Good day Coin Bureau readers, and welcome to another edition of our versus series where we pit the top crypto exchanges, DeFi and CeDeFi platforms, against one another in a head to head comparison to help you figure out which platform is best to suit your crypto needs.
Today we will be covering two of the biggest names in the crypto lending space, where crypto fans can lend, borrow, spend, buy, and more. We will be doing a high-level side by side comparison of Nexo and Celsius.
Overview: Celsius vs Nexo
|Headquarters||Florida, USA||Zug, Switzerland|
|Lending APY (Earn)||Up to 17%||Up to 17%|
|Assets available to Earn||52||32|
|Borrowing Interest||As low as 1%||As low as 0%|
|Assets available to borrow||7||36|
|Crypto Card||Coming Soon||Yes|
|Registrations and Regulations||FinCen, SEC Compliant, California Finance Lending License||U.S Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, FINTRAC, ASIC, multiple US State licenses|
|Security||Cold Storage, Cyber defence, ISO certified, Audits, Partnership with Chainalysis, Insurance via third-party||Military-grade Class III vaults, Third-party Audits, ISO certified, Insurance via third-party|
|Fees||None- 3rd party fees for purchasing crypto through the platform only||Fees depend on loyalty tiers, fees exist for purchases, withdrawals and spread. More on that here.|
|Supported Countries||Global- Excluding United Kingdom, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Cuba||Global-Excluding Bulgaria, The Central African Republic, Cuba, Estonia, Iran, New York, Vermont, North Korea, Syria|
Celsius vs Nexo
Celsius and Nexo are fantastic platforms backed by solid companies, making this comparison a bit difficult as there is no one clear winner. Both platforms and the teams behind them are rock solid with a strong emphasis on regulation, compliance, security, customer support, innovation, and being competitive leaders in the space.
Both platforms are suitable for global users and are compliant with the strict regulations in the United States, Canada, and Europe. I would personally recommend Nexo for Canadians due to their FINTRAC license. Additionally, both platforms are USA friendly. Celsius is SEC-compliant, while Nexo took it a step further and has acquired multiple specific state licenses. A complete list of Nexo’s state licenses can be found here. While Americans can use Celsius, they are not available for extra CEL rewards popular on the platform. Europeans may also lean towards Nexo due to their Swiss headquarters.
For customers based in the UK, Celsius has recently ceased operations for new user signups due to increasing regulatory uncertainty with the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Nexo is currently used by many customers in the UK, though they are also not FCA approved, so be aware of that risk.
As far as lending and borrowing go, the rates are very competitive without many differences. One thing I appreciate about both platforms is that they do not play favourites; they treat whales with deep pockets no differently to minnows with fewer funds as perks are based on percentages, not dollar value. Both platforms use a loyalty tier system that is dependent on what percentage of the user’s portfolio is made up of the platform’s utility token. The more of your portfolio percentage made up of the platform token, the better the perks.
Disclaimer: I use both Celsius and Nexo and would like to highlight that there are risks with both platforms in the form of centralization/custodianship, hacks, mass default/liquidation events and unknown changes that may happen in the regulatory and compliance landscape.
Alright, let’s get into some of the specifics.
As for the core features, the two platforms have more similarities than differences. The decision on which one you ultimately choose should come down to your location to ensure that the feature you are interested in is supported. Another important factor is which asset(s) you are interested in as the platforms have different interest rates on different tokens and have different asset support for collateral, assets that can be borrowed, etc.
Alternatively, you could also consider using both! If asset A has better rates on Celsius and asset B has better rates on Nexo, there’s no reason not to sign up for both and split your funds. Luckily, Guy has been busy making his rounds and have sweet-talked each platform to provide the Coin Bureau community with some awesome perks.
Sign up to Nexo using this link and get up to $150 in free BTC!
Sign up to Celsius using this link, deposit $400 and get $50 Free!
Earning is probably the most popular feature, and it’s why people love these platforms. Instead of letting your crypto collect dust, both of these platforms pay user’s an attractive APY simply for hodling. There’s nothing sweeter than passive income. Here is how these two platforms stack up.
