Cryptocurrency lenders have become popular over the past year, but perhaps none more than Celsius. With over $19 billion in assets deposited and over 1.6 million customers, Celsius is one of the top crypto interest-account platforms on the market.
Celsius offers crypto-backed loans for as little as 1% APR and has interest accounts up to 17% APY on deposited cryptocurrency. While Celsius does not offer the same trading experience as others, the platform is a great option for users looking to earn interest or borrow against crypto assets.
This review will examine the top features on the Celsius platform, including security, available crypto, lending options, fees, user experience (on desktop and mobile) and customer service. Moreover, will step through the process of how to create a Celsius account, apply for a crypto loan, and deposit funds to earn interest.
- Apply for a collateralized loan against crypto holdings
- Loans available as low as 0.95% APR
- Supports 30+ cryptocurrencies
- Live phone customer support
- Earn interest on crypto holdings
- Buy or swap cryptocurrency (available in select locations)
Celsius is a crypto lending platform that allows you to borrow against your deposited crypto balances, and earn interest on certain cryptocurrencies. Founded in 2017, Celsius was designed to allow users to get a collateralized loan against their Bitcoin balance. It has since expanded to offer over a dozen crypto to borrow against, with loans up to 50% of the total balance.
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What Is Celsius?
Celsius is a lending and interest-bearing platform that allows users to borrow against crypto holdings. Celsius also allows users to purchase crypto directly with a bank account or credit card, as well as swap between cryptocurrencies. Celsius was founded in 2017, is headquartered in London, U.K and is available for most countries around the globe.
While Celsius is not a traditional crypto exchange and lacks trading features, it offers an intuitive way for users to buy crypto, transfer funds and earn interest on deposits. Celsius Network supports 40 cryptocurrencies to borrow against, 50 for interest account deposits and 13 that can be purchased via a third party.
Celsius At A Glance
Celsius is one the most popular cryptocurrency lending platforms that give access to 50 cryptocurrencies for depositing to earn interest up to 17% APY. The platform can be used to borrow against 40 different crypto assets with low-interest payments at 1% APR and is an excellent choice to obtain cash loans without selling crypto. While the platform can be used to buy crypto, the selection of coins is limited to 13 and is via a third-party with high fees. Celsius is useful for swapping between selected crypto fees but is available in select locations only.
|Fiat Currency||USD on platform, 18 other supported fiat through fiat on-ramp partners|
|Cryptocurrency||13 (for purchase), 40 (for loans) and 50 (for earning interest)|
|Payment Type||Cryptocurrency, Credit Card, Debit Card, ACH and SEPA|
|Withdrawal Fee||Blockchain network fee only|
Celsius Pros & Cons
Celsius does offer some advantages, such as a simple-to-use mobile app, the ability to earn interest on deposited crypto, borrowing against crypto holdings and live phone support. It also has added the ability to allow users to purchase and swap crypto on the platform. The downside of Celsius is its lack of supported crypto with
- Low interest rates on loans
- High interest payments on deposited crypto
- Customer service available via phone
- Can buy crypto on the platform
- No deposit or withdrawal fees
- High fees for credit card purchases
- Some features not available in the U.S.
- Only 13 cryptocurrencies available
- No trading interface or tools available
Is Celsius Safe?
While Celsius offers a safe way to earn interest on crypto, as well as borrow against your crypto assets, Celsius was involved in a hack in 2021. The Celsius platform was not hacked but did suffer a $50 million loss in the BadgerDAO hack in which the BadgerDAO platform lost over $120 million in Wrapped Bitcoin.
Celsius stated that no user funds were affected, but considering that the funds lost were generated from user deposits, this may be concerning to users of the platform. As of 2022, no Celsius users have reported any losses from the hack.
Are US Investors Allowed?
Yes, most U.S. residents can use Celsius, including depositing funds to earn interest and borrowing against crypto assets. Celsius is available in 48 of the 50 U.S. states. Residents of Rhode Island and Texas cannot deposit USDC tokens onto Celsius, and residents of New York and Washington State are not allowed to use the platform at all.
