This is Why I’m Massively Excited for the Growth of Crypto.com
Crypto.com has changed the way I manage my money
[Article updated on 6th June 2022]
In this Article, I will Tell You:
- What is Crypto.com?
- What makes Crypto.com Unique?
- Growth of the Company and its Customer Base
- Staff and Leadership
- Products and Ecosystem
- The Different Types of CRO and Blockchains
- Supported Countries and Languages
- Company Roadmap
- Key Upcoming Highlights
- How can they Afford to give Great Rewards
- Examples of how they have Overcome Challenges
What is Crypto.com?
Founded in 2016, with headquarters in Singapore, offices and staff from 90 countries around the world, Crypto.com is a company that offers a range of cryptocurrency based financial services.
Their mission (stated in their whitepaper) is to enable people to adopt cryptocurrency and to have full control of their money in a decentralised, highly secure and accessible environment.
They are creating a full financial ecosystem, with a wide range of products for private individuals, investors and institutions. They are also promoting themselves with a hugely impressive range of top-tier partnerships.
What Makes Crypto.com Unique?
They have a number of ‘firsts’ and highest certifications of all the cryptocurrency companies — full details are given in the ‘security’ section below.
Where some of their competitors have had to retract services from markets after failing to meet regulatory approval, Crypto.com have always gained the required approvals before launching products and services. Also, they have partnered with companies such as Visa and acquired companies such as Nadex and The Small Exchange.
More information in the ‘Regulation’ section below.
- Their marketing budget is immense (committed over $1b in 2021 alone)
- Several top-tier sponsorship deals (many 10 year / $100m)
- Naming rights for the ‘Staples Center’ in Los Angeles to be the ‘Crypto.com Arena), for a 20 years at $700m, from 25/12/2021
- Worldwide advertising (TV, banners, newspapers and other media)
Pre-Paid Visa Debit Card
- Their pre-paid Visa debit cards give rewards (some give interest on your stake)
- Only fiat can be added onto the cards (sourced from a fiat account or a cryptocurrency). Only fiat can be spent from the cards and cashback is received as CRO. Some other companies allow you to load cards with cryptocurrencies which are converted to fiat when you make a payment, but I prefer to hold fiat as I know the value on the card will be constant
- Crypto.com have been a partner of Visa since 2018. From March 2021 they formed a global partnership, which includes principal membership in Visa’s network in Australia, allowing Crypto.com to have direct issuance of the Crypto.com Visa Card in Australia, permitting Crypto.com to have a direct relationship with cardholders. Crypto.com has also now provide virtual cards in Europe, allowing users to instantly start spending without waiting for the physical card to be in possession
- The cards are being rolled out to over 40 countries (with more promised), making it the largest of its kind in the world
See my card article for more information on the cards, including a spreadsheet that helps you decide which card is best for you, based on your average spend.
Growth of the Company and its Customer Base
The size of the company and its userbase is growing at a rapid rate.
- 1 million customers
- ~250 employees
- Over 10 million customers
- Over 3,000 employees and 400 jobs adverts listed on their website
- Estimated revenues of at least $1.2 billion according to The Financial Times
Staff and Leadership
The executive team line-up is impressive, to name a few:
CEO — Kris Marszalek
A seasoned company builder based in Hong Kong, Kris has grown multiple companies from $0 to $100m in revenue. Kris served as CEO at Ensogo, and Founder of BEECRAZY (sold for a reported US$21mm to iBuy Group in 2013).
EVP, Growth— Henrik Johansson
15 years of experience scaling internet services and digital products and leading product development, marketing and growth teams across APAC, the Americas and Europe. Spent 8 years managing growth teams for Spotify, serving most recently as the Global head of User Growth. While at Spotify Henrik developed and launched new markets, products and growth strategies, accelerating the world’s shift to streaming media and growing the service to 350M+ users.
