Crypto.com is a blockchain firm with a specialized focus on mobile wallet application and MCO VISA prepaid cards. The goal here is to create a seamless transition from the traditional financial industry into the blockchain world. In order to achieve that goal, Crypto.com team believes a standard payment system that embraces both fiat and cryptocurrencies must exist in the first place, so the transition can be made as smooth as possible.
The project used to be known as Monaco, but last year (2018), it has rebranded itself to embrace the more mainstream company name, which is Crypto.com. Keep in mind that this article is talking about Crypto.com project (MCO) and not Crypto.com Chain (CRO). It’s easy to mix up the two considering both of them come from the same company.
So, how does MCO work, and what’s the story behind Crypto.com? Let’s begin right away!
History of Crypto.com
In the beginning, the project was called ‘Monaco.’ It all began with the idea of ‘marrying’ a VISA-branded prepaid card with an idea of spending cryptocurrency. The promise is that people will be able to get the best of both worlds, allowing easier adoption for everybody. So, even if there were people who like to use MCO prepaid VISA cards, but they didn’t like to use cryptocurrencies, it wouldn’t really matter.
CEO Kris Marszalek, CTO Gary Or, and CFO Rafael Melo all believed in this idea. They thought you wouldn’t really be able to gain mass adoption without pandering to fiat users. And once they published their plans, they launched the startup with an initial coin offering (ICO). The ICO ended on June 18th, 2017, and it successfully collected $26,700,000 from early Monaco enthusiasts. Since then, they have been working really hard to promote their MCO VISA prepaid cards to different merchants all over the world.
In June 2018, the Monaco team spent $10 million to buy Crypto.com. The team believed the rebranding was necessary because Crypto.com was such a powerful domain and marketing tool. The acquisition sounds expensive but keep in mind that at the time, the Monaco team had close to $200 million in its balance sheet thanks to early 2018’s price surge of altcoins like ETH. Monaco team itself got its ICO funding through ETH.
Since the successful rebranding, the Crypto.com team has been making even more steady progress. In early 2019, they finally ‘approved’ their MCO VISA prepaid cards shipping to Singapore. It’s now also available in the US. Meanwhile, European countries are still in the ‘waitlist’, waiting for regulatory approvals.
Purpose of Crypto.com
Once again, the purpose of Crypto.com is to enable the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies spending through the ‘marriage’ of traditional financial payment systems (such as VISA cards) with crypto spending itself. MCO VISA prepaid cards accept both fiat and crypto. This move was considered necessary by the Crypto.com team because most non-crypto enthusiasts don’t really care about the ability to pay with crypto. That’s why it’s important to be able to gain market share from both worlds and enable the seamless transition within one same ecosystem.
How Do The Cards Work?
We keep talking about the MCO cards, but how do they work? Well, it’s quite simple. Most merchants generally do not want to ‘deal’ with crypto price volatility. So, every purchase processed by the cards is actually using fiat currency. Yes, even if you purchase with crypto, the application will sell the crypto on an exchange automatically, and the fiat currency will be used to make the same purchase. This way, everybody wins. The merchant ‘accepts’ crypto, but at the same time, they don’t have to worry about the price volatility of cryptocurrencies.
And of course, transaction fees are paid by the merchant, as pointed by VISA merchant card application guidelines. Exchange rates on the cards are (unfortunately) not very competitive. But that’s to be expected from a VISA card, just like how they deal with forex rates. If you are wondering why MCO Visa cards are only available in Singapore and the US, it’s mostly because different countries have different regulations. It’s not easy for Crypto.com products to be legally accepted in different first world countries.
MCO VISA cards have different tiers; they are:
Midnight Blue - The most basic card where you don’t need to stake any MCO token. With this card, you can exchange $2000 using Interbank or withdraw up to $200. If you ‘hit’ these limit numbers, you will be required to pay 2% ATM fees and 0.5% interbank fees.
