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Crypto-Backed Mortgages: Real Estate Investments Without Liquidating Crypto Holdings


The financial landscape is evolving rapidly, and the perception of cryptocurrencies as a long-term investment avenue steadily gains acceptance. Propelled by this perception, crypto-backed loans emerged as a valuable tool for individuals who require liquidity but do not wish to sell their cryptocurrency holdings.

For long-term cryptocurrency investors, buying a property or exploring the real estate market might be a tantalizing proposition. Yet, the volatile nature of cryptocurrencies, coupled with an unwavering belief in the potential appreciation of their holdings, often deters these investors from liquidating their assets.

As a relatively new concept, crypto-backed mortgages enter the stage and enable individuals to leverage their crypto assets to secure real estate investments without needing to sell their cryptocurrency holdings. 

This innovative approach, however, comes with its unique set of advantages and drawbacks. It is crucial for potential borrowers to thoroughly understand these aspects to ensure they align with an individual’s financial goals and risk tolerance.


How Crypto-Backed Mortgages Work

At first glance, the concept of a crypto-backed mortgage may seem complex, but simply put, the model resembles that of a pawnshop. The primary mechanism involves investors using their cryptocurrency holdings as collateral to secure a loan, with the opportunity to regain their original crypto assets upon successful loan repayment. This securities-based lending model, previously applied to other assets such as stocks, allows investors to remain invested in the volatile yet potentially lucrative crypto market while tapping into the traditionally profitable real estate sector.
In a traditional mortgage, the loan is backed by the property being purchased, making it the securing asset for the loan. Conversely, in a crypto-backed mortgage, the loan-securing asset is not the property but the digital assets, such as cryptocurrency, held by the borrower. This model offers investors the advantage of not having to liquidate their crypto holdings if they need funds. Moreover, should borrowers find themselves unable to make their periodic repayments, they have the option to use a fraction of their crypto collateral instead of being forced to sell their newly acquired property in its entirety, as is the case in a traditional mortgage model.
This fractional sale feature is particularly valuable when considering past market trends in the real estate sector. During a market downturn, property owners may be reluctant to sell their properties, or they may be residing in the property themselves. In such situations, a crypto-backed mortgage provides an alternative means of accessing funds without resorting to selling the property.


Potential Outcomes of a Crypto-backed Mortgage

The value of the cryptocurrency used as collateral plays a significant role in determining the outcome of the loan. Depending on whether the cryptocurrency’s price remains stable, rises, or falls, there are different scenarios that can unfold for both the borrower and the lender. It’s crucial for potential borrowers to understand the implications of these scenarios, as they directly affect the terms of the loan, the return of the collateral, and the overall financial outcome.
  • Scenario 1: Cryptocurrency’s price stays the same.

    • You pay the loan back: If you pay the loan back as agreed, you’ll get your cryptocurrency collateral back, and everything is settled. You pay the interest and any fees as per the terms of the loan.
    • You can’t pay the loan back: If you default on the loan, the lending platform will likely sell some or all of your collateral assets to recoup the loan amount plus any interest or fees. Because the cryptocurrency’s price has stayed the same, the collateral value should cover the loan value.
  • Scenario 2: Cryptocurrency’s price rises.

    • You pay the loan back: You pay back the loan and get your cryptocurrency collateral back. However, because the price of the cryptocurrency has risen, the value of the collateral asset you receive back is now higher.
    • You can’t pay the loan back: If you default, the lender sells your collateral to cover the loan amount and any interest or fees. Because the price of the cryptocurrency has risen, they may need to sell less of the collateral to cover the same loan value. The remaining collateral, if any, may be returned to you depending on the terms of the loan.
  • Scenario 3: Cryptocurrency’s price falls.

    • You pay the loan back: You pay back the loan and get your cryptocurrency collateral back, as in the previous scenarios. However, the value of the collateral you receive back is now lower because the price of the cryptocurrency has fallen.
    • You can’t pay the loan back: If the value of the collateral falls too much, the lending platform may issue a “margin call,” requiring you to add more collateral to maintain the Loan-to-Value (LTV) ratio. If you can’t meet the margin call or if you default on the loan, the lender sells your collateral to try to recoup the loan amount and any interest or fees. In this case, because the price of the cryptocurrency has fallen, the collateral may not cover the entire loan value, and you may still owe the lender money after your collateral is sold. If the property was also put up as collateral under the loan agreement terms, the lender might possess the right to sell or claim ownership of the property to recoup the outstanding loan balance.
It is important to note that these scenarios provide a general overview of potential outcomes in a crypto-backed mortgage and may vary based on the specific platform and agreed terms.


