If you read my posts regularly you know I'm always a fan of finding ways for my crypto-portfolio to do a lot of the passive earning for me. I've not the best track record with trading so I'm very much a hodler, but that doesn't mean the balance should be static. Indeed, I often try to keep some funds in the most competitive and (where possible safe) interest earning platforms. These platforms (BlockFi, Crypto.com, Binance, YouHodler, to name just a few) all have their own strengths and weakness, furthermore I believe that keeping funds spread out over multiple platforms can also help us to mitigate risks of having a centralized entity hold your funds. If one of these platforms suffers a hack or acts in bad faith you know you've not go all your eggs in one basket. With that in mind (and many thanks to @Alexandru-Balan for making this possible) I recently took the plunge and opened a Celsius Network account.
This article will be a brief overview of the interest earning setup for Celsuis as well as the available coins/tokens. I'll use a few direct in-app images to give you a feel for the platform as well as taking a look at both the core benefits and some potential weaknesses of the platform.
Before we get into the interest rates themselves it is important to set your mental 'expectation' bar. Another author I follow recently wrote about how he is comparing these kind of saving accounts with traditional banking interest rates. I think this is a fair assessment, indeed these products that offer interest earning are doing so on a similar premise to existing banking intuitions, it works a little like this:
- You deposit money
- The central entity loans / invests funds using the capital you supplied
- With the earning from their investment they pay you a portion
- The circle of earning continues until you withdraw your funds
The reason I say set your 'expectations' here is that some of the rates we've read recently in DeFi are absolutely bonkers and really are unsustainable. Don't get me wrong I think DeFi is great and there are some real gems out there, making waves and opening up options to the everyday investors. However, there are also way too many that have APY in the 1000%+ region that are just ridiculous. Everyone wants to make a buck, or two, but let's get real about this, some of these rates are verging on 'Liquid-bait'......the click-bait of the DeFi world. Due to the structure that the centralized entities (like Celsius) follow there is no way we can expect these kind of returns, it wouldn't be sustainable or ethical to charge the interest they would need on loans to facilitate it. That said the rates they do offer are also nothing to be sniffed at, so let's take a look.
Well, they say variety is the spice of life and this platform really does have options. There are big hitter top10 tokens to stablecoins, and even a few less commonly seen coins like (Uma, Matic and Decentraland). However the big selling points for me were two well know Ethereum network tokens BAT and UNI.
For me as a Brave browser user and content creator, and as someone who was fortunate enough to qualify for the Uniswap airdrop I have to say these rates really knocked my socks off. In case you're struggling to read the other image here it is zoomed in:
That is right, 10% on UNI and 5.10% for earning in kind (i.e. earning interest payouts of both UNI and BAT, respectively) are by far the best rates I've seen so far for these too. Well, that isn't strictly true, I did follow Tomoyan's lead and put UNI in Compound Finance for a while, which for a few days was 13%+ but sadly that changed too quickly down to just below 3% and stayed there. Prior to that I was using the Binance flexible earning rate of 1% which wasn't great either. Similarly, in the past I've had BAT in Crypto.com's locked earning platform, where it was earning around 4.5%. One of the things that I really disliked about CDC was and is the withdrawal fees, it is setting at a whopping 14 BAT currently and well above the market average which leads me to believe they are doing it just to make it prohibitive to move your funds away but who know, maybe I am being paranoid, haha.
So as with any good thing there are both benefits and drawback. It is worth weighing these up before jumping in, remember none of the information I've provided is, or should be taken as, financial advice. What works for one person won't suite another.
Starting with the downsides first, in the interest of not being too bias.
- Unfortunately Celsius is only available a mobile app, there is no desktop/web login
- Some key rates not quite as good as competitors, particularly BTC where I find that it is better with BlockFi. Also the rates are variable
- To get the best rates available you need to opt to earn CEL tokens instead of tokens in kind. Personally I prefer to earn the same coins/tokens as I deposit as I am looking to grow that portion of the portfolio. That said if CEL tokens are in your overall plan by all means go for it. I've also read that if you plan on taking Loans a great amount of CEL tokens can be beneficial for rates/LTV.
- While the assets themselves are insured once lent out there is inherent risk (mitigated by collateral), so be aware of this risk as it is not insured
- Sign-up, setup and access is extremely easy. There are also incentives for new customers (more below)
- All interest earned is paid out weekly and compounds (unlike savings with CDC, for example)
- There are no hidden fees
- I'm going to repeat this one again, there are zero fees which means.....NO GAS FEES! If you need to withdraw because you have found something better you are not burned by giving this a go! (incidentally, there was a great article on withdrawing just the other day by Bryan Divisions)
- Finally, the feedback from a the community has been great across the board. Which actually means a lot, I know CDC have recently been struggling with customer confidence so it is refreshing to see most folks haven't a bad word to say about Celsius.
As I mentioned in the intro it was thanks to another author sharing their referral link that I got to benefit from a referral bonus ($20 BTC). It was quite a simple one as well. Click on the referral link and follow it to get the app downloaded. Then I saw the following message:
Afterwards I completed the verification and transferred in my UNI/BAT tokens. A few minutes later I saw the following in my wallet.
Simple as that, it is just a case of me waiting now for the 30 days and I can happily send this BTC (transaction fee free!) to go off an earn 6% on BlockFi (it is a win-win)!
If you are interested in doing something similar and would be happy to use my referral then by all means please go for it. Here it is:
Alternative if you need to add it within the app the number is "146589688a"
I hope this article didn't come across too much as a sales pitch, I'm just really chuffed to have found a good place to grow my BAT and UNI tokens that I can get at easily (encase something better comes along). I'll reiterate one point though, this isn't advice. Take a look for yourself and if it for you then great, if it isn't then also great. Always go with what is best for you and your investments.
While I know that these kind of account aren't quest a sexy as the DeFi products around I do feel to an extent they are a little safer, the only downside though is the lack of control of your own keys. I'll take that risk if it is that or getting hacked because the code wasn't audited thoroughly enough.
Anyway, hope you enjoyed the summary, happy earning and good luck y'all!
Note that all of the Q&A images were from the Celsius support pages.