If the BlockFi credit card is the first bitcoin credit card you’re thinking of applying for, you’re not alone; the cryptocurrency credit card category is very new and few people are using crypto cards over legacy credit cards.
BlockFi’s gist is simple: upon approval, you get a credit limit in USD and get 1.5% cashback in bitcoin on every purchase.
It’s an actual credit card–not a “debit card with perks” like that of some competitors.
The card costs a $200 annual fee and a variable interest rate between 14.99% and 22.99% on outstanding balances.
The bitcoin rewards are transferred to your BlockFi Interest Account (BIA) every month and immediately start accruing interest. So, let’s say you spend $3,333 in August and earn $50 in bitcoin– your BTC would immediately start earning 6% APY in the interest account, earning you an extra $3 if held for the full year.
Three bucks don’t sound like anything to do a backflip over, but the ability to earn interest in cryptocurrency is an exciting evolution of the cryptocurrency industry. The card also comes with some solid perks, whether cryptocurrency-based or not.
Note: Check out our BlockFi review for a detailed analysis of its cryptocurrency interest account.
- Sign-up Bonus: $250 in bitcoin when you spend $3,0000 in the first three months.
- Annual Fee: $200
- Other Perks: Increased stablecoin APY on interest accounts and trading bonuses.
BlockFi Company Bio: A Quick Look
BlockFi is a New Jersey-based company that focuses on cryptocurrency lending and borrowing founded in August 2018. It has over 265,000 retail and 200,000 institutional clients, with reported monthly revenue of $50 million, as of March 2021.
Led by Zac Prince and Flori Marquez, the company saw a rapid acceleration in both user growth and funding in Q4 2020 and Q1 2021. It raised the bulk of its $508.7 million total funding in a $350 million Series D in March 2021; reputable firms like Valar Ventures, Winklevoss Capital, Kinetic Capital, Galaxy Digital, Pomp Investments, and ConsenSys Ventures have invested in BlockFi.
BlockFi Credit Card Perks:
BlockFi’s credit card is straightforward: you get 1.5% back in bitcoin, deposited in your BlockFi Interest Account, on every purchase. There are no categories; it’s just a blanket 1.5% back.
Note: the credit card is currently on waitlist, but you can sign up on the dashboard if you choose to make interest account.
The BlockFi credit card has the same perks as a Visa Signature card: no international transaction fees, roadside dispatch, travel emergency services, and more.
1.5% is the highest base bitcoin rewards rate on the market. However, some cards offer higher percentages (we’ve seen up to 20%) if shopping with specific merchants, such as earning 9% back when buying from Dominos.
There are a few notable first-year bonuses that come with the card, as we’ll get into below.
BlockFi Credit Card Bonuses: Earn up to $1,250 in Crypto Bonuses
The BlockFi credit card offers a handful of sign-up bonuses and ways to earn money.
Sign Up Bonus: The signup bonus is fairly typical for credit cards: Spend $3,000 in your first three months and get a $250 bonus paid in bitcoin. This is probably the lowest hanging fruit of the bunch.
BlockFi offers an additional spending incentive called the Bitcoin Rewards Rate Bonus: Cardholders using the card for three months will see a 2% increase in their bitcoin rewards (from 1.5% to 3.5%) for the following three months. This bonus caps out at $100 in bitcoin by the end of the 6th month.
The other credit card bonuses are incentives for users to immerse themselves with the BlockFi ecosystem, such as depositing stablecoins into the BlockFi Interest Account, trading crypto on the platform, and referring friends.
Stablecoin Bonus: Cardholders that also have stablecoins like USDC and GUSD in their BlockFi Interest Account (see our BlockFi review here) can earn an additional 2% APY on top of the current stablecoin APY after the annual card renewal, up to a $200 total.
If BlockFi’s stablecoin rates remain at the current 8.6%, BlockFi credit cardholders will be able to earn up to 10.6% APY on their stablecoin deposits.
According to BlockFi, the stablecoin bonus percentage will accrue based on the cardholders’ average daily stablecoin balance. This bonus is capped at $200, and cardholders must renew to earn this payout.
Trading Bonus: BlockFi credit cardholders will earn $0.25% of their trading volume back in bitcoin, up to a $500 maximum per month. Stablecoins are excluded from this bonus.
BlockFi Credit Card Fees:
The BlockFi credit card comes with a $200 annual fee.
Outstanding balances are liable to be charged a variable interest rate between 14.99% and 22.99%, which is pretty standard for most credit cards.
How to Max Out Your BlockFi Credit Card Bonuses
The BlockFi credit card offers some unique bonuses and some require using the BlockFi Interest Account.
To save you the trouble of having to do Sudoku to try to figure out how to max out your BlockFi bonuses, we did it for you.
Start of Month 1: You got the BlockFi credit card. You have three months to spend $3,000 on it to get your first year $250 bonus (paid in bitcoin.) That bonus alone is about an 8.3% return in three months buying things you may need anyway (groceries, phone bills, Internet bills, and so on.) The standard 1.5% back on bitcoin will earn you about $45 for that $3,000 spend over the three-month period.
