NEXO Review— the best way to earn 12% APY on your crypto assets?

tomwalsh

What is Nexo?

Established in 2018 by former Bulgarian Member of Parliament Antoni Trenchev, Nexo dubs itself the world’s largest and most trusted lending institution in the digital finance industry. It is predominantly, an online bank account that you can use to store, transfer, earn interest and borrow on your digital assets. They boast over 2 million users of their platform, with a focus on institutional lending — although retail (such as myself) are jumping in to earn and borrow as well.

1. Earn crypto on fiat currency

The single best feature I value on NEXO is that you can deposit directly from your bank account and earn crypto. This means no transferring to exchanges, transferring into volatile assets like Bitcoin or even stablecoins (just in case you are worried about Tether [USDT] blowing up in everyone’s faces and becoming worthless). This is also completely free of fees.

Once signed up, and your account is activated, you are given a traditional bank account and sort code to transfer money with a unique reference for your Nexo account — note that this means the bank account and sort code is not your own; and is instead is a Nexo custodian wallet which the platform then allocates the funds to your account.

I transferred some of my good old pound sterling for free and immediately started earning 6% APY, compounded daily— better than any single traditional high street bank out there today. Their website states they have 40+ fiat currencies available, however in my account, I am only able to withdraw and deposit USD, GBP and EUR — although this should cover 80% of people in any case.

Nevertheless, having the feature to deposit fiat and earn crypto (which few offers in the market have) means an almost frictionless way to get into the crypto market.

The platform also accepts exchanges using its own crypto exchange with over 100 trading pairs — all the top cryptos are represented. Deposits and withdrawals work as you would expect, you have a crypto wallet address for each asset, and fees may apply (depending on which blockchain you are using).

2. Rewards based on loyalty

The rewards programme itself is very competitive, not only the rates on offer but incremental increase based on Nexo holdings offers a slight bump in earnings. Rewards start at a generous 4% for fiat and cryptocurrency, and 8% for stablecoins. Unlike other platforms, which require you to invest in their own token before you can start earning rewards, or stake for a certain period, Nexo rewards begin immediately. What’s even better, interest is paid daily. This means £1,000 investment with daily interest paid at 4% APY actually earns an effective 4.081% on a 12-month investment. Nexo offers incremental increases of up to a bonus 1% on all interest earnings, depending on your Nexo holdings level. In addition, if you choose to earn interest in NEXO tokens, you also receive an additional 2% bonus on all interest levels.

The best boost to your savings however is by locking up your assets in fixed term deposits. These are less advertised on the platform (and it took me a couple of months to find), however if you lock up your assets in fixed terms (from 1 to 3 months+) you can boost your savings by another 2–4%.

Once these are factored in, you can essentially earn over 12% APY on fiat currencies (with an effective yearly interest rate of 12.747% based on daily compounding. Locking up your assets for fixed terms is highly recommended, especially as the terms are relatively short, and it’s unlikely you’ll use the platform to constantly transfer between exchanges (unless you’re a regular trader).

As a result, in just a couple of months, I’ve earned almost $500 simply by staking fiat and other currencies with the platform.

3. The Nexo token

The NEXO token is the governance asset of the platform. You can choose to earn interest in NEXO on all your assets; or earn interest in the currency that you deposited in. Holding NEXO allows you to take part in voting for certain proposed changes on the platform, however, I haven’t been party to any just yet.

In terms of ROI, the Nexo token has been one of the most successful in the past year. Most tokens, once they are listed on an exchange, experience a huge drop in value followed by months of consolidation.

The same has not been true for Nexo. Since listing on Huobi in October 2020; it has experienced +1151.02% increase YTD. What’s more, this is still less than half its value at its ATH of around $4 (which it hit on 12th May, before dropping 50% like most other cryptos in the mid-year crash).

The Nexo token is currently trading at around half its prior ATH (Nexo hit $1.61 at the time of writing), which means it’s probably a good time to start accumulating.

Nexo currently trades on Huobi, HitBTC and Hotbit, all less popular exchanges for most western customers, however trading volume is relatively high (around $6–$10M daily) with a total market cap of around $900bn. Coingecko places it #108 in their rankings (currently hanging around with the likes of Curve DAO, KuCoin, AUDIO, Safemoon and BitClout to name a few).

All in all, given the utility of the Nexo platform and its token, compared to its current competitors (by market cap) it has a lot more to offer and seems a much better investment if you are looking for a low-cap altcoin.

4. Borrowing on your assets

The final aspect of the platform to mention here is its borrowing potential. Nexo operates a ‘credit line’, which adjusts automatically based on your crypto-asset holdings. Note this does not take into account fiat currencies and is only based on stablecoin or cryptocurrency holdings.

The good news is that, unlike some platforms, all your cryptoassets are rolled into one single credit line — meaning whatever mix of assets you have, you can use your credit line all in one go if you so choose. Some platforms operate separate loans specific to assets (namely Binance loans which you have to put a single asset up as collateral every ti,e you want to take a loan).

On the downside, the interest due on loans is not particularly competitive — at its best, you can achieve 6.9% APY — which is competitive on the high street, however you would need a Platinum loyalty level to access this rate. A DeFi lending platform would easily outstrip this with closer to 1% APY being common. I suspect this is due to the fact that they are focused more on achieving regulatory compliance and institutional lending which means prohibitive costs prevent the cheapest rates being offered.

5. Other platform-related points

Firstly, it’s important to note the platform itself is not decentralised — for hard-nosed crypto enthusiasts, this is a big no-no. The organisation owners can shut the platform down, devalue the NEXO token, or withdraw any features and benefits at any time. Fundamentally, it operates like a large crypto exchange such as Binance — so the phrase not your keys, not your crypto should be heeded if you want to be completely safe and private with your holdings.

However, there is a trade-off in terms of asset-backing (Nexo boasts $375 million insurance on all custodial assets) as well as the ability to bridge with traditional finance (which often represents a barrier for retail investors to get into crypto). The platform also operates KYC verification for withdrawals to high-street bank accounts.

Nexo offers a traditional bank card, which can be used for merchant payments as well as with Apple and Google Pay, however this is not currently available to UK users (and so has not been reviewed here).

One final point — this is after all, a crypto platform — and so there is inherent risk involved. Funds are not protected under FCA (in the UK), however this is little different to most crypto platforms. As with all offerings in this space, assess your own level of risk before dumping your entire bank account into earning interest with Nexo.

Summary

  • Earn up to 12% APY on fiat currencies — offers a good bridge with traditional bank accounts
  • Free withdrawals every month (limited but increases based on loyalty levels)
  • Interest earnings and borrowing is not as good a deal as DeFi platforms
  • Crypto exchange platform built in (no fees however rates are not as competitive as big crypto exchanges)
  • Also offers a payment card as well as contactless payments via Apple & Google Pay (not currently available in UK)

Want to start your NEXO journey?

Use this referral link to earn $10 in BTC on your first $100, or simply join via their website. This article is not sponsored. All research in the production of this article is my own. The views expressed in this article are my own, I do not endorse NEXO and I am not in any way affiliated with NEXO excepting any referrals herein.

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