Both platforms have the option for users to earn in-kind, meaning if you hold Bitcoin, you can earn Bitcoin; if you hold Ethereum, you can earn Ethereum etc. For users looking for a little boost, Nexo offers an additional 2% for users who are happy to earn their interest in the platform’s NEXO Token. On Celsius, users can earn an additional APY if they earn their interest in the platform’s CEL token. The extra percentage earned depends on the asset, but it ranges between approximately 0.5%- 5%, depending on the loyalty level.
Nexo looks to have a slight edge for Stablecoins, offering around 10% return on most and 15% for UST. In comparison, Celsius’ average return on Stablecoins sits at 9.32%, depending on loyalty level.
If you want to diversify your portfolio outside of simply crypto, Celsius has great support for Gold-backed cryptocurrencies supporting: PAXG, XAUT, and WDGLD. Users can earn 7.21% on these tokens.
Looking at crypto returns, it is a toss-up as some assets earn higher interest on one platform and others on the other. US-based users also receive different rates than international users on Celsius. I recommend finding the asset you are interested in on the Celsius page and the Nexo page here to figure out which one has the better rates for that asset.
There is an important consideration when choosing which platform is best for you. If you plan to hold the platform token for better rates, you may want to think about which platform’s token has higher earning potential. There is no point in having 25% of your portfolio in the platform’s native token if the value of that token drops 70% in value so do your research on each platform to decide which one looks most promising.
Being able to borrow against your crypto collateral is an awesome feature as it makes holding crypto flexible and can help reduce crypto tax obligations. Additionally, thanks to platforms like Nexo and Celsius, crypto holders don’t need to sell their moon bags to fund purchases; they can simply borrow the capital they need to meet daily expenses.
With Nexo, if users become a Gold or Platinum member and keep their loan to value ratio under 20%, they can borrow for as little as 0%, which is amazing. At Celsius, users can take out a loan with an interest rate as low as 0.75% once they reach platinum level, keep their LTV below 25% and pay back the loan in CEL tokens.
Users can borrow funds on both platforms with no credit checks and no origination fees.
Note that the borrowing products are a bit different. On Celsius, the loan repayment options are flexible. Users can choose the term, select refinance options, LTV, and loan term. Loans can be approved instantly within the app, and users can withdraw stablecoin loans immediately after approval. In addition, USD loans can be wired directly to your bank account.
Users can pay back their loan with no penalties for early repayments on Celsius, and paying interest can be done manually or automatically. Repayments can be made in CEL, BTC, ETH, USDC, GUSD, TUSD, USDT and MCDAI.
On Nexo, it is not a “loan” that allows users to borrow as it is with Celsius, but a credit line. Users can get fiat or stablecoins, and the credit line is instantly available once users deposit their funds on the platform. There are no monthly repayments, and users can get approved instantly. There are over 40 assets available for the credit line, and users can pay the balance off partially or fully with no fixed payment schedule. Credit lines can be paid back with fiat, crypto, or both.
With the core features out of the way, let’s look at some additional platform-specific products and features.
One of Nexo’s more popular features is its Nexo Crypto card. Users can get up to 2% cashback on their purchases anywhere that Mastercard is accepted. This card is great for travelling as purchases can be made in local currencies. In addition, there are no monthly, annual, or inactivity fees. The card works just like any other debit card; the payment amount is deducted from the available balance of your Nexo account.
This works differently to pre-loaded crypto cards that require pre-loading, such as the Crypto.com and Binance crypto cards. Users can choose to earn their cashback in either Bitcoin or NEXO Tokens. The cashback is automatically placed in the Nexo account.
Crypto cards are becoming massively popular, and Celsius is not about to allow themselves to be outdone here. The Celsius card has not yet been released at the time of writing, and not much is known about it, but Celsius is known for beating out the competition and being impressively innovative, so I bet this card is gonna be sweet. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on one. What is known so far is that it will be a cashback card. Staying true to the Celsius spirit of no fees, there will be no annual fees, no late payment fees, no foreign transaction fees, and no ATM fees.
