Early in my journey into the crypto space I realized how frustrating it was going to be to access funds that I had invested if and when I REALLY needed them. I had already had a couple of irritating experiences with gas, transactions not going through or delayed, as well as frustrations withdrawing from exchanges to wallets or my bank account. I tested a lot of things before I was willing to put real money into it and I was lucky enough and my timing was fortunate enough to have been able to generate a small amount of crypto that didn't require me to invest real cash in order to do so.
If you must know it was through COIN and XYO that I was able to do this for free. Due to absolutely lucky timing I mined COIN and redeemed for XYO just in time to ride up the 1000% increase earlier this year. I ended up with around $600 of XYO in a wallet. So I swapped on dexes and sent stuff to Coinbase to then moved it to my bank. Then I bought from Coinbase with the amount I had just put in my bank and moved it to another exchange, traded a little, and moved it back out reversing those steps. I split it into various other tokens and wallets just to see if I liked them...
They were wasteful and pointless transactions that did nothing to increase my crypto holdings and of course I ended up with far less than I would have if I had not moved everything around so much.
I did all of this to see what it would be like IF I decided to invest substantially in crypto. I needed to know what to expect if I got into the space and then due to some unfortunate life event or whatever needed to back out.... My wife and I are not wealthy. We have managed to get to this point in our lives by pushing hard for what we want all the time. We have some savings and reasonable confidence we can continue to pay the bills- most of the time. Any and all of our finances may or may not be needed to cover unexpected expenses at any given time... I could not put money into any form of investment that would not be accessible if needed at relatively short notice.
At some point as I researched and tested wallets and got mad about gas fees I found Nexo, Bitpay, Crypto.com, PointPay, etc.
I began looking heavily into these to find out how viable they are, and was pleasantly surprised to find that most actually do solve a lot of the issues I had been worried about. By this time I had moved beyond just playing around with my free crypto from COIN and had actually invested in a few tokens through Coinbase. After researching everything I could about these crypto-fiat solutions I settled on Crypto.com for a variety of reasons:
- Card rewards. I am not aware of any other service that provides cashback in crypto to the level that Crypto.com does. They also give additional crypto back for buying giftcards with crypto or for cellphone airtime.
2)Earn Program. The returns you can generate on crypto you have on their platform are substantial, even flexible term programs offer returns that add up on crypto I would otherwise be hodling.
3)Defi Wallet and CRO staking on the crypto.org chain. You need some CRO to acquire the crypto.com card through the app but they also have a defi wallet where you can stake CRO on the crypto.org chainfor a whopping 14.73% APR right now.
- Fiat wallet. The app also contains a fiat wallet, that allows you to deposit onto the app via ACH or Wire transfer for 0 fees. This means that they can essentially function as my bank. I could get paychecks deposited there. I can also trade from there directly into crypto with no fees or send fiat to the crypto.com card to spend rather than funding it with crypto.
- Security. They have very high ratings for security of assets held in the app or on their exchange. The defi wallet is compatible with my ledger and gives me access to their defi earn features.
Now that I've given some background and gone over a bunch of the reasons for choosing Crypto.com vs some of the other options we can get down to my actual experiences with the app and card.
I have mostly enjoyed using the app, and the defi wallet so far. I enjoy the simplified interface of the crypto.com app- I'm not doing most of my trading there so I am not looking for major exchange features. It is akin to Coinbase- basic buy, sell, trade, and tracking of all the coins that are supported. The ability to buy directly with a debit or credit card is nice- if your bank or credit card provider don't block the transactions and make you call them to confirm you actually do want to spend your own money.
I have noticed a discrepancy in prices between what the Crypto.com app displays and what I see on other exchanges I use. I believe there is a hidden spread similar to what you see on Coinbase basic. The difference is that Crypto.com is not charging me fees in addition to that hidden spread. This is honestly my biggest gripe with their whole ecosystem... I am not exactly happy about it but I do most of my trading and buying elsewhere anyway and come to Crypto.com to put assets in the earn program or have them easily accessible to spend if I need to. I wouldn't want to rely on the app to trade with anyway as it can be pretty slow to load sometimes. I can't be sure that is the app though, it could just be my crappy 4g signal when I'm out and about. The major things to talk about with the app are the earn program and VISA card.
The earn program is awesome. The BTC and ETH, ADA, EOS, and DAI that I hold are all generating returns for me. I have BTC, DAI, and ETH in a 3 month term generating 4.5% APR on. the BTC and ETH and 10% on DAI. The others are in flexible terms at lower rates. There are many other coins available for the program... You do need a minimum amount in order to start earning but if all you plan to do is HODL that coin then its an easy decision to put it in the earn program to generate more. They pay out your earnings each week back to your wallet so the APR is not compounding. However you can compound it yourself by pulling your funds out of the earn program periodically and redepositing it with the earnings. There are three options- a flexible term, a 1 month term, and a 3 month term. Be aware that the 1 month and 3 month terms cannot be withdrawn early and if you withdraw the flexible term coins before they have earned their weekly interest they won't generate any.
