First Mover: Says User Growth Coming From Products, Not Token Speculation saw the total number of users increase by 50% in the past few months, to 3 million people.

AccessTimeIconJul 2, 2020 at 12:47 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 8:59 a.m. UTC

Credit-card lender has boosted the number of total users by at least 50% in the past two months to 3 million, according to CEO Kris Marszalek.

The company's chief disclosed the increase in response to questions from First Mover about this year's market-dominating gains in's CRO tokens. According to the company's website, the tokens can be used for “cross-asset intermediary currency settlement for the native Chain.”  

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The CRO token has nearly quadrupled in price this year, the top performer among digital assets with a market capitalization of at least $1 billion. As reported by First Mover on Wednesday, the token was also the best performer in June.  

Cryptocurrency analysts including TradeBlock's John Todaro say the Hong Kong-based company has raised its profile through extensive marketing efforts, such as promotions and sponsorships, while pushing into new businesses that have attracted users and interest in the CRO tokens. (Last month, sponsored a portion of CoinDesk's Consensus: Distributed virtual conference.)

Speculation is a hallmark of cryptocurrency markets and traders appear to be betting big on CRO in 2020, given its 273% gain since the start of the year. That's well ahead of the second-best performer, Cardano's ADA token, which is up 177%. Bitcoin, whose $170 billion market capitalization is about 75 times that of the CRO tokens, is up just 29%. 

First Mover reached out to Marszalek to get his comments on the outsize gains. A spokesman sent Marszalek's responses via email.

What would be your comment/explanation on why CRO has done so well this year in digital-asset markets?

As a rule of thumb, we don’t comment on price action. The overall market has done really well this year and there are plenty of digital assets that performed well. Our focus is solely on building great products for our rapidly growing customer base. 

What would consider to be the primary achievements/milestones of June/the second quarter/this year/the past six months?

We’re the only crypto debit card program that is live in the U.S., Europe and Asia. This global rollout of a much-loved product led to rapid growth in our user base from 1 million in September 2019 to 2 million in early May 2020. We’ve just hit the 3 million user milestone only two months after hitting 2 million.  

According to one analyst, a part of's performance could be attributed to marketing spending. How much has spent on advertising this year? Would you agree with this analyst's assessment?

Our primary source of new customers is word of mouth. We’ve spent four years building a rock-star product that people love and recommend to their friends. We now have a nearly complete crypto ecosystem, covering payments (Visa cards, Pay), trading (exchange, wallet app) and finance (lending and interest accounts), so there are plenty of reasons for people to use our products. Attributing our growth to marketing alone is not seeing the forest for the trees: You need a great product before you spend a single dollar on marketing. 

Do you think there's any speculation driving the token related to future developments and/or partnerships/initiatives? If so, what would those be?

Our ecosystem roadmap has been published in November 2019 and we’re simply relentlessly executing against it. Looking at our monthly updates or even the Twitter feed, there is rarely a day without a product improvement being rolled out. Rapid progress is clearly visible to anyone comparing our roadmap with what we deliver every week. earlier this week was running a 50% off sale on $2 million worth of BTC. Would it be fair to say that this promotion would cost roughly $1 million worth of bitcoin? 

It’s a special event to celebrate our fourth anniversary and gives us an opportunity to reflect on all the milestones we hit during this time. At the same time, it helps us to onboard more customers to our exchange, which has launched in beta in November 2019. We’re committed to investing in the exchange business until it reaches critical mass.

Ranking of digital assets with a market capitalization of at least $1 billion, based on year-to-date returns
Ranking of digital assets with a market capitalization of at least $1 billion, based on year-to-date returns

Tweet of the day


Bitcoin watch

BTC: Price: $9,215 (BPI) | 24-Hr High: $9,300 | 24-Hr Low: $9,141


Trend: Bitcoin’s on-chain network activity is surging as price volatility stays close to an all-year low. But this isn’t as paradoxical as may appear.

  • Bitcoin jumped to $9,300 Wednesday, sparking hopes of that an expected range breakout had started, before returning to just over $9,200 at press time. 
  • Crypto markets analyst Mati Greenspan wrote in a daily report: “Bitcoin is pretty much flat at the moment, and it's still unclear if it's headed toward support around the 200-day moving average or if it's gonna look for a fresh breakout above $10,000.”
  • Glassnode data shows active wallet addresses and new addresses are at 1-year and 2-year highs, respectively, while hourly spent outputs – bitcoin’s volumes – are at an all-time high. 
  • This suggests bitcoin may be unusually liquid – low volatility has tightened spreads, meaning volumes are effectively funneled through a smaller selection of quotes.  
  • Then again, it could just be market makers injecting liquidity into exchanges. 
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