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Dec 28, 2020

23 min

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23 min

What is Crypto.com (CRO): A Complete Guide

Crypto.com (CRO) is both the name of the flagship token and the ecosystem that revolves around its homonym cryptocurrency, whose utility is expressed by several services tied to it, including a physical VISA card (that users can utilize to make purchases and receive up to 8% cashback rewards), investment, financial and trading services and also exclusive gift card purchases ranging from Amazon’s gift cards to IKEA’s and many other selected brands.

But let’s proceed in orderly fashion and add the necessary “historic” and context details first.

Crypto.com’s Logo — The Ethereum Lion

Brief History

Born in Hong Kong in 2016, Crypto.com is considered by many one of the main platforms to invest in Bitcoin, Ethereum or any of the other 50+ cryptocurrencies currently supported by the CRO ecosystem. The company was founded by Kris Marszalek and Bobby Bao — respectively the CEO and head of corporate development — both coming from the ranks of the now defunct company Ensogo, where they fulfilled the same actual roles. While the last Ensogo experience ended up abruptly and not without strains, both Marszalek and Bao boast a long curriculum with experiences and successes, not just from the business/commerce world (BeeCrazy, JD.com) but also from the banking/financial domain (Deloitte, Merrill Lynch, China Renaissance).

Additionally, among Crypto.com’s most notable, and experienced team members to name there is Rafael Melo as CFO (15 years in finance and risk compliance), Gary Or as CTO (engineer with 9+ years of experience in AI and Machine Learning), Eric Anziani (ex Goldman Sachs, McKinsey and Paypal) and Jason Lau as CISO (multi-award winning cybersecurity professional). 

Since its inception in 2016, the company has been growing steadily both in its ranks (now counting more that 290 employees) and in terms of partnerships (Kaiko, nopCommerce, BCVault, Cointracking, IDAXA to name a few), casting it in the Olympus of the most renowned projects in the crypto sphere to this day.

Kris Marszalek — Crypto.com’s CEO and Co-Founder

Crypto.com Value Proposition

As hinted earlier above, the Crypto.com value proposition can be concisely condensed into 3 main core products : 

  • Trading
  • Payment Services
  • Financial Services

Let’s delve deeper into each of these 3 directives.

Crypto.com Trading Services

The Crypto.com Exchange Main Page 

The Trading services are offered mainly via the exchange. Now, while it is still possible to buy and sell cryptocurrencies via the Crypto.com integrated app, the latter currently lacks most of the basic and advanced trading features that the platform offers: limit orders and margin trading are not yet implemented in the app, which instead was initially designed to support the Card payment services, but also lending and borrowing. At the moment the Crypto.com team is working towards implementing derivatives going live and OTC trading, but an announcement on when these features will be going live has not yet been made public.

In order to be able to start trading on Crypto.com and interact with the exchange dashboard, users only need to sign up, fill the forms and pass simple KYC procedures. New users that sign up on Crypto.com via referral are eligible to receive a registration bonus (up to 50$), provided that the referred entrant fulfills the minimum staking requirement of 1000 CRO (or more) on the exchange. 

So, what does “staking on the exchange” mean when it comes to CRO?

CRO Staking Tiers — Rebates, Discounts and Bonuses

Staking on the exchange gives concrete shape to CRO’s utility as a token, by granting users lower trading fees and rebates: users that stake at least 5000 CRO for 6 months on the exchange get access not only to discounted maker/taker trading fees (aka Crypto.com’s “Stake-to-Take Program”) but they can also earn 10% APY interest (paid daily) and have access to “The Syndicate” — a fund raising platform where, bi-weekly, some of the most famous crypto projects and their tokens are showcased, giving the chance to Crypto.com users to allocate their available CROs and receive a share of the showcased tokens at a 50% discount. 

Again, in order to participate to Syndicate events and their allocation, users need to provide a minimum amount of CRO staked on their Crypto.com Exchange account and have traded the corresponding value in the past 30 days (see the sample chart below for reference). 

* Please do note that the figures are subject to change dynamically with market conditions and CRO appreciation/depreciation

Each Syndicate staking tier has a maximum allocation cap, which can be increased only via the staking of more CROs on the Crypto.com’s exchange. By allocating more CRO tokens during the Syndicate events, users also increase the share of their commitment, which in turn boosts the amount of the featured token they will receive after the Syndicate will have completed. It’s important to note that CRO tokens allocated for the Syndicate — while awaiting for the final distribution — are locked for a week, so opportunity costs consideration come into play. Furthermore, the gains made by entering the syndicates are dependent on the number of participants, as well as the total amount of CROs allocated, which are therefore subject to variations each time.