End of Month 3: You spent $3,000 and got $250 in sign-up bonus and $45 in 1.5% rewards in bitcoin. Nice. You also earned the Bitcoin rewards boost to earn 3.5% bitcoin on every transaction, for a maximum bonus boost of $100 by the 7th month. You’ll have to spend about $5,000 over those 3 months to get this bonus. You’ll also earn $75 from the flat 1.5% bitcoin bonus.
This BlockFi credit card sequence alone will get you about $470 in bitcoin after the first 6 months, which can be further bolstered with the BIA perks.
Enter the BlockFi Interest Account:
By including stablecoin deposits in the BlockFi Interest Account (BIA), which earns a 2% lift over the 8.6% APY with the card, we can earn up to $1,060 in stablecoin interest over the one-year period.
- $5,000 in stablecoin deposits in the BIA will get you $100. The standard 8.6% rate will get you $430 for the annual period, at a stablecoin interest total of $530.
- $10,000 in stablecoin deposits in the BIA will get you $200. The standard 8.6% rate will get you $860 for the annual period, at a stablecoin interest total of $1,060.
With all the steps followed above, you’ll get around $1,000 to $1,530 in your first year of using the BlockFi credit card in bitcoin and stablecoin interest.
This is good enough for us, as customers. However, more motivated customers can earn more money by trading on BlockFi (0.25%) and referring friends ($30 per referral.) We didn’t include these options in our calculations for the sake of simplicity and ease. BlockFi provides two scenarios for both in the chart below.
If you decide to go all out in the BlockFi ecosystem by spending an average of $3,500 per month, holding $10,000 in stablecoins, trading $13,333+ per month, and referring 10 people, you can earn a maximum of $1,250 in bitcoin and stablecoins bonuses in your first year, as well as an additional $860 in stablecoin interest generated by the BIA, and $630 in bitcoin rewards from the flat 1.5% rate.
- Bonus Total: $1,250
- 1.5% bitcoin rewards rate ($3,500 per month): $630
- Stablecoin interest ($10,000 at 8.6% APY): $860
Total Amount Earned with the BlockFi Credit Card and Interest Account in One Year: $2,740
Of course, you should also consider the $200 annual fee in your calculations.
How to Sign Up for the BF Credit Card
The card hasn’t launched yet and potential applicants can sign up for the waitlist. Seeing as the card’s perks require an Interest Account as well, it’s worth opening one now to familiarize yourself with the ecosystem and cryptocurrency interest accounts in general. Here’s how to open a BlockFi Interest Account:
- Go to the BlockFi website. CoinCentral readers can get up to $500 as a sign-up bonus for this account alone, as well as the credit card bonuses listed above once available and if approved.
- Earn $15 with a $200 deposit
- Earn $20 with a $500 deposit
- Earn $40 with a $1,000 deposit
- Earn $75 with a $5,000 deposit
- Earn $150 with a $10,000 deposit
- Earn $250 with a $20,000+ deposit
- Hit the “Sign Up” option in the homepage slider, or “Get Started” in the menu.
- Enter your email and make a password to create your account.
- Enter the verification code sent to that email.
- Once logged in, select “Deposit” to verify your identity and make your first deposit.
- Enter your personal information for verification (part 1)
- Upload a form of ID such as a passport, driver’s license, or ID card and wait to be approved.
Is the BlockFi Credit Card Worth It?
Pros: What’s Great About the BlockFi Credit Card?
- Increased exposure to bitcoin without having to buy bitcoin. 1.5% on everything adds up.
- It’s an excellent introduction to cryptocurrency interest accounts. The BlockFi Interest Account is much more valuable than the card, so if this is your first exposure to it, it’s worth diving in and doing a bit more research on how it works– check out our BlockFi review.
- First year perks are solid: The BlockFi team engineered the first-year perks to get users involved and engaged with the ecosystem, and the dollar amount earned is very competitive; it beats most legacy credit cards.
- Supporting the cryptocurrency ecosystem: This final point shines a bit more optimistic, but by using something like a cryptocurrency credit card, you’re encouraging more innovation in the cryptocurrency space.
Cons: What We Think BlockFi Could Do Better.
- More perks for the annual fee: Most credit cards with fees as high as $200 come with a wider variety of perks such as free airport lounge access.
- Drop off in value after year 1: The first year with the card comes with an array of bonuses and ways to earn cryptocurrency. However, seeing as it is a new product, we anticipate new perks and features to be announced.
We’re bullish on the cryptocurrency credit card industry and are optimistic that BlockFi can set a strong example of cryptocurrency companies entering the greater personal finance arena.
The first year comes with enough bonuses to sign up, and the card is a dynamic duo paired with the cryptocurrency interest account.
However, that $200 annual fee may turn some customers off from the idea. In theory, one could simply use the cashback from a credit card offering more than 2% to purchase bitcoin yourself on an exchange without the fee.
About the Author:
Alex Moskov is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of CoinCentral. Alex leans on his formal educational background (BSBA with a Major in Finance from the University of Florida) and his on-the-ground experiences with cryptocurrency starting in 2012. Alex works with cryptocurrency and blockchain-based companies on content strategy and business development. He privately consults entrepreneurs and venture capitalists on movements within the cryptocurrency industry.
He also regrets not buying more Bitcoin back in 2012, just like you.
You can connect with Alex on Twitter.
Featured Image Credits: BlockFi Bitcoin Rewards