Did you know that as of June 2020, there were more than 5,500 cryptocurrencies in existence? Or that the crypto market is anticipated to reach $1,758 million by 2027? In the second quarter of 2020 alone, 18.42 million Bitcoins circulated worldwide!
For this reason, Bitcoin remains the king of digital currencies, and with good reason. As of February 2021, Bitcoin boasts a value of $51,584, a once unthinkable sum. Yet, some experts feel this digital currency could go much higher.
Anthony Scaramucci, the founder of SkyBridge Capital, recently predicted that this digital currency could reach $100,000. The reason for his optimism proves simple. Scaramucci points to an increase in demand for alternative coins and waning supplies among crypto companies.
It's the perfect storm for rising Bitcoin prices, and other cryptos like Ethereum continue to follow suit. Yet, he also offers a word of caution for potential investors, suggesting care when making crypto purchases. Where does this leave individuals interested in crypto savings accounts?
Keep reading for our ultimate crypto saving account guide.
What Can Crypto Savings Accounts Do for You?
While the stats above offer hope, they also leave investors in a quandary. Cryptocurrency exchanges register capricious fluctuations in daily Bitcoin interest rates. The same goes for other coins, so what gives?
Coupled with few regulations, crypto investments come with plenty of potential risks. Yet, it's hard not to get tempted by growing Bitcoin values.
You'd have to be a bot to not want to get in on the action. Of course, great risk comes with the potential for great rewards.
The trick remains splitting the difference between a reasonable, efficient investment strategy and taking enough risk to make your rewards worthwhile. A fantastic place to start is with a cryptocurrency savings account.
Why? Because it gives you access to the cryptocurrency market while permitting you to earn interest as you would with a traditional bank savings account.
In other words, if you're looking to develop long-term digital currency investments, a crypto-savings account will help you earn interest while keeping your crypto assets safe.
Of course, you must have a firm understanding of what a crypto savings account is. You must also look for a great crypto savings company before getting started.
What Is a Crypto Savings Account?
Before we delve more deeply into how crypto savings accounts work, you must understand precisely what they are. Essentially, a crypto savings account functions like a traditional savings account.
You use a crypto savings account to deposit assets, which get lent on your behalf via a third-party. Except instead of dealing with funds in fiat, your funds get held in a cryptocurrency of your choice.
To begin earning money on your cryptos, it's as simple as opening an account. This step lets your crypto assets start working for you. As you can see, this approach represents an excellent way to break into the crypto investing world without diving immediately into the deep end of the pool.
How Does a Crypto Savings Account Work?
Admittedly, there are some essential differences between a traditional savings account and a crypto savings account. Instead of simply depositing money into your account, you transfer it into a crypto assets wallet. This wallet gets controlled by the savings account provider you choose.
Once you've funded your wallet, you'll begin to earn interest every time another platform user borrows your crypto assets at a pre-arranged interest rate. This interest rate will vary based on a variety of factors, including market prices.
After all, when demand proves high, and the supply side of things struggles to keep up, expect to see interest rates skyrocket. Of course, the lending platform you choose significantly impacts the final price you'll receive for lending cryptos.
For this reason, the platform you choose remains among the most vital components of a successful cryptocurrency savings account strategy.
A Crypto Savings Account Versus a Traditional Savings Account
So far, we've focused on the similarities between traditional and crypto savings accounts. But you must also be aware of some critical differences before you start to earn interest in cryptos. These differences relate to:
What do you need to know about each of these critical areas of difference? Let's take a closer look.
That way, you'll know what to expect before picking a platform and funding your first crypto wallet. We'll start by tackling the topic of collateralization.
Many crypto lending platforms require what's known as the collateralization of crypto assets. Why? Because collateralization significantly reduces the risks associated with dealing in cryptos.
As for collateralization? It refers to the fair market value of the assets used to secure a loan.
How do companies determine collateral value? By looking at the recent sale prices of similar assets. In some cases, this process may involve appraisal by a qualified expert, too.
