Nexo Review

July 27th, 2021
8 minutes read
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Nexo is a cryptocurrency lending platform that allows you to earn interest daily in your savings account

FAST FACTS

Launch Date2018
Total Investment VolumeUndisclosed
Average annual interest6% up to 12%
Minimum InvestmentNone
Investment FeesNetwork fees on withdrawals
Who's eligible to investAlmost anyone
Investment TypeBank-like interest earning
FrequencyDaily interest
Crypto ModelCentralized Lending (CeFi)
Investor ProtectionCrypto collateral and insurance fund
Currencies3 Fiat, 7 Stablecoins, 14 Cryptos
Website LanguageEnglish

PROS & CONS

Pros

  • Automated liquidity pool style investing
  • No Fees for Deposits on first withdrawals
  • Easy to lend in 3 currencies and 21 crypto assets
  • Overcollateralized loans as highest LTV is 90%
  • Flexible terms and trading offered
  • Earn interest in the currency you deposit
  • They have their own coin NEXO (Nexo Token)

Cons

  • No options of individual loan selection
  • Lower interest without Nexo Tokens
  • Only Nexo hodlers have loyalty tiers
  • Only 3 Fiat currencies offered
  • Lack of transparency and statistics
  • Many loans are set up as credit lines

Pros Explained

  • Nexo loans your money like a bank does. They pay you a fixed interest rate into the Nexo Savings Account. While they don’t call it a liquidity pool, that’s what it is. Nexo puts your funds into a liquidity pool and loans it out to the borrowers.
  • No fees for Deposits or first Withdrawal with more free withdrawals available as you increase your Loyalty tier.
  • Many lending choices with 7 stablecoins and 14 cryptocurrencies offered.
  • The loans you invest in are overcollateralized. 90% LTV for stablecoins, 50% LTV for BTC and ETH and 30% LTV for other cryptocurrencies.
  • Flexible terms. You can swap out between cryptos at any time to earn more interest or put that towards your trading account. Interest compounds immediately. Nexo has trading accounts too. These let you buy, sell, and exchange crypto right from the same site where you are lending or borrowing. You can use wire transfers to send fiat. Nexo supports wire transfers from these countries.
  • When you deposit BTC, you earn your interest in BTC. When you deposit USDT, you earn USDT. You can swap out for other cryptos.
  • You can earn 10% on your Fiat (EUR, GBP or USD) or 12% if you get repaid in NEXO.
  • If you are interested in crypto for more than just lending, you can increase your returns by up to 2% by staking Nexo’s coin (NEXO). You should learn more about what crypto staking is before deciding to do this.

Cons Explained

  • You have no option of choosing individual borrowers, loans, potential interest rates or anything else. You are stuck with earning the fixed interest ONLY.
  • Nexo REALLY wants you to use their coin NEXO. The interest rates you earn are lower if you do not stake it. Staking crypto is not for everyone and poses different risks than lending. You earn the highest rates when you hold NEXO.
  • Loyalty tiers allow you to get better rates and more withdrawals for free but you must hold Nexo in order to move up tiers.
  • EUR, GBP and USD holders can send fiat to lend directly at good rates. All other currency holders need to send a cryptocurrency for depositing OR open a trading account to wire fiat money in and purchase crypto with the Nexo trading account.
  • They lack a Statistics page or information about how frequent margin calls are or if those with Savings Accounts have ever lost money.
  • Because many of the loans on Nexo are really credit lines, there are irregular payments and sometimes no payments made by the borrowers at times. This means you are relying on Nexo to have the cash available for regular interest payments to your account.

Who is Nexo best for?

Nexo is a good choice for investors who want things easy and convenient. The bank-like savings account will be familiar territory. You won’t be waiting for a loan to fund. You start earning interest right away. Investors who are new to crypto will like the idea of a stablecoin like DAI or USDT to maintain a consistent price while earning up to 12% per year. It’s also good for Europeans who like the idea of a platform that is regulated and approved by an EU financial agency. The Swiss FMSA and FinCEN in the US regulate Nexo. All the regulatory agencies Nexo is registered with can be found here. This regulation makes people comfortable to try the crypto market for investment with a regulated platform like Nexo when they may not otherwise. It’s a unique feature as most lending platforms don’t bother with regulators in the EU, US or elsewhere. They custody their Bitcoin, and yours, with an insured custodian for $375 million, using Arch & Marsh and industry leader Bitgo. Nexo is a completely centralized operation. They are in control. If you want a more decentralized lending option or a DeFi platform, this is NOT the platform for you. But with that centralization comes convenience and crypto expertise.

What does Nexo offer?