The Supercharger

Users that might be reluctant to stake tokens on the exchange – maybe due to the Syndicate’s stricter requirements to join in – can still turn their CRO holdings to the “Supercharger”. Quoted by Crypto.com as a “liquidity mining platform that allows users to deposit tokens in order to mine the most popular DeFi tokens”, the Supercharger is available both on the Crypto.com Exchange and App and has no entry prerequisites. 

How does it work? Just like with the Syndicate, a featured token is “sponsored” by Crypto.com, this time for 30 days. During this period — aka the “Charging Period” — users can freely deposit/withdraw any amount of CRO tokens, as liquidity, into the Supercharger. Hourly snapshots of the CROs provided by each user are taken/captured and, at the end of the Charging Period, a proportional share of the user’s contribution is awarded to him/her. It’s worth highlighting two features about this tool:

I. Users are free to leave their assets deposited for some time (e.g. 7 days), then withdraw them, then re-deposit them, and so on, anytime. The final distribution will consider each depositing period as well as the amount of CRO provided by each user and withdrawing before the 30 days will still make the user eligible to get a part of the Supercharger rewards.

II. Just like the Supercharger requires 30 days “to charge”, the same concept is applied to the user’s rewards distribution: the interests earned will mature and be given out over the next 30 days after the charging period has ended (making the comprehensive charging period plus the post-charging a total of 60 days).

Crypto.com’s Payment Services

The Payment solutions provided by Crypto.com are declaredly meant to be the company’s leading service (as also stated in the whitepaper) and have definitely been driving user acquisition and adoption to the platform. Inside this category, it’s possible to enumerate two service lines: the Crypto.com Pay service and the MCO Visa Debit Card(now unofficially known by most as the CRO Visa Debit card, after the the discontinuation of the previous card-related MCO token).

Crypto Pay Gift Cards

  • The Crypto.com Pay service prizes users with cashback for utilizing the Pay feature inside the Crypto.com App to send or transfer CRO to other Crypto.com members or by selecting CRO as the payment method to purchase directly from several selected retail partners or indirectly by buying gift cards (and receiving up to 10% cashback on several brands). 

Crypto.com Pay

  • The MCO Card — which can be ordered via the Crypto.com app — is a contactless wireless metal Visa Debit Card that offers several advantages to its owners. Again, users are required to undergo a successful KYC procedure and stake a specific amount of CROs to order the card, willingly locking them in for at least 6 months. It’s worth noting that the CRO tokens staked on the exchange (that provide rebates/discounted fees/syndicate benefits) do not cumulate with the CROs staked on the app for the card. Therefore users that already locked CRO tokens on the exchange will need to stake another amount of CRO to get their MCO card in the app, as the two are completely distinct, fulfill different roles and provide different benefits. 

MCO Visa Cards — Staking Tiers, Rewards & Benefits

Another aspects that deserves mention is the fact that Crypto.com has a referral program in place to bring new leads to the MCO Visa cards as well as to motivate current users to actively share these opportunities within their social circles. Referred users that order the MCO Card by using a valid referral code and then by staking the corresponding sum of CROs, will immediately receive $25. And, in equal measure, that same amount that goes to the referred person will be awarded to the referral as well.

The MCO Visa Card rewards & benefits vary with the entity of the CRO staked on the app and cards are filled with perks ranging from cashbacks, full monthly reimbursement of Spotify, Netflix and Amazon subscriptions, rebates on Airbnb and Expedia purchases, free airport Lounge access, weekly awarded bonus interests calculated on the card-staked CROs and even a bombastic Private Jet Partnership for Obsidian Black MCO card owners — the high-end, top of the line among MCO cards.

The Complete Set of MCO Visa Debit Cards

So, we’ve seen that the CRO token powers both the Payment and the Visa card ecosystems and while I’ve already mentioned that CRO can be used as the source token to pay – using the Crypto.com Pay service – I must add that the cashback rewards are also paid in CRO instantly, after any eligible purchase. 

Crypto.com’s Financial Services

The company’s financial products represent Crypto.com main source of revenue together with the exchange trading services and include: 

  • Crypto Earn — a service where users can deposit any among the 50+ tokens supported on the app and earn interest. The depositing options differ in time (from flexible/immediately liquid terms to a maximum of 3 months vesting time) and — clearly – the longer your staking period, the higher the APY that will be calculated on the deposited capital . Moreover, differently from what happens on the exchange, Crypto Earn interests are paid on a weekly basis.