Update: 13 April, 2022. Celsius has launched a new custody solution for customers in the USA that will allow users to access Celsius' products such as borrowing, earning and storing digital assets. This includes verified accredited investors that will be able to earn rewards with the Earn savings account.
What Features Does Celsius Offer?
Celsius allows individuals to borrow against their crypto holdings to obtain a cash loan that can be paid out in fiat currency (e.g. US Dollars) or a stablecoin such as USDT or USDC. There are 40 different cryptocurrencies that can be used as collateral by depositing the asset to the Celsius platform. The three different loan-to-value-ratios are 25%, 33% or 50%. Depositing a higher amount of collateral reduces the loan interest rate of 8.95%, 6.95% and 1% respectively. The interest rates are fixed regardless of the loan term which is from 6 months up to five years in length.
|Loan-to-Value Ratio (LVR)||Interest Rate|
Celsius loans can be paid back in whatever currency was borrowed (such as U.S. Dollars), but if users opt to pay the loan back in native Celsius Token (CEL), there are discounts eligible on the loan interest rates. The standard interest rate payment cycle is on a monthly basis with the principal amount deposited returned at the end of the term. There are fees to repay the loan before the 6 month period and the interest owing for the first full 6 months.
Celsius loans do carry the risk of being margin called if the value of collateral drops below the value of the loan. Although, Celsius can liquidate part of the collateral to pay back the loan, which is a risk of any crypto loan product.
A limitation with obtaining a cash loan with Celsius is that the application can only be completed using the Celsius mobile app. This could be seen as a disadvantage for individuals that prefer to use a desktop version instead of a smart device when it comes to finance-related applications.
Earn Interest on Crypto
The ability to deposit cryptocurrency into a Celsius account to earn interest is a major feature of the platform. The interest is paid out weekly into the account in the native currency that is held on the platform. For example, if a user deposits Bitcoin, they will be paid out interest in BTC. In total, there are 50 assets that can be transferred to a savings account to accrue interest.
The interest rates on the available vary depending on the selected cryptocurrency. For example, the pay-out on a Bitcoin interest account starts at 5% APY up to 1 full Bitcoin, then reduces to 1.5% APY. Similarly, earning interest for Ethereum is 5.35% APY on the first 30 ETH then reduces to 3.52% APY. Users that opt to earn interest in CEL tokens for an additional 25% boost in interest earned.
|Cryptocurrency||Base Interest Rate|
|BTC||5.00% (on first 1 BTC) then 1.5% APY|
|ETH||5.35% (on first 30 ETH) then 3.52% APY|
Celsius is a lending and interest-bearing crypto platform that has integrated third-party partners to allow users to purchase cryptocurrency within the app. Users can purchase 13 available cryptocurrencies with a credit card, debit card or bank account.
There are high fees for purchases with a card (up to 3.5% per transaction). Bank account purchases offer fees as low as 0.1%, which is reasonable however most dedicated crypto exchanges have no fees for bank transfers. Overall, the buy feature is useful for crypto investors that want to use a single application to purchase, earn interest, borrow funds and monitor a crypto portfolio.
Swap Cryptocurrency With Zero Fees
Celsius has a crypto swap feature that allows users to swap one cryptocurrency for another on its platform. This feature is in beta at the time of writing and has zero-trading fees and commissions. There are also no swap amount limits per day, week or month.
While this feature is a great option that resembles a crypto platform without trading fees, the crypto swap function has not rolled out to all countries and regions. There is also limited information on the Celsius spread fee for crypto-to-crypto transactions.
Additional Discounts Using CEL Tokens
Launched in 2018, the Celsius token (CEL) is the native token of the Celsius platform which provides users certain perks. CEL tokens can be used to obtain increased rewards on deposited crypto, reduce the payments on loans and hold to accrue weekly interest.
- Higher interest pay-outs. Up to 30% more rewards on funds within an interest savings account when rewards are paid in CEL. For example, Holding 1,000 CEL in a Celsius wallet will enable an interest bonus of 15%.
