NEXO is a project which has recently garnered quite a bit of interest in the cryptocurrency community.
Not only is NEXO being developed by a large FinTech company but they are also being backed by some pretty influential names in the cryptocurrency space. The NEXO token has also been gathering quite a bit of momentum over the past few weeks.
However, what is NEXO exactly and should you consider it?
In this comprehensive Nexo review, I will attempt to answer that. I will also give you an in-depth guide to getting started with crypto lending.
What is NEXO?
NEXO is a project that’s aiming to provide lending services while using cryptocurrencies as collateral. While there are certainly some issues that will need to be ironed out to make this work successfully, the team seems to be well on its way, and has strong backing. With NEXO cryptocurrency owners will be able to get fiat currency if needed, but still maintain ownership of their digital assets.
It’s the best of both worlds.
Steps to get an Instant Loan on Nexo
It works by allowing borrowers to lock up cryptocurrencies as collateral in exchange for fiat currency. The cash is either sent directly to a bank account, or it can be added to a debit card. In case of market volatility (which is almost a given with cryptocurrencies) the limit on the debit card will adjust in response to changes in the market value of the underlying cryptocurrency.
Loan Repayment with NEXO
Any loans taken can be easily repaid using cryptocurrency, fiat currency, or the Nexo token. They have made it as easy as possible to repay any loans. Compare this with the closest Nexo competitor SALT, who only accepts loan repayment in fiat currency.
NEXO Market Access
While Nexo is based in Switzerland, it makes its loans available worldwide. Anyone who holds cryptocurrency can take advantage of a Nexo loan. And since the loans are fully collateralized there’s no need for borrowers to worry about credit history or approvals.
Of course the use-cases for Nexo loans will be limited since they’re collateral backed, but the use of cryptocurrencies as collateral makes for a compelling alternative for those who hold cryptocurrencies and don’t want to sell yet and give up future gains, but still need fiat currency to access certain opportunities.
NEXO and Regulation
Nexo has been very clear in stating that the NEXO token is a security token, and that it is compliant with the Securities and Exchange Commission Regulation D Rule 506(c).
They refer to the Nexo token in their documentation as a dividend paying asset which is backed by collateralized assets.
While traditional institutions don’t yet recognize it, there is a difference between fiat as collateral and crypto-assets as collateral in that crypto-assets have additional utility.
It seems fortunate that Nexo has been upfront about the status of their crypto-asset, and that they are making every effort to remain compliant with U.S. regulations.
Using the NEXO Token
One incentive for holding the NEXO token is that it pays dividends to holders. Thirty percent of the profits generated from Nexo loans goes to a dividend pool that is then distributed to NEXO holders. Currently dividend payments are being made in Ethereum (ETH), but there’s a good chance that this will expand to other cryptocurrencies in the future.
The most recent payment was in August 2019, with just over $2.4 million being distributed to NEXO holders. The NEXO team claims this dividend is equal to a 12.73% annual yield on NEXO holdings.
The benefits of investing in NEXO tokens
Besides being a source of dividends, the NEXO tokens can also be used to repay loans, and the incentive for this is a reduction in repayment interest on the loans. This is similar to bank loans that offer lower interest rates or a discount when auto-payment is set-up. Holding more NEXO tokens in your wallet will also unlock higher loan limits.
How Nexo Handles Crypto Volatility
Cryptocurrencies are the most volatile assets on the planet, with daily price swings of 10% commonplace, and monthly price swings of 50% or more not unusual. Stablecoins like TrueUSD and Tether (USDT) have learned to deal with upside price moves, but still struggle with falling prices.
Nexo plans on using a concept from traditional lending known as Loan-to-Value to assess risk. In traditional lending a borrower who is considered a default risk is given a higher LTV.
Loan to Value vs. Liquidity. Image Source: BDC
Nexo uses an algorithm called the Nexo Oracle to determine the LTV ratio for borrowers. Given the volatility that comes with cryptocurrencies it’s likely that LTV ratios will often be greater than 50%, unless cryptocurrencies become far less volatile (which has been occurring for Bitcoin). In practice this means if you have $10,000 in Bitcoin in your wallet and the LTV is 50% you’ll be able to take a loan for 50% of your wallet Bitcoin balance, or $5,000.
The Nexo Oracle will work to avoid a situation similar to the U.S. housing crisis, when many home values dropped below the value of the loans on those properties. Because there is always a risk of declining asset values in the cryptocurrency markets the Nexo Oracle will be used to issue margin calls.
