Cronos is one of the newcomers in the platform category. Cronos has already made a mark in the DeFi sector, where its market share is growing. The native token CRO is also used in the popular Cypto.com mobile app. This article is a beginner’s guide to Cronos. We’ll go through the history & technology of Cronos and analyze its potential as an investment.
Note. There is an in-depth Crypto.com mobile app review. This article has a focus on the Cronos platform and the CRO token. We’ll only mention the Crypto.com app briefly.
CRO has become a versatile token
Let’s first place CRO in the correct category of cryptocurrencies. We like to divide the market into three main categories: currencies, platforms, and tokens.
The currency category has coins designed to be P2P digital money. The best-known currency is, of course, Bitcoin. This category also includes Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and Dash.
Ethereum is the dominating platform. These projects are frameworks and operating systems for smart contracts and distributed apps (Dapps). You can think of platforms to be like iOS or Android. Cardano, EOS, Elrond, and Tezos are other examples of platforms.
Tokens are always issued on platforms. They are usually either utility tokens or governance tokens. Tokens do not have their own blockchain. Also, tokens tend to have utility or usage inside a specific app.
Cronos is a bit special case. The project launched as Monaco and issued a token called MCO. This was a pure utility token used with Visa cards. The MCO token is used no more. It was replaced by CRO a couple of years ago.
The CRO token was originally a utility token used in the Crypto.com app and Crypto.com Exchange. The token was staked for better Visa debit card benefits. Below is a video of Visa cards from 2020.
A lot changed in 2021 when the Crypto.org and Cronos blockchains were launched. This transformed the CRO token into the platform category as well. It is the native token of both Crypto.org and Cronos blockchains.
CRO is still used as a utility token in the Crypto.com app. You can get a better Visa card by staking CRO including a higher cashback. There are also benefits & bonuses for CRO stakers in the Crypto.com Exchange.
Hence, we can say that Cronos CRO is a versatile token. It is both a utility token and a platform token.
Cronos was originally called Monaco
The brand Cronos has been officially used since February 2022. Before that, the project was known as Crypto.com. But it all started with the name Monaco Card in 2016. The project was founded by Kris Marszalek, Rafael Melo, Bobby Bao, and Gary Or.
Kris Marszalek is the CEO. He is a businessman living in Hong Kong with a long experience in building startups to billion-dollar businesses. Marszalek is the person you mostly see on interviews and Youtube.
Below is a picture of the founding team. You can view the key personnel from here.
First Monaco Visa cards were launched in late 2017 in Singapore. Monaco Card also had an ICO in 2017 where the MCO token was issued. In 2018, the project started to expand fast in Asia.
In July 2018, the project started the re-branding process from Monaco to Crypto.com. The first major step was the purchase of the Crypto.com domain. According to estimations, Crypto.com paid over 10 million dollars for it.
The next step was starting the development work for the Crypto.com Chain. This took place in November 2018. The MainNet of Crypto.com Chain was eventually launched in March 2021. We’ll dig deeper into this subject later in this article.
The CRO token was also created in late 2018. There was never an ICO, but the token was simply airdropped to MCO holders. The majority of newly issued CRO tokens were held by the Crypto.com team.
In 2020, Crypto.com announced that the MCO token will be dropped out due to regulatory reasons.
”Part of this is managing regulatory compliance risk. And it so happens that in our industry, ICO tokens are on one end of the spectrum in terms of regulatory compliance risk, and you could argue that Bitcoin is on the opposite side. So in order to manage these risks, practically, we can’t rewrite history. We did an ICO in 2017. But we can’t have an ICO token perform core functions on our platform as we grow, as we get licensed, as we get regulated in all key jurisdictions around the world.”)
As Kris Marszalek comments above, ICO-based coins have been under heavy scrutiny. The American SEC has given tens of millions of dollars in fines to many companies, that launched in ICO in 2017 or 2018. Crypto.com wants to get rid of any regulatory issues regarding its token.
Investments in marketing and blockchains
The year 2021 has been significant for Crypto.com in many ways. The project has launched two brand new blockchains: Crypto.org and Cronos. These blockchains have changed the profile of Crypto.com and the CRO token. CRO is no longer just a utility token. It has become a native token for two blockchains.
A massive coin burn took also place in February 2021. Crypto.com burned as many as 70 billion CRO tokens, which means 70% of the issued tokens. This coin burn didn’t have a big price impact since these tokens were held by Crypto.com.
