Celsius is in bankruptcy and users who had "earn" deposits on their platform have their crypto frozen (and likely will be lost). Be careful with crypto savings platforms and remember - not your keys, not your crypto.
In recent years, there’s been a rise in companies that let you lend and borrow cryptocurrencies. If you’re looking to invest in crypto without using the typical “buy and hold” strategy, this is excellent news.
Celsius was one of the leading companies in this space. However, in 2022, it fell into bankruptcy and acknowledged that it is facing several Federal investigations.
As such, investors cannot use the platform, and those with funds on the platform are concerned they may lose most, or all, of their investment.
The review below is outdated, but we wanted to provide updates as we have them.
Importance Notice: As of June 12, 2022, Celsius has stopped allowing customers with withdraw, transfer, or swap their holdings. This is bad news for customers, and highlights the risks involved in cryptocurrency. Read the full announcement here.
Celsius Network Details
Crypto Savings and Borrowing Platform
Up to 18.63% APY
$10 to $2,000 in Free Bitcoin
Pros And Cons
What Is Celsius?
Celsius is a cryptocurrency lending platform that began in 2017 and was founded by Alex Mashinsky and Daniel Leon. Despite being in its infancy, the originally London-based company has grown rapidly. By December of 2018, Celsius exceeded $50 million in community assets. Currently, there’s nearly 1 million Celsius users and $20.2 billion in community assets.
In true crypto fashion, Celsius’ goal is to disrupt the financial industry and let its users achieve financial independence with crypto. With high interest rates for holders, low platform fees, and nearly $450 million paid to users over the last 12 months, Celsius is certainly working towards that goal.
What Does It Offer?
At its core, Celsius provides a way to earn rewards for holding cryptocurrency and to borrow other cryptocurrencies or USD at low rates. These offerings fall under three main features.
Celsius lets you earn weekly interest if you hold and lend out various cryptocurrencies and stablecoins to borrowers. The process is similar to how other crypto lending platforms work.
This includes leading cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Uniswap, and XRP. You can earn up to 18.63% APY if you live outside the U.S. and up to 13.99% APY if you’re a U.S. resident. However, you must be an accredited investor to earn in the United States.
There isn’t a minimum deposit requirement. You don’t pay low-balance fees or transfer fees either.
How much interest you earn depends on the type of crypto you have and how much of it you have. For example, you currently earn 6.20% APY on your first Bitcoin and 3.51% on additional Bitcoin above that threshold when you deposit it with Celsius.
Celsius is currently paying a whopping 10.02% on stablecoins like USDC. And customers can earn $10 to $600 in bonuses by transferring USDC or USDT to Celsius and using the promo codes STABLE10, STABLE50, or STABLE600.
If you want to maximize your rewards, you can also get paid with CEL, Celsius’ crypto token, instead of the crypto you’re holding. You can earn up to 25% more weekly rewards for choosing CEL.
Extra APY you earn depends on how much CEL you hold, with loyalty tiers including:
CEL Reward Status
CEL Token Holdings
You also earn 4.86% APY for holding CEL, so there’s two advantages to getting paid with CEL over your cryptocurrency of choice. However, the CEL token isn’t available for U.S. investors. So if you live in the United States, you have to stick with base Celsius rates and other cryptocurrencies.
Even so, Celsius rates are significantly higher than the average national interest rate for savings accounts, which is only 0.06% according to the FDIC. Rates are subject to change and change regularly however, so keep this in mind.
Borrow At Low Rates
Celsius lets you borrow a variety of stablecoins or USD by using your own cryptocurrency as collateral. This means you can leverage assets like Bitcoin and Ethereum to cover expenses instead of selling your crypto or taking out a bank loan.
Celsius supports over 40 digital assets (cryptocurrencies, stablecoins, and a Gold token) as collateral. Your LTV choices are 25%, 33%, and 50%. The lower your LTV, the lower the interest rate that Celsius will offer you.
Most users can get as low as a 1% interest rate with a 25% LTV or as low as a 0.75% interest rate if you pay off your loan with CEL tokens. However, residents of the state of California are currently being offered 0% APR crypto-backed loans.
Loans with a 25% LTV demonstrate how cost-effective Celsius can be for borrowers. But this requires having more cryptocurrency to leverage. Rates are also subject to change.
