COSS is a new exchange that was launched in April 2017, but it is really so much more than a simple cryptocurrency exchange. Some might call it the crypto exchange 2.0 because of its broad based feature set. COSS stands for “Crypto One-stop Solution,” and that’s what the platform is trying to achieve. In addition to the cryptocurrency exchange feature of COSS, it also offers a POS/payment gateway for merchants, allowing them to easily accept cryptocurrency payments. COSS also has its own ERC20 token that pays holders dividends, and can be used as a micro-crypto economy.
By joining with COSS, merchants all over the world can integrate their payment systems to accept a wide variety of cryptocurrency payments. In addition, because these payments are blockchain based the merchants have access to detailed record-keeping functionality and can also enjoy crypto to fiat functionality.
COSS currently boasts over 150 merchants and over 1,000 client accounts, and is growing strongly. Several companies have listed ICOs on the COSS platform, and the exchange is focused heavily on adding features that will encourage future growth. As with any project in the beta stage, there remain kinks to be worked out with COSS, but the development team has been very vocal in providing updates, and the future currently looks bright for the project.
Who’s Behind COSS
COSS has its headquarters in Singapore, but also maintains offices in Bucharest and New York. The company has strong ties to Romania, and a large part of the team is Romanian. In addition to being a member of Singapore’s most popular blockchain association, ACCESS (Singapore Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Industry Association), COSS is also listed in Romania’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
COSS is led by Co-founders Dan Cearnau and Co-founder Rune Evensen. Additional support comes from Team Coordinator Ioana Frincu, and Tech Officer Iulian Oprea. Each of the top members of the team have extensive experience in the cryptocurrency and blockchain world, and as outlined in the 2017 whitepaper the main focus of the leaders is platform security.
In addition to the extensive experience of the founders and leadership team, COSS also has the backing of a large group of developers, analysts and blockchain specialists. Current advisors to the COSS project include John Bailon – Crypto Adoption Ecosystem Advisor, Anson Zeall – Blockchain Industry & Community, and Mike Costache – Strategy / Investments.
In addition to its membership with the Romanian Chamber of Commerce and ACCESS, COSS has also partnered with Civic for personal identification security, CardBlue for planned debit card functionality, as well as SingaporeFintech.org and ARK.
COSS User Safety and Account Security
As mentioned above, the core focus of the COSS founders is security, both for the platform and for the users. The partnership with Civic plans to provide enhanced user ID features to maintain account security. COSS is one of the few exchanges that has never been the victim of a hack or coin thefts, which is notable, although we should remember that the exchange is only a year old.
The exchange does provide all the industry standard security features such as 2-factor authentication, email confirmations, and hot/cold storage options. Additionally there are advanced security features that can be enabled within the account settings that help you to further secure your account from bad actors.
How do I Create a COSS account?
Creating your COSS account is quite quick and simple. As you can see below all that’s need to get started is to choose a username, input your email address, create a password (must include 1 letter, 1 number, and 1 special character), click the box to agree to the terms and conditions (you did read them right?) and click the box to prove you’re human. Next click the “Register Account” button. You’ll see a message that the account was created and an email was sent to activate your account.
Head over to your email account and find the email from COSS which will have the subject “[coss.io] Activate your account”. Click the link in the email and it will take you to a login form. Enter your recently created username and password and login. You’ll be taken to your dashboard where you’ll find links to all the other areas of the exchange such as your account profile, deposit/withdrawal, trading, verification for enhanced accounts and more.
COSS Deposits and Withdrawals and Fee Structure
After registering an account with a verified email you’ll have access to a basic account, which only allows for deposits and withdrawals in cryptocurrencies. If you want to have access to fiat withdrawal and deposit you need to upgrade your account to the “Basic Plus” level. This requires Identity document – with picture (passport, driving license or ID card), Proof of residency (utility bill, bank statement, tax return) and Personal information (full name and address).
Currently there are 50 different cryptocurrencies supported for deposits and withdrawals. Fiat deposit/withdrawal is via credit card and has just gone live in March 2018. Currently accepted currencies are U.S. dollar, Euros and Singaporean dollars.
When making a withdrawal you will receive two separate emails from COSS. The first is simply an acknowledgement of the transaction, while the second is an authorization email that requires you to click a link to complete the authorization of the withdrawal. Until the authorization link is clicked the withdrawal remains in a pending status and can be cancelled.
There are no fees for deposits, but there are withdrawal fees. The fees for each cryptocurrency varies, but are consistent with industry-wide fees. I wasn’t able to locate any fee structure for withdrawal of fiat at this time, likely because it has only been very recently implemented.
One other noteworthy factor is the time-frames on withdrawals. Because the COSS team has several security checks in place it typically takes 10-30 minutes for withdrawal of any ERC20 tokens, while withdrawals of Bitcoin can take up to 3 hours.
