What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is used as a digital store of value and means of payment by millions of people worldwide. It was launched in 2009 as a decentralized digital currency and has quickly become the largest crypto asset by market share.
The Bitcoin network is not controlled or owned by any single person, company, or government. It is a form of currency that is not issued by any central bank or financial institution. Instead, Bitcoin is operated and secured by an open global network of participants. These participants can be any individual or company willing to run the software that governs how the Bitcoin network operates and validates transactions.
A decentralized ledger called the blockchain makes sure that a record of accounts of who holds what amount of Bitcoin and whom that Bitcoin was sent to is enforced and stays in sync across the Bitcoin network. The mathematics and cryptographic technology of the blockchain guarantees that each Bitcoin is scarce. Similar to how Gold is physically scarce, Bitcoin is digitally scarce. This is why Bitcoin is considered by many to be "digital gold."
How many Bitcoins are there?
The peer-to-peer and decentralized nature of bitcoin ensures that only 21 million whole Bitcoins will ever exist, and each Bitcoin can be further divided into 100 million units called Satoshis (you can think of what a Satoshi is to a Bitcoin, as what a cent is to a dollar)
Who created Bitcoin?
The origins of Bitcoin date back to 2008 when an anonymous figure by the name of "Satoshi Nakamoto" published a white paper describing "A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System." Soon thereafter, on January 3rd, 2009, the Bitcoin network went live.
Satoshi Nakamoto was active in Bitcoin's early development on an online forum called BitcoinTalk until December 2010. Since that time, no one has heard from Satoshi Nakamoto. And no one knows who Satoshi Nakamoto was. His or her true identity remains a mystery.
How do I earn interest on my Bitcoin?
While Bitcoin itself does not generate any cash flows, various companies that operate in the crypto industry offer interest on Bitcoin deposits. These companies then take deposited Bitcoin and lend it out to individuals and businesses.
The difference between what these companies earn from lending and what they pay for deposits is called net interest income. This model of taking deposits and lending them out is how traditional banks commonly make money as well.
To earn interest on your Bitcoin, you'll want to sign up with an account provider that you feel comfortable holding your Bitcoin assets. Once you've signed up for an account, you can transfer your Bitcoin into it. In most cases, you don't have to do anything else to start earning interest.
Why should I earn interest on my Bitcoin?
Unlike owning a stock or business, which can generate dividends and cash flow, just holding Bitcoin itself does not produce any form of cash flow. In that sense, owning Bitcoin is like owning Gold. It serves as a store of value and a means of payment.
If holding Bitcoin itself does not produce any cash flow, why not deposit it into a savings account that can generate yield? Rather than owning Bitcoin that sits idly, you can have it earn even more Bitcoin. The rates on Bitcoin interest accounts are also much higher than traditional savings accounts. The additional Bitcoin earned in a savings account could help you generate an extra passive income or help you pad your Bitcoin portfolio with more BTC.
One caveat of whether or not to open a Bitcoin interest account is your preference of where and how you want to store your Bitcoin. With a Bitcoin interest account, a third party company will custody your Bitcoin. This is similar to how a traditional bank will custody your cash or other investment assets.
Some Bitcoin holders believe that to maintain full control over your Bitcoin, you must control your Bitcoin's cryptographic private key. With a Bitcoin interest account, the cryptographic private key that controls your deposited Bitcoin rests with a trusted third party.
If you're comfortable to custody your Bitcoin with a trusted third party, then opening a Bitcoin interest account could be a smart financial decision. Most of the biggest crypto interest account providers already custody billions of dollars worth of Bitcoin on behalf of their clients and follow strict regulatory and security protocols to safeguard their Bitcoin.
What should I look for in a Bitcoin interest account?
Before you open a Bitcoin interest account, you will want to make sure that it's the right one for you. Some questions you might want to consider are:
- Where is the company offering the account located? Are they located in a country that you'd be comfortable sending your funds to?
- Do they have the proper regulatory licenses to operate a crypto business? Can they legally accept customers in the state or country that you live in?
- Who owns and operates the company offering the Bitcoin interest account? Is it a publically traded company? Do they have large reputable investors? How long has the company been in business?
- How many customers do they currently have, and how much of customer funds do they hold? A good signal as to the security and reliability of an account provider is how large they are.
- Do they offer any form of insurance or guarantees on your Bitcoin deposits?
- Do they have robust security? Have there been any security issues with them before? With a quick Google search, you can find out.
- What other fees do they charge? What are their withdrawal fees and limits? Are these fees and limits acceptable to you?
- What do other user reviews say about the account provider? Are the reviews mostly positive or negative?
- Is the interest rate offered worth it? Are you happy with the interest rate they offer on your Bitcoin deposit?
What are the tax implications of having a Bitcoin interest account?
Most countries will require you to report Bitcoin interest income on your taxes, just like any other form of financial investment income. If you sell the Bitcoin in your interest account, you may also have to pay capital gains or losses on your taxes.
You should also consider the country where the company that is offering the Bitcoin interest account is located. If your Bitcoin interest account is with a foreign company and is over a certain threshold, you may have to file a disclosure of offshore assets with your local tax authority.