On Nexo, users can earn up to 0.5% cashback on their swaps depending on loyalty level, which is a very cool feature. There are over 300 market pairs available, and swaps can be made instantly and with ease. Nexo uses a fixed-price execution fee model, meaning users will pay the fee they see, with no nasty surprises after the swap is complete. Nexo uses a smart routing system that connects to 10 different exchanges, providing users with the most cost-effective swap option.
Celsius has a Swap feature currently in beta and is not released yet, but it sounds like Celsius swap may one-up Nexo’s exchange feature. Incredibly, swaps will be able to be made in Celsius without fees! Not one, zero, nada, zilch! Okay, but surely there will be spread fees? Nope, they mean it when they say no fees.
Celsius also kicked up the heat by rolling out their DeFi platform CelsiusX, which aims to bridge the gap between DeFi and CeFi. This could be a massive game-changer for Celsius and the crypto industry. You can find out more about CelsiusX in our Celsius review, which can be found here.
Crypto Purchase Methods
On Celsius, customers can transfer crypto to their accounts from other platforms or purchase crypto directly from the app. Crypto can be purchased with debit/credit cards or bank transfers. Nexo offers a nice little 0.5% cashback on purchases depending on loyalty level. Customers can purchase crypto via debit/credit card or bank transfer. Note that card purchases on Nexo are currently unavailable for US citizens.
Fees for purchasing crypto will be covered a little later on. As for withdrawing, crypto can be withdrawn from both platforms, and Nexo supports fiat withdrawals via bank transfer.
Celsius and Nexo are neck and neck here, even using the same tier names. Celsius tiers are as follows: none, bronze, silver, gold and platinum. Nexo tiers are base, silver, gold, platinum.
Here is a look at the perks from the loyalty levels on Celsius:
Here is a look at what Nexo brings to the table:
Both platforms offer enticing benefits for holding the platform tokens. Ultimately, I would have to give a slight edge to Celsius if you are interested in hitting gold or platinum status as the higher tier perks are slightly better on average. At the lowest levels, Nexo appears to have slightly better rates, but again, it is highly dependent on the asset of interest.
Neither platform charges fees for sending crypto to the platform or just holding while earning APY. The only fees encountered will be from Crypto purchases on Celsius. On Nexo, there are fees for purchasing, withdrawing, and exchanging.
At Nexo, users can expect fees between 1.49%-3.49% depending on user location when purchasing with a card, plus a spread fee for when the fiat is swapped for crypto. Here is a list of countries that cannot purchase crypto on Nexo via card. There are no fees for bank transfers, though your bank may charge for this service.
For withdrawal fees, Nexo offers free withdrawals ranging from 1-5 per month, depending on loyalty level.
Celsius does not charge fees; however, their payment partners do. Users can expect to pay a 2.99%-3.5% or $10 fee for buying crypto with a bank card. Bank transfers will come with a 0.1% fee for US users and 0.5% for manual bank transfers.
Celsius has no withdrawal fees on Crypto.
Both platforms deserve a tip of the hat for their excellent support. Nexo has live chat support within the platform, and Celsius offers phone support! One of the few crypto platforms dedicated to that level of customer care.
Both platforms also have online forms that can be filled out for support and offer email support. In addition, both Celsius and Nexo also have well filled out knowledge base and self-help articles for common problems and FAQs.
Channels Available for Celsius Customer Support
Web and App Layout
Both Nexo and Celsius have web platforms and mobile apps. After using both, I must say that both web and mobile apps platforms are incredibly beginner-friendly, well laid out, clean and simple. I honestly cannot find fault anywhere.
Both the web interfaces and mobile apps are suitable for any skill level of the crypto holder. The layout and design are intuitive, and I found that both platforms are easier to use than even my traditional banking app. If you can tie your shoes, you will have no trouble with either platform as they are both a breeze.
Both mobile apps are available for IOS and Android.
