BitBond takes a lean-forward approach to ensuring borrower quality, which has led to lower default rates - and lower loan volumes.
- The best interest rates in the market for borrowers
- Very conservative approach to borrowers means default rates comparatively low
- Work hard to collect on loan defaults
- Liquidity quite low
Bitbond is a unique product in the bitcoin lending market. Fees are much, much lower than elsewhere, and this is due largely to a much more proactive and successful borrower risk-assessment program. Unlike the competition, which will allow almost any borrower onto the platform, bitbond’s acceptance rate is approximately 40%. Reasonable fees, possible due to the lower overall risk profile of loans on the site, attracts more serious borrowers; more serious borrowers leads to lower default levels; and on it goes. The differences continue. Bitbond caters to small businesses, and focuses on longer term loans. There seems to be a more robust debt collection program, though we are unaware of any successful debt collections.
In any event, Bitbond is quite an interesting product, and recently made headlines after raising €800,000 in an angel investment round. We hope to see bitbond put this money towards user acquisition, as the main impediment to their success seems to be a lack of loan volume.
Bitbond’s team of seven works out of offices in Berlin. Despite low loan liquidity, they have secured a reasonably-sized investment from a few reputable sources.
Upon opening the borrower application, users are greated with a message from CEO Radko Albrecht stating that the entire process should take less than 15 minutes – and when we tested it out he was indeed correct.
|Personal Details||Name, Address, SMS verification||Mandatory|
|Employment and Income||Name of employer, monthly net income, scan of payslip or bank statement||Determines borrowing limits|
|Address Verification||One of: ytility bill, tax return, residence certificate, voter registration, etc||mandatory|
|Account Connection||ebay business account, paypal for payment verification, social accounts||Improves score by providing insight into online business/personal|
|Identification||Passport, ID, or driver's license - through third party||Mandatory|
Bitbond determines a borrower’s credit rating according to income and employment status, Credit bureau score (where available), online reputation, which is ascertained through inspection of social and online payment accounts, and borrower history at bitbond. Eligible loan size is estimated based on the financial data provided, and bitbond will not allow a loan request above the determined debt capacity.
|ANNUAL Interest Year on One Year Loan||7.88%||10.7%||14.5%||19.5%||25.6%||30%|
Bitbond does not disclose exactly how they arrive at borrowing limits, but the main determining factor is, of course, salary.
Fees are charged based on the length of the loan, and are taken when the loan is placed. As we have stated elsewhere, we are not in favor of this model, as it compensates the platform for loans regardless of their performance. That being said, bitbond does responsible in their filtering unworthy borrowers
|Loan Term||6 Weeks||6 Months||1 Year||3 Years||5 Years|
Loans greater than 6 weeks may be paid back early, but not prior to the first payment.
While loans are always granted in bitcoin, borrowers have the option to link the loan to US dollars. This means that the loan must be paid back with the equivalent dollar amount, plus interest. For instance, If bitcoin were to drop in the interim, a borrower would need to pay back more bitcoin to equal the initial borrowed dollar value. It is highly recommend that any loans meant to finance non-bitcoin activities are linked to fiat.
Potential Bitbond investors should be made aware of a few important characteristics of the program. Interest rates are much lower than on competitor platforms. As a matter of fact, the annual interest rates paid are often lower than the monthly amounts due on sites like btcjam.
Another thing that is much lower are the default rates. Mr. Albrecht has stated publicly that only 40% of applicants are approved, most of whom are small businesses. Competitor approval rates are closer 100%. So while you can expect lower listed APRs, you should expect a much higher caliber of borrower and a greater percentage of successful loans.
Picking your loans
Open loans are listed in a loan display table, which can be filtered to show only specific credit ratings or terms.
A click on any particular investment opportunity will launch a more detailed description, with greater information about the borrower as well as a detailed loan description. By click on the borrower identifier, a bit more information is provided, including loan history.
Experienced bitcoin lenders will notice a few major differences between bitbond and other bitcoin lending services. First, there is much less loan volume available as compared to btcjam and Bit Lending Club. Second, the average length of the loan is much, much longer. It seems the average duration is approximately 3 years.
There is also much less information shown about the users. Names are not provided, nor are pictures. This takes away some of the tools experienced lenders might use to identify profiles more prone to fraud, but bitbond has demonstrated a low default level.
For a minimum of 1 bitcoin, bitbond investors can enroll in the autoinvest program, which diversifies investment across a number of different loans according to predefined criteria. Users can select the risk profile, regions and base currency, and allow bitbond to build your globally (and risk) diversified loan portfolio.
While we have not heard of any successful collections of debt, Bitbond takes a much more forward-leaning approach towards reclaiming lender funds. Which isn’t such a massive feat, as it seems the competition cannot even be bothered to answer emails from lenders who have had a loan default. Bitbond works to communicate directly with defaulting borrowers to agree on a payment plan; in the event that the borrower will not play ball, Bitbond can accomodate selling the debt to a collector. The availability or success of this depends largely on the jurisdication of the borrower. Alternatively, Bitbond will release all personal details of the borrower to lenders, who can pursue legal action on their own or as a group.
Support is available via email. Agents are courteous and professional. Though usually much faster, please allow up to one business day for response.
Bitbond is quite a unique product in the bitcoin lending market. They seem much more focused on ensuring the quality of borrowers – which is perhaps why they are suffering from a relative lack of trading volume. After all, bitcoin lending is currently a small niche within a niche, and consists largely of opportunists looking for an easy buck. (Or bit, as the case may be). Still, there are loaning opportunities to be had at rates well above those offered by banks or bonds, and though default rates are approximately 13%, that is most likely the best you’ll find in the marketplace. If you stick with grade A or B loans, you’ll most likely experience much lower default rates as well.