Is Plutus imploding?

This probably sounds a bit like a FUD-ey post, but I'm honestly just frustrated with what's going on at Plutus and wanted to post it here to see if others feel similar.

Plutus is a “crypto card” (or was) that gives you an attractive cashback rate depending on how much PLU you have, and “perks” that are rebated, for example, Spotify/Netflix/Apple One/etc.

Plutus has been going slowly downhill for a while with sudden changes more frequent than a kid with ADHD, constant delays to announced features like Apple Pay / Google Pay / DEX, and general incompetence on how to run a financial product. I'm wondering if they're about to implode.

Recent changes:

'temporary' deactivation of the DEX

The DEX was a system inside Plutus that allows you to sell PLU or ETH tokens directly, for example, to charge your card with it. That got 'temporarily' disabled, and the date to re-enable kept getting pushed and pushed. This means the only way to sell the PLU cashback you get is to cash it out to a third-party wallet (by paying €7.50), transfer it to an exchange, and sell it.

Reduced DEX fees are a advertised benefit according to their CURRENT plan tiers, even though the DEX is not usable. The blog post that announced pausing the DEX was published in February 2022, almost an entire year ago:

If they were to revamp the DEX, why not leave the old system up until the new one is ready? To me, this feels like an artificial halting of selling of PLU to keep the price up.

Disabling of fiat withdraw/send

Plutus wanted to be a bank-like app, so you get an IBAN and you can send money in that you can use on your card. A couple of weeks ago, withdrawing of fiat got disabled with the explanation that they need to increase security. No timeline was given on when it will be available again.

So to summarize this: Plutus now is a bank-like app that allows you to send money in, but not send money out. The only way to get money out is to spend it on the card, and you can't top up Revolut, for example.

I just checked my emails to see if I got anything that tells me this, but nothing. So if I didn't try to withdraw I probably wouldn't even know.

(Today another change hit: you can no longer send money in from accounts that aren't in your name. A few fintech apps have similar restrictions so not big deal, but considering they want to be bank-like, I wanted to mention it…)

Just owning PLU is no longer enough to get cashback/perks, you have to subscribe to a monthly plan with cash

After a couple of different announcements of changes, it looks like Plutus settled on this: In order to get any cashback whatsoever, either through purchases or perks, you have to subscribe to one of the 3 available plans.

Even if you bought a ton of PLU previously to unlock one of the staking tiers that give you more perks, in order to now get the same cashback from those perks, you need to subscribe independently of stacking level with cash, effectively breaking the original agreement made when users bought those PLU tokens. Also interesting here is that there is no mechanism to use PLU directly to pay for subscriptions.

Lots of obstacles you have to jump through to withdraw PLU

Turning PLU into cash is getting harder and harder. After getting cashback, the PLU is frozen for 45 days until you can do anything with it. To withdraw (after waiting 45 days) you have to connect a third-party wallet (like Metamask) and then pay a €7.50 withdrawal fee.

Also, the minimum withdrawal limit is €50, so if your cashback is under €50, you can't withdraw it at all. There is also no longer a way to directly use PLU to charge the card (or pay for subscriptions), so Plutus is now a debit card that gives you crypto, but can't use crypto.

Introduction of spending limits to get cashback

Together with the new plans, we got tighter spending limits. To increase the spending limit, you have to “Redeem PLU” (aka burning it).

The lowest plan, “Starter”, now has a limit of €250, so additional purchases after you hit this limit will not give you any rewards. This is the purchase amount, not the cashback amount.

It's obvious that this is an attempt to put 'utility' into the PLU token and reduce emission, but the incremental changes make the system harder and harder to understand, forcing people to create spreadsheets.

Constant delays to everything, and blaming others (like Visa) for it

Constant delays to announcements since the card migration to Modulr (more on that later). Apple Pay / Google Pay got delayed so often that “Soon TM” is now a meme over at /r/Plutus.

There are constant claims that it's in 'beta' and the reason why it's not live yet is because Visa found some issues with tokenization or something like that and they're working with them. Uhmmm sure, Plutus is working directly with Visa, and not their issuer (Modulr), and Visa of all companies has problems with enabling Apple Pay…. ? eg

Botched card migration, lack of physical card, and recommending Curve as a solution

Plutus switched from Solaris to Modulr at the end of last year. Instead of having both in parallel and fading out Solaris, the migration happened extremely close to each other, with some people not having their virtual Modulr card until days before the Solaris one stops working.

Notably, the new card had no physical version which was coming “soon” but got delayed a couple of times until the first cards finally arrived like… last week? The new physical card also costs €10 to issue, even if you had the previous Solaris one.

So, a company that gives you cashback on purchases, and rebates on things like supermarkets (physical) no longer had a physical card, or any other means to use the service in physical stores due to lack of Apple/Google Pay. The official 'solution' from Plutus was to 'just use Curve', a third-party card provider that proxies other cards.

Introduction of 'ambassadors'

Sometime last year, Plutus started paying “ambassadors” to support their public image. Ambassadors have to rate Plutus with 5 stars and almost every post on /r/Plutus gets lots of “Very cool!!!”, “So nice!!!”, “Again, great progress from Plutus. Can't wait to see what comes next” comments that make it sound like the sub is full of bots and hides actual sentiment. They'll be on this post as well.

tl;dr – general incompetence or signs of implosion?

A lot of these things, like changes to plans or cards, weren't properly communicated outside of Reddit/Twitter. Occasionally, an email comes in but it doesn't make it clear what's actually going on. Without following on Reddit, I would have missed most of it and probably started wondering why I'm no longer getting cashback.