Collateralization permits cryptocurrency companies to maintain a large buffer. This buffer protects the exchange or platform should the borrower neglect to pay interest payments on a loan.
The buffer also provides safeguards should the market correct. This approach to lending shields companies against the capriciousness of the crypto market.
The collateralization approach does something else. It nixes the need to perform traditional credit checks.
Why? Because the collateral provided guarantees the assets in question.
Of course, you won't find this level of collateralization with a traditional bank loan. For this reason, traditional banks prove far more vulnerable to loan defaults. That's why they perform credit checks to estimate whether a borrower proves creditworthy.
What's another key difference between a traditional savings account through a bank and one through a crypto exchange or platform? FDIC insurance.
Most traditional bank savings accounts come with a $250,000 Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) policy. For this reason, many people assume that crypto savings accounts have similar safeguards.
But don't make this faulty assumption. Such is not the case.
Many crypto savings accounts don’t have any associated federal insurance. That said, a growing number of them are making up for this with private insurance provided via companies like Lloyd's of London and AON.
Is this insurance essential? Absolutely.
Cryptocurrency companies have had to get creative about how they protect digital assets. As more money continues to flow into the crypto-asset market, digital currency companies will present tempting targets to hackers.
As losses from hacks continue to rise, we expect a growing number of companies to turn to outside-of-the-box security strategies. These strategies will protect the funds consumers entrust to crypto savings accounts.
We've been conditioned to expect very little from traditional bank savings accounts when it comes to yields. In a survey of the top high-yield online savings accounts, Bankrate found annual percentage yields hovered between 0.52 percent with CIBC Bank USA and 0.65 percent with Quontic Bank.
These rates are nothing to write home about. Yet, they represent some of the highest-yield savings accounts available in the traditional banking world today!
As for crypto savings accounts? Get ready for much larger yield numbers.
Yields on cryptocurrencies range from about four percent to 12 percent or more. Yes, you read that right.
As you can see, these yields prove significantly higher than what you'll get with traditional savings accounts.
Why such a substantial difference? Crypto banks can’t produce money supply, so they attract investors with high yields.
As a result, supply and demand for cryptos determine interest rates. Because demand remains far higher than supply across a broad range of cryptocurrencies, expect to make more when lending digital coins via a savings account.
Another significant factor you must get used to with crypto savings accounts is limited fund access. Traditional savings accounts let you freely withdraw funds up to six times per month without restrictions or penalties. But crypto savings accounts function differently.
They may limit your access to assets for a set amount of time from the date you make a deposit. They may also charge you fees for withdrawals, especially when you need to liquidate assets before the end of the pre-set period.
This reality can prove a nasty surprise for consumers who don't understand all aspects of dealing with cryptos. After all, there's currently no standardized guidance when it comes to withdrawal limits. For this reason, it can be tough to summarize what's standard across the industry.
Always read the fine print before funding a wallet through any platform or exchange. It doesn't hurt to read the company's frequently asked questions (FAQs), either. That way, you can learn more about potential fees.
Or, if you're lucky enough to work with a company that offers live customer service, ask a representative about how to gain access to funds. That way, you'll never get charged more than you should.
What to Look for in a Crypto Savings Account
After considering the yields listed above, are you ready to learn more about earning interest on your cryptos? If so, you're far from alone. But you'll need to keep a few factors in mind as you begin to explore which platform is right for you.
Some things to research when selecting a crypto savings account provider include:
The coins supported by the company
The company's policy on crypto key access
The withdrawal restrictions in place
The availability of crypto assets for purchase
The loan-to-value (LTV) rates offered by the brand
Whether compound interest is provided via the platform
The security of the platform
Each of these factors will tell you a wealth about what working with a specific company will look like. With that in mind, let's take a closer look at what you should consider when searching out the right crypto savings platform for your financial needs.
Coins Supported by Each Platform
When dealing with a traditional bank account, you don't have to make decisions about currencies. Your nation's fiat currency makes a choice for you.