Nexo offers loans and deposits in seven stablecoins (DAI, USDT, USDC, TUSD, PAXG, PAX and HUSD), fourteen cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, Chainlink, Tron and others) and three fiats (GBP, EUR, and USD).  

  • Lenders use the Nexo Savings Account to earn interest on their crypto. Rates differ based on which one you deposit into the platform (see rates below). They also have a trading platform for the purchase of crypto that you can easily set up, wire funds, buy your crypto and then put it into your Savings Account.
  • Borrowers can be from almost anywhere. Over 200 jurisdictions are approved but they are not listed on the site. Those with OFAC sanctions like Iran and North Korea are likely ineligible even with crypto deposits.
Available crypto assets on Nexo for crypto lending and borrowing

Loans are available with flexible payments and most are set up as credit lines instead of term loans.

Who is behind Nexo?

The team behind Nexo is based in Bulgaria and London with a team of about 200 employees. There is little public information about them available. While this is common for private financial companies, Euro-based p2p lending platforms, and crypto platforms are often expected to be more transparent. BlockFi, which is a US-based competitor, is not very transparent either and is also a private company.

How does Nexo make money?

Nexo does not charge deposit fees to lenders, although banks or crypto networks like the Ethereum blockchain or the Bitcoin blockchain might charge you to transfer crypto or fiat in or out. Nexo makes money by: 

  1. Small spread on trades for Trading Accounts
  2. They earn a good deal of revenue from their Nexo token
  3. They have an active institutional business by lending to institutions and working with OTC trading desks. Nexo uses your collateral for margin trading for these institutions and creating custom lending terms for them
  4. A small spread between the interest rate charged to borrowers and what they pay you in your Interest Account.

This last way, number 4 above, is exactly how banks make money through Net Interest Margin. So if you deposit USDC and earn 10% (12% minus 2% for NOT staking Nexo) while a 90% LTV Nexo charges a base rate 13.9%, that difference of 3.90% or 390 basis points is a source of income for the platform. Those 390 basis points are the Net Interest Margin. But based on your loyalty tier and how much Nexo you choose to hold your rate can drop from the base rate down as low as 6.9% for the Platinum rate.

How much can you earn?

Interest rates vary based on if you receive your interest payments in one of the stablecoins or one of the cryptocurrencies or fiats. Rates start at 6% and go up to 12% for the stablecoins with a 2% difference based on whether you stake Nexo or not.

How to invest on Nexo?

Two options are available. You can either: 

  1. Deposit your existing crypto if it’s one of the accepted coins or stablecoins into your Nexo Savings Account OR
  2. Open up a trading account, wire your USD, EUR, or GBP, and then lend directly OR buy crypto at Nexo, which you can then earn interest from in your Interest Account.

Summary

Nexo offers a similar experience to the legacy financial system in crypto for EU countries. The lack of a p2p option could be a benefit due to its simplicity or a drawback due to limited choices. Nexo is one of the oldest crypto lending platforms around. It started in 2018 before the new, recent DeFi era in crypto. For everyone, especially those newer to crypto, it will feel more familiar than a DeFi lending platform. The idea of depositing money and the company using it to lend is something everyone understands. For those newer to crypto, the only novelty will be that you deposit (or get a trading account to buy) crypto instead of your home currency if you don’t have one of the three fiats offered. And you can earn higher interest rates. For everyone else, Nexo is a good savings vehicle whether you want to earn with crypto that you already have and are HODLing for the long term or to earn with your existing Euros in the crypto lending markets. Nexo is a centralized lending business backed by venture capital and their own coin offering with the ICO (initial coin offering) of Nexo. Crypto Beginners will like taking advantage of Nexo’s expertise to get exposure to crypto markets in ways already familiar to them. That expertise, along with the higher interest rates and collateral protection, are good reasons to try lending within the crypto economy.

Methodology

At P2PMarketData we are dedicated to providing unbiased reviews of peer-to-peer lending, real estate crowdfunding and crypto lending platforms. Among other, in our mission to bring more transparency to the market we closely monitor and track over 70 platforms funding volumes.

When reviewing an alternative investment platform, we consider a variety of factors such as:

  • Number of investors
  • Minimum investment requirement
  • Historical annual returns
  • Diversification opportunities
  • Reinvestment opportunities
  • Educational and informational offerings
  • Platform fees
  • Total capital invested
  • Features (such as secondary market and automatic investing)
  • General transparency (the difficulty of finding who the owners are, how they make money on the platform (fees), terms & conditions and more)
  • Management team

We also look into the company’s online reputation (for example customer reviews, news, complaints, average monthly searches and social media).