In this Celsius Network review, you’ll learn that Celsius Network is a crypto-based money management service where you can earn interest on your cryptocurrency and stablecoins. Additionally, Celsius Network also provides low interest loans and can be used to transfer money between Celsius wallet users.
I was very skeptical at first because SO MANY people recommend Celsius and their CEL token has been pumping continuously. I have full FOMO so I wanted to do research to see if Celsius was legit rather than people promoting it due to the Celsius referral bonus. That’s why you’ll see in the Celsius crypto review that they are a legitimate wallet but there are restrictions to many countries.
Between most of the reliable interest earning crypto platforms, Celsius Network is the most generous when it comes to low interest rates for loans, high interest earning on your crypto, and their sign up bonus. This terrifies me. Because the company is promising a lot and it seems they are offering way more than the competitors. This makes me question how sustainable their business model will be in the future and how safe my money is with them.
Celsius Network Pros:
- Sign Up Bonus: $20 with my referral code 15774035eb (must deposit $200 and keep it in the account for 30 days)
- Lowest interest rates loans at 1% (not available to US Citizens)
- Highest interest earning rates on cryptocurrency and stablecoins for US citizens (without needing platform tokens)
Celsius Network Cons:
- U.S. users can’t gain interest in CEL, get loans, buy coins, or use CELPay (workaround)
- Available as an APP only
- Transactions cannot be seen in the app. They
- You need the CEL platform token for the best rates (international users only)
- Interest earning rates vary by location
Celsius Crypto Earning Rates
The interest you can earn on your crypto with Celsius depends on your location. The general earning rates for the United States are actually pretty high compared to the international rates because US residents are “not allowed” to buy CEL tokens.
For the most up to date Celsius Network rates, please see this link. These are Celsius crypto earning rates for the United States (just a sample because the list is really long):
|Celsius||BlockFi||Nexo (earn in Nexo)|
|Bitcoin||6.2% (on up to 2.0 BTC)||6% (on up to 2.5 BTC)||5% (8%)|
|Platform Token||CEL 5.12%||No platform token||NEXO Dividend|
|Tether||10.51%||9.3% (n/a to US residents)||8% (12%)|
|Loan Rates||Cash: 1% to 7.9% CEL: 0.7% to 5.67%||4.5% to 9.75% + 2% origination fee||11.9% No Nexo tokens 5.9% Platinum Nexo status|
|Loan Minimum||$500||$5,000||$10 (for stablecoins) $500 for ACH transfer|
|Loan Process||Must apply for loans||Must apply for loans||Available instantly|
When signing up for Celsius Network, you can only sign up through the mobile app. Celsius does not have a website to manage your account and everything has to be done through the app.
During the first step of the sign up process, you have the option to add a referral code at the bottom of the page. My referral code is 15774035eb which gets you $20 in BTC after depositing $200 and keeping it in your account for 30 days. If you forget to use the promo code during the sign up process, you can add it as a “promo code” in your account later. But you’ll need to add the referral code before depositing any money to be eligible.
Celsius is very strict about knowing who their users are. You will have to go through the KYC (Know Your Customer) process and provide your identification, address and other personal information. As a US citizen, I was also required to provide my Social Security Number. You will also need to provide a picture of your identification taken through the app. The KYC identity process for Celsius Network applies to every country they operate in so you can’t make any ghost accounts.
How long does it take for your account to be verified by Celsius? Celsius claims that accounts will be verified in 24 hours or less. In my experience, I found that the verification process was completed in less than 2 hours. For myself as a US Citizen and for my wife as a Taiwanese citizens, both of our accounts were verified very quickly.
During the sign-up process for my Taiwanese wife, she initially used her Taiwanese passport and it failed Celsius’ identity verification process in less than 2 hours. She resubmitted her identity with a national ID card and less than 2 hours later was approved for her account.
Celsius Network Sign-Up Bonus
The Celsius Referral bonus gets you $20 in BTC after depositing $200 to your Celsius wallet and leaving it in there for 30 days. If you’d like to use my referral code, it’s 15774035eb. You will need to add the Celsius referral code during the 1st page of the sign up process otherwise you can add it in again as a promo code once your account is set up. Just remember to add the Celsius referral code before making any deposit to stay eligible.