But different crypto savings account providers support different types of cryptocurrencies. You must be prepared to deal with this significant deviation from mainstream savings accounts.
Where to start when it comes to selecting a cryptocurrency? Bear in mind that no account provider will permit you to earn interest on every coin on the market. After all, these platforms need to make a profit, too.
For this reason, you should carefully verify which digital currencies are supported through each company you consider. What's more, if you already own cryptocurrency, you may need to get even pickier.
What do we mean? There's no point in selecting a provider that can't support the coins you possess. If you're lucky enough to hold assets in Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), or even Litecoin (LTC), this likely won't prove an issue.
These are widely accepted cryptos among almost all mainstream providers. But if you're the proud owner of a stash of Dogecoin, DentaCoin, or KodakCoin, you'll need to dig deep to find a company that supports your weird and wacky assets.
Are you ready to find out more about the most popular cryptocurrencies and altcoins on the market today? If so, take a look at our comprehensive list of the most commonly used cryptos, from Binance USD to Gemini Dollar and EOS.
Key Access and Ownership in the Crypto World
We also need to get a few things straight regarding crypto key access with various platforms. With a traditional savings account, the money in the account is yours. Period.
But the waters of ownership get muddied when it comes to decentralized finance (DeFi) companies. We'll delve into what DeFi companies are later in this article.
But for now, understand that each DeFi crypto-based savings account comes with an ownership key. You loan this key to a user when they "borrow" your savings account funds, earning interest in the process.
This user can then use your crypto for a specified timeframe. In exchange, the borrower promises to pay you interest on your funds. If you feel this approach sounds a bit sketchy, you're not alone.
Always ask companies you're considering working with if they rely on key ownership swapping. If so, get clear specifics on how the process works.
And if you don't like their explanation? Then, we suggest looking elsewhere. This issue is such a sticking point to some customers that they refuse to use DeFi savings accounts altogether.
While we might not necessarily agree with this response to DeFi platforms, you must do what's comfortable for you. Ultimately, you're the one risking your money, so make sure you work with an exchange or platform that makes you feel comfortable.
Purchase Availability of Various Crypto Assets
Purchase availability issues may or may not apply to you. It all depends on whether you already hold crypto assets.
If not, you should select a crypto savings provider that offers accounts with market access. What does this mean? Market access stipulates that you can buy cryptocurrency via the platform and set up your savings account with that company.
Going this route will streamline and simplify the entire crypto onboarding process. In turn, it means you can start earning yields on your crypto holdings sooner. And you nix unnecessary paperwork, transactions, etc.
Loan-to-Value Rates Offered by Various Companies
As you scope out potential companies to open a savings account, pay attention to the loan-to-value (LTV) rates offered by each one. In general, the healthier the LTV rates, the better.
What if you find that a lending platform permits users to borrow at risky LTV rates? Avoid these companies. The last thing you want to do in your quest to earn more money through crypto assets is risk it all on a company that won't stay afloat.
Remember that the LTV rate indicates what each platform is willing to risk. Companies that play fast and loose with other people's money will put your assets at higher risk. For this reason, an unhealthy LTV should always be a dealbreaker.
Compound Interest and Whether It Applies
Many consumers assume they'll earn compound interest on their crypto savings account. But such is not always the case.
For this reason, you must inquire about whether compound interest applies to the savings account you're interested in applying for.
What if you find yourself in the unenviable position of having a savings account that lacks compound interest? Understand that you'll still earn interest on your initial deposit over time. But it won't be anywhere near what you'd see with a compounding interest account.
In other words, you'll have to trade or spend the interest to realize its potential fully. This situation proves incredibly frustrating for investors who prefer a hands-off approach. You owe it to yourself to ensure any account you fund comes with the advantages of compound interest.
The Security of the Platform
We've already touched on this issue tentatively in discussing the differences between traditional bank savings accounts and crypto savings accounts. As you know, companies have had to up their games significantly in response to threats from hackers.