- Loan discounts. Up to 25% discount on loan when paying the interest on the loan with CEL. For example, holding a balance of 10,000 CEL will reduce the loan repayments by 10%.
- Earn interest. Hold onto CEL tokens to earn 6.68% APY in weekly rewards paid out in CEL. The coin itself can be purchased or transferred to Celsius to earn weekly rewards.
Celsius offers a simple way to apply for crypto-backed loans, offering very low-interest rates and the ability to earn interest on crypto deposits as well. Reputable lending and borrowing platforms that are similar to Celsius that offer similar features, interest rates and loans are BlockFi, Nexo and Hodlnaut. Read the reviews below for a detailed overview of each provider. Alternatively, check out these comparisons to see the differences in interest rates, features and fees.
|Exchange||Crypto Assets||Trading Fees||Rating||Promotion||Website||Review|
|Get up to $250 Bonus in Bitcoin||Visit BlockFi||BlockFi Review|
|$25 Bitcoin for >$100 deposit||Visit Nexo||Nexo Review|
|None available at this time||Visit Hodlnaut||Hodlnaut Review|
|None available at this time||Visit Celsius||Celsius Review|
Creating An Account With Celsius
Getting started with Celsius account is free of charge, and crypto deposits and withdrawals are free of charge as well. The only fees that apply on the platform are the crypto purchase fees (charged by third-party partners), and the interest paid on crypto-backed loans.
To create your free Celsius account, you can submit your name and email address, and create a password for the account. After verifying your email address, you will need to verify your identity with an official government ID and a selfie picture. If you want access to trading crypto without identity verification, you can use a crypto swap platform that does not require KYC.
ID Verification Requirements
Celsius has a mandatory KYC verification process to identify individuals before allowing access to the majority of the features offered on the platform. Users cannot deposit funds, apply for loans or withdraw funds from Celsius without going through the verification process. This is a common practice to prevent money laundering and fraudulent activities.
To verify an account, Celsius will require a legal name, address and personal identification number (such as a social security number) to Celsius. In addition, a government-issued ID with a photograph will need to be uploaded. A third-party is used for the verification process which can be completed in a few minutes using the mobile app.
Funding & Limits
The primary currency to fund a Celsius account is US Dollars. There is the option to deposit up to 19 different local currencies through its partner Simplex. The payment methods vary for the supported countries and include Instant SEPA in European countries, bank transfers (ACH) in the United States and credit cards.
There are no deposit limits for crypto transfers to the platform where as crypto purchases are limited to $20,000. Withdrawals are limited to $20,000 worth of each token, per day.
Celsius supports a wide range of cryptocurrencies that can be used to borrow against to obtain a cash loan (50), deposit into an interest-earning account (40) or to swap with other assets. This includes popular coins such as Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC) and XRP. However, Celsius does not support large cap coins such as Binance Coin (BNB) and Shiba Inu (SHIB).
Ease of Use
Celsius offers a simple user interface, allowing users to deposit crypto onto the platform quickly from their own wallets. Users can earn interest on deposited funds, or use the funds as collateral to apply for a crypto-backed loan.
While some of the functionality is available on the web interface, the full functionality of Celsius is only available on the mobile app. Users can send and receive crypto, transfer crypto to other Celsius users, buy crypto through third-party partners, apply for a crypto loan, and even swap crypto (in certain locations). Overall, the Celsius mobile app is well-designed and intuitive for crypto beginners.
Using Celsius For Lending & Borrowing
Celsius offers multiple options for users, including deposits to earn interest, as well as crypto-backed loans. Here’s how to use the platform:
Borrowing & Lending
Celsius is primarily a lending platform where users can apply for a loan using cryptocurrency as collateral to secure the loan. Users can borrow stablecoins (such as USDC) or U.S. Dollars (USD), depositing cryptocurrency as collateral. The minimum limit to borrow funds is $100 for stablecoins and $1,000 for US Dollars. The supported stablecoins that can be used as loan collateral are USDC, DAI, TUSD, PAX, GUSD, USDT and ZUSD.