The Oracle will also issue notifications to borrowers that additional collateral is needed to maintain a loan in good standing. When a borrower ails to heed these notifications they risk having their loans forcibly liquidated to reclaim the proper LTV ratio.
The Nexo Oracle
The Nexo platform uses a technology called the Nexo Oracle to monitor and regulate all aspects of the platform including analytics, loan distribution, asset monitoring, wallet maintenance, and others.
Nexo Oracle Overview. Image via Nexo whitepaper
When borrowing on the platform the borrowers send their cryptocurrency to the Nexo crypto overdraft wallet. The issuance of the loan and repayments are taken care of directly by the borrower through the Nexo user interface. The user interface is available as a web-based version and a mobile version was released in June 2019.
Eventually, the platform will be available on desktop as well, and by adding a physical credit card the entire platform and process will be familiar even to non-cryptocurrency users. This is intended to increase the adoption rate of the platform. The team is getting closer to this goal too, with a debit card being released in August.
The Nexo Team
Nexo has a core team of 14 members, most of whom also hold high-level positions at the European consumer FinTech company Credissimo. Kosta Kantchev is the chief managing partner and co-founder of Nexo, and he was also a co-founder of Credissimo.
A second managing partner and co-founder of Nexo is Antoni Trenchev, who was previously a Member of Parliament at the National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria. He also has more than 7 years of experience in e-commerce development and strategy as well as automation of e-commerce processes.
The third managing partner and also a co-founder of Nexo is Georgi Shulev. He has more than 6 years of experience in the investment banking industry and was a co-founder of Consestimate, an open financial estimates platform.
Credissimo by the numbers
On the IT side, the fourth co-founder of Nexo is Vasil Petrov, who brought over 16 years of experience in system administration, back-end development and architecture to the Nexo project.
Advisors of Nexo include Michael Arrington, who was the founder of TechCrunch as well as Arrington XRP Capital. Trevor Koverko, the founder of Polymath is a second advisor, and the advisory team is rounded out by Ugo Bechis who brings 40+ years of experience in SEPA compliance and finance to the project.
The NEXO Community
Nexo had some problems with community members defecting after it seemingly put its monthly dividend payments on hold. In addition to complaints about the project not honoring this commitment there were additional complaints about the company not honoring other commitments, and not meeting promised deadlines.
Even so, there is a pretty large social media following for NEXO. Their Twitter account has 42,900 followers, and although the interaction with posts isn’t all that strong there is some interaction on each post.
The NEXO subreddit is considerably smaller, with just over 2,700 followers, however, it is also more active. There are posts made nearly every day, and there are a good number of responses and comments to each post, showing this is a small, but strong community of NEXO enthusiasts.
The largest community by far is the NEXO Telegram, which is where the team is most active, and which has 32,300 members. Surprisingly the Facebook group for NEXO is also quite large for a crypto project, with over 26,000 people following the page.
Of course, NEXO does not operate in a vacuum and there are already other cryptocurrency lending platforms that offer similar opportunities.
The main differences that these have with Nexo is where they offer their loans as well as the type of collateral. They will also have different interest rate dynamics that drive their ecosystems
Nexo vs. Salt
The first and best known of these is SALT. SALT stands for Secure Automated Lending Technology and it was one first project to offer cryptocurrency lending opportunities.
SALT has more market access than Nexo and they are based in the United States. At the time of writing they are available in 33 US states as well as countries such as the UK, Switzerland, Puerto Rico and the UAE.
Salt is a collateral based platform that differs from Nexo in that they have different tiers for the lending. Those who own more SALT are able to unlock more benefits. With Salt you also only have crypto for collateral whereas Nexo also allows for NEXO.
SALT vs. Nexo Lending
Salt is also quite centralised where SALT lending will facilitate all of the loans. Before you can apply for a loan you have to be a member of the SALT platform which will require SALT tokens.
Nexo vs. Ethlend
Another competing platform of Nexo is ETHLend. This is perhaps one of the most decentralised lending platforms which is being built as a decentralised application or dApp.
While this is a truely Peer-to-Peer lending platform, it differs from Nexo in that it does not deal with any Fiat currency. You can only get a loan in an ERC20 cryptocurrency (Ethereum for Maker to DAI for instance).
