One of crypto’s most exciting opportunities is earning passive income with high-interest savings accounts. With the right company, you can easily find yields of 5% to 15% APY or even more; much higher than a traditional savings account.
And one company that’s shaking up the crypto world is Gelt Finance. This non-custodial savings account lets you leverage the power of decentralized finance (DeFi) to generate up to 14% APY on your deposits.
If you like the idea of crypto savings accounts but want to maintain control over your funds, this model is for you. And our Gelt Finance review is covering all of the features, pricing, and pros and cons so you can decide if it’s the right fit.
Gelt Finance Details
Crypto savings account
Up to 14% APY
Get $5 for opening an account
Pros & Cons
About Gelt Finance
Gelt Finance, known as Gelt, is a financial services company that began in 2021 and operates out of San Francisco, California. The company was founded by Jeremiah Smith and Yury Oparin.
Despite being a young company and having a small team, Gelt has some serious backing, including the likes of FinTech VC firm JumpCaptail and Web3 accelerator Alliance DAO.
And as a company, Gelt is also doing something different. Most crypto savings and lending products out there like BlockFi and Celsius are custodial, meaning the companies hold your assets and deploy them, much like a traditional bank.
In contrast, Gelt offers a non-custodial high-interest savings product that relies on various DeFi protocols. This means you control your own funds, and the yields you generate occur automatically by providing liquidity to these different DeFi protocols.
What It Offers
Gelt’s main feature is its non-custodial savings product that’s built on the Ethereum blockchain. But there’s a lot of fascinating tech behind the scenes that help power this decentralized crypto savings account.
High-Yield Savings Account
Currently, Gelt has a waitlist to use its savings product. You enter your email address on Gelt’s website after clicking the “Get Started” button.
But once you’re approved to use the platform, getting started with Gelt high-yield savings is very simple.
You only need $1 USD to fund your account. Gelt lets you deposit money right from your bank account, so you can start using the service without even owning cryptocurrency in the first place. Typically, deposits take three to five business days to reach your account, at which time you begin earning interest immediately.
Making deposits is free, and Gelt displays an APY estimate for your deposit. Currently, Gelt pays 5% to 14% APY, and rates vary depending on the supply and demand in the various pools Gelt users help provide liquidity to. According to its website, Gelt’s 100-day average APY is over 12% currently.
At the moment, there's a $1,000 deposit maximum for this product, which is a massive downside if you’re looking to invest serious capital. In fairness, Gelt is a relatively new company, so there’s reason to hope and expect a higher deposit limit in the future.
Additionally, Gelt only accepts USD, although Euros and British Pounds are on the roadmap for 2022. You can also make unlimited free deposits and withdrawals, and overall, Gelt’s high-yield savings product is incredibly beginner-friendly and quick to set up.
Plus, deposits get automatic coverage of up to $100,000 against yield protocol failure. Nexus Mutual, a blockchain-based alternative to insurance, is the company that provides coverage.
mStable DeFi Protocol
At first glance, Gelt’s high-yield savings product looks similar to crypto savings accounts like Celsius and BlockFi. However, its use of its mStable DeFi protocol is what makes Gelt different.
Here’s how Gelt actually works behind the scenes.
When you deposit USD, your funds automatically convert into various stablecoins like USD Coin (USDC). Stablecoin prices are tied to an underlying asset, like the USD in this case, helping to provide more stability which makes exchanging stablecoins less risky.
Once Gelt converts your funds into stablecoins, these funds enter mStable, an open-source DeFi protocol that allows users to exchange different stablecoins or take out over-collateralized loans.
The main takeaway is that when you deposit funds with Gelt, you’re actually providing liquidity for a pool where all these different transactions occur. As a reward, mStable distributes swapping fees back to liquidity providers automatically, which includes Gelt customers and other liquidity providers.
All of this happens through the use of smart contracts, and this is the main difference between Gelt’s decentralized model and companies like Celsius and Hodlnaut that are custodial.
Gelt is completely public and trustless, meaning there isn’t a central entity controlling the liquidity pool or deciding who can or can’t use the platform.
The platform is also non-custodial, meaning you always maintain control of your own funds and private key. This is significantly different from crypto exchanges like Coinbase or savings products like BlockFi where you don’t control your own keys.
If you’re the type of cryptocurrency investor who really values decentralization, Gelt is a breath of fresh air for the savings space.