CISO — Jason Lau
Jason Lau is a multiple award winning cybersecurity professional with over 20 years of experience. Selected as a member to the World Economic Forum expert network, Forbes Technology Council, UN ITU Security and Assurance working group, Centre for Information Policy Leadership, and holds an official position on the Standing Committee for the HK Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data. Has completed Executive Programs at Stanford and holds certifications such as, CGEIT, CRISC, CISM, CISA, CDPSE, CISSP, CIPP/E, CIPT, CIPM, CEH, CNDA, HCISPP, as well as being an ISO27701 Senior Lead Auditor, ISO27701 Senior Lead Implementer, ISO27001 Lead Auditor, an IAPP Fellow of Information Privacy. Finally, Jason has won numerous industry awards including Business Magazine’s, “Cybersecurity Executive of the Year 2020”, and voted by industry peers to the, “Global CISO 100” list.
Customer Service — Bryan
An honorary ‘shout-out’ to Bryan who is one of the many helpful moderators in the Crypto.com subreddit 👍
Crypto.com is a highly secure platform — don’t take my word for it, read these articles (and there are many more).
- Crypto.com Becomes the First FinTech Company to achieve the coveted Data Protection Trust Mark (DPTM) awarded by Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA)
- Crypto.com The Most Secure Crypto Platform Worldwide Adds SOC 2 Compliance
- Kudelski Security Completes Security Assessment of Crypto.com Exchange
- Crypto.com Deepens Partnership with Ledger Vault Following Beta Launch of Crypto.com Exchange
- Crypto.com Extends Insurance Coverage to $360 Million After Securing $100 Million Policy Led by Arch Underwriting at Lloyd’s Syndicate 2012
They continue to be audited by top consulting companies such as Deloitte (I worked for Deloitte for 8 years — just saying!) and Kudelski Security. They achieve industry recognised certification in security practices.
They were the first cryptocurrency company in the world to have ISO/IEC 27701:2019, CCSS Level 3, ISO/IEC 27001:2013 and PCIDSS v3.2.1 Level 1 compliance, and independently assessed at Tier 4, the highest level for both NIST Cybersecurity and Privacy Frameworks
They also pay bounties for bugs via the HackerOne website.
On 17th January 2022 there was an incident where a small number of users had some funds go missing. Crypto.com were very quick to react by preventing all transfers out of the system, improving their 2 Factor Authentication (2FA) system and forced everyone to reset their 2FA credentials (it took me less than 2 minutes to reset mine). This was a small inconvenience for the users, but it was a quick and decisive step by Crypto.com. Anyone who had money taken was quickly reimbursed. Read their statement on the details of the event and their next actions for improving security.
Where some cryptocurrency exchanges have tried (and failed) to introduce services in geographic locations without regulatory approval (e.g. Binance), Crypto.com has positively sought approval before rolling out services.
In some instances, Crypto.com acquired companies to get the skills and pre-existing regulatory approval, in others; they worked independently with the approving bodies/regulators e.g.:
- Crypto.com Agrees to Acquire Nadex and the Small Exchange from IG Group
- Crypto.com Becomes The First Global Cryptocurrency Platform to Receive a Class 3 VFA Service Provider Licence from the MFSA
- Crypto.com Secures an Australian Financial Service License
Crypto.com’s partnership with Visa is important as it allows them enhanced functionality and independence over rival companies.
One current ‘pain point’ for Crypto.com is their restriction to provide access to certain services (such as the exchange) to residents of the USA. This is because regulations in the USA are complicated and vary from state to state. Throughout 2021, Crypto.com stated that they were targeting Q4 2021 to have the exchange accessible in the USA, this target was missed. In March 2022 Crypto.com opened the initial phase of its Exchange platform launch in the USA to available to waitlisted users, with a progressive rollout over the following months.
Another financial company Curve; had also been targeting 2021 to get their products available in the USA, they too were unsuccessful. They started to roll-out their card to ‘waitlisted’ users in USA from March 2022.
Their marketing tagline is ‘Fortune Favours the Brave’. It’s from a Latin proverb, first used in Terence’s 151 BC comedy play Phormio. I mention this because I think they are being brave in their marketing.
