As cryptocurrencies become more popular new supporting fintech and blockchain companies have cropped up alongside them. Many of the traditional finance world’s products and services are now offered for cryptocurrency, including borrowing, lending, and interest-bearing savings accounts.
Celsius Network is one of the leading crypto-borrowing and -lending companies on the market. In this review, you’ll learn about the different services Celsius offers, the platform’s pros and cons, and more details about the company and its services.
On July 13th, 2022, Celsius filed for bankruptcy in New York since it was unable to recover from the crypto market downturn.
Pros & Cons
What Is Celsius Network?
Celsius Network is a cryptocurrency lending platform that relies on blockchain technology. The company was founded in 2017 to provide services such as quick transactions, fee-free lending, and fair interest rates. Like many crypto companies, Celsius aims to disrupt the financial industry.
Since the company was founded, it has processed $8.2 billion worth of loans. It has more than two million community members and more than $22 billion in assets as of April 2022.
Think of Celsius as the combination of a traditional bank and a cryptocurrency exchange. Like other crypto exchanges, you can buy, send, and receive coins. On the other hand, it operates like a bank because it allows you to borrow and earn money in an interest-bearing account.
One big difference between Celsius and other lenders is how the borrowing process works. One of the reasons personal loans often have high rates is that they’re unsecured, meaning there’s no collateral backing them. But when you borrow money from Celsius, you use your cryptocurrency as collateral, which allows you to access lower interest rates.
Who Is It For?
Celsius is for anyone who invests in cryptocurrency and wants to use it to either get a low-interest loan or earn higher interest on crypto than with a standard savings account. Celsius offers a better version of the service than traditional financial companies in both cases.
You can use your cryptocurrency as collateral to access a low-interest loan for borrowing. The benefit of this is that you don’t have to sell your cryptocurrency and use that money for your large purchase. You can access the short-term funds you need while watching your cryptocurrency holdings grow.
As for savings, Celsius offers excellent interest rates. While many traditional savings accounts pay monthly, Celsius pays weekly. It’s the perfect place to store cryptocurrency that you won’t need for a while since you can earn money on it.
What Does Celsius Network Offer?
Celsius uses blockchain technology to offer many of the products and services you’d expect to find with a traditional financial services company.
Celsius allows you to borrow funds using your cryptocurrency as collateral. The company doesn’t require origination fees or credit checks and has some of the lowest interest rates in the industry. They also offer easy refinance options.
To borrow, you choose the type of currency you want from a small list that includes the U.S. dollar. Then you’ll indicate which digital currency you want to use as collateral. The more collateral you can provide, the lower the interest rate. Finally, you can choose loan terms from one to three years.
Celsius offers the ability to earn interest as you would in a high-yield savings account on your cryptocurrency. You can earn interest on nearly 50 currencies, with rates ranging from 0.50% to up to 17.78%, with weekly interest payments.
Celsius also allows you to purchase a few of your favorite cryptocurrencies using your credit card or bank account. Celsius has several different digital currencies, including Bitcoin and Ether.
Send & Receive
Finally, Celsius allows you to send and receive cryptocurrency without paying fees using the CelPay platform. You simply choose a recipient, select a coin and the amount, and hit send.
Fees & Limits
Unlike many other financial services companies, Celsius doesn't charge many fees. In fact, you can borrow money without paying any origination fees. The only added cost is the interest you pay on the loan, which is considerably lower than the rate you might get on a standard personal loan. The company also doesn’t charge withdrawal fees, transfer fees, or any of the other fees you may have run into with other platforms.
However, some of Celsius's partners do charge fees. For example, for in-app coin purchases, Celsius partners with GEM. The two supported crypto providers, Wyre and Coinify, charge minimal fees for ACH transfer, manual bank transfer, and credit card purchases.
If you purchase crypto, you'll see a fee from Simplex included in the price. It's 3.5% or a $10 minimum fee in the U.S.
You also don’t have to worry about minimum account limits or account maintenance fees in the interest-bearing account.
How Do I Open an Account?
