the best cefi lending platforms review

Do you ever get annoyed when people make blanket statements like ‘crypto is a scam’? I sure do. It’s clear there are lots of honest projects out there and oftentimes it does not take much research to uncover something shady.

And yet, one important area of the crypto economy faces these kinds of uninformed statements daily. That area is CeFi lending. And because they play an important role in our industry, today I’m going to show you, my 5 favorite CeFi lending platforms. I’ll do a competitive analysis of each of them.

The Truth About CeFi

We can thank Celsius and their irresponsible dishonest behavior leading to bankruptcy for this. But not all CeFi lending is bad. And not all CeFi operators are dishonest just because a couple of bad operators have been.

The uncomfortable truth about CeFi is that the industry needs it. No one loves DeFi more than I do but for a couple of reasons including convenience and having easier on and off ramps to fiat money, CeFi has an important role to play. So with that let’s check out top CeFi lenders.

So, we are going to do a feature analysis of 5 platforms today. They are:

  1. Nexo.
  2. BlockFi.
  3. YouHodler.
  4. Coinloan.
  5. Binance Lend.

I bet you believe like I do that quality crypto projects hold their value better than Dollars, Euros, Yen, or Pesos as I do. If you do, then stay tuned to find out which lender lets you borrow crypto and repay in fiat money. Now let’s see how they stack up.

Feature 1: Has Its Own Token

Does the lender have its own token? And does it matter? Well in some cases, you can earn more or pay less with a token like Nexo, Coinloan’s CLT, or BNB. 3 of our 5 have coins. They are:

  • Nexo.
  • Coinloan.
  • Binance Lend

It’s important to understand that Binance Lend does not have a coin for its lending business as Nexo and Coinloan have for theirs. It’s BNB you would be buying, which we like but is not indicative of the quality of its lending business. That said, if you like using their platforms, all 3 make it easy, cheaper, and better if you buy their coin.

  • As a borrower, you can buy down the interest rate. 
  • As a lender, you can earn more if you hold their token or receive payments in their token. 
  • And all reduce fees if you pay in their token. So if you are a fan of the platform, it might make sense to hold some of their tokens too.

Two, BlockFi and YouHodler do not have coins of their own. Do you have a favorite exchange token? Let us know in the comments.

Feature 2: Top Stablecoin Interest Rates

Here we look at which ones pay you the top rates for your stablecoins. I know many of you are holding stables right now waiting for a good time to buy. So let’s see where you can earn interest while doing so.

The winners here are Nexo and Coinloan, both offering 12%, which is a pretty sweet interest rate. Non-US dollar holders get the double benefit of the US strength against their home currency and the 12% yield in digital dollars.

What is your current stablecoin strategy? Are you holding? Staking? Lending? Investing now? Let us know with a comment below.

Feature 3: Number of Cryptos You Can Use As Collateral

Next is what cryptos can you borrow against. Here we have 2 clear winners. If you are talking crypto only, then Binance wins with 65 different options.

But if you want to also borrow against fiat OR not deal with a Binance account, then the overall winner is Nexo. With the choice of 56 cryptos and 40 fiats you can borrow against, you will always find an asset to use as collateral that works for you.

BlockFi thanks to its American origins and desire to be fully licensed and compliant there only allows 4 cryptos for collateral. Those 4:

  • Bitcoin
  • Ethereum
  • Litecoin
  • And the PAXG gold-backed stablecoin is cryptos BlockFi believes the US Government will not restrict by labeling them as securities.

How would you like to pay back your loan for quality crypto with junky fiat money? With one of our lenders, you can do exactly that. Stay tuned to see which one.

Feature 4: Highest Interest Rate Borrowers Pay

Even though we invest, there may be a time when you (or me) want to borrow. So I looked at how competitive the interest rates are. Now if we lend on the platform to earn, the interest rate they charge customers is important.

As we have seen, and Anchor I’m looking right at you now, we need the interest rates they charge to borrowers, and payouts they make to us as lenders to be realistic and sustainable. What you SHOULD see is a solid, realistic rate that you get paid. AND you should also see the rate they charge is higher than what they pay you.