One benefit that Nexo has over ETHLend is its instant loans. Like Salt lending, ETHLend is a Peer-to-Peer lending platform. This means you will have to wait until you find someone on the opposite side of the lending contract.
Moreover, this P2P nature of the ETHLend platform means that the interest rate that you will pay will vary. AT Nexo, the interest rate is fixed and all users of the platform will have the same Loan to Value (LTV).
Nexo had an aggressive roadmap back in 2018, but has abandoned it and currently there is no official roadmap. That prior roadmap included the introduction of a Nexo credit card by the fourth quarter of 2018, the second Nexo airdrop, and the release of a Nexo mobile wallet.
They were able to deliver the airdrop on time, the Nexo credit card has become a debit card that was finally released as an alpha version in August 2019, and the Nexo mobile wallet was also delayed to a June 2019 release.
The Nexo Card Finally Released. Image via Nexo Blog
Previously there were plans for Nexo to acquire an FDIC-insured bank, and while that hasn’t become a reality, Nexo has been able to secure funding that allows them to offer loans at 5.9% APR.
They are also paying interest on USD, EUR, and GBP, with plans to add more fiat currencies in the future. On the crypto side, they are paying interest on USDT, TUSD, USDC, PAX, and DAI.
NEXO conducted its ICO on April 1, 2018 raising $52.5 million and selling tokens for $0.10 each. Subsequently, the NEXO token began trading on May 1, 2018 at $0.190647. It rose quickly and hit its all-time high of $0.539466 just a week later on May 7, 2018.
Of course, this was during the huge bear market in cryptocurrencies and price quickly retreated from that all-time high. By September 12, 2018 the price was at its all-time low of $0.043333, or less than half the ICO price.
Then followed a strong rally from late September through the end of October which took the NEXO token back to the $0.19 level. That rally occurred following NEXO’s announcement of a monthly dividend payment for holders of the NEXO token.
NEXO Price Performance. Image via CMC
Unfortunately, the monthy dividend distributions have not become a reality. After making the first dividend payment in December 2018, NEXO holders then had to wait until August 2019 for another dividend payment.
The next dividend distribution is expected to be in December 2019. The dividend amount is 30% of the company’s profits and the August 2019 payout was more than $2.4 million, representing a 12.73% annual yield according to NEXO.
In 2019 the NEXO token has been fairly stable, remaining in a range of $0.07 to $0.10 for the most part.
As of early November 2019 it is at the top of that range, trading at $0.102927 and listed as the 79th largest coin by market capitalization according to Coinmarketcap.com.
Trading & Storing NEXO
The majority of trading volume for NEXO is at the Hotbit exchange. There is also acceptable volumes at Huobi Global and Bitrue, The NEXO token is available at a handful of other exchanges too, but there is marginal volumes.
However, this concentration of the NEXO token trading volume on HotBit could be a concern from a market liquidity perspective. It means that volumes and prices for NEXO are unevenly impacted by movements on HotBit.
Those interested in holding NEXO for the dividend will need to hold the token either in the wallet provided in your account on the NEXO platform, or in the NEXO mobile wallets.
Nexo Mobile App Ratings
Something else that I found quite positive about this was that even for those users who had something to complain about, the Nexo service team was quick to respond. This shows that they are concerned about what their users have to say.
Of course, given that NEXO are ERC20 tokens, it means that you can store them in any wallet that supports Ethereum. These include numerous online wallets, mobile, desktop and mobile wallets. Take note though that you won’t be able to earn your interest in these.
If you believe that cryptocurrencies have real-world utility as a means of payment and transfer of value then you should believe in the Nexo project. A lending platform that allows cryptocurrency holders to unlock the trillions of dollars of value without having to give up ownership of their cryptocurrencies is a huge deal.
Beside simply unlocking value, Nexo loans can allow cryptocurrency holders access to funds without the need to pay taxes on what could be significant profits from their crypto-holdings.
The fact that the team has more than 10 years of experience running an established financial services firm is another positive for Nexo. You can be sure they analyzed the need for cryptocurrency lending services, and with their experience they are well suited to see this project to success. They also have solid help from advisors such as Michael Arrington, the founder of TechCrunch.
There is a very good possibility that cryptocurrency lending could become a multi-billion dollar industry, and could potentially see itself as a trillion dollar industry if crpytocurrencies escalate in value as some financial advisors have suggested they will.
With that scale market on the horizon now could be a very good time to get in on Nexo at its infant stages.
Featured Image via Shutterstock