Cryptocurrency lending and borrowing

Updated on:  

08 min read

Would you believe if someone told you that you could take a loan at a cheap rate in the range of 5-15% without any requirement of documentation, processing fees or even any collateral in the form of your home or car?
Yes, this is now possible if you have some cryptos in your digital wallet.

Introduction

Cryptocurrency gained immense popularity in the last year with a multi-fold increase in the investor’s count.

Many virtual currencies are volatile in the short term, for instance, Bitcoin doubled in the first half of 2021 and then lost its value in July 2021. Bitcoin’s price rose to $24,000 in December 2020, showing an increase of 224% in a year. In January 2021, it touched $40,000 and surpassed the record high of $64,000 in April 2021. Since July 21, the price has fallen and again traded at around $46,000 in September 2021. 

The investors who had invested in this booming volatility during the last year may have gained or lost their money. While some investors’ intention is only short-term gains, others are there because they firmly believe in the future of cryptocurrency.  

For investors who want to stay invested by holding their cryptocurrencies while spending physical currencies like INR, USD, CAD, EUR, etc. is now possible with the facility of crypto lending. Crypto investors can hold their crypto-assets and keep them in a safe wallet until the price of their investment appreciates.

Crypto lending and borrowing have gained momentum recently, marking the start of the new financial era. Let us understand more about crypto-based financing.   

What is cryptocurrency lending or borrowing?

Crypto-financing allows crypto investors to borrow loans in cash or cryptos by offering cryptocurrencies owned by them as collateral. Crypto lending enables the lender to remain the owner of the crypto asset. However, the crypto offered as collateral cannot be used for trading or transacting during lending tenure. 

Crypto investors who plan to HODL (crypto term for-Hold On for Dear Life) their crypto assets and have no plan to sell soon can lend the crypto assets and earn interest for that period. The interest earned is also called ‘crypto dividends’. It’s a simple way crypto investors can use to generate passive income by lending their crypto assets.

A crypto loan is a collateralised loan that one can get from a crypto exchange or some crypto-lending platform. The crypto loan functions similarly to a mortgage or a car loan, where you use car or house property as collateral, whereas in this case, you use your cryptocurrency to secure your loan funds.

Illustration to understand crypto-lending

Let’s understand this with an example. 

Suppose you own 10 bitcoins and would like to earn a steady passive income with your investments in Bitcoins. You can deposit these 10 Bitcoins in your crypto lending platforms wallet and receive monthly or weekly interest from it. The lending of Bitcoins offer interest rates in the range of 3%-7%; however, they can also be as high as 17% for more stable assets such as stable coins like USD Coin, Binance USD, etc. 

The interesting thing about crypto lending compared to other peer-to-peer lending is that the borrowers attach their cryptocurrency as collateral. Hence, in the non-repayment of loans, the investors can sell the cryptocurrency assets to cover the loss. Investment platforms generally ask to stake 25 to 50% of the loan in crypto and can usually recover most of the losses and avoid investors losing money.

Cryptocurrency financing allows you to borrow physical money (e.g. CAD, EUR, USD) required by the investor without selling their crypto in case of an emergency.

Let’s take another example;

Mr A has 1 Bitcoin worth USD 15,000 and needs a loan of USD 5,000 against it at an 8% interest rate per annum. Mr B has USD 5,000 stable coins and is ready to lend it to Mr A at an 8% interest rate by keeping 1 Bitcoin as collateral. Once Mr A pays off Mr B’s USD 5,000 and interest, Mr B will release the Bitcoin back to Mr.A. This transaction has a LTV (loan to value) of 33.33% i.e USD 5,000/USD 15,000. Here, Mr B can liquidate the Bitcoin if Mr A does not repay the loan amount and refund the balance amount.

Crypto lending is always over collateralised, and hence it is more secure than other forms of lending like peer to peer lending.

How does crypto lending work?

Lenders and borrowers in cryptocurrency financing are connected through a third party, usually an online crypto lending platform. So, for crypto’s loans, there have to be three parties involved: lenders, borrowers (crypto asset holders), and lending platforms :

  • The lenders are the ones who want to lend cryptos, stablecoins or cash and earn passive income from their crypto investments.
  • The crypto lending platforms are the third-party platforms that connect borrowers and lenders and take care of these transactions. These can be autonomous, decentralised, or centralised platforms (a group of people or companies operating the platform).
  • The borrowers want funds for varied purposes and should use crypto or fiat assets as collateral to get funding.

Process of crypto lending

The process of crypto lending is as follows:

  • The borrower connects with the crypto lending platform requesting a crypto loan.
  • The borrower offers crypto-assets as collateral for the loan. The crypto platform accepts the loan and attaches the collateral. The borrower will have to repay the entire loan before taking back the stakes in the collateral offered. 
  • The lender funds the loan through the third party platform to the borrower.

Types of crypto-lending platforms

There are two types of lending platforms, as mentioned below:

  • Automated platforms give you dividends as soon as you deposit assets in your crypto wallet.
  • Manual platforms require the investor to manually stake (block for a certain amount of time) a certain amount of your crypto assets to generate dividends.

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