Hence the new focus on insurance companies such as Lloyd's of London as security provision solutions. But the safety of a given platform shouldn't stop at insurance alone. Look for companies that provide two-factor authentication (2FA), a vital step in safeguarding your assets.
Because crypto companies don’t have FDIC insurance, the account provider's financial stability matters that much more. The best companies also offer cold storage solutions, providing additional layers of financial security.
Can You Make Money With Crypto Savings Accounts?
Now we come to the question that everyone's been waiting for. Can you turn a decent profit with a crypto saving account? The short and simple answer is yes, especially if you deposit your funds into a high-yield crypto savings account.
That said, you'll receive the yield in the cryptocurrency of your choice. In other words, if what you're most concerned about is generating revenue in a fiat currency such as the dollar, you may not reap the results you want with a crypto saving account.
It's hard to beat the yields many cryptocurrency exchanges and platforms offer. These fantastic yields (upwards of 8.6 percent or more) on the USDC coin prove tempting even to the most skeptical of crypto users.
Remember, there's a very close parity between the US dollar and the USDC coin, making USDC an excellent asset to hold under the right circumstances. Nevertheless, sudden fluctuations in demand--particularly drops in demand for the USDC--could wipe out your initial investment and subsequent returns. Some crypto savings accounts like Outlet Finance and Linus don’t require consumers to hold any cryptocurrencies at all. Instead, investors may fund their wallets with US dollars and even receive interest in dollars.
Yes, this sounds tempting on the surface. It even sounds like a means for circumnavigating the risks associated with cryptos. But these accounts come with the same risk profiles as other crypto savings accounts.
In other words, investors prove vulnerable to the same volatile cryptocurrency market trends. When it's all said and done, cryptocurrencies come with an enhanced risk profile that doesn't exist with government-backed fiat currency.
Yes, you may see fantastic returns when investing in cryptos, but nothing is guaranteed. That said, if you already own cryptocurrency or would like to purchase some, a crypto savings account comes with genuine value. And, yes, a savings account can generate money if you know what you're doing.
The Differences Between DeFi and CeFi
Many consumers have questions about the terminology associated with cryptocurrency companies. For example, they may see terms such as DeFI and CeFi without understanding what they mean.
These concepts are fundamental to the cryptocurrency world and become more so every day. With this in mind, let's take a few moments to dive into these two financial concepts.
What You Need to Know About Centralized Finance (CeFi)
Before the introduction of DeFi technology, centralized finance (CeFi) dominated the market. CeFi set the standard for all cryptocurrency trading. Today, these platforms remain potent forces in the market even though an upsurge in DeFi platforms and exchanges has occurred.
You could even make the argument that CeFi remains a stronghold within the cryptocurrency industry. How do CeFi systems work? All crypto trade orders get processed through one central exchange.
That means funds get explicitly managed by those running the central exchange. For example, with a CeFi company such as Coinbase or BlockFi, you won’t receive a private key providing access to your wallet.
What's more, the exchange will identify which coins get listed for trading. They'll also have the final say over the fees paid to trade through the exchange.
What else do you need to know about CeFi platforms? With centralized finance, you don’t own your cryptocurrencies when selling or buying them through the centralized exchange. You're also subject to the restrictions and rules imposed by each centralized exchange.
How does a decentralized finance company compare? Let's take a closer look.
What is Decentralized Finance? (DeFi)
With a decentralized exchange, all decentralized finance (DeFi) processes get handled through automated applications. These applications are built and developed atop each blockchain platform.
The result? DeFi tech engenders a fair, transparent financial system where everyone can participate, and everyone falls under the same guidelines and restrictions. Because automated applications do the heavy lifting, the risk of unfair treatment gets nixed.
DeFi permits unbanked people to access banking and financial services through blockchain technology. These individuals might otherwise have no access to banking services. In essence, it levels the playing field.
And this is done intentionally. You see, one of the primary goals of DeFi has been the construction of a permissionless, open-sourced, and transparent financial service ecosystem.
The DeFi system ultimately provides a broad swathe of services, including:
And much more
What's the number one benefit of choosing DeFi over CeFi? DeFi provides you with full control over your assets.
