Coinbase will allow users to earn interest in crypto, but not in the United States
Coinbase announced that it would allow users to earn interest on their cryptocurrency by lending it to a decentralized financial app called Compound (via Bloomberg). The program is currently not available to U.S. users, however, after plans for similar functionality put the company in trouble with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Coinbase says customers in more than 70 countries will be able to lend their Dai, a stable coin whose value is pegged to the US dollar, to borrowers from its app. The process works using a protocol called Compound, which programmatically aggregates money from lenders and collects interest on that money from borrowers. Coinbase’s pitch is that it makes the system more user-friendly – lending through Compound usually involves receiving multiple tokens when you make a deposit and paying transaction fees each time you put in or withdraw the crypto (Coinbase says it does. will cover these costs for its users).
The program is similar to Coinbase Lend, which the company announced in June but canceled in September after the SEC threatened to sue the company, saying the feature would count as security. The loan would have allowed users to earn interest on USDC, another stablecoin, although users loaned it directly to Coinbase to manage it instead of an outside protocol.
Coinbase also promised that you would get back all the money you put into the loan, but the company is not making any such guarantees with this new program. It also warns users that losses are possible and makes sure to point out that interest rates are variable – Compound rates for DAI have fluctuated between 2.83 and 5.39% throughout the month of October, according to Coinbase.