BlockFi Crypto Management Firm Adjusts Interest Rates

Cryptocurrency asset management company BlockFi announced a change to its interest rates in a monthly update on May 21.

Accounts with bitcoin (BTC) balances over 25 BTC will receive a .15% increase in interest rate, and those with ether (ETH) balances between 25 and 75 ETH will decrease from 6.2% to 3.25%.

According to BlockFi, the lending environment for bitcoin has flourished while for ether it has floundered. Ether in particular is being offered at a 0.01% borrowing rate on major crypto exchange Poloniex and crypto lending firm Compound, and comprises only 3% of crypto lending giant Genesis Capital’s portfolio in the first quarter of 2019.

BlockFi has made corresponding interest rate adjustments in response, they say. In addition to the aforementioned figures, they note that the interest rate for BTC balances between 0.5 BTC and 25 BTC will remain unchanged, and that accounts with over 100 ETH will earn a 0.2% annual percentage yield (APY).

BlockFi initially launched its bitcoin and ether accounts on March 4, with starting interest rates at 6% APY for both cryptocurrencies. BlockFi subsequently lowered its interest rates just 18 days later.

Rates were initially set slightly higher than previously said, at 6.2%, but BlockFi announced that they would be cut down to 2% for accounts with over 25 BTC or 500 ETH in April. This change did not target the vast majority of BTC and ETH holders, around 75% of which reportedly held less than 5 BTC or 150 ETH.

BlockFi reportedly faced criticism from industry figures targeted at the company’s terms and conditions, which allow the firm to set the interest rate each month at its sole discretion. David Silver, founder of the Silver Miller law firm, said that BlockFi’s advertising does not match up with its policy:

“A superficial review of their splash page and their terms and conditions shows that their advertising is not necessarily what they’re guaranteeing [...] and it’s understandable why people would be confused if they didn’t receive their 6.2 percent because BlockFi’s advertising makes it seem like that’s a guaranteed rate of return.”

BlockFi assets are reportedly held by the custodial arm of Gemini Trust Company and is regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services, and clients are offered free reign to withdraw their holdings upon request.