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Blockfi vs. Celsius vs. Nexo vs. Ledn – earning passive income on BTC and stablecoin

I made a spreadsheet that compares Blockfi, Celsius, Nexo, and Ledn as vehicles for earning passive income on your BTC (also ETH and stablecoin). I also included some notes on Coinbase and Coinbase Pro. As I am in the US, I only focused on policies that apply to US users.

*If this is violating some kind of posting rule, sorry, I’m sure the autobot or some mod will take it down. The idea of earning passive yield obviously goes against “not your keys, not your coins”, but if here’s info about how to do it, if you’re open to it.

[https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1-O-fhMMin5dZXq6Ailltpzrb5yjKi-KEqrSnkjXVsqI/edit#gid=0](https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1-O-fhMMin5dZXq6Ailltpzrb5yjKi-KEqrSnkjXVsqI/edit#gid=0)

The key takeaways I gathered in the process of onboarding these apps:

– Blockfi or Coinbase/Coinbase Pro seem to be good ways to get fiat from a bank account into cryptospace.

– So far, I’ve found that Coinbase Pro is the best way to buy crypto. (Please comment below if you know a better way.) Coinbase Pro fees are decently low, plus fees can be claimed as a tax loss, unlike buying with a spread on Blockfi. Celsius uses partners that charge a ton in fees when you buy crypto or do anything like that on their platform. (What’s up with that, Celsius?) Yes, you can get a slightly better deal on Binance, but I had trouble getting verified on Binance (like days of waiting and my profile still says “we’re verifying the stuff you sent us!” I think their US version gets easily overwhelmed with high levels of trading activity.)

– Blockfi has an intuitively designed, fantastic app. Also, you can call them and someone will answer the phone. Not the case with most platforms, including Coinbase, which just says “maybe we’ll answer your email, someday, sometime.” If your account has less than $100k in it – you may have to wait 10 minutes. If your account has substantially more in it, someone picks up right away. Ledn barely has an app at all. (EDIT: a note on security – All these apps, including Ledn, have 2FA – 2 factor authentication with the Google Authenticator app. In some cases, this will be obvious as the app will ask you if you’d like to turn this on. In other cases you will have to go into settings and enable it. Coinbase additionally has auth by security key which they say is super extra secure but requires a hardware device.)

– It is really fun watching your interest accrue daily on Blockfi. Maybe too fun. Even if Celsius gives more, it’s not AS fun watching it there, because they pay it every Monday instead of daily. On the other hand, Blockfi doesn’t actually pay out the interest until the end/beginning of the month, whereas Celsius pays it once a week. You just don’t get the dopamine hit of watching the numbers go up during the week.

– when you’re earning yield on Blockfi, Celsius, Nexo, or Ledn, your crypto isn’t super-liquid, and this is not good if you want to make a trade on Coinbase Pro or elsewhere, when there’s a sudden dip. From what I gather, you can whitelist wallets ahead of time (takes 24 hours to whitelist) on Celsius, but note that there’s a $50,000 soft cap for instant transfers. Larger transfers take 24 – 48 hours to verify, which is a great security measure, but frustrating when you’re trying to buy the dip…

– it can be annoying to move large amounts of crypto off of Coinbase Pro after buying, where it earns zero yield, due to the $50,000/day withdrawal cap. I’m still unclear if that cap applies on Coinbase as well as Coinbase Pro. Sometimes Coinbase says I have less crypto than I actually do when I try to make a transfer.

– Still wondering if it’s better to get a higher 10 – 12% APY yield on stablecoin in stablecoin or a lower APY yield on stablecoin in BTC…. ? I mean, obviously BTC if you really think about it, but I haven’t done the math.

So yeah – no matter how much fun it is earning 8 – 12% yield on stablecoin, BTC in a major bull year obviously makes way, way more than a paltry 10% APY. Many people will feel that it’s taking an unnecessary risk for an additional mere 4 – 6% (on BTC), not having your own keys and coins. But for me personally, I don’t feel like buying a hardware wallet and learning how to use it, and I’ve assessed the risks I’m taking by using these platforms and feel okay with it – and I couldn’t find a ton of info summarized like this when I was researching these platforms, hence the spreadsheet.



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12 Comments

  1. I did a similar analysis a month ago. To reduce risk, I split my money three ways: Celsius, BlockFi, and Ledn.

    I really don’t like that Celsius requires you to use an app, which means that you have the Celsius app and the authentication app on the same phone, unless you use two phones. BlockFi and Ledn both allow you to use a desktop computer.

  2. Any thoughts on the relative stability of these companies?

    Especially BlockFi which is paying 8.6% on stablecoin vs the other three paying 12%-13.3%?

    That’s a pretty big spread.

  3. Gemini has better fee’s than coinbase pro

    They also have some interest accounts for a bunch of different crypto (But the APY is lower than Blockfi.

    I keep my BTC, ETH, LINK and LTC on Blockfi, everything else that can earn I keep on Gemini

  4. I plan to put some stablecoin in addition to what crypto I’m currently putting in. Just waiting for the right time (heh, famous last words).

    Btc will rise meteorically in the next few years but to do that, it might be dependent on the stablecoin/real dollar lending business. It could become a major part of the crypto economy because it locks up btc, reducing the amount able to be sold (assuming collateral is not lent out). Putting some in, is doing my part to grow my stash.

  5. >- It is really fun watching your interest accrue daily on Blockfi. Maybe too fun. Even if Celsius gives more, it’s not AS fun watching it there, because they pay it every Monday instead of daily.

    it is all fun until your coins are gone

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