Earning Interest with Celsius
To begin earning interest with Celsius, all you have to do is add money to your Celsius wallet. As soon as the money arrives in your account, you begin earning interest.
For US residents, you can only earn interest “in kind”. That means if you deposit Bitcoin into your Celsius wallet, you’ll earn interest in Bitcoin. If you deposit USDC, you will earn interest in USDC. US residents are not allowed to earn interest in CEL token, so the earning rates are more generous. For all other countries that don’t have this restriction, the earning rates are generally lower.
For most non-US residents, you have the option to earn interest in CEL tokens or “in kind”. That means when you deposit BTC into your CEL crypto wallet, you can choose to earn interest in BTC (in kind) or in CEL. Users are incentivized with higher interest rates to earn in CEL.
When do I get paid interest with Celsius? Interest is earned daily with Celsius but it paid out to your Celsius wallet weekly. All interest earned will also continue to earn interest so you will earn compound interest.
Crypto backed loans are available through Celsius at outrageously low rates (1% or less if using CEL). First off, you should know that loans are not available to U.S. customers. There’s no getting around that unless you have identification from another country.
How do Celsius Network Loans work?
Celsius loans are only available to non-US customers at the moment (January 2020). To take out a loan with Celsius, there is a loan minimum of $500. The rates vary based on your Loan-To-Value (LTV).
Your LTV is based on your collateral. So if your want the low 1% loan from Celsius as a $500 loan, you’ll need an LTV of 25%. That means, you’ll need to put up at least $2000 worth of stablecoins or cryptocurrency to get that loan.
You can choose the terms of your loan. The interest rate you pay is the same for any of the loan durations. So you’ll see that the loan rate is the same for 6 months, 1 year, 2 years or 3 years. You’ll need to pre-pay the interest for at least 6 months (extra upfront money for Celsius).
Do I earn interest on my Celsius collateral? Assets locked as collateral for a loan through Celsius are not eligible to earn interest. Your cryptocurrency will hold it’s value even if it’s fluctuates in USD price. 1 BTC as collateral will remain as 1 BTC until your loan is complete. (Celsius statement)
Can I pay off my Celsius loan early? You can pay off your Celsius loans early but you won’t be refunded the interest payments.
What are the loan rates with Celsius?
|Celsius Loan Rates||LTV 25%||LTV 33%||LTV 50%|
|6 Months||1.00% APR||3.95% APR||7.95% APR|
|1 Year||1.00% APR||3.95% APR||7.95% APR|
|2 Years||1.00% APR||3.95% APR||7.95% APR|
|3 Years||1.00% APR||3.95% APR||7.95% APR|
|6 Months (CEL)||0.95% APR||3.75% APR||7.55% APR|
|1 Year (CEL)||0.95% APR||3.75% APR||7.55% APR|
|2 Years (CEL)||0.95% APR||3.75% APR||7.55% APR|
|3 Years (CEL)||0.95% APR||3.75% APR||7.55% APR|
What happens when I have a loan with Celsius and the value of my crypto drops? In the event that the price of your cryptocurrency drops when you have a Celsius Loan, you will receive a margin call when the LTV hits 65%. At that point you will have 12 hours to add more collateral or your loan will be liquidated.
How long do I have after a margin call to add collateral to my Celsius Loan? Celsius provides you up to 12 hours after a margin call to add more collateral to your loan. If your Loan-To-Value drops to 80%, Celsius will sell collateral until your LTV is at 70%. You will still be responsible for bringing your LTV back down to the agreed upon LTV rate (25/33/50). More info on the official Celsius Margin Call FAQ.
What happens If I don’t do anything about the margin call? Celsius will sell your collateral to fulfill the loan. Your loan will be closed but you will also lose all the collateral you used to get the loan.
What happens when the Loan-to-value changes due to crypto price changes? When you take out a loan with Celsius, you have to set the terms of the loan’s LTV (Loan-to-value). You can select 25%, 33% or 50%. The interest rates vary with each one, but Celsius does not provide a floating interest rate.
Celsius Pay (CelPay)
CelPay allows you to pay up to $2500 in one transaction to another Celsius user with a CelPay link. There aren’t any fees to send money and there aren’t any platform or gas fees when withdrawing assets from your Celsius wallet. The big bonus for me is that you can easily send money to someone without a long complicated address that has the risk of disappearing if you make a mistake.
