A little under two years ago, I wrote about a crypto project named Monaco. I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t pinning high hopes on it in terms of achieving any results, but it has proven me wrong – much to my delight. It has since rebranded itself from Monaco to Crypto.com. Imagine how much that domain name would have cost.
The project itself has evolved quite a bit and would take significant time to dissect. While you can read all the relevant information from its website, let me share how I have been using the blockchain project for my personal and very practical use cases ever since I’ve received my card some time back.
To me, Crypto.com is basically a fiat gateway to/from the crypto world. The project ERC-20 tokens (coins) are known as MCO, and they are currently priced at about US$3.20 each. In my original post in 2017, I had recommended getting the most basic card, but I have since changed my mind and opted for the Ruby Steel card simply due to it being great value-for-money.
Excitedly topped it up with some Ether and tested it out. Crypto.com has evolved far beyond what was envisioned initially, in a good way. I have listed three points with regards to using it plus some thoughts. Pretty atas packaging eh?
1) Get a steel card with 2% ‘cash-back’ on everything
I bought 50 tokens and staked all 50 of them for six months. This will cost about $160 USD at the current price, which entitled me to a complimentary steel debit card. Yep, it’s free. Man, it really carries some weight when I hold it in my hand. My first ever, I’ll admit.
By staking my 50 MCO tokens, which is the minimum to get to the Ruby Steel tier – there are quite a few benefits. At this tier, 2% cash back is applicable for all transactions. Let’s say I make a purchase that costs US$160 using my Ruby Steel card. I get a cash back of 2% — which is US$3.20 — that is immediately credited in the form of MCO tokens. At current price, that would translate to exactly 1 MCO token.
To me, this 2% isn’t a big deal and will basically offset any friction in terms of actually transferring some money (more on that later) into the pre-paid debit card. I have seen videos of commuters using this atas metal EZ-link card 😛
2) Free Spotify Premium Subscription Worth US$9.99
For cardholders belonging to the Ruby Steel tier and have staked 50 MCO tokens, we get a complimentary Spotify subscription in the form of max. monthly reimbursements up to US$9.99 which would more than cover a Singaporean Spotify Premium subscription at S$9.90 right?
The way I sidestep the algorithm is by using it to subscribe to Spotify Family Premium at S$14.98 so that both my wife and I can use it HAHA. With the USD exchange rate, I’m paying about S$1+ after the reimbursements.
One condition to fulfill, apart from staking MCO tokens, is to charge the Spotify subscription to the MCO pre-paid debit card.
Do note that this is not a partnership with Spotify by Crypto.com and it would be more precise to see it as a one-sided reward by Crypto.com. Basically, when Crypto.com detects a payment made to Spotify, it immediately credit the cardholder with up US$9.99 equivalent in MCO tokens.
Crypto.com can choose to end this benefit at any time.
Time for some simple maths. Assuming the MCO token price is US$3.20 and up to a rebate of US$9.99 for Spotify subscription fee is applicable monthly, we are looking at a monthly return of 6.1875%, or an annual return of 74.25%.
Assuming that the Spotify reimbursement benefit continues for 16.16 months, one would have made back 100% of the amount invested in MCO tokens, and continue to own the 50 MCO tokens at whatever price it may be. Further Spotify subscriptions will remain free as long as the benefit isn’t terminated.
I’ll say again that Crypto.com can choose to end this benefit at any time.
3) Withdraw foreign currency $ from overseas ATMs
The killer feature which I was originally interested in when I first wrote about the project? It works beautifully.
I travel to Malaysia/Indonesia almost every month. Why not bring the card for a test run? It basically offers some flexibility in terms of not having to exchange too much foreign currency in advance – because we’re all wary of not having enough cash.
Being a VISA card, I can basically use it overseas for retail transactions or stick it into any ATM and withdraw local currency at ‘Google’ rates. I tried it out in Malaysia and it was worthy to note that I received better rates than money-changers.
- ‘Retail’ @ Tesco – RM$3.25 : S$1.08 [Rate=3.009]
- ‘ATM’ @ RHB Bank – RM$100 : S$33.30 [Rate=3.003]
Referencing XE.com, the SGD-to-MYR rates on my transaction date varied between 3.014 to 3.018 so it does seem pretty OK with a slippage of about 0.5% against ‘Google’ rates. I’ll be doing more test transactions for sure.