They have sponsorship/partnership deals with several companies including:
- Crypto.com Arena
- Oscars 2022
- LeBron James Family Foundation
- Twitch Rivals
- Adelaide Football Club (Crows)
- Adelaide Football Club (Crows Women)
- Australian Football League (AFL)
- Australian Football League Womens (AFLW)
- Fremantle Dockers
- Gold Coast Suns
- GWS GIANTS
- Richmond FC
- Angel City Football Club
- CONMEBOL Libertadores
- Coppa Italia
- FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
- Lega Serie A
- Paris Saint-Germain (PSG)
- Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)
- Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team
- Formula 1
- Formula 1 Crypto.com Miami Grand Prix
- IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship
- Montreal Canadiens
- Philadelphia 76ers
Most of these are top-tier companies/organisations which have a lot of public visibility, large fanbases and prestige. Together, they cover a wide audience base, including American college football, European and South American football (soccer), Ice-Hockey, eSports, combat sports and motorsport.
Many of the deals have been reported to cost $100m, with a lifetime of 10 years. The Crypto.com Arena naming rights agreement is reported to be worth $700m over 20 years.
I’ll go into more detail in the sections below.
The Domain Name
In 2018 the company (then called Monaco) reportedly paid $12m for the domain name crypto.com. I think it turned out to be a good investment!
If anyone reading this wants to pay a similar amount for the domain name selfcrypto.com, let me know 😁
The iconic Staples Center in Los Angeles has been renamed to the Crypto.com Arena. This is a 20 year deal, costing $700m, starting on 25th December 2021.
Each year, the world-class venue hosts over 240 major high-profile events of national and international distinction and over 4 million guests with events ranging from professional sports, concerts, family and award shows, boxing, WWE and special events including the GRAMMY Awards, NBA All-Star Games and NHL All-Star Games among others. It has also hosted some of the biggest headlining names and shows in music and live entertainment performing in concert and during 19 of the last 21 GRAMMY Awards shows.
It will be the official basketball venue of the 2028 Olympic Summer Games.
The arena is home venue to the:
- Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League (NHL)
- Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers of the National Basketball Association (NBA)
- Los Angeles Sparks of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA)
Crypto.com also last month recruited Hollywood star Matt Damon as the face of a $100 million television and billboard marketing campaign set to air in more than 20 countries.
Other well-known celebrities such as snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis, rapper CL and astronaut Scott Kelly have signed up to the campaign, which is aimed at a new breed of retail crypto investors and features the slogan “Fortune Favours the Brave”.
The advert has been shown on television and cinemas around the world.
I think this UFC video has only been shown on YouTube so far, but it’s good to see Crypto.com create video content with their partner brands.
Super Bowl 2022
The video Crypto.com presented, featured LeBron James talking to his younger self.
Here is ‘The Making of The Moment of Truth’ with LeBron James.
Live Interviews (television, YouTube and conferences)
Kris Marszalek (CEO) and other staff members have taken part in:
- Live television interviews, including CNBC and CNN
- Conferences such as eBlockchain, Delta Summit and Singapore Fintech Festival
- Live Internet interviews including Coindesk Live
- Live Ask Me Anything (AMA) presentations, where Kris provides updates on Crypto.com’s recent achievements, current challenges, upcoming goals, as well as the current status of the business and the cryptocurrency environment as a whole
A large number of banner (paper and video) adverts all over the world.
A full-size advert on the back of the Wall Street Journal
Basically, they have a multitude of adverts in many formats and countries — and they are just getting started…!
Crypto.com do sell clothing, but with a range of only 3 items it’s ‘limited’…
Crypto.com have collaborated with their partners on a number of NFT projects, including:
Partnering with the companies provides (for some) fans, a first-time entry into the world of cryptocurrency and the Crypto.com ecosystem.
NFT’s on the Crypto.org blockchain are very cheap to mint, sell and purchase — unlike on Ethereum based blockchains where the gas fees can be very high (and are variable based on how busy the blockchain is at that time).
Products and Ecosystem
They already have a range of products, including:
- Pre-Paid Visa Debit Cards
- Buy/sell crypto
- Recurring Buy
- Gift cards
- Top up mobile airtime
- Send crypto to friends for free
- Exchange services (including spot trading, margin trading, derivatives trading)
- Hard and soft staking
- Crypto credit
- Cronos bridge
- OTC portal
- Convert stablecoins 1:1 without transaction fees
- Fiat bank transfers (deposit USD to receive USDC)
- DeFi mobile wallet
- DeFi desktop wallet
- DeFi staking
- DeFi swap
- Crypto.org chain
- Cronos chain
Research and Insights
- Crypto.com University
- Crypto.com Research Hub
- Crypto.com Private Feature Articles
These are market-leading products in terms of the rewards you get, features offered and the security provided. You can use as many or as few of the products as you want and they are built to be interoperable with external systems.
Individually they are great, but together they form an ecosystem where you can spend, save, earn, trade, buy NFT’s and access Decentralised Applications (dApps).
Crypto.com further reward you with higher levels or better discounts to their services when you hold certain amounts of their CRO coin. This helps promote awareness of services, brand loyalty and (from what I’ve reserved in the Crypto.com subreddit) it encourages people to learn and take an interest in their finances, which they may not do by simply having a bank account.
I have written articles on some of the services:
The Different Versions of Cronos ($CRO)
Cronos ($CRO) is available on 3 inter-connected but separate blockchain networks:
The value of CRO is the same no matter which blockchain it resides on.
The CRO token must be converted from one format to another when moving between blockchains, the conversion process is called ‘bridging’.
It’s like driving a car from one country to another — same car, but the driving rules change.
Ethereum Mainnet ERC20
The original version of CRO (still used in the centralised App and Exchange services) is ERC20, based on the Ethereum blockchain.
Although free to use within the Crypto.com services, it is costly to use on external systems because of the Ethereum gas fees.
Crypto.org Chain (crypto.org)
This blockchain is based on Cosmos SDK.
In 2022 CosmWasm will be added. This is a smart contracts module that works for blockchains based on the Cosmos SDK. CosmWasm is different to EVM Solidity (used by the Cronos blockchain), it’s a different Virtual Machine and different language. This means that smart contracts must be written from the ground up, but they have the advantage of being built on a newer framework and a faster virtual machine.
Cronos Chain (cronos.org)
EVM is the ‘Ethereum Virtual Machine’ that actually runs the Smart Contracts on Ethereum. Smart contracts on Ethereum must be written in Solidity.
Cronos runs Ethermint, which is EVM compatible (built for this purpose only), thereby smart contracts must be written in Solidity. The smart contracts can be ported 1:1 from Ethereum.
See the Cronos roadmap.
It has these key features:
- Easy Portability: An easy-to-use platform to rapidly port apps from Ethereum and EVM-compatible chains
- Funding: The CRO EVM Fund grants up to USD 1 million per project
- User Base: Access to our rapidly-growing global user base of over 10 million
- EVM Compatible: Built on Ethermint, which supports rapid porting of apps & smart contracts from Ethereum and other EVM-compatible chains.
- Scalable: Cronos can process more transactions per minute than Ethereum, making it faster, cheaper, and greener to execute smart contracts
- Interoperable: The Inter Blockchain Communications (IBC) protocol enables interoperability and bridging to the Crypto.org Chain, and other IBC-enabled chains, such as Cosmos Hub
- Proof of Authority (POA): A more streamlined and scalable consensus mechanism consensus protocol while still maintaining security with a range of validators that many different parties run
- Open Source: We welcome our community to review and provide suggestions to strengthen Cronos.
- A list of applications on the Cronos environment
- A chart showing the current Cronos ecosystem:
Supported Countries and Languages
The Crypto.com App and Exchange are now available in 18 languages, including European Spanish, French, Korean, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Turkish, Bahasa Indonesia, Romanian, and Russian.
They also have dedicated support channels in Discord (such as the Spanish channel).
They have been rolling out to countries at an impressive rate, getting regulated access to each before introducing services.
The Crypto.com whitepaper outlines the company vision, products and roadmap.
