Cryptocurrencies

What is Crypto.com? The Beginner’s Guide

Crypto.com has become one of the top 15 cryptocurrency projects in 2020. It is best known for MCO Visa debit cards, which have millions of users already. But what is Crypto.com? Who runs the project and what else is there except the debit cards? This is the Crypto.com beginner’s guide.

What is Crypto.com

Let us first place Crypto.com in the correct category of cryptocurrencies. We like to split the market into three main categories: currencies, platforms, and tokens.

In the currency category, we have coins designed to be P2P digital money. The best-known currency is, of course, Bitcoin. This category also includes Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and Dash. We can also include privacy coins like Monero and stablecoins like Tether.

The best-known platform is Ethereum. These projects are full ecosystems or 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 coins created inside of these platforms. They are usually either utility tokens or governance tokens. This means tokens do not have their blockchain. Also, tokens have utility or usage inside a specific app.

Crypto.com can be placed into the platform category, with certain reservations. Even if there is a smart contract platform (Crypto.com chain) behind it, this project is not a direct competitor of Ethereum – at least not yet.

The closest competition for Crypto.com is probably Binance Coin / Binance Chain. Especially now, because Binance has also released its own debit card in 2020.

Below is a short advertising video of MCO Visa Cards from the spring of 2020.

The Crypto.com project has evolved quite a bit in the past two years. It started as Monaco and had Monaco (MCO) as a utility token. The MCO token will be removed from the market in 2020. After that, there will be only Crypto.com token, CRO.

At the time of writing this article (August 2020), CRO is still an Ethereum token. There will be a token swap from Ethereum to Crypto.com Chain MainNet when it will be launched. This should happen in late 2020 or early 2021.

The CRO token functions as a virtual gas in the Crypto.com Chain, just like ETH works on Ethereum. You’ll also get additional benefits from the MCO Visa Cards and Crypto.com exchange by holding CRO.

Next, we’ll go through the project history.

Crypto.com was originally called Monaco

The project has its origins in Switzerland. It was run in the beginning by a tech company called Monaco Technology GmbH, founded in 2016.

The CEO has been all the time Kris Marszalek. He’s a businessman located in Hong Kong, who has a vast experience in making start-ups successful. Marszalek is the one giving a face to the whole project.

The key personnel of the project is presented in the following image. You can see more team members from here.

Crypto.com team

As the title of this chapter tells you, Crypto.com was originally called Monaco (Card). The first Monaco Visa cards were released already in 2017 in Singapore. The project was expanded fast in 2018 all over Asia. There were already over 100 people working in the Monaco team at that time.

In July 2018, the project started a re-branding process from Monaco to Crypto.com. The 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 the launch of the Crypto.com Chain. This took place in November 2018. About 10 months later, Crypto.com launched a public TestNet titled Thaler, which has given app developers a chance to get to know the blockchain.

After the re-branding, the CRO token was also launched. It was airdropped to the holders of MCO, so there was no ICO held. 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.

Crypto.com has been so far a big success. The team has grown to over 300 persons in two years and there are over three million debit card users. Nowadays the project is run by CRO Protocol Labs with headquarters in Hong Kong.

MCO Visa Cards

Even if the re-branding from Monaco to Crypto.com took place in 2018, the name Monaco is still somewhat visible in the debit cards. That is why they are known as MCO Visa Cards.

Crypto.com is best-known for these debit cards. They have spread fast from Asia to all over the world. First in the U.S. and 2020 to Europe as well.

Below is a picture of the Ruby Steel level card.

Crypto.com MCO Visa

There are five different types of cards available. The basic level card is free, but the four highest levels require CRO tokens to be staked. Anyone can get the basic level card by downloading the Crypto.com app and performing the KYC process.

There are different types of benefits included in these cards: you can get a cashback from all purchases up to 5%, free Netflix, Spotify, Amazon, airport lounge, and so on. The higher-level card you take, the more benefits you receive.

You can check the current benefits and all card options from the Crypto.com website.

If you want to order a Crypto.com card, you should use a referral link to do that. When this article is being written, there is a campaign called BG50 – “Both Get 50$”

Crypto.com BG50

Note! This campaign might have changed by the time you read this article! The bonus might not be $50 but it could be bigger or smaller. The exact staking requirement might also change over time. Please check the up-to-date information from the Crypto.com website.

The campaign works as follows:

  1. Download the Crypto.com app by using a referral code (if the referral code field is not filled, type manually: dciii0ry9i)
  2. Make a fiat deposit to your account and buy at least 1000 CRO tokens
  3. Order one of the four highest level cards. The lowest level card requires 1000 CRO tokens to be staked.
  4. The staking locks your tokens for 6 months (180 days)
  5. You’ll receive a $50 bonus and so does the referral

You can read more about the BG50 campaign from this article and see the process for staking and getting the bonus from this image.

As mentioned above, this campaign might have changed by the time you read this article. Check the latest information from Crypto.com.

Using the MCO Visa Card

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 to use the card. 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 Crypto.com mobile app. The Crypto.com app is used for every action regarding your card or account. There is no desktop or website version available, just the mobile app.

Crypto.com app

The card is easy to use and works in any store accepting Visa card, which means anywhere in the world. The one thing you must understand is that the MCO Visa card doesn’t convert your cryptocurrency into fiat “only the fly”.