Crypto.com has spent huge amounts of money on advertising and brand recognition. Below is an example of a $100 million ad campaign starring Matt Damon. This promotional video runs for months in dozens of countries around the world.
Crypto.com also signed a $700 million deal in November 2021 for the naming rights of the NBA team LA Lakers’ home stadium. The legendary Staples Center will be known as Crypto.com Arena. These are massive marketing efforts by any standards.
Crypto.com is also a sponsor in a wide range of sports. For example, it is an official partner of Formula One and sponsors the UFC. Crypto.com is visible in ice hockey and football too. The brand has become arguably one of the best-known in the crypto world. Crypto.com is also the official sponsor of the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar.
A rebranding was made in February 2022. This is when the CRO token was officially named Cronos. Prior to this, exchanges had listed CRO by using both Crypto.org and Crypto.com. The change was made to separate the Cronos platform and the Crypto.com mobile app.
The price development of the CRO token
Let’s dive deeper into the CRO token and see how its price has developed. As we mentioned earlier, CRO was launched in November 2018. It was first running in the Ethereum network as an ERC-20 token. CRO was initially airdropped to MCO holders. There was never an ICO.
The opening price of CRO was 0.017 dollars. The token was launched at the bottom of the bear market of 2018. Hence, there was no positive development in the opening months. The price of CRO took off in the spring 0f 2019 when a new bull market began. The price was hovering between $0.05 and $0.15 the next year (2019-2020).
The spring of 2021 saw astronomical gains for many altcoins. The CRO token also moved hundreds of percent to 0.25 dollars. The token was also boosted by the launch of the Crypyo.org chain in March 2021. Then a cooling period of about six months followed.
CRO reach its all-time high price in November 2021. It received a massive boost from the launch of the Cronos blockchain. The token moved from 0.20 dollars to 0.98 dollars in one month. This was also the time when Bitcoin reached its new ATH price.
The price of CRO has since crashed with the rest of the market. It is currently (6/2022) down about 80% from the ATH price at 0.18 dollars.
Crypto.org and Cronos blockchains
Crypto.com started to challenge Binance (BNB) in 2021 by launching its own blockchains. The infrastructure is comparable to BNB Chain because both have been built by using similar building blocks. Crypto.com’s blockchains are called Crypto.org and Cronos.
Crypto.org MainNet was launched in March 2021. It’s been developed for a few years already. At first, it was called Crypto.com Chain. This was changed to Crypto.org when the MainNet was launched. A brand new white paper was also released at the same time.
Crypto.org is like the BNB Beacon Chain. It’s a simple but fast Proof of Stake blockchain with a capacity of 10,000 transactions per second.
Both Binance and Crypto.com have built their blockchains with the Cosmos SDK. SDK is an abbreviation of Software Development Kit. It is a collection of different tools and components that speed up the work of app developers.
The consensus algorithm is Tendermint Proof of Stake, developed by Cosmos. Blockchain maintenance is handled by a small number of validators. The solution is functional and scalable, but clearly more centralized compared to Bitcoin or Ethereum. There is a total of 100 validators in the Crypto.org chain. They are members of the Crypto.com community or staking partners.
The Cronos MainNet was launched in November 2021.
Epic Day 1 at @cronos_chain
Huge thank you to the entire #CRO community
— Kris | Crypto.com (@kris) November 8, 2021
The relationship between Crypto.org and Cronos is similar to BNB Beacon Chain & Smart Chain. Cronos supports smart contracts with the Ethermint virtual machine. Ethermint is Cosmos’ version of the Ethereum virtual machine (EVM). It allows Ethereum applications to be easily transferred to Cronos blockchain.
Ethereum compatibility is very important for blockchain adoption. Many other competing smart contract platforms work like this.
The consensus algorithm used in Cronos is Proof of Authority. It is a variant of Proof of Stake where one entity (Crypto.com) has chosen a small number of validators. The solution is therefore very centralized. Cronos has the capacity of 200-300 transactions per second.
The CRO token is used in these blockchains for staking and paying for transaction fees. Crypto.org and Cronos are developed by Cro Protocol Labs. You’ll find more information at crypto.org and cronos.org.
