Investing in crypto can be a risky yet exciting business. But as any financial adviser will tell you, greater risk can bring greater rewards… and losses!
With interest rates stuck in the doldrums, many investors are looking at ways to get their money working harder for them.
If you’re happy with a bit more risk, a cryptocurrency savings account could be the answer to earning interest on your Bitcoin.
Not only can you dramatically increase the rate of return on your money, but there’s also the potential for the underlying crypto to increase in value (as well as plummet spectacularly).
Below is our pick of the top cryptocurrency interest earning savings accounts that are available to UK investors.
Yields tend to vary – in a similar way to banks and building societies – so make sure you check out the current rates for the platform you plan to use before committing your crypto.
All of the companies we’ve listed have fully functional mobile apps as well so you can manage your savings on the go.
BlockFi comes top of this list for several reasons, including its ease of use, no minimum deposit amount and market-leading interest rates.
If you’re depositing Bitcoin (BTC), a top rate of 5% was available on deposits of less than 0.5 BTC at the time of writing.
To maximise your income you’ll need to deposit the Tether (USDT) stablecoin which is pegged to the United States dollar. Doing this will earn you 9.3%.
BlockFi (read review) also allows you to buy and sell a growing number of cryptocurrencies making it possible to swap your deposits for coins with a higher rate of interest.
You’re allowed one free withdrawal a month and you can choose which crypto to receive your interest payments in.
The platform is backed by several big-name investors and offers institutional level cryptocurrency products alongside its retail accounts.
It’s possible to earn up to 12% on your deposits with Nexo, meaning it should take the top spot away from BlockFi.
However, to secure this rate you must commit to having your interest paid in the company’s native Nexo token.
Standard deposit interest rates start at 5% for Bitcoin and go up to 12% for USDT. However, these rates can be boosted by a bonus 2% if you take the token route.
One drawback to Nexo is that you need to maintain a loyalty level based on your Nexo token holdings to qualify for the higher rates.
This can get complicated, with you unexpectedly being bounced to a lower loyalty level depending on market movements.
Nexo (read review) is still a very user-friendly service though and provides an easy place to start for those new to crypto interest accounts.
You can also buy, sell and swap coins using your balance, but you can’t buy crypto directly with a debit/credit card at the time of writing.
Gemini features on both this list and our top 5 exchanges to buy and sell crypto on because it functions as both a savings wallet and a trading platform.
The platform was launched by identical twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss who were famously involved with the launch of Facebook.
With Gemini, which accepts GBP, you can earn up to 7.4% on your cryptocurrency, including stablecoins.
There is no lock-in period on your savings and you can bounce your crypto back to your trading account instantly without any loss of interest.
Like other platforms on this list, the top rate of interest is available on the company’s own token, the Gemini dollar, along with Dai and Filecoin. At the time of writing the rate for Bitcoin was 2.05%.
The app is minimalist and slick making it extremely user friendly, and the exchange claims to be the most secure in the world.
This crypto interest account features the catchline “unbank yourself” and offers some of the highest yields available.
Like Nexo, the highest interest rates are only available by maintaining loyalty levels with its native CEL token which adds an added layer of complication for new users.
For example, you can earn 4.4% on Bitcoin if you choose to earn in CEL, or 3.515 if the interest is paid in-kind.
Depositing Synthetix Network Token (SNX) will give you a whopping 17.78% return if you choose the CEL reward rate option.
The app offers a fresh interface which is clearly aimed at millennials keen to get involved in digital currency.
Interestingly, at the time of writing Celsius was building a self-insurance feature to protect clients from counterparty risk. This is where one or more parties default on their obligations during a financial transaction.
Despite the minimalist interface, YouHolder doesn’t feel as straightforward to use as the other crypto interest accounts on this list.
However, it offers an extremely comprehensive service that may appeal to the more technically minded investor.
In addition to the standard interest rates there are options such as Multi Hodler which, the company says, offers “Limited risk level VS asymmetrical high level of potential profit.”
Effectively you can allocate a portion of the funds in your wallet to engage in trading activities, including currency pair price directions based on a risk level that you set.
Additionally you can ‘turbocharge’ your crypto by buying more with borrowed funds. Profits are based on the assumption that prices will continue to go up.
There’s clearly potential to dramatically increase your returns, but some of the strategies are risky and not for beginners who’ll need to understand and navigate a series of technical trading settings.
What are cryptocurrency savings account and how do they work?
Crypto savings accounts differ from cryptocurrency wallets in that they’re offering an investment product.
The platforms make most of their money by offering loans to either individuals or institutions, sometimes both.
With a crypto savings account you’re converting your fiat money into cryptocurrency which is then loaned out.
Is my money safe in a crypto savings account and what are the risks?
Cryptocurrency products are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK and there is no protection from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
There are risks involved in using cryptocurrency savings accounts. The value of your coins will be affected by market conditions which are notoriously volatile.
This means that the profit made in both interest and the appreciation of your crypto could be wiped out in unfavourable conditions.
Additionally, some accounts apply a security delay on withdrawals meaning you may not be able to get hold of your crypto instantly.
Also, there’s always the risk of loan defaults affecting the financial stability of a platform, and the potential for hacking attacks.
How much money can I make with a crypto savings account?
Given the historically low rates of interest currently being offered by high street banks, many people are looking elsewhere to get a return on their savings.
Some crypto accounts do allow you to deposit GBP, with some extremely tempting interest rates on offer. However, just like your crypto, your cash isn’t protected by the FSCS.
If you’re prepared to take a bit more risk with a portion of your portfolio the potential is there for a much higher rate of return than a normal savings account.
But never deposit more than you’re prepared to lose and steel yourself for the nerve-jangling fluctuations in the crypto market.
If you already hold crypto, an interest account could be a way to earn a passive income from your coins, rather than leaving them sitting idle on an exchange or hardware wallet.
*This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute financial or investment advice.
Adam is the founder of The Crypto Adviser which offers experts guides and reviews on all things related to Bitcoin and cryptocurrency.
Adam is Diploma for Financial Advisers (DipFA) Level 4 qualified, a Member of the London Institute of Banking and Finance (MLIBF), and has worked for many years as a journalist and PR consultant, having studied with the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ).