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.
'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: https://medium.com/plutus/important-update-plutusdex-paused-eea-99f8d2747723
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 https://np.reddit.com/r/plutus/comments/1ae4lxe/google_apple_pay/
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?