How long does a CelPay link last? A CelPay link is available until the money is claimed. The sender of the CelPay link can cancel the payment through their Celsius wallet at any time.
How does Celsius Pay work? CelPay is available to use for ALL users with an IP address outside the United States. That means, if you are a US user and happen to have a VPN that changes your IP address to another country, you will get access to CelPay. Once you have CelPay active, you can send any amount of money or cryptocurrency (up to $2500) in a single transaction.
CelPay will generate a link that you can share to anyone you like and the funds can only be claimed through the Celsius app. The sender of the money has the ability to cancel the transaction at any time if the money is not claimed.
Be very careful when sending money through Celsius Pay, because you need to be aware of what you are sending. Are you sending 1 Ethereum or 1 USD? Make sure you are paying attention. After selecting how much you’d like to send, you will get an email verification for authorization before the money is sent. I actually really like the email authorization feature before I send any money out of my CelPay account.
HODL Mode: If you have HODL mode active, it takes 24 hours to disable before you can use CelPay or withdraw any money from your account. This is great for users who plan on just earning interest without using any other feature.
What currency is being sent through CelPay? When sending money with Celsius Pay, you can choose the cryptocurrency or stablecoin. After selecting the type of coin, you will then be able to select the amount. CelPay defaults to the coin and will display the USD amount below that.
NOTE: Make sure you aren’t accidentally sending 1 ETH instead of $1USD.
There’s a little arrow on the right to toggle between the coin value and the USD value. If you decide to send the USD value, CelPay will automatically do the calculation for you. As an example, I sent $1USD when ETH was around $600 and it sent 0.00169 ETH from my account. A few days after I sent that, ETH went up 20% in value and the receiver of my CelPay transaction received 0.00169 ETH.
HODL mode locks up your wallet for withdrawals or payments for 24 hours. You’ll also need a special password to unlock your wallet. CelPay will not be available while in HODL mode.
The HODL Mode feature on the Celsius wallet is one of my favorites. Many people who are just investing aren’t making a lot of trades or withdrawals and want that extra security on their assets. This is a little similar to Coinbase’s Bitcoin cold storage feature, but that’s limited to just Bitcoin on Coinbase.
I recommend using a VPN to switch countries when trying to bypass region blocks on your Celsius wallet and if you just wanted access to Netflix content that’s available in other countries. To make things easy, I wrote up a detailed post on how to set up a VPN with a dedicated IP address (video) and how to set up a router with a VPN.
At home I have 2 dedicated home networks so I have an IP address in the US and in Taiwan. I just switch networks if I need access from a different country.
United States Vs International Users
Alright, I am writing this from the perspective of a US user, but that’s literally how it’s advertised on the Celsius website. International just means every country besides the US. There are advantages and disadvantages on both sides, so no need to feel too left out.
There are not any fees when using Celsius as a crypto wallet and to earn interest. Even to get loans, there aren’t any fees but Celsius will charge you for the full duration of the loan term in interest. That means if you have a 3 year loan, they expect you to pay 3 years of interest even if you pay it off early. The only fees for Celsius are when buying cryptocurrency. This is only available for Non-US users:
|CEL Pay (Send/Receive)||None|
|Buy Crypto (via Simplex)||2.99% or 3.5% depending on country|
|Buy Crypto (via GEM)||Wyre 0.1%|
Coinify 0.5% bank transfer
Coinify 2% for CC (EU)
Coinify 3.5% for CC (non-EU)
How to buy Celsius coin? Celsius coin (or Celsius tokens) can be purchased on any of the exchanges that sell CEL.
How can US users buy CEL tokens? Not all exchanges are available to United States citizens due to financial regulations. This makes it difficult to buy CEL coin, but not impossible. Your best bet is to get on a decentralized exchange that allows US users to register.
Taxes with Celsius
The Celsius App tracks all your wallet transactions and generates a tax report that you can receive as an email or in the mail. I know we don’t like paying taxes on our digital currency, but Celsius will report your earnings to the IRS (US Customers) because they want to stay compliant with the US financial regulations. The fact that you get a tax report from Celsius shows me that there is a lot of legitimacy to the platform and a lot of future growth in the event that they become a regulated bank in the US.
