Crypto.com has become one of the best-known brands in the world of cryptocurrencies. It has caught investors’ attention with massive marketing efforts. Crypto.com has also changed a lot in recent years. It’s much more than just a Visa card issuer. This article is a Crypto.com beginner’s guide from an investor’s perspective. We review the project’s history, technology, and CRO token potential as an investment.
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.
Crypto.com is a bit of a special case. The project started with the name Monaco and the token MCO. This was a utility token used with Monaco Visa cards. The MCO token no longer exists. It has been replaced with the CRO token, which was launched a couple of years ago.
CRO was initially issued on the Ethereum platform. It was a utility token used in the Crypto.com app and Crypto.com Exchange. Below is a promotional video of Visa cards from spring 2020.
However, a lot has changed in 2021.
Crypto.org MainNet (released in March) and Cronos MainNet (started in November) have moved the CRO into the platform category. Cronos is a full-blooded smart contract platform that competes with the likes of Binance Smart Chain, Cardano, and Solana. CRO token is the native token in Crypto.org and Cronos platforms, which means it is used for staking (Proof of Stake) and for transactions fees.
It is no wonder if this history reminds you of Binance Coin. BNB has also taken a similar path from a utility token to a platform (Binance Smart Chain).
Next, we’ll go through the history of Crypto.com.
Crypto.com was originally called Monaco
Crypto.com was launched in 2016. It was founded by Kris Marszalek, Rafael Melo, Bobby Bao, and Gary Or. The project was initially called Monaco Card.
Kris Marszalek is the CEO. He is a businessman living in Hong Kong with a long experience of building startups to billion-dollar businesses. Marszalek is the person you mostly see on interviews and Youtube.
Below is a picture with the founding team of Crypto.com in it. You can see more 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, who launched in ICO in 2017 or 2018.
Crypto.com wants to get rid of any regulatory issues regarding its token. They probably have enough paperwork already with the debit cards.
The name Monaco and the abbreviation MCO have now disappeared.
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 used to be just a supplier of Visa debit cards. Now it’s much more than that. Crypto.com wants a piece of the NFT cake as well. Time will tell how popular these brand-new blockchains will become.
Crypto.com Visa card and bonus
Crypto.com is best known for its Visa cards. They were known as MCO Visa until a year ago, but the MCO has since been dropped out. The card is now Crypto.com Visa. They are used all around the world these days. The first cards were received in Europe in the summer of 2020.
Visa cards are managed with the Crypto.com mobile app. Below is a screenshot of the Google Play Store.
There are five different cards available. The Midnight Blue is completely free. All you need to do is download the Crypto.com app and go through a mandatory KYC. You can order the card for yourself from the app. Note that the Crypto.com app is only available as a mobile version.
Other cards require CRO tokens to be staked as follows (situation 11/2021): 350€, 3500€, 35000€ or 350000€. The cards come with significant benefits that depend on the level of the card. There is cashback up to 8%, Netflix, Spotify, Amazon Prime, and free withdrawals from ATMs. You can find up-to-date benefits and terms and conditions on Crypto.com’s website.
If you want to order a card, you should definitely take advantage of the “Both Get$25” bonus!
The campaign works as follows:
- Download the Crypto.com app by using a referral code (if the referral code field is not filled, type manually: dciii0ry9i). You only need an e-mail address at this point.
- Confirm your account via the email link within 72 hours.
- Deposit at least €350 to your Crypto.com account. You can make a deposit by bank transfer or credit card. You can also deposit crypto and sell it to fiat.
- Order one of the four highest-level cards. The lowest level card requires €350 worth of CRO tokens to be staked.
- The staking locks your tokens for 6 months (180 days).
- You’ll receive a $25 bonus and so does the referral.
This campaign might have changed by the time you read this article. The exact staking requirement might also change over time. You can read more about the BG25 campaign from this article.
Crypto.com Visa card experiences
The MCO Visa works just like any other Visa debit card. Even if you take the cheapest option, there are no monthly fees or yearly payments. There are things you should consider when using the card, which we’ll cover here.
First, you must activate the card after receiving it. This is done by using the mobile app. The Crypto.com app has all settings and features when it comes to your card or your account.
See screenshots of the iOS version below.
Our team has had Crypto.com experiences over the past year. Here are some points for those interested in the card.
Crypto.com Visa works in all restaurants, shops, service stations, etc. that accept Visa and Mastercard. It can be used to make everyday purchases instead of your own bank’s debit card. Our team has also gathered experiences from different countries and small stores. Crypto.com Visa has even worked in places where Revolut card has not been accepted.
