Coinbase rolls out high-yield USDC product, taking aim at fintech offerings

Coinbase has announced a new product offering that could set it apart from its fintech rivals in a world of low interest rates.

The publicly traded cryptocurrency exchange unveiled Tuesday a new savings account-like product that allows users to earn 4% annual percentage yield (APY) by lending out USDC. 

"Coinbase’s high-yield alternative to traditional savings accounts offers 4% APY⁴ on your USD Coin, a stablecoin that can always be redeemed one-to-one for USD $1.00," the firm said in a press statement. "This means that by lending your USDC to Coinbase, you can earn 8x the national average of high-yield savings accounts."

It's no secret that savers find themselves in a low-yield environment. Wall Street's largest banks offer paltry returns on savings accounts — Chase offers 0.02% APY whereas Bank of America offers 0.05% APY. Even the world's fintechs, which have long drawn in clients with better returns, have slashed rates. 

Wealthfront — which at one point offered a return of 2.5% APY for cash accounts — currently offers 0.10% APY. Robinhood offers 0.30%. Such high-yield savings account have been a big source of growth for fintech firms, which could bode well for Coinbase. 

To be sure, Coinbase's users' USDC is not insured in the same way as, say, a Chase savings account. Such accounts are insured by the FDIC up to $250,000. Still, Coinbase thinks the higher rewards don't come with higher risk. 

"We want to offer our customers the opportunity to earn more interest than banks while also providing peace of mind and a safe, secure way to earn," Coinbase said. "That’s why we are proud to offer a principal guarantee for the USDC in your Coinbase account."

In the DeFi world, Compound is trying to offer a similar savings scheme. With help from Circle and Fireblocks, the project is letting users park their USDC to earn a 4% yield.