How to HODL - Nexo Finance Review 2021
Nexo.io is a centralised platform similar to BlockFi and Celsius Network where you can deposit cryptocurrencies and also fiat (only Nexo) in return for very healthy and lucrative interest rates. In this short review, I discuss the Nexo model and how it provides the perfect bridge for the average person between the standard financial system we have and the cryptocurrency space.
In order to reach the top rates (not to say the base rates are bad!), you have to hold a certain amount of their native NEXO token and also get your interest paid out in those tokens. But we'll discuss this later.
Nexo boasts some pretty big numbers:
Up to 12% interest paid out for fiat/stablecoins, up to 8% for crypto
18 cryptocurrencies supported
$5B+ in assets under management
1M+ Nexo Users
Available in 200 jurisdictions
$375M insurance on all custodial assets
But is it all legit?
How secure are they really?
Can I trust them?
How can they offer such high rates?
Nexo's primary advantage is the interest rates it can offer. Currently speaking, they have just introduced a flexible/fixed term savings model, where you can choose to lock in your assets for an additional rate.
The new crypto rates:
It's clear to see that these rates comfortably better any of those offered by banks or institutions in the regular financial system.
Next, the ability to deposit fiat (GBP, EUR) is unparalleled for me as a feature on Nexo. I love it. Now you can choose to lock in your fiat for 3 month periods at a time for the premium rates, but at the bare minimum, you can still earn a 4% compounding return!
The new fiat rates:
You can play around with the numbers and your own assets using the link below:
The NEXO token also provides a lot of benefits for Nexo users. Recently the Nexo team has added governance to the token, so customers will be able to vote on certain proposals, which is great as it means they'll be able to make their voice heard on key decisions.
The token itself also has value, so appreciation of the token price over time is also something to take into account. As the platform grows more and more, the price will only continue to rise.
The recent price movement of the NEXO token:
For reference, competitor Celsius Network's CEL token:
Therefore, you can currently argue the NEXO token is undervalued.
Holding NEXO tokens also allows you to receive dividends based on the profits made by Nexo over the year. The dividends vary based on how many and how long you've had your tokens for.
Finally, Nexo also recently launched a $12M buyback program, where they repurchase tokens into an "Investor Protection Reserve", visible at this public address:
If you'd like to read more on Nexo's token plans, please check out Nexonomics below:
Nexo also allows you to take loans out against your crypto, and this is primarily how they make their money and sustain their lucrative rates currently. The website below details the stats for how much Nexo is lending month on month since it's inception.
Total Loans in 2018 - $19,938,473
Total Loans in 2019 - $132,901,185
Total Loans in 2020 - $722,791,553
But if we look at 2021 already...
January 2021 - $570,787,304
February 2021 - $926,248,722
March 2021 - $134,459,283
Total Loans in 2021 so far - $1,631,495,309
Writing this as of the morning of the 6th March, Nexo's loans for this month have already surpassed the entirety of loans given out in 2019.
The loans in 2021 so far have also surpassed all loans given out in 2018, 2019 and 2020 put together!
But why is this important? The important thing to note is that you can take loans out against your assets on Nexo, i.e collateralising the assets with a Loan-to-Value ratio for each.
This means that you can essentially use your assets to borrow assets for everyday spending!
The amount of loans increasing drastically is very bullish for Nexo indeed. Savvy investors getting in early perhaps to take advantage?
There are also other advantages, such as the security they have with BitGo, and there are plans to increase the current insured amount to $1B from $375M. I haven't even touched on the NEXO Card being rolled out in 2021 hopefully, with the ability to earn cashback!
Up until recently, Nexo offered free, unlimited withdrawals. Unfortunately, Nexo has now limited the number of withdrawals based on your loyalty level.
Base - 0 free withdrawals
Silver - 0 free withdrawals
Gold - 1 free withdrawal
Platinum - 3 free withdrawals
Competitor Celsius Network currently still offers free, unlimited withdrawals at the time of speaking.
The reasoning from Nexo was due to the ongoing Ethereum gas fee issue plaguing the entire space. Simply put, the gas fees Nexo was paying out are eating too much into profits, which are ultimately linked to dividends paid out for all NEXO token holders once a year. It may be temporary until EIP-1559 is implemented in July, however the Nexo community is not happy with this decision.
Next, one obvious downside is that you cannot access the highest interest rates without holding the native NEXO token. Despite the benefits of holding the token in my opinion, this can be seen as a negative for some.
Some are also not happy with the new flexible/fixed term system implemented today. Alongside the withdrawal capping, many feel this restricts the movement of their funds even further and they retain less and less control over their assets as well.
And leading on from this, the elephant in the room is communication.
Nexo's biggest flaw for me and many is the way they communicate their decisions with the community. Currently it feels like it is 1 step forward, 2 steps back.
The beginning of AMAs with Antoni Trenchev (Co-Founder) each month was hugely welcomed by all associated with Nexo. However less than a week later, Nexo decided to implement a new flexible/fixed term savings model with no forewarning.
Customers were not given a grace period from which the new change would take place, which led to large amounts of dis-satisfaction on the Nexo Reddit page. It was disappointing to see.
It has been theorised that since Nexo are in the process of acquiring banking licenses in the US and UK. Regulatory bodies may have told them to implement a system where their revenue is more stable. The fixed term deposits means that there is a more stable supply of profit for Nexo in the eyes of regulators. This is definitely plausible, and most customers would've understood. Another possible explanation is that the rates are simply not sustainable as more and more customers jump onto the platform.
In order for Nexo to thrive, this decision may have been necessary. But that doesn't negate the fact that customers should be alerted promptly, not finding out through a forum such as Reddit when the changes are already live on the platform.
Due to this, many people did sell their tokens, and the price briefly took a nose dive before recovering back and stabilising. The best thing would've been to implement the change on the 1st April, with a suitable blog post on the website maybe to explain why the changes were being made.
In future, Nexo can definitely improve on the marketing and communicative procedures before rolling out large scale changes to the platform.
I have only been with Nexo since December 2020, so my experience is limited to only a few months. On the whole, the experience thus far has been of a mixed nature. There are some great features on Nexo, such as amazing interest rates for GBP and the token itself. I expect strong growth for the token itself and the Nexo platform in 2021, as demonstrated by the numbers above. However, the poor communication from the team regarding important announcements does not instil trust, and in an industry where there are so many scams prevalent, it only heightens fear in users.
Some features I'd love to see:
Ability to view portfolio and account balances in different currencies (GBP, EUR) instead of the standard USD option currently.
Address whitelisting for withdrawals to increase security.
Implement a standard referral scheme to invite friends and family.
Ability to choose whether to take interest in the same currency or NEXO, not either as it is currently is. E.g, receive BTC interest for the BTC deposited, but receive NEXO for the GBP deposited.
Increase the speed of the rollout of the NEXO Card for customers.
Allow API integration for exchanges/personal finance apps such as YNAB.
Provide clear notice of big upcoming changes to the platform.
Best case scenario - NEXO token hits $10 in late 2021 and the platform has reverted back to their #FeeFree model and also added several new features.
Worst case scenario - Nexo rug-pulls everything and runs for the hills. This is unlikely to happen but still possible unfortunately.
Nexo, similar to the crypto space in general, has strong promise to be a great long-term platform and project however lacks maturity and is experiencing teething problems during this cycle's bull-run.
Only time will tell whether keeping assets on Nexo was worth it or not.