Here you can see several of the payouts I've received from Earn, as well as the CRO rewards I received for using the card and me funding the card with $100 of EOS.
The Crypto.com card. I had my worries about this, I wont sugar coat it. I staked the required 2302 CRO worth $400 back in March and the card took over a month to arrive. I was worried that something had gone wrong and it wasn't going to show up at all. Having said that it took one day from the card status changing to "shipped" in the app for it to arrive. I am also a little disappointed with their advertising regarding the cards, CRO staking, and different card tier benefits. The advertising suggests that many if not all of the benefits for each tier of card- mine is a Ruby Steel- are tied directly to the type of card that you have. Due to this I was suffering from some serious FOMO after ordering the Ruby Steel and later realizing that if I had gone up to the next tier- Jade Green or Indigo Blue- I would get an additional 1% cashback on card purchases and additional returns from the Crypto.com earn program. I ended up calling customer support to ask if it was possible to upgrade to the next tier of card before it was shipped. While I was on the phone I discovered that in fact almost all of the additional benefits between the card tiers are not actually tied to which card you order. They are instead tied to the amount of CRO staked in the app for the card. I don't need to upgrade to the higher tier card, I just need to stake additional CRO in order to get the additional returns. Nowhere on the customer support pages, the advertising, the app, or anywhere else does it say this. I am pleased that I don't need to worry about getting another card but I wish they had made this clearer from the start.
Shout out to the customer service though. I called them on a Sunday afternoon and was talking to someone within a minute. They were helpful, friendly, and informative. They clearly explained where the advertising was incorrect and what I needed to do going forward. I can't even call my bank on a Sunday.
Since the card arrived I have used it a few times and had no issues with it at all. We got takeout last night and I paid with it. I put $100 of EOS onto it with the app while we were standing in line. We ordered our burrito bowls and they made them. When we went to pay the cashier hefted the card as if to test its weight- it is metal after all- before swiping it. The transaction went through no problem. Before we had got back to the car my wallet had been credited with the CRO cashback- 5.9 CRO worth about $0.70 cents at the time. The price has gone up again since.
I want to highlight something here. While standing in line I bought EOS, deposited it to the card account which converted it to fiat, paid with it, and was rewarded in CRO. All in about 5 minutes or less. I am not confident I could move money from my savings to checking and have it be spendable that quickly, nevermind receiving rewards as well.
My biggest issue with the card is this: not all of the currencies supported by Crypto.com can be directly used to fund the card. If you want to use SHIB(or something more respectable like VET or even ADA) you would first have to sell that token into BTC, ETH, LTC, XLM, PAX, EOS, TUSD, or fiat before sending it to the card account. I fully expect additional currencies to be added for funding the card in the future but for now it is an additional transaction that I shouldn't have to worry about.
All in all the Crypto.com app has been a blessing with the earn program and card. The assets I have locked into 3 month programs are earning nicely and are the same assets I might otherwise have considered selling or moving into other coins during the recent crash... I am thankful that I inadvertently forced myself to HODL! It certainly has its flaws but I believe they will be improved over time as the app develops.
Finally, the Crypto.com Defi Wallet. I have to admit. I'm totally unimpressed with this wallet. The only reason I use it is to stake my CRO on the Crypto.org chain. It is certainly a huge bonus to be able to generate returns over 10% APR, but beyond that it's just a wallet.... and a pretty underwhelming one at that. The issue I have with it is there is no web3 browser. Yes you can perform swaps with it but it is extremely limited and you can't access DEXes directly so in that case... what's the point? I'll continue to use the wallet to get better returns on my excess CRO- I'll be moving the rewards from my card out of the Crypto.com app and into the Defi Wallet in order to stake them- but that's about it. The fact that I could use my Ledger for cold storage linked with it turned out to be kind of pointless: it just wasn't worth creating an additional attack vector on the Ledger by linking it for so little utility.
All in all I am pretty happy with my Crypto.com experience. I can't pretend the card isn't cool. It feels good to be able to spend my crypto conveniently. It proves to me that it would be possible to live entirely on crypto without having to jump through hoops every single time I want to buy my daughter an ice cream or go to a movie. Is it perfect? Hell no. Am I going to trade there? Probably not. Is it a convenient location to store reasonable amounts that I may need to spend at some point? Yes. Can I generate additional crypto with what I have stored there? Yes.
Admittedly I have not achieved my primary goal of finding a convenient way to keep more of my crypto holdings both secure and readily available in case I need to access them on short notice(I had high hopes for the Defi Wallet/Ledger combo). However I have found an acceptably convenient off ramp that doesn't make me mess around with bank transfers, gas fees, pending deposits, etc as much as before... and I get to earn a little more crypto in the meantime.