This control is typified in the key pair for your wallet, which you own. Consumers who want to participate in DeFi must rely on decentralized applications (dApps).
What are so-called dApps? These decentralized applications are constructed on the blockchain. They offer access to the DeFi services outlined above.
Should You Trust Technology or People?
As you can see, there are many vital differences between DeFi and CeFi technology. Which one is right for you? Although you'll need to weigh many factors before making this momentous decision, one question can help you get started.
Do you trust technology or people?
Your answer to this question will provide direction when choosing between CeFI and DeFi.
With DeFi, consumers must have faith in technology. Automated technology performs all actions as proposed, without bias or prejudice. Tech executes every service offered through DeFi without room for human error.
But with CeFi, customers must place their trust in a business’s employees. Customers must rely on these individuals to manage their funds and execute necessary business services. If you appreciate dealing with live customer service reps, this is the route for you.
As you can see, both DeFi and CeFi applications can meet your cryptocurrency financial needs differently. Your choice must come down to your comfort level with risk, the yields you'd like to see, the cryptos each company supports, and more.
You also need a familiarity with the features and functionalities of both ecosystems. Here are the characteristics of CeFi and DeFi at a glance.
Popular CeFi Companies Today
What else do you need to know about CeFi companies? Some of the most popular CeFi companies include:
Each of these companies handles its customers' crypto-financial needs with a focus on excellent service. For these reasons, customers often remain loyal and appreciative of the structure and authority provided by CeFi companies.
CeFi Features You Need to Know About
These companies tend to feel more like traditional banks, which provides comfort to many investors. What's more, you'll enjoy many excellent features with CeFi companies. These features include:
A centralized exchange (CEX)
The flexibility of fiat conversion
Here's what you need to know about each of these features and why they matter.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of a Centralized Exchange (CEX)
What's so great about using a traditional cryptocurrency exchange like Kraken, Coinbase, or Binance? For starters, users send their funds directly to their exchange wallets. The exchange then manages these funds within an internal account.
Although funds get stored at the exchange, they remain outside of other users’ custody. Nevertheless, they prove more vulnerable to threats. Especially if the security measures in place prove insufficient or fail.
For this reason, centralized exchanges often get targeted by hackers, not only for their financial holdings but also customer data. You see, customers of the CEX must place blind faith in the company they work with.
To sign up, consumers divulge personal information. They also put funds into the custody of a CEX company with little consideration of how trustworthy the company may or may not ultimately be.
What's more, the largest exchanges have substantial departments filled with customer service teams. Team members offer assistance to customers. This high level of customer support initiates a certain level of comfort, enhancing the notion that the customer's funds are in good hands.
Yet, the irony remains the greater vulnerability such practices also bring. After all, the risk of something going wrong increases in relation to the amount of information you give away and the number of people with access to it.
That said, some CeFi platforms maintain stellar reputations. For example, Kraken boasts iron-strong security features and has never been hacked.
The Flexibility of Fiat Conversion
What else do customers love about CeFi platforms? These centralized services come with more flexibility than decentralized services, especially when turning fiat into cryptocurrency and cryptocurrency into fiat.
For streamlined conversion, it requires a centralized entity. This centralized entity is something DeFi services simply cannot provide.
Another plus for having a centralized entity is the ease with which customers get onboarded. The CeFi ecosystem remains tremendously convenient, offering an overall better customer experience.
CeFi services support the trading of a variety of cryptocurrencies, including:
Other coins issued on independent blockchain platforms
Due to the inherent complexity of performing cross-chain swaps, these tokens are not supported by DeFi services. That said, CeFi surmounts this issue by getting custody of funds from multiple chains.
As a result, cross-chain services remain a significant benefit of using CeFi.
Why? Because so many of the frequently traded and highest-market-cap coins exist on independent blockchains. What’s more, they don’t implement interoperability standards.