One slightly annoying feature is that the app doesn’t automatically convert cryptocurrencies into fiat. If you want to use the app for paying with crypto, you must first sell your coins to fiat before making purchases. Of course, you can use the card without cryptocurrencies and make a fiat (EUR, USD, etc.) deposit from your bank account.
Crypto.com’s Visa card has the advantage of cashback, which is 2% already on the Ruby Steel level card (requires only €350 CRO staking). Cashback is paid in CRO tokens. The potential increase in price makes shopping more profitable.
The staking for level 2-5 cards takes place in euros instead of a specific CRO amount. You need to buy the CRO tokens with the required amount and then stake them for six months. Once the staking period is over, you can remove the staking. The card will work even after this, but you’ll lose some of the benefits.
We will also publish a separate guide for the Crypto.com app, which will take a closer look at its features.
When Crypto.com launched in 2016, it was all about debit cards. A lot has changed in the past two years since re-branding to Crypto.com. Now we have also the Crypto.com exchange, which will be an important part of financing the project.
Crypto.com is using its Visa cards to attract new users, while the exchange is the one funding the project through transaction fees and crypto loans. The exchange was launched in November 2019. You can check it out at crypto.com/exchange.
We recommend checking the video below, which is a good presentation of the Crypto.com exchange.
Crypto.com cannot match the selection Binance and other top exchanges have. However, they are expanding fast, and the exchange has some useful features. You can access these features by holding/staking CRO, which is a clear use case for the token.
If you stake 5,000 CRO tokens for 6 months in Crypto.com exchange, you get access to the Syndicate. You can read more about this here.
The Syndicate is like a VIP lounge for Crypto.com exchange users. There are constantly sweet offers available, for example, an allocation of certain cryptocurrencies available with a -50% discount. There are other campaigns as well, such as trading competitions.
Crypto.com exchange has also “soft staking” for many popular cryptocurrencies. This means the exchange is paying you interest for holding coins there. This soft staking can be ended at any time you want.
Crypto.org and Cronos blockchains
As mentioned earlier, the year 2021 has brought major changes to the Crypto.com ecosystem. Crypto.com has entered Ethereum’s territory. It is now competing with smart contract platforms.
The implementation of Crypto.com blockchains is very similar to Binance’s approach. Crypto.com calls its blockchains 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 Binance Chain. It’s a simple but fast Proof of Stake blockchain. Both Binance and Crypto.com have built their blockchains with the Cosmos SDK.
SDK is short for 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. Crypto.org can handle approximately 2,000-3,000 transactions per second.
Cronos can be seen as a sidechain for Crypto.org. The relationship is similar to Binance Chain & Binance 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. Cronos’ consensus algorithm is Proof of Authority, just like Binance Smart Chain.
PoA is a version of Proof of Stake in which one entity (Crypto.com) selects a small number (20-21) of validators. The solution is therefore very centralized. Cronos is capable of about 200-300 transactions per second. The scalability limitation comes from running smart contracts.
CRO token as an investment
The fundaments of Crypto.com have changed quite a bit in 2021 thanks to the introduction of Crypto.org and Cronos. The CRO token has become a native currency for two blockchains. Because these blockchains use Proof of Stake consensus algorithms, there is a need for staking. This is important for three reasons.
- Staking and transaction fees bring important use cases for CRO.
- Staking locks up huge amounts of tokens out of the market.
- Small investors will also stake their tokens by delegating them to validators. This again removes CRO from the market.
When we look at competing blockchains, they have around 65% to 75% of the native tokens staked. If Cronos and Crypto.org grow their popularity, this could have a significant impact on CRO token price development. The fewer tokens there are on crypto exchanges, the faster the price grows if demand increases.
The recent Coin Bureau video below also gives a good overview of the project. You might want to check it out.
The CRO token has also its traditional use case with the Visa cards. Crypto.com’s customer base is growing rapidly, which means the popularity of Visa cards is also growing. Crypto.com has over 10 million customers. Of course, some will settle for the free card, but many will also stake CRO to get a better card.
It is also worth remembering the use of CRO in the Crypto.com Exchange.
Crypto.com starts competing more and more with Binance. BNB and CRO are probably two tokens with the most use cases. At the time of writing the article, the BNB market cap is approximately 5x higher than the CRO market cap. However, Binance has also at least five times more customers than Crypto.com
This article has been updated at a time when CRO price has grown hundreds of percent in less than a month. Cronos MainNet and huge marketing investments have already pushed CRO into the top 15 rankings.
It is also much easier to invest in CRO tokens nowadays. If you just want to speculate on its price, you don’t need to download the Crypto.com app. CRO can now even be found at Coinbase.
Crypto.com 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/.