Celsius has 1% loan repayments when borrowing up to 25% of the total collateral amount. However, the interest rate increases significantly when borrowing more than that. For example, when borrowing against Bitcoin, a user can borrow up to 50% of the total value of the Bitcoin deposited, but the interest rate will be 8.95% APR. There are discounts on interest rates when users choose to pay back the loan using the native CEL token.
Buying Crypto on Celsius
Crypto can be bought on Celsius using a credit card, debit card, or bank account through a third-party application. Celsius is not a fiat onramp and is therefore partnered with Simplex to process the transaction using fiat currency. There is the option to buy 13 digital assets using 19 national currencies. The crypto buying feature is limited to mobile app only. Once the purchase is made, the cryptocurrency will be deposited directly into the user’s Celsius account.
Celsius does not charge any fees for depositing or withdrawing cryptocurrency on the platform. Celsius also allows users to purchase crypto through third-party partners, Simplex and Gem. Simplex charges a 2.99% - 3.5% fee for crypto purchases with a debit or credit card. Gem charges a 0.1% to 0.5% fee for purchasing crypto with a bank account through the Celsius app.
There are no transfer fees or loan origination fees. Celsius earns money by charging interest on crypto-backed loans. Moreover, there are no fees for swapping one cryptocurrency for another on the platform but there may be a spread included in the transaction. This is great value compared to similar lending platforms like BlockFi that charge a 2% origination fee.
Celsius offers a simple-to-use mobile app for depositing, sending, purchasing, and swapping crypto. The crypto app can be used to apply for loans and is supported on iOS and Android devices. The Celsius network app has greater functionality compared to the website such as the option to buy crypto which is not supported on the desktop version.
The Celsius app has an overall 3.9/5 star rating on the Android marketplace based on more than 7,000 reviews. There are a few complaints from users about identity verification and issues logging in, with some claiming that deposits and withdrawals could take weeks to arrive. Overall, the Celsius mobile app is intuitive and easy to use for all types of investors.
Security of Assets
Celsius does not use cold storage to store user assets as customer funds. Instead, the platform uses a third-party custodian service called Fireblocks to secure user assets, as well as employ hot wallet insurance to insure against loss of user funds from Celsius wallets. Celsius also allows users to enable “HODL Mode,” which disables any withdrawals from the user account. This helps protect users from hackers attempting to steal funds.
According to the Celsius website, Celsius is available in over 150 countries around the globe including the United States. Celsius has limited operation in Rhode Island and Texas and is not available in New York and Washington State. Celsius is also not available to countries that are on national sanctions lists.
Frequently Asked Questions
Celsius is not a dedicated trading platform with an order book to record and process transactions between buyers and sellers. Celsius is a lending platform, and user deposits are used to fund loans. Deposits are not considered liquidity on the platform, and users cannot purchase crypto directly with Celsius, but on third-party platforms. Investors that are looking to trade crypto, and want access to an exchange with deep liquidity will need to use larger exchanges such as Coinbase or Binance.
While Celsius keeps user funds in hot wallets on the platform, Celsius is not a wallet service and does not offer a customer digital wallet. Users that want to transfer funds on and off the platform will need to utilize their own digital hot wallet, or a hardware wallet to secure their assets. For more information, read our article on the best hardware wallets for crypto.
Celsius does not have an insurance policy for crypto holdings or user funds. This also includes cash deposits, which are not protected by FDIC insurance. Celsius uses a custodian, Fireblocks, to store user assets, and Fireblocks does have insurance on all digital assets stored.
Celsius is a leading crypto lending platform with crypto-backed loans from as low as 1% repayments with generous interest savings accounts up to 15% APY. With its simple-to-use mobile app, access to over a dozen crypto to borrow against and upcoming ability to swap coins directly on the platform, Celsius is a great platform for retail investors. Users should be aware that borrowing more than 25% of their crypto balance will result in a much higher interest rate, as well as a higher possibility of a margin call if there are significant price drops.
Overall, Celsius is a great lending platform but could be improved with a direct fiat-to-crypto onramp, a greater selection of cryptocurrencies to loan and earn interest, and daily interest payouts to maximize the compounding effect.