Even while writing this post, I wanted to check their official website for some of these new systems but had to fall back to Google to find the relevant help pages.

I don't know if Plutus is just this bad at communicating, or if these are attempts to purposely hide information.

The recent changes to tiers and plans tell me that the company may be in financial trouble and probably realized that just giving tokens to people without any utility is not enough to keep the organization going, now trying to figure out how to do business without a clear plan forward.

Concerning things around the company:

  • Inability to provide proper timelines for their financial product, or handle important migrations (like card issuer) smoothly
  • Constant delays to promised features (Apple/Google Pay/DEX)
  • Disabling of basic financial functions like withdrawing of fiat (and since today also depositing from accounts that are not in one's name)
  • Sudden introduction of changes and then reverting those changes, lack of communication for people that aren't on Reddit/Twitter all the time

Concerning things around the PLU token:

  • Obstacles added to withdraw and sell PLU like disabling of the DEX without an alternative, 45 days lockup, or 7.5 Euro withdrawal fee feel like artificial halting of PLU selling
  • Introduction of caps, changing of existing agreements (like stacking of PLU) by trying to force users (that may have bought a lot of PLU that has since lost value) into monthly subscriptions or lose their benefits
  • Attempts at adding 'tokenomics' aka burning PLU to raise spending limits that didn't exist previously (aka adding a restriction and then a way to remove that new restriction)

Even with a monthly sub, it's still pretty simple to make up for it with enough perks so it's not too bad, but Plutus doesn't feel great currently and I'm not sure I want to trust them with my cash.

What does /r/cc think? Am I just reading too much into this?

18 thoughts on “Is Plutus imploding?”

  1. Was it even a thing?

    Don’t fall for “DEX” marketing claims. There are only a few real DEX (bisq, Haveno). Everything else is centralized crap/scam.

  2. Thanks for the reminder, I need to cancel my subscription, the new price does not really make it worth it to me, especially since the bonus plu is locked for 45 days, and the withdrawal fee is way too high, why are they just unable to charge network rate?

  3. Plutus is digging its own grave and will thus make way for others such as Renegade, which is growing and building up new features instead of tearing them down

  4. As a former Celsius user, this thread is uncomfortably familiar to me in terms of my experience. Be smart folks, last thing you want is to have your crypto stolen during a bull run

  5. Plutus has two main problems. Inept team and (at least in my opinion) flawed product.

    Regarding the team they have been riding the “we’re a small team so hiccups are to be expected” wagon for almost half a decade now. Either scale the company or at least stop using that excuse. They are unable to do anything on time (dex closed and delayed for almost a year, Google Pay to be enabled “later this week” back in early September and still waiting) except for raising fees. They’re able to do that even before announcing it. There’s a running joke in some telegram channels that the entire IT infrastructure of the company is run by a single intern.

    Their marketing skills are abysmal. Subreddit and telegram channels are run in a way that any criticism (or even calling out blatant lies by the CEO) is flagged as misinformation and removed. Only happyflower circlejerk discussions are allowed to prosper. Their official line of communication with customers is retweets from their (supremely inept) CEO who mostly just tweets to bash other companies while his house is in fire and to insult the intelligence of his own customers. Either he’s a shitty communicator, he’s on the spectrum, or both.

    Regarding the product, it seemed to have a promising roadmap, but due to scares from US and UK regulators they have reduced it more and more to a point where they officially present it as buy our token to earn more of our token. Even equating it to retail store loyalty programs. We’ve seen too many schemes like this and they only work as long as new users and their fiat inflows are able to cover veteran user outflows. It might work for a while, current new users might still be able to make some bank, but at some point the scale will shift and it will collapse. And the inept management can only accelerate that.

  6. Combination of factors causing problems there, including what I assume from the regular over-promise/under-deliver is an inexperienced team, piss-poor communications of major changes, and a naive CEO who seems to be simultaneously cheering for the collapse of BTC, Tether and whole crypto sector while also selling a product that rewards users in a *crypto* token. 

    PLU has been bleeding against pretty much everything for the past 6 months. I think what they’ve failed to appreciate is that for most customers (myself included), this token is basically an airdrop. Sell it and spend the proceeds somewhere else. Why bother holding or buying more to unlock higher tiers when there are plenty of other faster horses out there.  

    I don’t think the company will implode but I do think PLU will continue to underperform, and that might force them to make further changes to sub prices or reward distribution down the line.

  7. Plutus was and is just a pyramid scheme. There is no other utility for their token than to stack it for more cashback.

  8. I tried Plutus and it was shit. I swapped to card, which is working well and gets me cash back in CRO

  9. There is only one crypto card that is worse than plutus, and it’s Hi(.)com .
    Both are really bad lol

  10. I got to know some of the Plutus team at an event. It felt like they have the opinion: „if someone is dump enough to give us money than we gonna take it and pay for it with a virtual token who nobody gets to use as long as the token itself does not grow (because than the token would pay for itself) “

  11. Too Long didn’t Read Summary:

    Why would you associate with anything named “Plutus” and expect not to get rug pulled?

  12. You even forgot that in order to redeem your PLU you need a paying subscription! So after waiting 45 days to get the PLU unlock then you have to pay 10€ that month to redeem the PLU.

  13. I’m hesitant, but I’m still using their card. I redeemed (burned) 10 PLU to get a spending ceiling of €1000,- beside the Everyday sub ceiling of €500,- which suffices in my spending habits. I haven’t bought any PLU ever and sold plenty of PLU. So down the line I think my risk is minimal and my reward is sufficient. I don’t know what the future will bring Plutus, but to say they are going down with any certainty is a long stretch in my opinion.

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