That’s not to say you can’t generate meaningful returns with companies like BlockFi and Celsius. Plus, both these companies let you deposit cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Solana while Gelt just accepts USD.
However, if you want to maintain control over your funds at all times and stay decentralized, Gelt is the way to go.
Pricing & Fees
Gelt doesn’t charge deposit or withdrawal fees. On its website, Gelt states you can make free deposits up to $25,000. Since Gelt’s current deposit limit is $1,000, it’s uncertain what fees Gelt will charge on higher deposit amounts in the future. But for now, Gelt is committed to staying fee-free.
Gelt also states it automatically includes transaction fees, and when you make a deposit, you see a clear breakdown of your estimated APY and any fees.
As mentioned, there are plenty of crypto savings accounts out there. And while most are custodial unlike Gelt, other platforms support far more assets and have different interest rates and fee structures.
Here’s how Gelt compares to BlockFi and Celsius, two of the most popular, centralized crypto savings and lending platforms:
Withdrawal fees after your first monthly withdrawal
None except for crypto trading
$5 for opening an account
Up to $250 in free BTC
Up to $5,000 in free CEL tokens
The main reason to use BlockFi or Celsius over Gelt is to earn passive income with your crypto.
Celsius is particularly useful here since the platform supports dozens of cryptocurrencies and stablecoins like:
If you’re just depositing USD, Gelt is a simple and effective solution, provided you’re not on the waitlist for too long.
But if you want to put your crypto to work, compare interest rates between companies like BlockFi and Celsius to see where you can get the best returns.
Account Opening Process
As mentioned, you have to join the Gelt waitlist and wait for an invitation to use the platform. Currently, Gelt is only open to U.S. residents. However, Gelt doesn’t accept ACH deposits if your bank is registered in the following states:
- New Hampshire
- New York
According to its FAQ, Gelt plans on offering its services in the EU and UK by 2022 to 2023.
Once you create an account, you link your bank account to Gelt by using Plaid. From there, you complete know your customer (KYC) requirements to verify your identity.
KYC requirements are strange to see in a non-custodial financial product, but this is done for anti-money laundering (AML) purposes. But it means you provide Gelt with your name, address, phone number, SSN, and a picture of your passport or driver’s license.
Safety & Security
Gelt isn’t a regulated financial institution. However, there are several security measures in place to protect your funds.
At a basic level, Gelt uses Plaid to securely connect to your bank account and handle sensitive financial information. Plaid is the same company many major FinTech companies like robo-advisors rely on, and it’s essentially the industry standard at this point.
Additionally, Gelt can’t access your funds since you maintain control over your private keys. Transactions are also secured on the Ethereum L1/Polygon blockchain, not a server in Gelt’s offices.
Furthermore, to reduce lending risks in the mStable pool, loans are highly over-collateralized, so borrowers need to back their loans with crypto of a higher value than the loan value.
Finally, Gelt states that it will give customers advance notice if it’s closing for whatever reason so there’s time to withdraw any funds.
Of course, there are still risks to using Gelt. It’s a new company trying to be different, and while its future is bright, long-term performance on the platform remains to be seen.
However, if you want to try a non-custodial crypto savings product, Gelt is safe and worth trying.
There are two ways to contact Gelt customer support:
- Email: Contact Gelt at [email protected]
- Live Chat: Use the live chat feature on the website from 7am to 7pm ET.
Gelt also has a Discord server with almost 300 members where you can ask questions. And if an active user invites you to join Gelt, you actually advance positions in the waitlist.
The Bottom Line
In a world of mostly centralized crypto saving and lending products, Gelt is doing something different. And despite being in its infancy, the platform is already showing a lot of promise with high interest rates and low fees.
If you want to put your USD to work and maintain control over your funds, definitely join Gelt’s waitlist so you can get in on the action sooner.
But in the meantime, don’t be afraid to explore other savings products. Companies like BlockFi and Celsius are perfect if you’re a beginner looking to earn passive income with your crypto. And, you can always try staking your crypto to earn rewards with exchanges like Coinbase.
Minimum Balance Requirement
Earn up to 14% APY
Deposits get up to $100,000 in coverage in the event of a hack or bug with the mStable protocol
Gelt is non-custodial, so you maintain control of your funds
Customer Service Email
Get $5 when you open and fund your account
Tom Blake is a personal finance writer with a passion for making money online, cryptocurrency and NFTs, investing, and the gig economy.