Ruby Steel - To access this card, you need to stake 50 MCO tokens. It’s a debit prepaid card, and your limit is doubled from Midnight Blue numbers ($200 to $400 and $2000 to $4000). You also get a cashback reward of a 0.2%, 10% referral bonus, and a bonus of $20 when you refer five people into the Crypto.com ecosystem. Also, 50% off investment fees
Royal Indigo or Jade Green - You need 500 MCO tokens to get this level of card. With Royal Indigo/Jade Green, you can get a cashback reward of up to 1.5% (when you use the card) and 0.4% (when you use the wallet app). And your limits are increased from Ruby Steel (from $400 to $800 and from $4000 to $10,000). Referral fees are also increased to 15%, and the referral bonus is $40 for every ten friends that you refer to the Crypto.com ecosystem. Also, this card gives you access to LoungeKey airport lounges.
Icy White - This is even a higher tier of the card. You need to stake 5000 MCO tokens to get Icy White. Cashback rewards are increased to 1.75% (when you use the card) and 0.8% (when you use the wallet app). Referral fees are increased to 20%, and you can get $80 for every 50 people that you refer to the Crypto.com ecosystem. And different from Royal Indigo/Jade Green, you can bring someone with you to the LoungeKey airport lounges.
Obsidian Black - The most prestigious tier above them all. To get Obsidian Black, you need to stake 50,000 MCO tokens. Your cashback rate is increased to 2% (when you use the card) and 1% (when you use the wallet app). Transaction limits without fees are raised up to $1000 in ATM machines, and there’s no limit for Interbank. Referral bonuses are increased to 25%, and you can get a $100 bonus for every 100 people that you refer to the Crypto.com ecosystem.
Despite the team’s great efforts to promote the idea of cryptocurrency spending and earning through VISA prepaid cards, but the Crypto.com project itself is not very far from controversies. One of the biggest controversies was more about the Crypto.com CEO and founder Kris Marszalek as an individual. So, Kris was the CEO of Ensogo when the company disappeared in June 2016. The bankruptcy of Ensogo was seen absurd even by the employees of the company. The employees were not given any notice before their bankruptcy.
At the time, they went out to work, and suddenly, the office was already closed. Customers of Ensongo also did not get the products that they purchased. Meanwhile, merchants that collaborated with Ensongo were not paid as well. Kris disappeared from the project in 2016, and out of nowhere, he started the Monaco project in 2017. Many critics claimed that Kris does not have the capability to lead a mega project like Crypto.com if we look at his past background with Ensongo.
The controversy about this project did not stop at Kris. The project itself received a lot of criticisms surrounding their inability to deliver the VISA prepaid cards to their customers. Cryptoiq.co even went as far as accusing the project rebranding (from Monaco to Crypto.com) as a cover up due to their VISA card failure. Many other skeptics also mentioned that the new project (Crypto.com chain - CRO) was only created as an extension of the team’s greed. Now, the Crypto.com project has two different tokens, MCO and CRO. The confusion was done on purpose to incentivize the project enthusiasts to hold MCO in their own crypto wallet. Meanwhile, 50% of the token supply is still controlled by the core team.
Crypto.com (MCO) is a unique project that tries to bring cryptocurrency adoption to the masses. However, the project is directly competing with almost every cryptocurrency payment system network out there. One can say that PundiX is also trying to bring cryptocurrency adoption to the ‘traditional’ merchant shops, and thus it automatically becomes Crypto.com’s natural competitor. Even stablecoins like TUSD and USDC can be seen as competitors to Crypto.com if they can get adopted by normal merchants in the shopping malls and e-commerce platforms. The idea is that, why would you waste your time with a prepaid card just to pay with crypto if you can also pay directly with these wallet applications instantly?
MCO In The Crypto Market
At the time this post was written (October 15th, 2019), one MCO token was worth $3.48. It was ranked at the 74th position in the crypto rankings by market cap. The market cap itself was $54,929,284 USD with more than $14 million daily trading volume. You can easily find MCO token on many crypto exchanges such as OKEx, DigiFinex, Bithumb, Binance, Upbit, and Bittrex.
Crypto.com is a promising project with massive ambition, which is to enable crypto mass adoption. That being said, the project does not shy away from controversies, just like what we mentioned above. It is interesting to see what the future has for Crypto.com, especially in the next few years, as regulations for cryptocurrencies keep getting tighter in different parts of the world.