The roadmap is now a little outdated as these are now live:
Key Upcoming Highlights
Some of the key upcoming features that have been announced publicly:
- USA to gain access to the exchange (expected 2022, originally targeted 2021)
- USA and other countries to gain access to other existing services (e.g. crypto credit)
- Support on Ledger Live
- Card White label service (aka Private Label service), see the Visa Private Label service document for general information
- Pay integration with large merchants and merchant platforms
- Credit card power
- DeFi borrowing and lending
- DeFi card
The features will result in:
- Increased mainstream recognition from the general public
- Increased discussion/promotion on YouTube and mainstream media
- Higher liquidity and trading volume, resulting in the value of CRO being less volatile
Carbon Negative by January 2024
Crypto.com have stated that they will be carbon negative by January 2024.
They have committed to offsetting more carbon than is generated by all activities across the organization.
How they can Afford to give Great Rewards
Crypto.com are young but profitable company, whose revenues are growing at an astonishing rate (Their CEO Kris Marszalek has stated in interviews that the revenues have grown over 20x in 2021). They are able to provide high rates of interest by:
- Offering higher rewards to people who stake more money (e.g. cards, Exchange, Supercharger, etc.). Crypto.com can utilise this money to make more money
- The number of revenue streams is increasing as more functionality and markets are opened
- They have a whole ecosystem which rewards you for holding CRO. This rewards you for staying within the ecosystem — a win-win for Crypto.com and its users
- With their decentralised products, much of the infrastructure (validator and council node servers) is provided by the public or commercial partners. This saves them money in setup, hosting and servicing
- They have far fewer staff than comparable organisations (i.e. banks)
- The value of CRO has increased significantly, providing Crypto.com more USD value
Also note that some of their rewards have decreased and the cost of the cards increased. Some examples are:
- 180 day earn on the exchange has reduced from 20% to 10%
- In September 2020 I paid £1,300 for the Jade Green card, today it costs £3,000. The Icy/Gold cards would have cost £13,000, today they cost £30,000
Examples of How they have Overcome Challenges
Transition from MCO token to CRO
In October 2021 the original token ‘MCO’ was decommissioned and holders were given the opportunity to convert it to CRO. This was a sudden action which could have been better communicated, it was a change in strategy for Crypto.com, resulting in a period of negativity by some of the early investors who were not happy with the rate of conversion being offered. This contributed to the value of CRO falling sharply after a long period of positive gains.
Although a tough decision, it was the right one — like ripping off a plaster. The MCO token had run its course (and its value had been in decline prior to this, with CRO doing very well). Crypto.com announced the largest token burn in history (a brave move) and committed to building a fully decentralised, open-source, public chain with high speed and low fees.
They also publicly stated that they would manage expectations and customer communication better, with longer lead-times before executing significant changes to the platform. They have kept their word on this — for example when they transitioned the staking requirements of the cards from CRO to fiat values, they gave plenty of notice.
Sudden Changes of Rewards
In 2019/2020 the rewards offered were very high, for example:
- 20% when staking CRO in the exchange for 180 days
- 18% when investing CRO in Earn on the app for 3 months
These values (and others) were reduced at no notice.
As mentioned above, Crypto.com learned from this and have since been much better in terms of communicating proposed changes.
Card Issuing Delays
In June 2020 the card issuing company ‘Wirecard’ was found have been involved in illegal activities, €1.9 billion was stolen:
On 25 June 2020, Wirecard filed for insolvency after revelations that €1.9 billion was “missing”. Long-time CEO Markus Braun subsequently resigned and was later arrested, and former COO Jan Marsalek, after being fired from his position and board seat, disappeared and remains a fugitive wanted by the German police.
Wirecard was a card provider for many finance companies, not just Crypto.com. This issue was sudden and effected many companies, not just Crypto.com. Along with COVID-19, it resulted in reduced production and distribution of the Crypto.com Visa debit cards, with some people not receiving their cards for months. The disruption lasted about 6 months.
Now in 2021 the issuance of cards is often 1–2 weeks, although because of COVID and market forces (like when CRO went from $0.20 to $0.90 which caused a wave of people wanting to upgrade their cards), the issuance of cards sometimes takes longer than it should.
Thanks to a partnership with Visa, from 2021 Crypto.com have been able to issue virtual cards, so people can start using the cards online before they get the physical card.