For example, suppose you're Canadian and open up a Bitcoin interest account with a U.S based company, depositing more than $100,000 CAD worth of Bitcoin into it. In this case, you'll be required to file a foreign assets tax disclosure. Different countries will have different disclosure rules around offshore assets. Consult with a local tax professional or check your country's tax agency website for the latest guidelines.
How is interest paid on a Bitcoin interest account?
Interest accrued on a Bitcoin interest account is usually paid out in Bitcoin itself. For example, if you deposit 1 BTC and the annual interest rate is 7%, at the end of 12 months, you would have earned 0.07 BTC in interest, giving you a total of 1.07 BTC.
Some Bitcoin interest account providers also give you the option of receiving interest payments in their own company's cryptocurrency. In doing so, they may offer an additional interest rate bonus for opting in.
When is the interest paid on a Bitcoin interest account?
Each company will have its own interest payment schedule. Some Bitcoin interest accounts can pay interest daily, weekly, or sometimes monthly.
How often interest is calculated is also worth considering. Even if an account makes Bitcoin interest payments weekly, they may still calculate the interest accrued on a daily basis. All this amounts to subtle differences in how much interest you ultimately earn on your Bitcoin.
What's the difference between APR and APY?
How your interest rate is calculated on your Bitcoin can impact how much interest you earn over the long haul. There are two main ways that interest is calculated. It can be calculated as an Annual Percentage Rate (APR) or Annual Percentage Yield (APY). You'll see that different Bitcoin interest accounts will advertise their savings rates in either APY or APR.
APR (Annual Percentage Rate) is the simplified way of calculating interest. It doesn't consider the effects of compounding the interest you earn.
APY (Annual Percentage Yield) calculates interest by considering the compounding effects of earning interest on top of already earned interest. Many Bitcoin interest accounts pay out interest on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Each time you get paid interest, your balance grows into a slightly larger amount to further calculate interest for your next payment.
Typically the APY is higher than the APR. For example, earning 5% APY is the same as earning 4.88% APR. This is assuming you get paid interest every month for a year. The 0.12% difference between APY and APR, in this example, results from the monthly compounding of interest you've already earned.
If you see two rates for a Bitcoin interest account advertised as 6% APY and 6% APR, you'll earn more interest going with the account offering 6% APR. This is because 6% APR is the rate before monthly compounding of interest (assuming both accounts pay interest monthly). Put another way, 6% APR is the same as 6.17% APY.
Can the interest rate on my Bitcoin interest account change?
Most of the interest rates you see on HodlRate.com are all stable rates. This means that interest rates don't change often. Depending on who is offering the interest account, they could change on a week to week or monthly basis. When they do change, we update the rates on HodlRate.com.
Some interest accounts are offered in fixed terms. This means that you'll have to deposit your Bitcoin for a fixed period to earn the interest. Usually, fixed-rate terms range from 1 month to 1 year. Typically the longer you lock up your Bitcoin for, the more interest you can earn. If an account requires a fixed-term deposit, you'll see the account marked as "fixed term" in our search tool.
Is my Bitcoin secure in an interest savings account?
In the traditional banking system, there are large reputable banks and smaller upstart banks. You'll find varying degrees of customer support, security, and regulatory compliance on this spectrum of trust and reputation.
In the crypto industry as well, there is a spectrum of smaller crypto companies and larger institutional players. The crypto financial products and services you see on HodlRate.com are vetted for security and reputation. We only list Bitcoin savings accounts that we deem to be secure and reputable. Having said that, you should still always do your own research when evaluating different Bitcoin interest accounts.
Before you sign up for a Bitcoin interest account, make sure the company offering the account has the proper regulatory licenses to offer Bitcoin products in your country/jurisdiction. Also, since many of these Bitcoin interest accounts don't have deposit insurance, it's wise not to put all your Bitcoin in one basket regardless.
How do I open up a Bitcoin Interest Account?
Depending on where you live, you may be restricted from opening a Bitcoin interest account. Certain account providers don't offer accounts to residents of certain states or countries. Be sure to check that the account provider services customers in your state/country.
Once you've clarified that you can open up a Bitcoin interest account in your jurisdiction, you can begin the signup process. First, you'll want to go to their website or download their app. Some Bitcoin Interest Account providers are available only through mobile apps.
Once you're on the signup page, you'll be prompted to create an account using your name, email and/or phone number. You may also be required to provide your address and nationality. Most Bitcoin interest account providers will also perform some kind of identity verification. The identity verification process usually involves you having to upload a picture of your identification (like a driver's license or passport) along with a photo or video of yourself to prove the ID belongs to you.
Once the account verification process is complete, you'll be free to start using your Bitcoin interest account. Before you move funds into the account, be sure to enable 2-factor authentication (2FA). Having 2-factor authentication provides an extra layer of security. The most secure form of 2FA will require you to use an authenticator app (Either Google authenticator or Authy). Using email or SMS text messages is not considered a secure 2-factor authentication method.