Crypto mortgaging is officially a thing now. Milo, a US-based crypto mortgage provider, recently announced that they crossed $10 million in total loan amount provided in crypto mortgages.
Believe it or not, it’s a significant milestone for the crypto mortgage market, especially considering how recent it is. It also shows that people are open to this new concept, and there is an untapped market for it.
That being said, it’s not for everyone.
Why? And if it’s not everyone, who’s it for? Well, to answer that, first we must understand how it works, which, lucky for you, is what we’ll discuss today.
What is Crypto Mortgages?
In terms of the underlying framework, crypto mortgages are very similar to crypto loans.
You put your crypto as collateral to get a mortgage without giving up its ownership (but you can’t trade or use them while they are collateralized).
You then pay monthly installments for the agreed term until you pay off the entire loan amount. After that, you get your crypto back.
Unlike traditional mortgages, you don’t need to pay a down payment to buy a house. You can get 100% of the amount loaned using crypto as collateral.
As of now, the crypto mortgage providers accept only a limited option of cryptocurrencies, mainly the popular ones. But going forward, as competition rises, you can expect this to change.
How does it Work?
How much you loan using crypto as your collateral depends on multiple factors, but the biggest is how much you’re willing to put in as collateral. Unlike ordinary crypto loans, where you may have to provide 125-150% collateral, crypto mortgages only require you to put 100% of the total loan amount.
This means you can practically get any amount of loan. You just have to put crypto worth the total loan amount. For example, if you’re putting in $500,000 worth of Bitcoins, you can get a loan of $500,000.
And this will determine the term of the loan and the interest rate. Generally, the interest rates are as low as 6-7%.
But since crypto is highly volatile, what happens if the value of cryptocurrency drops after putting it up as collateral? That’s a question you may have, and it’s a good one.
If the value of your collateralized crypto falls below 35%, the lender will require you to either put more crypto as collateral or pay in fiat currency to balance out the price dip.
In the traditional finance market, this is called a margin call. When this happens, you get 48 hours to add more collateral. If you fail to do so, the lender has the right to liquidate (force sell) your collateralized crypto assets to foreclose the loan early.
So, there’s a huge risk involved with using crypto as collateral for mortgages compared to other forms of assets, especially considering the performance of cryptocurrencies this past year.
In November 2021, Bitcoin was trading at an all-time high of almost $69,000. And now, as of writing this, it’s trading at $21,482. This kind of price fluctuation can be disastrous for your collateralized crypto.
Crypto Mortgages as a Tax Saving Strategy?
The IRS considers crypto as property. So, whenever you sell (or dispose of) your crypto, you trigger a capital gain tax event. That’s how crypto taxes in the US work.
Usually, people would sell their cryptocurrency to pay for the down payment of their mortgage. According to Redfin, 12% of people sell their cryptocurrency to pay for their down payment. But as we established, selling means you have to pay an extra amount in capital gain taxes.
This is where crypto mortgages come into the picture –
When using your crypto as collateral, you’re not technically disposing of the crypto. So, in theory, you can use your crypto (or its value) without triggering a tax event, which makes all the difference in the world.
Not only do you not have to pay any down payment, but you save paying the extra money in taxes that you would have otherwise paid if you sold your crypto. Plus, you get to retain the ownership of your cryptocurrency.
It’s an all-around win for you.
Top Crypto Mortgages Providers (as of now)
Milo is probably the most popular crypto mortgage provider in the market right now. It has quickly established itself as the authority in the market in a short period of time – the perks of getting early to the party.
Right now, the company specializes in mortgages for real estate investments. They offer loans up to $5 million for a maximum term of 30 years with an interest rate ranging from 3.95% to 5.95%.
As of now, Milo accepts the following cryptocurrencies as collateral:
Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) and a few stablecoins (USDT, USDC, Gemini USD).
Unlike Milo, Ledn doesn’t hyper-focus on Bitcoin mortgages. Instead, they offer a range of financial services for crypto HODLers. Currently, they only extend their services to Canadian citizens but soon plan to expand to the US.
The only downside is they only offer loans for a maximum of 2 years, though you can extend it after that.
Who’s it for?
It’s clear that crypto mortgages are not for everyone, but going back to the question asked at the start of this article – who’s it for then?
Since buying a house is quite expensive and you must at least put 100% of the loan amount as collateral, it seems to be only suitable for long-term crypto HODLers who have already built substantial wealth by now. So, as of now, crypto mortgages are only for wealthy crypto investors.
Maybe it’ll change in the future. Maybe not. But the future looks interesting for the mortgage market.