Some cards do this while charging a hefty fee on the process. What you must do is convert crypto to fiat before using the card, so you always have fiat (EUR, USD, GBP, etc.) on your account. This only takes a couple of seconds, so it’s not a big problem.

The cashback is a nice bonus and adds up in the long run. It is paid in CRO tokens to your Crypto.com account.

MCO Visa Card and taxes

Note: The following text is a generalization of common tax rules. They vary from country-to-country. Always check the latest regulations from your tax officials.  

Unfortunately, it is not easy to use cryptocurrencies for payments these days. This is because Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies don’t have the status of a legal tender. There are some countries, like Japan, where this is true, but those are exceptions.

This means that each cryptocurrency transaction is a taxable event in most of the countries. It doesn’t matter if you trade Bitcoin to Litecoin on Binance or purchase one beer or hotel room by using bitcoins.

If you use MCO cards for purchases, you must keep track of your crypto -> fiat conversions. There are online tools like CoinTracking for this, or you can use Excel if there are only a few transactions per month.

cointracking banner

There is one thing you can do here. Let’s say that you’d move 0.1 BTC to your Crypto.com account after each payday. You can convert all to fiat right away, which means you only have one transaction per month. Instead of converting small amounts of BTC to fiat before each time, you make a purchase.

Another thing to consider is the cashback. Even if the cashback is paid in CRO tokens and not in fiat, it’s probably counted as taxable income in your country.

Crypto.com card is no different here from any other crypto debit card. You can’t escape taxes by changing to a different provider. It’s all about the legal tender status, which unfortunately might not change anytime soon.

It might be that some countries apply a limit, let’s say 100 euros/dollars/GBP, and all transactions under this limit would be considered tax-free. This would make it so much easier to use cryptocurrencies for payments.

Crypto.com exchange explained

When this project started in 2017, 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.

The best places to buy Crypto.com CRO token:

Exchange Trading pairs Rating Link
CRO / EUR (or other fiat on your location). You can also swap CRO to any other currency supported by the Crypto.com app. Buy CRO
CRO / EUR, CRO / USD, CRO / BTC, CRO / USDT, CRO / ETH Buy CRO
CRO / BTC, CRO / USDT Buy CRO

Crypto.com is using MCO Visa Cards and all kinds of bonuses to attract new users, while the Crypto.com exchange is the one funding the project through transaction fees and loan services. 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 10,000 CRO tokens for 6 months in Crypto.com exchange, you get access to the Syndicate and about 20% APY.

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.

Crypto.com Exchange competitions

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.com Chain

Let’s take a look at the Crypto.com blockchain, which is called Crypto.com Chain. As mentioned earlier, this blockchain is still in a TestNet phase.

The CRO token is an ERC20 token on the Ethereum platform until Crypot.com Chain has its MainNet running. According to Kris Marszalek, this should take place in December 2020. This article is being written in August 2020, so the MainNet is not yet operational.

Crypto.com chain is technically a 3rd generation smart contract platform, like Binance Smart Chain, EOS, Tezos, Elrond, etc. There is little information available about this blockchain at this point since everyone is so focused on the debit cards.

We do know that the Crypto.com chain will use Byzantine Fault Tolerant (BFT) Proof of Stake consensus mechanism. It should reach up to tens of thousands of transactions per second (TPS) and about two second block time.

The image below gives you an idea of the Crypto.com chain network structure.

cryptocom chain nodes

Council nodes are the backbone of this system. They oversee all the critical operations in the Crypto.com chain. At the moment, one must stake 500,000 CRO tokens to become a council node. There is also a 14% APY as a reward.

There are also several other types of nodes in the Crypto.com Chain network, as seen in the image above. Many of these will be Crypto.com partners, which don’t have a critical status on the network.

We will update this chapter more in the future, once the MainNet has been launched and there is more information available.

Crypto.com beginner’s guide – investing in CRO

Crypto.com has become one of the largest cryptocurrency projects in 2020. The CRO token seems to have cemented its ranking position around 9th – 12th place when measured by the market cap. MCO debit cards are also extremely popular among crypto users.

There are two main reasons behind the recent success:

  1. com is doing aggressive marketing in social media 24/7/365. There are constantly new coins being added, new bonuses available, new competitions in the Crypto.com exchange, and so on.
  2. The CRO token has actual utility, meaning there are good reasons for people to buy the token and lock it out of the market by staking

According to Crypto.com, there are over three million MCO Visa Card users already. This is not bad considering these cards were not even available in the UK & Europe until the summer of 2020.

See the video below by Coin Bureau for more information about MCO Visa Card and its features.

The competition will get tougher in 2021 because Binance has also launched its debit card recently.

Crypto.com is going forward in other sectors as well. The Crypto.com exchange will soon have derivatives and other features. New coins are also being added. Crypto.com also launched a brand-new mobile wallet in 2020, which is a standalone wallet, separate from the Crypto.com app.

Finally, we have the Crypto.com Chain MainNet coming up. Time will tell how that will impact the project in 2021 and onwards.

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 tokens from Bittrex. That is an old and reliable exchange in the market.

Buy CRO at Bittrex

CRO token is also available on the KuCoin exchange.

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/. Go to chain.crypto.com if you want more information of the Crypto.com Chain. You’ll find the white paper, technical paper and other useful information.

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