Another test for SGD-Rupiah ATM withdrawal :
Pretty funny when I dropped by an Indonesian ATM to withdraw 500,000 rupiah and all ten of these notes were dispensed onto the floor by the faulty machine.
Otherwise, the rate was not bad. For a basic comparison, it debited my card S$49.32 which comes up to a rate of 10,137.87 vs the XE.com rate below.
Google rate, on the other hand is giving 10,090.81 :
The Crypto.com pre-paid VISA debit card also has PayWave functionality and that has worked flawlessly .. with the exception of one ‘Giant’ supermarket payment terminal which couldn’t detect it. So far, I’ve used it at various retailers including NTUC Fairprice, McDonald’s and Watson’s etc.
Pretty cool when you get an instant ke-ching reminder that cashback has immediately been credited.
In terms of the ‘cash-back’ rebate and reimbursements (Spotify etc), note that they are given in the form of MCO tokens instantaneously and the last I checked, one would need to accumulate a minimum of 4.5 MCO tokens (approximately S$20 at current prices) in order to cash them out. If the price of MCO tokens goes up before cashing out, yippee – otherwise, yikes. It could go both ways – just like how one would incur forex risks when investing in non-SGD assets.
I didn’t mention the other tiers because they were not attractive to me. (aka I’m poor ) I know there are some OGs rocking 5% cash-back on everything.
Funding the Crypto.com Card (plus free US$50 credit)
If you’re interested after reading what I wrote, then the next question you would have is .. exactly how easy/difficult it is to fund the card in order to use it.
Jumping through a few easy hoops is necessary –
- Buy crypto with fiat currency at a crypto exchange (e.g. buy ETH with SGD at Coinhako)
- Send ETH (or other applicable tokens) to Crypto.com address via wallet app
- Exchange ETH (or other applicable tokens) for SGD to top up into card
Fulfilment of KYC (know-your-customer) / AML (anti-money laundering) requirements is part and parcel of the crypto landscape in Singapore. If you want Coinhako or Crypto.com accounts, you have to get verified and authenticated.
Not forgetting that Crypto.com is a centralized entity and subjected to the usual risk of closure/bankruptcy – which is why I don’t top it up with too much money. Once, I transferred Ether but Crypto.com was suffering from degraded operation status, which meant transfers were delayed. Things like these can, and will, happen.
If you’re still undeterred by now, currently an user of Spotify and thought that the potential returns (monthly=6.1875%, annual=74.25%) from staking 50 MCO tokens is sick, you’d be very happy to know that Crypto.com has a referral program to get US$50.
Follow the 3 simple steps from the official website –
- Download Crypto.com app and tap on “Invited? Add Referral Code” above “Sign Up” button
- Enter my referral code : uld5vzincy and complete KYC verification
- Stake 50 MCO tokens
Again, feel free to read the official referral_program for details. I know (and very much appreciate) that quite a few of you have read my earlier post, made used of my Coinbase Earn referral link (even when you didn’t have to) and earned US$50 worth of crypto.
With this follow-up post, another free US$50 (in MCO tokens) are up for grabs. Unfortunately, there is no free-pass this time. A referral code is necessary and I don’t have a generic sign-up option for you that still gets you the US$50. At least I have put myself to the test as a guinea pig 😀
This time round, it is a little more troublesome than the Coinbase Earn lobang, and I would tag it with an ‘intermediate’ rating in terms of hassle and difficulty. If you see value in this card like I do, then I know what your next action would be. Especially if you already own crypto assets!
Update 3rd Oct 2019 :
Pretty cool that Crypto.com tagged my post on their official blog’s September 2019 Update even though my review wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. This kind of behavior is very much appreciated in crypto space! 🙂
Oh yes, got a promoted tweet too 😛
Thanks for the review @turtle_investor. Glad you are enjoying your Ruby Steel #MCOVisaCard. Make sure to check out #CryptoEarn and when you are ready, consider the upgrade to the 500 MCO Tier. #TeamRubySteel https://t.co/myR3uymgNc pic.twitter.com/b67j3qrtCx
— Crypto.com (@cryptocom) September 10, 2019
Crypto C-ries Recap
You mean there are really so many good deals to take advantage of due to the emergence of blockchain technology?
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