If cUSD wants to be money it needs to act like money

This post is meant as a constructive comment and comes from real frustration with crypto in general, little struggles like the ones I bring up below are endemic.

A few days back I decided to put some money into Moola and the cREAL coin looks to be paying good, did my due diligence checking out real world currency exchange and inflation data… ok lets go.

Off to Mento-Fi (my first time there) to trade some cUSD for cREAL. Nope, “you can’t do that” says Mento.

Really? Seems we can’t trade one CELO native currency directly for another. This was a WTF moment, why I can’t trade money for money? Is cUSD really money?

Back to Valora, trade for CELO, then back to Mento. Mento says cool, I can do that trade for you. Well uh umm, do you mind trying again, and again… 3 tries to make it happen.

This comment isn’t meant to single out Mento, Ubeswap and other AMMs have done the same thing to me. AMMs seem cool but IMO they aren’t ready for prime time.

Finally off to Moola on my iPad and wait… Moola can’t see Valora. Switch to my phone, badda bing, badda boom, done. Don’t know why the iPad won’t connect, another problem to research and solve when I get time.

Next, decided to try Symmetric. The pool with 33% each of cUSD, cEUR, and CELO. I ACH money to Kraken (because Kucoin and Valora won’t ACH). At Kraken I buy XLM and transfer that to Kucoin (because Kraken doesn’t do CELO). At Kucoin I trade for those three coins and then transfer the cUSD and the CELO and… WTF Kucoin won’t let the cEUR go to Valora. Really. Ok so I think I’ll trade the cEUR into cUSD and get this done, cool, push the buttons and the money is in Valora.

Off to Mento, drat, forgot I can’t trade direct from cUSD to cREAL, I shoulda bought CELO at Kucoin on that last trade, not cUSD. Back to Valora, buy more CELO, back to Mento and after 6 tries at buying cEUR I give up.

I hate to say this but, it’s getting tough to believe I’ll be able to move my money out when I need it.

Sorry Symmetric I can’t get there.

The upshot of this essay is that if y’all really want the average Joe to participate, if you want to compete with services like m-Pesa, it has to be easier and more reliable.


For those who read my post, thanks thanks for listening. I’m better today, still not in Symmetric, but better. I’ve staked my CELO coins instead.

Watched this vid from celo.org Real World Use Cases from Around the Globe - YouTube

I see y’all are working on the issues of ‘the last mile’ into the real world.


Hey @markbarendt,
great to have you here and thanks for your thoughts.

I would like to clarify a few things around Mento as I have the feeling this might be helpful to others as well.

Mento at its core is supposed to facilitate the stability of the cStables. Currently it is also used as a source of liquidity. These two functions are fundamentally different. A cEUR to cUSD swap is at first a typical trade that is covered by a liquidity provider. With a good amount of abstraction, Mento has similar responsibilities as a central bank and as such would not get involved with FX swaps usually. This is the service of banks / brokers which in the Celo network are all other DEXs apart from Mento.
I am not trying to say that Mento should not offer cStable swaps only that it is outside of the purpose of Mento. cStables with Mento might be helpful with stability, but we have to do some research here.

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Thank you for sharing this here so openly! :raised_hands:


You’re welcome Arthur.

I believe I’ve found a little better on/off ramp for now, at least for myself. It appears I can ACH to Crypto.com, buy my CELO there, and then slide over to Valora.

Still, that means that I have to use an ‘outside’ ecosystem to get in and out of the Celo ecosystem, at least in my locale, pretty easy to get distracted doing that.

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Morning Nadiem, thanks for the clarification, this is all a learning experience for me.

I will though say that Mento’s category placement and description on the dApp list in Valora drew me to choose it first, it was by far the most obvious choice for my simple task. “Exchange between Celo native currencies”.

Maybe it’s role needs a better description on Valora.


This is a very fair criticism and while originally I thought of replying with “oh you could have just done X, then Y, then Z”, the reality is that we are a long way from non-technical adoption in most blockchain ecosystems and whether or not there was a shorter path to your end goal is missing the point. It’s not clear, and shouldn’t require in-group knowledge to figure it out.

The wallet and overall user experience across the board in crypto urgently needs an upgrade or better set of interoperability standards. The reality is, payments have to be easier than holding your phone near the register and using Apple Pay or contactless debit cards.


The beauty of native stablecoins is that their adoption naturally leads to demand for the native token (CELO).

Is it worth considering to focus a chunk of development effort on the mass market user experience? e.g. a user journey that only consists of on/off ramps, payment, stablecoin swaps, and savings


I would argue that it’s imperative to Celo’s success to be able to serve the mass market. Defi for the people, right?

Yuga labs made big news over the last couple weeks, I believe that is because they have figured out how to interact with a real world market profitably.

From the outside I think all the pieces needed are available and that the Celo ecosystem could very well be in striking distance of this, this year, with a few strategic partnerships.