Trading with COSS
The trading platform on COSS is web-based and has seen quite a bit of improvement recently. It has both day and night modes, so can be made easier on the eyes. The charting features aren’t as robust as on some of the more established platforms, but are sufficient for most beginning and intermediate traders. It is also possible to see market depth, which is a very nice addition.
COSS currently offers trades on both Bitcoin and Ethereum crosses, with nearly 50 crosses available for each cryptocurrency. As you might imagine, all the top coins are supported, as are some more obscure coins. It’s a very nice mix and gives plenty of opportunities to capture moves in the market. One downside here is that margin trading isn’t supported, but that’s true at most cryptocurrency exchanges.
In addition to the web-based interface, COSS also has a mobile app called COSS GO that is available for Android devices. It isn’t the best, but it is functional. However, the web-based application works great on mobile devices too, so it’s possible to just use the browser based version for trading on the go.
The trading limits are pretty generous at COSS, with even the Basic accounts able to trade up to $100,000 daily. Basic Plus accounts have the same daily trading limit, and the Basic Ultra account allows unlimited trading. There is still no support for fiat trading on the COSS platform, however that is expected to be implemented soon now that fiat deposits and withdrawals have been added.
Currently there is no stated trading fee on the COSS website, but anecdotal reports from users indicate that fees begin at 0.2%, which is pretty standard for the industry. We would imagine that fees decrease with increased trade volumes, but can’t confirm this is true.
Keep in mind that COSS is still a fairly small exchange, so trade volumes are correspondingly small. That will change in the future as adoption of the platform increases, but for now it could be an issue for those making large trades, especially in the thinly traded altcoins.
The COSS Wallet
The COSS wallet is integrated with the platform and offers all the standard security you would get with any exchange wallet. This means you have email authorizations for transfers and withdrawals, 2-FA protection, and hot/cold wallet storage.
COSS’s wallet supports a number of popular cryptos, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, OMG, VeChain, Waves, DASH, Lisk, ICS, NEM, EOS, and ARK, as well as a number of lesser known altcoins, including Substratum, Po.et, ChainLink, Enjin Coin, Lampix, and many others. The downside of course is the same as with any exchange wallet – as long as your cryptocurrencies are in the exchange wallet they have your private keys.
That said, there are some definite benefits to the COSS wallet. One is that it allows you to swap between supported cryptocurrencies without the extended wait times you would endure when transmitting between exchanges. This is an improvement for those used to the long wait times sometimes experienced when using decentralized exchanges such as Shapeshift and Changelly. COSS has said it will also add the ability to withdraw to fiat currencies instantaneously in the future, similar to the withdrawal capability in Coinbase.
One benefit of the wallet for merchants is that it is synched with the payment gateway, allowing merchant accounts to accept any of the cryptocurrencies supported in the wallet. These transactions remain transparent and are great for accountability.
With COSS still in a beta stage there are many additional features planned for the COSS wallet including streamlined KYC applications, a remittances portal, and token swap capabilities.
You also need a COSS wallet to receive dividend payments from holding COSS coins. Note that you don’t have to hold the COSS coins in the exchange wallet, but all dividend payments are made in to the COSS exchange wallet.
The COSS Coin
The COSS coin was created during an August 2017 ICO and it is an Ethereum based ERC20 token that can be held in any ERC20 compatible wallet, such as MyEthereumWallet. It was created as a means for holders to receive revenue in the form of 50% of the transaction fees collected by the COSS network during cryptocurrency transactions and exchanges.
Holders of the COSS coin can collect their dividends whetherthe coin is held in a COSS wallet or in an external wallet. The collected revenues are distributed to holders of the COSS coin on a weekly basis. This makes it a good investment for those looking to build their cryptocurrency portfolio’s as they can continue to hold the COSS coin, and collect a greater number each week, or they can exchange it for other crytocurrencies. The fact that the coin can be held in a non-exchange wallet is a big plus, as I always recommend that you keep control of your private keys.
There were 25 million COSS coins released in pre-ICO and another 130 million sold during the ICO period. The Coin was created so that no more than 200 million coins will ever exist.
COSS ICO Possibilities
As a multi-dimensional product COSS has also entered into the ICO creation sphere. This is a different and quite interesting concept as it brings ICO availability to the everyday investor.
It’s also a game-changer for many projects, who can use COSS to launch an ICO and then immediately have their coin listed on the exchange. This allows projects gain early acceptance and legitimacy, while also providing liquidity for the new coins in the aftermarket.
Getting listed for an ICO with COSS seems to be pretty straight-forward, with few requirements. Per the COSS website, to list an ICO you must meet the following:
- Fill in and submit a listing request here.
- Send a clear legal opinion to email@example.com
- Pay a listing fee of 200,000* COSS tokens once your request has been approved. Negotiable as a trading promo can be set up instead of paying for the listing. Also, the 200,000 can be adjusted based on the current trading price of the COSS token.
So far there have been four completed ICOs and two more which are currently running. You must have at least Basic Plus account verification completed to invest in the ICOs listed in the COSS platform. COSS platform users receive a 5% discount on ICO purchases, which is a nice little bonus.