Security is an important consideration, and both Nexo and Celsius follow industry best practices. Nexo has partnered with BitGo, Ledger Vault, and Bakkt, among others, to ensure customer funds are well protected. In addition, Nexo carries $375 million in insurance through third parties to protect users. BitGo provides Nexo with cold storage solutions and bank-grade class III vaults through their SOC 2 Type 2-certified custodianship program.
Ledger Vault insures digital assets for up to $150 million. It provides cloud-based digital asset custody infrastructure while Bakkt provides Nexo with Bitcoin and Ethereum custody which utilises air-gapped cold storage solutions. Customer information is contained behind secured networks with limited personnel access. Nexo uses an accredited information security management system that is ISO/IEC 27001 certified.
On the front end, here are the security features on Nexo that users can enable to ensure their accounts remain as safe as possible:
- 2FA Authentication: SMS verifications, email verifications, authenticator app support
- Biometric Identification: Using fingerprint or face recognition
- Whitelisting: Manage your crypto addresses or improve the security of your account even further by enabling Address Whitelisting.
- Withdrawal Confirmations & Log-in Alerts
Celsius utilises top-tier security and cyber defence to protect their customer and company funds. Celsius is Security ISO certified, runs a 24/7 Security Operations Center and employs a team of cybersecurity experts who monitor the system around the clock. In addition, Celsius deploys unique MPC (Multi-Party Computation) technology to increase its security measures.
Celsius has a partnership with Chainalysis, which provides further monitoring and security infrastructure, and funds are insured through Fireblocks.
On the front end, Celsius also features some excellent security options that users can deploy to ensure their crypto remains as safe as possible. Security minded users can:
- Enable two-factor authentication
- Enable biometrics
- Activate HODL mode
- Whitelist withdrawal addresses
It is important to mention that Celsius does not have a spotless record regarding security. Celsius network lost $54 million in the BadgerDao hack in 2021 and suffered a data breach in the same year, exposing customer information to hackers. In the data breach, hackers gained access to a third-party email distribution system used by Celsius, and the hackers used the information to send fraudulent emails and texts in an attempt to trick Celsius customers.
In their defence, these events were not due to weaknesses in the security of the Celsius platform itself. Instead, the breaches resulted from weaknesses in the security of third-party platforms utilized by Celsius. However, it still gave the company a black eye. Users criticize that Celsius should have done a better job vetting the third parties they work with.
Closing Thoughts and Verdict
Aside from Celsius’s security blunders, it is difficult to fault either of these platforms. They are both fantastic ways to borrow and lend funds to earn a nice APY. There is a reason why these are two of the largest lending platforms, favoured by millions of users worldwide.
When determining which one is right for you, the most significant factors will likely come down to which platform offers higher interest on the specific asset you are interested in, what asset you want to use as collateral for borrowing funds, or what asset you are looking to borrow. If you are interested in borrowing, you will also need to determine if a credit line (as offered by Nexo) is more suitable for your needs than a loan (as provided by Celsius).
As mentioned earlier, another consideration, if you want to reach higher tier levels, is deciding if you would rather hold a large percentage of your portfolio in Celsius’ CEL token or Nexo’s NEXO token, and which one you consider stronger.
If all the above features were equal, in my personal opinion, I would have to give the slight edge to Nexo for being the better of the two for lower-tier levels. Nexo makes things easier to understand with fewer variable factors in terms of APYs, as Celsius has a wide range of different APYs. On average, Nexo seems to have slightly higher APYs on the lower tiers, but Celsius takes the cake if you are going for the Gold or Platinum levels as the APY rates on Celsius are higher than Nexo once you get into the higher tiers.
APYs aside, Nexo also has the edge (for now) as they already have a working exchange and crypto card. Though I wouldn’t count Celsius out as they are rolling these features out later this year, and if there is one thing Celsius is great at, it is one-upping the competition and taking things to the next level. I will be keeping a close eye on Celsius for sure. Once they release these products and with their CelsiusX platform, when the time comes for me to do the next review update on this article, I would not be surprised if Celsius becomes the clear winner.
Disclaimer: These are the writer’s opinions and should not be considered investment advice. Readers should do their own research.