Up until 2021 Crypto.com’s services experienced several outages or degradation in performance, usually as a result of a sudden spike in user sessions, caused incidents such as:
- A sudden decrease/increase in value of Bitcoin or another coin
- Sudden popularity of a ‘meme-coin’
In 2021 the number of system issues has been rare, even despite significantly more users. In many cases, access to Crypto.com services have been fine when competitor exchanges have suffered issues caused by sudden market conditions.
Unable to use the Crypto.com Visa Card with Curve Card
In October 2020, support for the use of Curve card paired to the Crypto.com card was dropped. This was re-instated within 3 days and has worked without any issues since then.
Slow Customer Support
This is a case of Crypto.com being a victim of its own sucess — it has grown at an astounding rate, making it hard to employ and train customer support staff. I personally have never had an issue and have found the response times to be adequate (often real-time, never more than 24 hours), but some people have reported slow or below-par levels of support.
This has been acknowledged in AMA’s and has been a priority for Crypto.com, to maintain a high level of customer service. They have greatly expanded the number of customer support staff they have, they often update their online support articles and they have implemented a new online help service, which cuts down on the number of support chats.
Significant Reduction in Card Rewards
Crypto.com are reducing their card rewards from 1st June 2022, but keeping the staking requirements the same. This is despite them being a profitable company and growing from 10m to 50m customers in a year. Most people are currently significantly down on their card stakes. In my opinion, none of the cards make economic sense (see my card article and spreadsheet for details), so it will be interesting to see what happens... Within a week of announcing the new reward values, Crypto.com made changes twice — this is very confusing for customers (new and existing) and shows a lack of trust in their leadership. I think they should have done a better job of looking after their existing customers.
This is a confusing move because the cards are a big ‘gateway’ for new customers into the whole Crypto.com ecosystem — introducing them into other services including gift cards, Exchange (and associated services), DeFi staking, Earn, etc.
I don’t work for Crypto.com and I can stop using their services at any time, but I’ve been using them since December 2018 and I had no intention to stop — until they announced the card changes that will take effect on 1st June 2022. Now I’m not sure. I am still very confident that the company will grow well, but now the rewards have diminished and the company hasn’t looked after existing customers, I may well jump ship to another provider.
I currently use the Crypto.com card in conjunction with other services (as I detail in my article on passive rewards when spending with cards) to provide additional rewards, security and functionality.
I store most of my CRO in their DeFi staking system, in a Ledger Nano X hardware wallet. This is extremely safe and provides a high rate of interest. I have also used some of the other DeFi services, including MM Finance, which have done well for a time (before nose-diving along with all/most other Cronos based DeFi systems).
The value of CRO has greatly increased since 2018 until reaching a high of $0.93 in November 2021, then going into a sharp decline. I don’t publicly give price estimates, but I am highly confident that the price will go up substantially over time.
The ecosystem and range or products on offer has enabled me to expand (or should that be ‘further define’) my association with money and how I manage it. I’m taking control — managing my money in a decentralised manner. I hold the keys (private key), I hold the gateway (a secure wallet) and I’m using a blockchain (public ledger).
I’ve banked with traditional banks for over 30 years and haven’t written about them — then along came Crypto.com and I’ve felt compelled to write a whole series of articles on them. That’s got to mean something…
- Sign up to Curve and get £5
- Sign up to Crypto.com with referral code qu80wtyk0i This can be used within 5 days from having your account KYC approved. Get $25 when you stake for a card
- Sign up to the Crypto.com Exchange with referral code qu80wtyk0i, you will get $10 if you stake at least 1,000 CRO and $50 if you stake at least 5,000 CRO
- The Essential Guide to the Visa Debit Card from Crypto.com
- Curve adds Security, Functionality and Rewards to your Existing Debit and Credit Cards
- The Essential Guide to the Crypto.com Exchange
- The Essential Guide to Maximising CRO Investment with Crypto.org DeFi
- The Essential Guide to Farming, Harvesting and Mining Cryptocurrencies
- The Essential Guide to Discounted Gift Cards with Crypto.com Pay
- The Essential Guide to Generating Some Money the Easy Way, Guaranteed
- The Essential Guide to Saving Money and Building Wealth in the UK
- 5 UK Debit/Credit Card Purchase Passive Reward Schemes — No Investment Needed