Crypto.com app and Crypto.com Exchange
The CRO token is called Cronos in crypto exchanges. The idea is to underline its usage as the native token in the Cronos blockchain. We compared Crypto.org and Cronos blockchains to BNB Chain in the previous chapter. It’s no surprise that Binance completed a rebranding in 2022 as well and changed its token name from Binance Coin to BNB.
Even if CRO is now the native token of two blockchains it is still used in the Crypto.com mobile app. This role has not changed over the years. A user can get a better Visa card by staking the CRO token through the Crypto.com app.
Below is a picture of Crypto.com Visa cards. It shows the staking requirements as well. The tokens must be locked for at least six months. The cashback (CRO rewards) is also paid in CRO tokens.
See our Crypto.com app beginner’s guide if you want to learn more about this subject.
The Crypto.com mobile app is a popular way for purchasing cryptocurrencies. There is also the Crypto.com Exchange, which is less known. The CRO token has utility also inside this exchange. For example, staking of CRO will give you access to The Syndicate service. You can also get lower trading fees.
Crypto.com hasn’t reached the same popularity as the mobile app and Visa cards. It is lacking some features the biggest exchanges have. On the other hand, the Crypto.com app selection is more than enough for small investors.
Cronos (CRO) as an investment
The CRO token has been a popular investment for years. This is due to the massive marketing campaigns by Crypto.com. The project has grown fast and become one of the largest crypto services with a 50+ million user base. Unfortunately for investors, the price of CRO hasn’t reflected this development.
The situation was similar with BNB for a long time. The Binance exchange was growing fast, but it didn’t move the BNB price at all. This is also the case with FTX and KuCoin tokens. It is obvious that utility inside an exchange is not enough to grow the token popularity over a certain point.
BNB took off in early 2021 when the Binance Smart Chain became popular. We saw something similar in November 2021 with CRO as well. The token price went up hundreds of percentages with the launch of the Cronos MainNet.
Many investors are now thinking about whether the Cronos can reproduce the success of BNB in the long run? It is certainly possible. But how likely it is? Check the video below for the latest updates.
Previously mentioned Crypto.org and Cronos blockchains will increase the demand for the CRO token. Binance’s BNB token went up more than 10x in a short period once its blockchain became popular. If this is any indication of potential, there is a decent chance that Cronos could become a top 10 coin in the future.
Unfortunately, the launch of Cronos happened at the worst possible time. A strong bear market started exactly at the same time. Despite a poor market situation, Cronos has grown its user base and active addresses by 10x in six months.
The Crypto.com Exchange and Visa debit cards create demand for the token. It must be acknowledged that Crypto.com is using more money in marketing than any other crypto project.
There are challenges too, of course. The biggest issue for the CRO is the fact that all this infrastructure doesn’t offer anything unique.
Even if Crypto.com is a really popular app, every exchange has a similar mobile app for crypto purchases. The competition in the debit card sector has also exploded. Crypto.com had to revise the Visa benefits in 2022, which wasn’t taken too well by the users. This is where competitors are going to hit.
Crypto.org and Cronos blockchains are competing in a really tough platform category. The good thing is that they are part of the Cosmos ecosystem, which makes it easier to link to other Cosmos-built blockchains. Yet, there are dozens of blockchains with similar capacities. Cronos is far behind its biggest competitors when it comes to building a DeFi & NFT ecosystem.
Cronos is currently at 8th place in the blockchain DeFi rankings. This is a good achievement when considering that Cronos MainNet was launched just seven months ago. The TVL of 1.6 billion dollars is also quite respectable.
All in all, it’s easy to see how much Crypto.com has grown in the past few years. It has also spent massive amounts on marketing. The Cronos blockchain has also had a good start despite poor market conditions.
The question is, when does all this development show in the price of the CRO token? It doesn’t even make it to the top 20 despite all the efforts mentioned in this article.
Cronos price and how to buy CRO
The easiest way to buy CRO tokens is via Crypto.com mobile app. You can make a bank wire deposit and buy CRO with fiat. There are also other options, but not many. It’s quite typical that exchanges don’t usually list native tokens of other crypto exchanges.
If you just want to speculate on the CRO price without downloading the app, you can buy CRO from Coinbase. This is also a good exchange for beginners.
If you download the Crypto.com app and become an active user, make sure you follow @Cryptocom on Twitter. This way you’ll never miss a campaign or an announcement. The official website is Crypto.com and the Reddit page can be found at reddit.com/r/Crypto_com/.