Advantages & Drawbacks of Crypto-Backed Mortgage

The decision to opt for a crypto-backed mortgage over a traditional loan is not a one-size-fits-all approach and will greatly depend on an individual’s unique financial situation and risk tolerance. Before deciding on this unconventional loan model, it is crucial to fully comprehend the advantages, drawbacks, and potential scenarios that might unfold with such an arrangement.


Advantages of Crypto-Backed Loans

  • Capital Accessibility: They allow holders to access capital without needing to liquidate their crypto assets. In addition, borrowers can acquire 100% of the necessary funds for a home purchase with sufficient collateral.
  • Absence of Credit Checks: Many platforms don’t require a credit or FICO check, making loans accessible to those with low or no credit history.
  • Speed and Convenience: These loans can often be processed more quickly and with less paperwork than traditional loans, thanks to the automated nature of blockchain technology.
  • Lower Interest Rates: Depending on the platform and the market conditions, interest rates on crypto-backed loans may be lower than those on traditional bank loans due to their inherent low-risk nature.
  • Tolerant Default Consequences: Instead of immediate foreclosure with traditional mortgages, lenders can liquidate part of the collateral crypto assets.


Drawbacks of Crypto-Backed Loans

  • Opportunity Cost: The collateralized crypto cannot be staked or spot-traded, which may represent a lost opportunity for additional income or appreciation.
  • Dependence on Crypto Value: A significant decrease in the crypto’s value can negate the benefits of the loan and compound the loss.
  • Initial Capital Requirement: Borrowers need to have equal or even higher loan value in cryptocurrency.
  • Emerging State: The crypto mortgage market is still maturing and is not uniformly distributed across the globe, with a focus mainly on the USA and certain EU countries. The regulatory landscape for cryptocurrencies and crypto lending is also still evolving and varies by region.
  • Platform Risk: Some lenders store collateral cryptocurrencies in cold wallets. This practice requires borrowers to place significant trust in the lender’s business practices and stability, as any operational mishap could potentially result in the loss of the collateral.


The Future of Crypto-Backed Mortgages

The evolution of crypto-backed loans naturally parallels the growth trajectory of cryptocurrencies, demonstrating their increasing acceptance and the subsequent financial innovation they encourage.
In the context of the business model, the risk is well-mitigated. Typically, not only is the borrower’s cryptocurrency used as collateral, but the property being purchased may also serve the same purpose. This dual-collateral model significantly reduces the lender’s exposure to risk. If the value of the cryptocurrency declines significantly, the lender can still claim the property to recoup the loan amount. As such, these precautionary measures make the lending model remarkably robust and reduce risk for lenders.
As cryptocurrency adoption continues to rise, the future of crypto-backed mortgages looks promising. The inherent low-risk nature, combined with the growing popularity of digital assets, makes crypto-backed mortgages an increasingly attractive option for both investors and lenders. As more people embrace cryptocurrencies and seek ways to leverage their digital assets, we can expect to see further growth in this innovative financial solution.



The choice to pursue a crypto-backed mortgage may be suitable if the following conditions resonate with you:
  1. You hold a long-term investment in cryptocurrencies.
  2. You wish to purchase a property via a mortgage.
  3. You prefer not to sell your cryptocurrencies.
  4. You strongly anticipate that your crypto asset value will remain steady or increase.
In such circumstances, a crypto-backed mortgage could be an appealing financial strategy. However, as always, it is crucial to be aware of the potential challenges and to balance them against the benefits. Financial decisions of this magnitude require careful consideration and planning.
For those intrigued by the possibilities of crypto-backed mortgages, we encourage you to read an illuminating article featured on SuperMoney. Featuring Alexander Wermescher, our CEO at CLC & Partners, and his take on the topic, you will gather valuable insights from a distinguished panel of experts who are at the forefront of the field.