But if you need quick cash for an emergency, Celsius is useful. There isn’t a credit check and loan approvals are instant. Plus, you don’t pay origination fees.
The minimum loan term is six months. You can close your loan anytime if you’re up-to-date on your interest payments. But closing a loan before six months still requires a six-month interest payment.
Note that you don’t earn interest on the crypto you use for collateral, which is a slight downside to borrowing with Celsius.
Send And Receive Crypto
With CelPay, you can send and receive cryptocurrencies right from Celsius’ mobile app. CelPay supports over 40 cryptocurrencies and stablecoins.
You also earn $50 in free Bitcoin when you transfer $400 or more in crypto to your Celsius account and hold it for at least 30 days.
Are There Any Fees?
Celsius itself doesn’t charge any fees. You won’t pay for transactions, transfers, or withdrawals. There aren’t origination fees on loans either, which is a rarity in the world of crypto loans.
However, some Celsius partners charge fees. For example, Celsius works with partners like Wyre to let you buy cryptocurrencies, and Wyre charges a 0.10% fee. But for the core Celsius features, the platform is fee-free.
How Does Celsius Compare?
Celsius isn’t the only player in the crypto lending space. Out of all its competitors, many investors are likely choosing between Celsius and BlockFi which is another popular option to earn interest on your crypto.
For earning interest, Celsius generally outperforms BlockFi. Here’s how various Celsius rates stack up against BlockFi rates:
Celsius Vs. BlockFi Rates
BlockFi also charges a 2% origination fee on loans which is a massive difference from fee-free Celsius. Loan rates are also as low as 4.5% on BlockFi while you can secure rates as low as 0.75% with Celsius.
The main attraction of BlockFi is its BlockFi Rewards Visa Signature card that lets you earn unlimited 1.5% cash back in Bitcoin on every purchase. This card doesn’t have an annual fee and comes with a 90-day, 3.5% cash-back promotional rate. However, Celsius has a rewards credit card in the works, so this advantage might wane.
Ultimately, Celsius has some of the highest interest rates in the world of crypto lending. Plus, rewarding CEL token holders is a unique selling point.
How Do I Open An Account?
You create a Celsius account by visiting its website and downloading the mobile app for Android or iOS. After you've downloaded the app, you can sign up with Facebook, Google, Twitter, or your email. Celsius also has a web app but you need an existing account to use it.
Currently, new users earn $50 in free Bitcoin for depositing at least $400 worth of crypto and holding for a minimum of 30 days. If you want to earn passive income with your crypto, it’s the perfect time to try Celsius.
Is Celsius Safe?
For starters, Celsius isn’t FDIC-insured, and the company is jostling with regulatory concerns. In June of 2021, Celsius shut down its UK operations and is gradually migrating to the United States. As of July 2022, customer assets at Celsius are frozen and the company is working to make customers whole.
Since the future of cryptocurrency regulation is still uncertain, this poses a risk. However, this is the same risk that other cryptocurrencies exchanges and lending platforms face in the days ahead.
In terms of loan security, Celsius requires borrowers to put up more collateral than they borrow, but there’s still risk of loan defaults. As for the platform itself, you can secure your account with several extra measures alongside your password:
Overall, depositing cryptocurrencies with Celsius carries some risk. This is why many crypto investors interested in earning interest use several companies, like BlockFi and Nexo.io, to diversify their income in case one company were to go under.
Is Celsius Worth It?
Celsius is not recommended for anyone at this time due to it's risk of not being able to repay customer assets, assets being frozen, and more.
Celsius Network Features
Crypto savings and borrowing platform
Min Balance Requirement
Interest Rate On Crypto Deposits
U.S. Residents: Up to 13.99% APY
Loyalty Tier Reward Bonus
Interest Rate On Loans
California residents: As low as 0%
All other U.S. borrowers: As low as 0.75%
Min Loan Term
Credit Check Required On Loans
Deposit or Withdrawal Fees
Supported Payment Types
Fireblocks provides insurance on digital assets, but insurance is voided when Celsius lends out assets.
Aside from your password, account security enhancements include:
Mobile App Availability
Android and iOS
Customer Support Options
Contact form and a helpdesk FAQ
Earn $50 in free Bitcoin For signing up
Tom Blake is a personal finance writer with a passion for making money online, cryptocurrency and NFTs, investing, and the gig economy.