Individuals looking to add to their Bitcoin holdings without engaging in swing-trading or other speculative trading activities can loan their Bitcoin for a fixed interest rate through Bitbank’s new program.
Bitbank is one of the 16 fully-licensed cryptocurrency exchanges in Japan and is the second bank to offer users the ability to loan their Bitcoin, following Japan’s internet giant GMO. Currently, Bitbank is ranked 31st in the world for daily trading volume and offers eight trading pairs. Initially, the service will be exclusive to Bitcoin, but the exchange said that they plan on allowing users to loan other cryptocurrencies, including Ripple, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash, in the coming months.
The program will require that users loan their Bitcoin for a minimum of 12 months and users will be paid interest proportional to the amount of Bitcoin lent. The service will be highly selective as to who is allowed to participate, and Bitbank will be thoroughly vetting accounts that apply for access to the service.
Traders that are approved to loan their holdings will be paid what is considered a “usage fee” that varies based on the lent amount. The usage fee will work similarly to how interest rates work on loaned capital from a bank or other lenders. Bitbank will pay 3 percent on amounts loaned up to 5 BTC, 4 percent for loaned amounts greater than 5 BTC, and a maximum of 5 percent if a user loans 10 or more BTC.
It is important to note that users loaning their Bitcoin will not be able to access the loaned amount during the 12-month period:
“The cryptocurrency remains locked during the entire loan period. So, the cryptocurrency cannot be sold or transferred. Only when the loan period is elapsed or returned by Bitbank, the customer will be able to sell or transfer the cryptocurrency.”
If the lender does need to retract their funds, they will be charged a penalty amounting to 5 percent of the loaned amount.
GMO’s competing service offers a significantly better deal in regard to loan periods, offering 90-day loan terms for Bitcoin and 150-day loan terms for its other cryptocurrency offerings, including Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ripple, and Litecoin.
Bitbank has yet to clarify whether the usage fees will be paid monthly or at the end of the loan term.