Crypto Earn — CRO Staking Comparison

  • Crypto Credit — this is Crypto.com’s financial solution to instantly lending/borrowing money with no deadlines attached and no credit check. It allows users to monetize some of their assets by holding them in escrow and receiving an equivalent sum in a stablecoin of choice among TUSD, PAX, USDC or USDT. At the moment of this writing, the currently depositable assets include CRO, BTC, XRP, ETH, LTC, EOS and XLM. 
  • DeFi Swap represents Crypto.com’s take on Decentralized Swap Protocols. Via this application users can swap tokens (just like they would when using Uniswap or Balancer), provide liquidity to ERC-20 token pairs’ liquidity pools and earn interests for doing so (in the form of a percentage when any swapping occurs on that pair). Swapping and providing liquidity on DeFi Swap is no different than doing the same operation on Uniswap. The only main difference here, compared to other similar DeFi protocols, is tied to the possibility (again) of staking CRO tokens: by supplying a greater amount of CROs and for a longer period of time (up to a 4 years timeframe) liquidity providers can get a boost on the yield earned for providing the pool assets. Furthermore, new partner pools are periodically sponsored and supplying liquidity to these advertised selected pools is incentivized by Crypto.com in the form of token airdrops.

Crypto Earn & Crypto Credit

Perspectives and Takeaway

An overview of the CRO token and Crypto.com’s value offering would not be complete without contextualizing the pros and cons of the features, services and products that the platform is offering, especially in light of the most recent news revolving around the CRO ecosystem as a whole.

Despite the actual and sustained push of Bitcoin and Ethereum, in the past weeks, Crypto.com’s token (CRO) price fell gradually at first, then quite abruptly (after the 2nd week of October), from $0.15 per token to more than half of that value, establishing itself at around the $0.06 mark. The dip was probably aided by the announcement of the MCO-CRO swap (initially made public in August and officially completed on September 2nd) and the sharp cut of Exchange and Earn interest rates on Crypto.com’s exchange and app. More recently, the update to the current card staking rates occurred, establishing the actual increased amount of CRO tokens required to obtain higher tier cards.

Just as these news hit the headlines, many early Crypto.com and MCO adopters were reportedly dissatisfied by the company’s choices, which were addressed as the main factors leading to the substantial token “dip”. Nonetheless Crypto.com still managed to grow its user base achieving the impressive milestone of 5 million users, symbolizing that adoption is nevertheless much underway.

Adding to the above insight, the MCO Visa cards still represent the tip of the diamond in Crypto.com’s value proposition and maintain huge palatability, despite the growing competition in the cryptocurrency cards market (especially from major players such as Swipe, Binance Card, as well as new ones that are now staging their moves like for example Plutus, Eidoo or QuiverX). It can’t be underestimated the fact that the ample, diversified Card tiers haven’t stopped attracting a wide user audience, ranging from users who prefer a more humble 1% cashback, no-staking required, freely shipped Midnight Blue card, to more affluent, demanding customers that will appreciate a richly overcharged (with perks and an astounding 8% cashback) Obsidian Black VIP card.

Then Syndicate events, the Supercharger and DeFi Swap keep sustaining and adding more value to the CRO token, by providing users with a plethora of possibilities to earn and capitalize on their cryptocurrency investments. In all this, the CRO token plays the main role as the fundamental asset to even being able to access these tools and boosting payments, financial and trading related to the ecosystem, thus very pragmatically closing in towards true real world utility, aimed to both retail, institutional stakeholders and new future partners as well.

What’s coming next — Crypto.com Roadmap

Finally there’s a lot more coming down the road, with the next announced step being CRO Main Net Launch, planned for Q4 2020/Q1 2021, which will partially “detach” CRO dependency as an ERC-20 token from Ethereum. This will potentially imply lower gas fees (at least compared to the current ones) and streamlined transactions. The focus will then switch towards the shipment of MCO Debit Cards at a global level, direct partnership with key international players, DeFi Lending/Borrowing and DeFi Cards going live, as well as the aforementioned “exchange upgrades” with the coming of Derivatives and OTC. So many ambitious targets, which play along the team’s vision. 

Crypto.com Website

For everything you need to know about CRO, visit the official Crypto.com website.

Crypto.com Twitter

To keep up with the latest updates from Crypto.com, follow them on Twitter.

Crypto.com Telegram

Join the conversation on Telegram to stay on the know about Crypto.com and CRO.

How to store and manage CRO ?

The CRO token is compatible with numerous wallet providers, including Atomic Wallet, a secure and decentralized crypto wallet. Atomic Wallet gives you access to over 300 cryptocurrencies through a decentralized platform built on a sophisticated architecture that keeps your investments safe. On Atomic Wallet, you can conveniently manage, earn, stake, and buy many cryptocurrencies and build your investment portfolio. Install the user-friendly Atomic Wallet App now and manage and exchange your Crypto.com Token (CRO) today.

Conclusion

All in all, despite having met with several obstacles down the road, Crypto.com has managed so far to build a platform that provides users with friendly UI, ease of access, good customer support and a wider range of financial, payment & investments services than simply another debit card, slowly becoming an even more focal point of reference in the crypto space than it already is. Crypto.com will undoubtedly play a role, helping to shape and push the future of cryptocurrency forwards and the brilliant team behind CRO will surely do its part in the coming days, months and years, now already marked by the symptoms of a long awaited bull-run.

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