In Banking, this is called Net Interest Margin and it’s where banks make most of their money. Here are 2 examples from our chart:

  • Nexo
  • BlockFi

As you can see here on our chart, these two have high payouts on stablecoins (which is the highest interest they pay). Yet both Nexo and BlockFi still manage a positive Net Interest Margin. Both are ~2% with BlockFi a little higher and Nexo a little lower. Both are well within the range of what well-managed lending companies or banks would be earning.

Coinloan runs its Net Interest Margin at ~0 and Binance’s is negative. So a question you might ask yourself is what is Binance doing with my USDT if they can afford to pay me 8% but only charge others 2% every 6 months to borrow against it? One thing is for certain, they aren’t just letting it sit there and do nothing because they would lose 8% if they did.

With that in mind, you see in the chart that most rates are competitive although YouHodler charges 26% interest on loans even on stablecoins. That’s much higher than the others. Binance’s 2% every 180 days is the lowest at 4% APY.

Feature 5: Borrowing Fees

All 5 of our platforms keep borrowing fees low. Some charge a fee for a forced liquidation either for non-payment or due to a decline in the value of the crypto collateral. Others don’t charge for that. So, Binance and Nexo win here with no borrowing fees at all for borrowers. This definitely makes it easier for them to attract collateral to their platforms.

Even BlockFi’s 2%, which is the highest on this list, is a pretty reasonable fee. The competition in the market is showing you, me, and the platforms that they cannot charge too much. There are too many other quality alternatives to borrow against your crypto.

Just curious, have any of you borrowed crypto before? We’d like to hear your story if you have done so.

Feature 6: Fiats Supported

Binance offers you a lot of services aside from the Lend service. But in this case, they are the only one on our list who supports 0 ZERO fiats.

In this case, the clear winner here and the only one on our list that supports more than 4 fiats is Nexo. In fact, they support 40+ fiats and you can also do crypto-to-fiat and fiat-to-crypto loans, which is something the other services don’t offer.

So, if you think fiat is trash or some sort of dumpster fire, you can use it as collateral to borrow quality crypto or borrow and repay your loan in over 40 fiats. This is a BIG edge to Nexo over other platforms.

Feature 7: Additional Services

There’s no question that Binance is the winner here. With an account, you can access Lend but also margin, futures, options, and the other services global Binance offers. It’s almost not even a fair comparison as the other 4 are strictly lending companies first and Binance is not.

Among the other 4, Nexo and BlockFi both offer some excellent services. For example, although Nexo was the first, both Nexo and BlockFi offer crypto-backed credit cards linked to your account. Both offer prime brokerage and institutional loan services too. Both also offer exchanges, swapping, and OTC trades for larger accounts.

So, both offer a wide range of services for both retail and professional investors putting them a step ahead of YouHodler and Coinloan. YouHodler’s multi-signature HODL service is a nice value add for small investors intimidated by a multi-signature wallet setup.


So where do we stand? The leaders of the various features are:

  • Feature 1: Tie as there are both advantages and drawbacks to having your own token
  • Feature 2: Nexo and Coinloan lead paying 12%
  • Feature 3: Binance leads for crypto only slightly but Nexo is the clear overall winner with huge support for many fiats as well
  • Feature 4: Nexo and BlockFi have the most realistic interest rate spreads when we look at Net Interest Margins
  • Feature 5: Nexo and Binance lead here with no borrowing fees
  • Feature 6: Nexo crushes by supporting over 40 fiats including fiat for collateral OR repayment
  • Feature 7: Binance offers the most while BlockFi and Nexo offer the most services for lending-focused crypto companies.

Finally, our clear winner in this broad list of features is Nexo. This is especially true if you want a lending-first alternative or do not want to deal with the hassles of a Binance account. Nexo is doing a lot of things right. If you want to see all the services Nexo has to offer, you can click on the link below to give Nexo a try today. You can lend, borrow, trade, swap, and more all from the same account.

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