Another perk of having an ICO on COSS is that all the ICO’s available on COSS will have trading PROMO’s instantly after the tokens become tradable. The PROMO program is a lucrative incentives campaign that splits proceeds between the top 50 volume traders over a one month period, and the proceeds are split as follows:
- Top 10 traders split 30% of the pool
- Next 10 split 25%
- Next 10 split 20%
- Next 10 split 15%
- Next 10 split 10%
So far COSS has commitments for over $500,000 worth of tokens.
The Downside to COSS
Nothing comes without some problems, issues and downsides, and COSS is no exception to this. Below are some cautions you may want to keep in mind if you’re considering using COSS as an exchange, for an ICO, or as a merchant.
- The platform is still in beta and not fully developed. This means the feature set remains limited, and some features aren’t developed as fully as they could be. Additionally, it means that adoption is still low, and attracting new clients at this time remains difficult. The lack of clients also means a lack of liquidity on the exchange, which could be problematic for those looking to trade large volumes, or for those trying to sell a coin that already has low demand. Naturally this is an issue that the platform will eventually overcome, but it is something you may want to consider until COSS comes out of beta.
- Customer service is nothing more than a link on the COSS platform that says “Report an issue firstname.lastname@example.org”. There is no phone support and no online chat support. Obviously this will need to change as COSS continues to grow, but it may be sufficient now given the small number of COSS users. To the credit of the developers, there is a strong consensus that they are very good at communicating issues, changes, bugs and developments on social media.
- The lack of fiat support is troubling, but it appears that COSS is working diligently to resolve this issue. They were able to allow fiat deposits and withdrawals in March 2018, so it stands to reason that trading fiat/crypto pairs will be coming soon as well. I would consider this a downside for now, but it’s one that could be resolved soon.
- The lack of transparency in trading fees and the withdrawal fees for cryptocurrencies is a problem. The lack of transparency may be nothing more than an oversight, as the fees charged by the platform seem to be in-line with industry standards. The fees being charged on cryptocurrency withdrawals could come down in the future as trading volume increases.
The COSS Roadmap
COSS is out of its alpha phase, but is still in its beta phase. The good news is that they have very clearly outlined their roadmap for future development of the platform and project. Below are some of the future developments and features that users can expect:
- Crowdfunding Phase – COSS Is planning to release a crowdfunding platform right within COSS that will allow individuals and teams to create a crowdfunding initiative to fund their projects. This phase will give COSS users the ability to do fundraising across multiple industries outside the cryptocurrency niche.
- Pre-Paid Cards Phase – COSS understands that access to account funds is very important and they are planning to roll out a Mastercard backed debit card that will allow customers to transfer their cryptocurrency holdings onto from the exchange so they are available to be spent on fiat purchases. It is unclear if the card will also have ATM capabilities for withdrawals, but it makes sense that this functionality would be included.
- Smart Contracts Phase – Like many other ERC20 backed blockchain projects, COSS plans on adding smart contract functionality that will allow business and individuals to create and sign legal contracts or other agreements right on COSS, using the blockchain public ledger to secure legally binding agreements.
- Remittance Phase – The team plans on adding functionality that will allow for quick and simple international money transfers.
- Third-Party Plugins Phase – This phase will focus on allowing third-party development of plug-ins to provide additional functionality for the COSS platform. Since this phase will allow outside developers to create plug-ins for COSS the scope is unlimited – plug-ins can be developed by anyone for any feature that users might desire.
The Final Decision
Overall, COSS is a very ambitious and compelling project, given its reach into so many areas of crypto, from exchange, to merchant services and payment gateways, to its creation of its own coin, ant the offering of ICO services. With the platform just shy of a year old it’s too early to say if it will turn out to be a success, but so far it has been making good strides. It is also encouraging to see that the development team is very good at communicating with the end-user community, and that they are willing to take suggestions and actually implement them.
Thus far the team has been quite good at setting deadlines and at actually meeting them, which is unusual in the crypto space, where delays to projected timelines are common. It’s also important to note that new feature releases have gone off smoothly thus far. They also have the support of their small community, and have been growing at a good rate.
The recent addition of fiat deposits and withdrawals could create a large spike in growth, and if that’s the case COSS could struggle with customer support. Hopefully the team has their eyes on this possibility, and customer support will be more of a focus going forward.
One other complaint that has recently been addressed is the charting capabilities of the COSS platform. These charting capabilities got a major upgrade recently, and this is key for the platform if it expects to attract intermediate and advanced traders who will be able to increase trading volumes with their larger capital pools.
With only one year of operation under its belt COSS has made a good showing so far, now all it needs to do is continue delivering on promises and treating its clients well, and it should be able to continue growing. The COSS coin is currently #302 on Coinmarketcap.com, leaving a lot of room for growth. It has suffered in the recent downturn in crypto markets and given the promise of receiving 50% of the transaction fees from the COSS platform, investors might become increasingly interested in the coin at such depressed pricing.
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