin directly with a USD wire.
- There are no minimum deposits required to lend Bitcoin on BlockFi
- BlockFi takes minimal fees, meaning the lion’s share of interest is earned by the lender.
Bitcoin Lending Platforms in 2021
Outside of BlockFi, there a suite of other platforms that can be used to lend Bitcoin and earn a passive return.
- CoinList Lend
- Celsius Network
- Binance (not supported in the United States)*
*Indicates our suggested choices on this list. The important thing to keep in mind here is that all of these providers vary in their rates, security and risk. It’s very important to ensure you do your homework prior to lending Bitcoin on any of the aforementioned platforms as there may be varying degrees of risk associated with trusting these platforms with your assets.
DeFi Bitcoin Lending Platforms
Within the larger DeFi ecosystem, the best (and currently only) way to earn interest on Bitcoin is by using Ethereum-based versions of Bitcoin created using a token wrapped. In essence, Bitcoin is held in escrow in exchange for an onchain representation of that Bitcoin on the blockchain in question (in the case of DeFi – Ethereum). The main benefits of this approach are the permissioneless nature of DeFi lending, paired with the non-custodial nature of many of these providers. Here are a look at lending platforms who support a form of Etheruem-based Bitcoin lending in DeFi.
Just as with centralized providers, higher returns on Bitcoin interest rates are often associated with a larger degree of risk. We largely expect Bitcoin lending to become available on a wider degree of DeFi lending platforms in 2020.
Bitcoin in DeFi
One of the larger narratives of 2020 has been the different approaches to representing Bitcoin on other blockchains – namely that of Ethereum. We’ve aggregated a list of different providers all geared at bringing Bitcoin to DeFi.
- BTC++ by PieDAO
- pBTC by Provable Things
- renBTC by Ren Protocol
- tBTC by Keep Network
- wBTC by Wrapped Bitcoin
We’re seeing a gradual trend of DeFi projects aggregating different types of Bitcoin wrappers to diversify the risk from one specific entity.
Bitcoin Lending FAQ
Can I trust lending providers with my Bitcoin?
Largely speaking, top providers such as BlockFi, Binance and Coinlist can be trusted for Bitcoin lending. However, seeing as Bitcoin lending is still a relatively new trend, we recommend approaching lending with caution. While our top providers are established companies with a track record of notable backers and legal compliance frameworks, it’s worth noting that as with any lending opportunity, there is a degree of risk. When possible, we encourage users to seek options to purchase insurance on their Bitcoin lending through platforms like Nexus Mutual.
Why are there no DeFi lending platforms native to Bitcoin?
Bitcoin does not support smart contracts. This means in order for lending to occur, it must either be using a smart-contracting protocol like Ethereum or done in a legacy fashion on a case-by-case fashion like BlockFi.
Can I borrow Bitcoin too?
Yes. All of the platforms mentioned above also allow users to borrow Bitcoin given they meet the relative criteria for each individual provider. In order to take out a loan in Bitcoin, users commonly have to deposit collateral as to ensure their loan it protected from default.
Should I lend my unused Bitcoin?
This question is highly variable for each individual. As we mentioned throughout, lending Bitcoin introduces an element of risk that is mitigated when custodying your own assets. While the returns on Bitcoin lending are quite attractive, we only recommend lending Bitcoin if you could stomach the complete loss of those assets in a catastrophic event.