Opening an account with Celsius is easy. To do so, you can visit its website and sign up in just a few steps. An even more straightforward way to open an account is to download the company’s app since that’s where you’ll primarily manage your account. Here’s how to sign up using the app:
- Download the Celsius app
- Open the app and click the button that reads “Join Celsius”
- Choose how you want to sign up and enter the required information
- Enter your referral code, if you have one
- Create a password and click the button that reads “Create wallet”
- Create a PIN
- Verify your profile
Keep in mind that, like many financial services companies, Celsius does require that you verify your identity by providing your social security number and other proof of identification.
How’s the Customer Service?
If you need help from a customer service representative at Celsius, there are a couple of different ways to get it. First, the company has a customer service phone number open Monday through Saturday, 10 AM to 11 PM (ET). There’s also an online form you can use to contact the company.
Several reviews for Celsius on Trustpilot point to the high-quality customer service, and the company generally has excellent reviews. And while the Better Business Bureau doesn’t accredit the company, it has few complaints compared to many companies.
Is It Safe?
Anytime you trust a company with your money, it’s important to look into its safety features. It’s important to note that, unlike traditional banks, Celsius isn’t FDIC-insured. If you take advantage of the interest-bearing account, your assets won’t be protected by government insurance. This is the case with cryptocurrency, no matter where you keep it.
The good news is that Celsius takes security very seriously and has plenty of precautions to keep your assets safe. The company uses all of the most advanced security features you would expect from a financial company, including two-factor authentication, encryption, and a feature to block withdrawals on your account that requires an offline code to turn off.
Celsius Suspends User Withdrawals
As mentioned, Celsius has suspended users from withdrawing and transferring funds, essentially locking-in people's crypto for the time being.
This announcement has shaken trust in the Celsius network and is certainly worrying for investors who have significant amounts of crypto locked up in their Celsius accounts at the moment. It also highlights one of the risks of using crypto lending platforms or savings accounts. In short, when you deposit crypto with Celsius or similar companies, know that you're taking a risk and liquidity isn't guaranteed.
Plus, Celsius now risks insolvency due to CEL token prices plummeting plus its pool of Lido Staked Ether also dropping in value. If it goes bankrupt, there's no guarantee users will get their funds back. Remember: Celsius isn't a bank, and digital assets don't benefit from FDIC insurance.
Celsius is just one platform that allows you to borrow against or earn rewards from your cryptocurrency, but it’s hardly the only one on the market. Here are a few competitors you might consider if you like what Celsius has to offer:
- BlockFi. Another blockchain company allows you to borrow money using your cryptocurrency as collateral. Rates start a bit higher than Celsius at 4.5%. But the platform also offers some features Celsius doesn’t, including a crypto wallet, a crypto credit card, and the ability to trade many different coins. Read our BlockFi review.
- Nexo. It allows you to borrow against your cryptocurrency holdings but at interest rates starting at 0%. Loan amounts range from $50 to $2 million, but you’ll need the collateral to back it up like the other platforms. Nexo offers additional features such as a cryptocurrency exchange and a cryptocurrency spending card. Read our Nexo review.
- CoinLoan. This cryptocurrency lending platform allows you to borrow, swap, and grow your assets. Like Celsius, you can deposit your coins and earn interest on them, with rates considerably higher than your standard high-yield savings account. You can also borrow money by using your cryptocurrency as collateral. CoinLoan is very similar to Celsius in terms of its services and the rates available.
- Ledn. Like Celsius, it allows you to deposit your cryptocurrency and earn interest. The platform currently collaborates with Genesis Capital to offer up to 5.25% APY on Bitcoin and USDC savings accounts. Ledn also offers other services such as cryptocurrency-backed loans and a trading account.
Note that many of the companies above have, like Celsius Network, begun to restrict or revoke access to their crypto savings accounts for U.S. users.
The Bottom Line
Celsius Network has become one of the most popular borrowing and earning cryptocurrency platforms out there. It offers fewer coins for purchase than some of its competitors, so higher-volume traders may want to pair it with another cryptocurrency platform or exchange. But for cryptocurrency-backed loans and high-interest savings, Celsius is one of the best options you’ll find.