Major cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has announced users will be able to earn 4% interest on USD Coin through a product the company compared to an alternative to a fiat savings account.
In a Tuesday blog post, Coinbase said its users could earn 4% annual percentage yield, or APY, by lending out their holdings for the U.S. dollar-pegged stablecoin USD Coin (USDC). The crypto exchange seemed to be targeting banks with the offering, claiming it has a better return than a typical savings account in the United States.
However, Coinbase said the loaned USDC is not protected by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or the Securities Investor Protection Corporation — unlike typical savings accounts in the U.S. — nor is the exchange offering a crypto interest account that provides “attractive rates on customers’ assets.” While most savings accounts in the United States provide returns of less than 1% on the dollar, many other crypto platforms provide an interest rate of roughly 8% for lending U.S. dollar-pegged stablecoins.
“While the high interest rates are appealing, they can present varying levels of risk,” claimed Coinbase. “You may find that your assets are loaned to unidentified third parties and subject to their credit risk, which could result in a total loss of your crypto holdings.”
The exchange originally offered 1.25% yields on USDC from October 2019 to June 2020, when it unexpectedly announced rewards for users holding the stablecoin would drop to 0.15%. The 4% yields represent Coinbase potentially increasing interest for USDC holders by more than 2,500%.
At the time of publication, USDC is the 8th largest cryptocurrency, with a market capitalization of more than $25 billion. Tether (USDT) remains the most popular stablecoin on the crypto market, coming in 3rd with a $62.5 billion market cap.