Where can I find my Celsius Tax Report? You can find your Celsius tax report in your profile menu at the bottom of the page.
Restrictions for U.S. users
Celsius Wallet has VERY limited functions for US residents:
- Can’t buy coins with a credit card
- Can’t get loans
- Can’t use CelPay (can bypass this with a VPN)
- Can’t earn interest in CEL
I’m okay with these restrictions, but it’s kind of annoying that the app let’s me get pretty deep into each of these processes before telling me that I’m not eligible as a US Citizen.
Which countries do not support Celsius Wallet?
- North Korea
- South Sudan
- + any other country which the US/UK/EU imposes financial sanctions or embargos
Your Individual Celsius Wallet Transactions
Your Celsius transaction history is automatically sorted by coin. To see your Celsius Wallet transactions, you will need to access your Celsius Wallet and click on each individual coin.
In my account, I’m only holding Ethereum, but ETH and BTC are showing up as available coins. My BTC balance is $0, but if you look at the recent transactions, it shows the potential referral and bonuses that are pending which will be paid out in BTC.
How To View All of Your Celsius Wallet Transactions
What I don’t like is that there isn’t a simple page to see all of your recent transactions. This just helps me have a quick overview of what’s been going on in my account. To get all of your Celsius Transaction History, you have to log in to the account, access your profile, then scroll to the bottom of the page to request your transaction history. After requesting your Celsius transactions, you will receive an email to download link within the next few minutes.
Issue: I had an issue downloading the my Celsius transaction history directly by clicking the “Download” link. It would open a new browser then close immediately without downloading the Celsius transaction history. Needless to say I was a little terrified about spyware being added to my computer.
Resolved: To get my Celsius report to download, I had to right-click on the “Download” link in the email and opened the link in an incognito browser. That was the only way for me to download the Celsius transaction CSV report.
EXTREME RISK: The transaction reports from Celsius don’t even say your name in the email. This can introduce some phishing and spyware attacks on your computer. Just opening the email can be risky, but then having to click another link introduces a lot of risk which I don’t like.
Saying Safe: For you own peace of mind, make sure the email comes directly from the email address [firstname.lastname@example.org]. Your Celsius Network Transaction history will show up within minutes of requesting a report. If you get an report you didn’t request, don’t open it and just request a new Celsius transaction report. Lastly, the download URL should begin with:
The biggest thing missing from the Celsius app is that it does not show you all of your transaction history in the app. At the time of writing this Celsius Network review (12/28/20), you can only access your full Celsius account transaction history by requesting it as an excel document which you will then receive as a download through your email address. This introduces a lot of unnecessary risk for the user, who just wants to see their transaction history. Displaying your transactions, is one of the features that every banking and crypto services has…so it’s weird that it’s not available in the app.
I forgot to add the referral code when signing up for Celsius so I reached out to support. Of course I don’t want to miss out on free money, so I contacted Celsius support if that could get added to my account.
As I’m writing this Celsius Network review, it’s been 5 days since I set that support request and I have not yet received a reply from the Celsius Support team. I know their recent growth has been very big and they probably don’t have enough people working to support all the new potential customers.
I’m still optimistic about getting the sign up bonus and if you forgot to use a Celsius promo code, be sure to contact support to try to get it added to your account.
I actually made this same mistake with BlockFi. I forgot to add my sign up bonus code and contacted support to add it. BlockFi got back to me so I could get the bonus within 7 hours. See my BlockFi review for full details on how their crypto interest earning service works.
How to send a subpoena to Celsius Network
This feature is for law enforcement offices only, but I thought it was very interesting that the Celsius Network Support FAQ had this information already states. Full details can be found here.
Is Celsius Network Safe?
The biggest factor that gives incredible credibility to Celsius Network is the CEO Alex Mashinsky. He’s a billionaire! From researching Alex Mashinsky’s connection to Celsius Network, everything looks legit. I didn’t know who he was before Celsius Network, but apparently he’s a big investor and inventor with a lot of patents.
- https://celsius.network/cel-token-explained/ (he’s holding 51M Cel tokens)
Having a billionaire investor does bring a lot of legitimacy to Celsius, but it really doesn’t mean it’s 100% trustworthy. I just try to keep a healthy amount of skepticism, because even billionaires like to screw people…actually…billionaires like screwing people a lot. Okay okay, that’s like the racist form of having something against people with money. But let’s stay skeptical.
