Crypto Loans: Everything to Know

By  Beluga Research October 12, 2023

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  • Crypto loans are borrowing by using crypto holdings as collateral, enabling access to liquidity without selling coins
  • These loans use cryptocurrencies as collateral to secure a loan, providing borrowers with immediate funds without the need for credit checks or extensive paperwork
  • The concept of using cryptocurrencies as collateral for loans began in 2013 with the launch of the first crypto lending platform, BTCJam.
  • Crypto loans offer advantages such as flexibility, quick processing times, global accessibility


Cryptocurrency crypto loans allow you to borrow digital assets by using your crypto holdings as collateral, enabling access to liquidity without selling your coins. Crypto loans have unique aspects that differentiate them from traditional lending. They use digital assets as collateral instead of credit scores or physical assets. This allows individuals with limited credit history or difficulty accessing traditional banking to get funding.

A Brief History

The concept of using cryptocurrencies as collateral for loans began with Bitcoin. In 2013, the first crypto lending platform, BTCJam, was launched, allowing users to borrow and lend bitcoin. This marked the beginning of a new era in lending, as crypto loans gained attention from borrowers and investors.

Over time, the crypto lending space expanded, with various platforms emerging to meet growing demand. These platforms offered borrowers the opportunity to unlock the value of cryptocurrencies without selling them, while lenders could earn interest on their holdings. The introduction of smart contracts and decentralized finance (DeFi) further fueled the growth of crypto loans, enabling peer-to-peer lending without intermediaries.

Crypto Loans: Everything to Know

  • Collateralization: Crypto loans require borrowers to pledge their digital assets as collateral. The collateral ensures that lenders have recourse if the borrower fails to repay the loan. The value of the collateral is typically higher than the loan amount to mitigate the lender's risk. In case of default, the lender can sell the collateral to recover their funds.
  • Loan-to-Value (LTV) Ratio: The loan-to-value ratio determines the maximum loan amount a borrower can receive based on the value of their collateral. LTV ratios vary across platforms and can range from 50% to 90%. A lower LTV ratio offers more protection to lenders but limits the borrowing capacity of borrowers. A higher LTV ratio allows borrowers to access a larger loan amount but increases the risk for lenders.
  • Interest Rates: Crypto loans come with interest rates that borrowers must pay on the borrowed amount. The interest rates can be fixed or variable, depending on the platform and market conditions. Factors such as the borrower's creditworthiness, the loan term, and the volatility of the collateral's value can influence the interest rates. Borrowers should carefully consider the interest rates to ensure they can afford the repayments.
  • Loan Terms: The loan term refers to the duration within which borrowers must repay the loan. Crypto loans typically have flexible loan terms, ranging from a few days to several years. Borrowers have the option to repay the loan early or extend the term by paying additional interest. It is essential to understand the loan terms and associated fees before entering into a crypto loan agreement.
  • Risks and Considerations: While crypto loans offer advantages, they also come with risks. The volatility of cryptocurrencies can result in significant fluctuations in the value of the collateral, potentially leading to liquidation if the collateral's value drops below a certain threshold. Additionally, borrowers need to trust the platform they use for crypto loans, as the custody of their collateral is in the platform's hands.

Getting Started

To start with cryptocurrency crypto loans, find a reputable platform that offers this type of lending. Many platforms have emerged, offering different loan options for various needs and risk appetites.

Once a platform is chosen, register by providing personal information like name, contact details and sometimes KYC documentation. Some platforms may require account creation and verification to comply with regulations.

After registration, deposit cryptocurrency holdings into the platform's designated wallet or address. Transfer your digital assets from your personal wallet to the platform's custody. Choose a platform prioritizing security and employing robust measures to safeguard funds.

Once funds are deposited, apply for a crypto loan. Specify the amount, duration and terms. The platform will assess eligibility based on factors like collateral value, creditworthiness and additional requirements.

If approved, the platform will disburse the loan amount to your designated account or wallet. Use the funds for various purposes, such as investing in other cryptocurrencies, covering expenses or seizing opportunities.