Popular DeFi Companies Today
When we talk about decentralized finance companies, which brands are we referring to? They include popular platforms such as:
Some of these companies, like bZx, are decentralized margin trading and lending platforms. Others, like Kyber, are decentralized exchanges. There are even decentralized insurance tools out there today, such as Nexus Mutual.
What sets DeFi companies apart from their CeFi counterparts? Here's what you need to know about the features you'll enjoy when working with a DeFi company.
DeFi Features to Consider
What do you need to know about platforms that fall within the decentralized finance (DeFi) sphere? They come with three main advantages that we're going to take a closer look at. These include the fact DeFi companies are:
Once we dive more deeply into each of these features, you'll understand why DeFi services prove so compelling to some consumers. We'll start by exploring the fact you don't need to trust DeFi companies to have a business relationship with them.
What's one of the most significant benefits of relying on DeFi services for your crypto savings needs? With DeFi companies, you never have to trust that the service will perform as promoted.
Why? Because customers can authenticate these DeFi services, ensuring they perform as intended by auditing their code. They can also turn to external tools like Etherscan to identify whether transactions get correctly executed.
With DeFi tech, you can kiss blind faith goodbye. But the benefits don't stop there.
Permissionless Community Collaborations
What's another fantastic feature of DeFi protocols? You don't need permission to use DeFi platforms. Remember that with CeFi, users must complete a Know Your Customer (KYC) process before gaining access to services.
This process means they must deposit some money or share who-knows-what with regard to personal data before services become available to them. Some of these companies may even turn around and sell your information to turn a profit.
But you'll never have these concerns if you go the DeFi route. With DeFi, consumers may directly access services with a wallet.
And they don't have to provide one scrap of personal information or deposit money to get started. This is a welcome relief in an age where digital privacy represents a growing and complex problem.
DeFi remains openly accessible to all parties. So, you won't encounter any discrimination or barriers. Individuals who wish to build on top of a decentralized platform can do so freely.
With DeFi, you'll enjoy a high degree of accessibility. The decentralized tech also better supports community collaboration.
Because of this mutually beneficial atmosphere, products developed within the DeFi ecosystem profit all involved. You may hear these DeFi products referred to as "money legos."
Now that you understand the trustless and permissionless nature of DeFi companies, it likely won't surprise you that these platforms are bastions of innovation. DeFi ecosystems are rich sources of experimentation and growth.
Within these communities, users may dabble with new capabilities while enhancing current capabilities. This build-centric approach has transformed DeFi platforms into vibrant spaces of financial evolution. No wonder DeFi companies are embedded with groundbreaking financial services!
Where CeFi services continue to thrive, DeFi enterprises are working to deliver alternative ways to solve the biggest problems facing cryptocurrencies.
To surmount DeFi’s inability to facilitate the transfer of incompatible cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, for example, users have developed cutting-edge solutions. These solutions include tBTC and wBTC, both of which are compatible with decentralized protocols.
They bridge the gap by behaving as tokens pegged to the value of Bitcoin. Such solutions enable DeFi users to access Bitcoin on DeFi platforms without actually using the token.
Suppose you pride yourself on your problem-solving abilities and excel in teamwork environments. DeFi platforms offer compelling opportunities to dig deeper into the cryptocurrency universe while still earning great interest yields on your assets.
Crypto Savings Accounts: The Takeaway
We've covered plenty of ground in this ultimate guide to crypto savings accounts. We started by exploring what crypto savings accounts are and how they work. Next, we considered the pros and cons of these new savings account options in the context of traditional savings accounts.
Despite listing some of the highest standard bank account yields, it quickly became evident how much more you stand to gain with a crypto savings account. Next, we took a closer look at two critical terms dominating the conversation today, CeFi and DeFI.
After listing some of the most popular platforms in each category, we examined the similarities and the differences inherent to centralized and decentralized financial entities. Finally, we considered each system's features, providing you with a better understanding of which technology is right for you.
We hope the knowledge you've gained in this article will enhance your confidence level as you consider opening a crypto saving account. Still not sure where to start? Compare some of the most popular digital currency exchanges now.