If you are from the US or even just in the United States, you will have limited Celsius wallet functions. I actually like this, because it tells me that Celsius is complying with financial laws in those regions and they want to do things that right way so people can actually bank with them.
The interesting thing about your Celsius Wallet is that you can use your Facebook or Google account to log in. This is pretty common for many other apps, but I haven’t seen this for a crypto or banking app. After using your social media accounts, you’ll still be required to enter your passcode or fingerprint to access your Celsius Wallet. As for user experience, this is incredibly convenient rather than having to use a complicated password.
Celsius KYC Compliancy with every country
To make a Celsius wallet, you’ll need to verify your identity with Celsius by providing them a picture of your identification. This applies to every eligible country in the world that Celsius operates in. The KYC (know your customer) is to help identify customers in the event of money laundering (AML = Anti-money laundering).
With Celsius complying with user data from every country, I see this as a good thing which helps legitimize what Celsius is doing as the “unbank yourself” demographic. As Celsius grows, it could really be the future of banking.
Securing Your Account with 2-FA Authentication: The Celsius wallet is only available via app. I really don’t like this because it makes it very difficult to store my 2FA codes and even more inconvenient to set up. Bu
Why do I trust Celsius Network?
- The CEO is a billionaire and can fund the project himself without needing money from other investors. Alex Machinsky (Celsius CEO) has a long proven record as an investor and person who likes to get patents to take control over an industry. As he moves into the crypto banking space, I see it as an aggressive attack on traditional banking as they try to grow rapidly which has cause CEL coin to go up in value significantly in 2020.
- The Company is Growing: From the Celsius LinkedIn page, they have a lot of employees and are hiring even more. This shows that the Celsius Network as a company is growing and can only get bigger as the value of Bitcoin rises.
- The Celsius App is very good: Just moving between menus is a little clunky, but once you are in the app it’s very clean and has a lot more functions that other crypto wallets. You can even get your tax documents from the Celsius app which shows that they want to be compliant so in the future they can be a fully authorized digital bank.
- HODL Mode: You can protect your Celsius wallet assets with HODL mode. This feature allows you to add an additional password to your account and it takes 24 hours to move coins after it is deactivated. To deactivate HODL mode, you’ll need your HODL password, account password, email verification and 2-Factor authentication code (if you set all of these up).
What I don’t like about Celsius Network:
The only thing I don’t like about Celsius is that it’s available only as an app. As someone who manages multiples wallets and accounts, it’s very inconvenient for me to do everything on the phone. Backing up and storing codes is very important, and that’s very difficult to do just on the phone. Mostly because your data can be at risk.
Is Celsius Network Legit? As of writing this post, Celsius Network is legitimate and I could not find any reports of any Celsius Network Scams. Celsius has limited functionality in countries with strong financial regulations, which is potentially a very good sign since they are compliant with the law. Celsius Network’s CEO Alex Mashinsky brings the platform an incredible amount of credibility.
With that said, the platform is still relatively new and we don’t know what types of vulnerabilities there may be with crypto wallet apps. Since I am a US resident, I won’t be investing much with Celsius due to fears of me losing access to my wallet.
Is Celsius FDIC insured? Celsius is not FDIC insured. Legally, Celsius has a lot of restrictions for US residents. Keep in mind though that there are NO crypto wallets that are federally insured and there are no brokerage accounts that are FDIC insured.
Is Celsius Network insured? Celsius Network is insured by Fireblocks and PrimeTrust. Your actual wallet is not insured by Celsius, just the Celsius platform in the event of a hack. Individual accounts that are hacked are not covered by Celsius’s insurance according to their terms.
Initially, I thought Celsius Network was a scam since they have high interest-earning rates and low loan rates. I STILL feel that it’s too generous, but I also see it as an aggressive approach to growing the business quickly while taking out the competition.
Would I use Celsius? I really like what Celsius is doing, but I don’t like the restrictions on U.S. users. My biggest fear is that my money gets locked up in the account that I won’t be able to access. But, since I also have access to non-US account, I will 100% be a Celsius customer.