Unique Aspects

The loan process is fast and efficient. Cryptocurrency transactions on blockchain networks operate 24/7, enabling near-instant transfers. Crypto loans can be approved and disbursed within minutes or hours, unlike traditional loans with lengthy processing times.

Crypto loans offer flexible repayment options. Borrowers can choose fixed or variable interest rates and a duration that suits their financial goals. This flexibility allows individuals to tailor their loan structure to their needs and repayment capabilities.

Crypto loans can also provide tax efficiency. In some jurisdictions, borrowing against cryptocurrency holdings may be non-taxable since it's not considered a sale or disposition of digital assets. This benefits individuals seeking liquidity while minimizing tax obligations.


  • Flexibility: Crypto loans give borrowers more flexibility compared to traditional loans. Borrowers can use their cryptocurrency holdings as collateral, allowing them to access funds without selling their digital assets. This is particularly beneficial for individuals who believe in the long-term value of their cryptocurrencies and don't want to part with them.
  • Quick and Convenient: These loans are processed quickly thanks to blockchain technology. Traditional loan applications can be time-consuming and involve extensive paperwork, whereas crypto loans can be secured online with minimal hassle. This convenience makes crypto loans attractive for individuals in need of immediate funds.
  • Global Accessibility: Crypto loans are accessible to individuals worldwide, regardless of their location or the state of the local banking system. As long as one has an internet connection and a cryptocurrency wallet, they can apply for a crypto loan. This global accessibility is valuable in regions with limited financial infrastructure or where traditional banking services are unavailable.
  • No Credit Checks: Crypto loans typically don't involve credit assessments like traditional loans. Borrowers provide collateral in the form of cryptocurrencies, eliminating the need for credit checks. This makes crypto loans a viable option for individuals with limited credit history or difficulties obtaining loans through traditional channels.
  • Potential Tax Benefits: In some jurisdictions, using cryptocurrencies as collateral for loans may offer potential tax advantages. By leveraging their digital assets instead of selling them, borrowers can potentially defer capital gains tax liabilities until they decide to sell their cryptocurrencies. Tax regulations vary by jurisdiction, so individuals should consult tax professionals to understand the specific implications in their region.


  • Volatility Risk: Crypto loans are subject to the inherent volatility of cryptocurrencies. Crypto markets experience price fluctuations, which means the value of the collateral used to secure the loan can significantly fluctuate during the loan term. If the collateral's value drops below a certain threshold, borrowers may need to provide additional collateral or risk losing their assets.
  • Lack of Regulation: The crypto lending space lacks comprehensive regulation in many jurisdictions. This regulatory uncertainty introduces risks for lenders and borrowers. Without proper regulations, borrowers may be exposed to fraudulent platforms or unethical lending practices. It also makes it challenging to resolve disputes or seek legal recourse in case of issues.
  • Counterparty Risk: When using a crypto lending platform, borrowers entrust their collateral to a third party, introducing counterparty risk. Borrowers must rely on the platform's security measures and operational integrity. If a platform is compromised or goes bankrupt, borrowers may risk losing their collateral. Conducting due diligence on the platform and its security measures is crucial before engaging in a crypto loan.
  • Interest Rates and Fees: Crypto loans often have higher interest rates compared to traditional loans due to perceived risks associated with cryptocurrencies and the lack of regulatory oversight. Borrowers may also incur fees for loan origination, early repayment, or other services provided by the lending platform. It's important for borrowers to carefully evaluate the interest rates and fees associated with crypto loans to align with their financial goals.
  • Limited Loan-to-Value Ratios: Crypto loans typically have lower loan-to-value (LTV) ratios compared to traditional loans. LTV represents the percentage of the collateral's value that can be borrowed. Due to cryptocurrency volatility, lenders often set conservative LTV ratios to mitigate the risk of collateral value depreciation. Borrowers may not be able to access the full value of their collateral, limiting their borrowing capacity.