The old adage of “Make your money work for you,” has been a principle the wealthy have known for quite some time, often just out of reach for someone with little to no money or financial education *cough* Millennials. Traditionally, people have saved money with their banks. An APY (annual percentage yield) gives dividends based on how much you hold in your account. Conversely, banks offer an APR (annual percentage rate), an interest rate given when you borrow. Often, these rates make no sense when considering inflation.
The Celsius Network is now offering these traditional finance services to retail investors but in a decentralized fashion. Banks take 80% and give back 20% which is why the banks, Wall St., people at the top get richer and richer and the people at the bottom have to pay overdraft fees with the money they don’t have. Celsius established a model that does the opposite. Celsius keeps 20% and gives back 80% to the customers. A level playing field for all.
Can models like Celsius network usurp traditional finance?
In one year, Celsius’s native token, CEL, gained an exponential rise with a low of $.04 and a high of $6.80 (early 2021). A $1000 investment into CEL would have returned $170,000 in 14 months. Celsius seems to have much potential for future growth in the still incredibly young crypto lending market. Founded by Alex Mashinsky, an entrepreneur who started well-known tech companies, one facilitating use of Voice over IP at the enterprise level and the other bringing wireless connectivity to mass transit. On to the next big thing, Mashinsky’s Celsius Network is bringing Centralized Finance (CeFi) powered by decentralized assets to the masses.
The Celsius platform offers investors the opportunity to lend their crypto by adding liquidity to its network and the ability to borrow money on its assets. Investors can earn generous rewards by using the native utility token CEL via its loyalty program.
The network offers higher APY and lower APR if the user chooses to utilize the CEL token. The higher your holdings in CEL, the better perks you get. Celsius not only offers these perks to retail investors but also institutions. The Tokenomics are interesting. Investors choose to pay or be paid in CEL, and/or, they can stake CEL for a 5% annual return. Approximately ⅓ of the total supply is in circulation and Celsius is the biggest buyer of its own token to pay its users.
CEL price action is dictated by how many accounts are using the token on the platform.
Celsius is able to provide such low fees using a traditional financial practice known as hypothecation. Basically, Celsius is able to borrow money based on assets it controls. With many users parking their crypto assets on the platform, Celsius has a large pool of collateral, providing the same lending and borrowing principles on an institutional level. You will need 4 to 1 collateral for a loan and if you treat Celsius like a savings account like I do, then it’s not difficult to leave those funds alone to earn compounding interest every week. As you see below, a $10,000 loan, paid back in 6 months will cost you a total of $37.50 or $6.25 a month. Less than 1% interest. Where else can you do this?
One drawback for more serious crypto enthusiasts is that users must give up their private keys to Celsius, as it is a centralized entity. The old crypto saying stands true, “Not your keys, not your crypto,” but the features the platform provides and the trust they have gained within the community has won over many users, close to 500k, as Celsius has aggregated over 10 billion in assets. The platform offers a more hands off approach to investing and is a good entry into the crypto space. If Alex, the CEO, has millions of dollars of his money in there, that’s good enough for me.
The rates alone put big banks to shame. Most traditional banks give very little incentive to investors or even just your average saver trying to hedge against inflation in a run-of-the-mill savings account. With yields below 1%, banks are nowhere close to the 1.68% inflation rate the USA is facing.
With traditional finance, people must be approved for a loan and there is paperwork associated with any bank. When you pair this with a much higher APR and the necessity of a solid credit score, getting a loan can prove difficult. This makes it harder for average investors to put their money to work for them. Again, the APR a bank will give you is, in part, based on your credit score. Some secretaries have higher credit scores than the billionaires they work for. So, what does that score even mean? The price of entry is a solid financial foundation, which in these days eludes many.
Celsius brings users red tape free borrowing and lending and this is where it really shines. If you have the collateral (crypto asset) you can borrow on it. Simple. With APR rates starting at 1%, it is a perfect micro loan system. There are many utilities and reasons to borrow against your crypto. You can cash in without cashing out. This allows for people to either buy things or leverage their positions when they see fit. It is also handy to borrow money on your assets to defer capital gains tax. The beauty of the Celsius Network is it is all wrapped into one neat mobile app. The Celsius App offers users wallets to stake and earn rewards for most major cryptos, a lending/borrowing platform and peer to peer payments. Celsius pays out interest EVERY Monday and funds are never locked and ZERO withdrawal fees! Mondays aren’t so bad when you receive emails like these:
Celsius Network is one of several crypto lending platforms offering retail investors the opportunity to preserve their wealth and borrow on assets. This notion is something the wealthy have known for some time; it is an open secret. The traditional financial system is designed to help the rich to get richer. In the words of Charles Hoskinson, the CEO of IOG and Cardano, “it’s a rigged game and we must change the rules.” Celsius is flipping the TradFi on its head, helping the average investor not only protect their wealth but grow it as well.
So, I will ask those average Joes out there, what makes more sense? Saving $10,000 in a traditional savings account with an APY of 0.5% that would yield you $50 a year. Or converting that into the digital version of itself (US Dollar Coin) and earning an APY of 13.3% awarded in CEL or 10.5% in USDC? It’s simple math. $100k in USDC will yield an extra $10,500 a year for you just in interest or nearly an extra $900 per month.
Celsius is helping introduce a whole new way of looking at finance in the twenty-first century for a struggling generation of people. Uniting Decentralized assets and Centralized finance is bringing more equity to the space and that is a good thing.