I have been using Spendee's mobile app to track my montly expenses before consolidating them manually into my tracker in Google Sheets. The app was great at the start but my experience deteriorated when DBS stopped supporting integration with Salt Edge, the technology partner that Spendee uses to sync transaction data from banks.
My disappointment with DBS's choice led to my decision to stop using DBS for my daily spending needs.
I upgraded to a Premium Spendee user when Spendee ran a promotion for their Premium Spendee subscription. I am currently paying S$16.98 per year.
Recently, Spendee announced to its users that it is planning to launch their own utility NFTs so I decided to do a review on their launch.
Quick introduction on NFTs
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are digital or cryptographic tokens that you can find on a blockchain with the ability to maintain uniqueness. NFTs could be tokenized variants of real-world assets or completely native digital assets.
NFTs started to gain attention of the world after the digital artist Beeple auctioned off his artwork at a Christie’s auction for $69 million in March 2021. Popular names such as Twitter chief Jack Dorsey and Elon Musk have also expressed their opinions in favor of NFTs.
In the early stages of NFTs, I chose not to participate in the speculation because it's simply not my style to make such crazy speculative gambles. At least, until NFTs have real meaningful purposes.
Today, NFTs are broadly categorised in the following categories:
- Domain Names
- Trading Cards
- Virtual Worlds
In this article, we will zero in on utility NFTs.
What is a utility NFT?
As its name implies, utility NFTs are essentially NFTs that carry some underlying utility or application. But the term 'utility' is very broadly defined and may not necessarily imply that the NFT will actually be of use to the holder.
Utility NFTs can be broken down into the following groups.
The utility NFT that Spendee is launching falls under Access NFTs and Community NFTs.
Spendee NFT holders will gain unlimited access to all current and future features of the existing Spendee app and upcoming apps from Spendee. At the moment, Spendee has only 1 app in the App Store and it looks like they already have a Crypto app ready for launch. You can think of the NFT as a one-time payment for Premium Spendee user subscription for all current and future Spendee apps.
As a Spendee NFT holder, you would also gain community access to a VIP support channel for priority support, a Discord channel to participate in future feature plans or test new stuff ahead of everyone else, and priority access to Spendee merchandises, drops, raffles, quizzes and exclusive online/offline events.
Here's what the comparison looks like for Premium and Plus Spendee users, versus Spendee NFT holders.
Lifetime/Premium Spendee users
Plus Spendee users
Spendee NFT holders
0.05 ETH for Lifetime, Premium and Plus Spendee users
0.06 ETH for Public
Bank accounts sync
Backup and sync
Number of cash wallets
Number of budgets
Shared wallets with others
Import/Export of transactions
Unlimited access to all current and future features of the existing Spendee app and upcoming apps from the Spendee Family
Access to VIP support channels
Closed VIP Discord channel for verified holders to participate in future feature plans or test new stuff
Priority access to Spendee merch, drops, raffles, quizzes and exclusive online/offline events
Why I think Spendee's utility NFT launch has a high chance of success
Spendee has a few things things going well for them right now.
A large existing user base
Spendee claims that they have over 3 million registered users and their app has over 1 million downloads in Google Play Store. I don't know how many of those registered users are active users, but let's assume they have 5% active users (150,000 active users) and 5% are paying users like me (7,500). I'm just cooking this numbers up, by the way.
Spendee is already running marketing campaigns to these 3 million registed users who have already experienced the Spendee app to get them to participate in their utility NFT launch. I believe they shouldn't have any issue selling off the 9,999 NFTs that they have selling in this launch.
An app that works
Spendee's app was launched July 2013 and is still going strong. As a user of the Spendee app for since August 2020, the app works well (other than the bank syncing issues) and should continue to work well in coming years.
Compared to other NFTs that doesn't have anything real to offer, this gives Spendee more credibility since the app is something tangible and has already gone through years of updates and improvements. The NFT has real utility purposes since it gives holders unlimited access to the app, along with the Crypto app that will be launched later this year.
With Spendee's app experience, I don't think delivering the Crypto app should be too difficult, though the ambitious goals and features that the team has announced for the Crypto app should only come in progressively much later.
Real people and faces tied to the brand
Unlike many NFT launches where we don't really know the people behind the scenes, Spendee has more credibility to their name since they are a 9 year-old company and already have a working product that they are generating revenue from and actively supporting.
Why I don't think Spendee will do a rug pull?
Always assume that a scam is possible in any cryptocurrency or NFT launch and do your own research.
Here's why I think a rug pull is unlikely.
At the time of this article, Ethereum is priced at US$2,463.73. In this launch, Spendee is going to mint 9,999 NFTs and that would generate a profit of around US$985,393.45 to US$1,478,090.18. Let's round it up to US$1.5 million.
For US$1.5 million, Spendee would only need to deliver the following:
- Unlimited access to the existing app in Feb 2022 (costs them nothing to do this).
- Provide a VIP support channel for NFT holders in Mar 2022 (probably layered on top of their existing support channel with additional priority, not hard to do).
- Create a closed VIP Discord channel for NFT holders after 50% of NFTs minted (costs them nothing to create a channel, just require hired staff to maintain).
- Run marketing campaigns with Spendee merchandises, drops, raffles, quizzes and exclusive online/offline events (should not be hard to fulfill since they did not mention the frequency of such events and prizes could be in digital formats that are inexpensive) .
- Launch of the Crypto app after 100% of NFTs minted (I suspect the barebone MVP is already out and will be delivered in time, though most of the features wouldn't be ready).
I don't think the 5 deliverables above are too difficult for the Spendee team to implement and deliver, when the reward is a cool US$1.5 million dollars. It'd probably cost them less than 5% of the NFT sale to meet their obligations.
I believe that the remaining fund of the sale will be a good boost to the team to sustain the business and invest to build a good Crypto app that could generate another source of revenue for the business.
Given that the team has minted enough NFTs for 4 NFT launches, the opportunity to earn US$6 million is lucrative enough for them to stay in the game instead of doing a rug pull.
If the team were to pull a rug pull for US$1.5 million, here's what they will stand to lose.
- Loss of reputation for the management team which is probably important since Spendee is a real business and the identities of the management team are made known to the public. An even split of US$300,000 each is not enough for them to stick the reputation of a scammer to their names for the rest of their lives.
- Loss of future revenue from the existing app that is already profit-generating.
- Loss of potential revenue from a Crypto app that is not hard to implement - revenue could be earned from transaction and swap fees when they roll out features to buy and swap cryptocurrencies in the Crypto app.
- Loss of potential revenue from future NFT launches (potentially 3 more launches in future)
My take is that the potential loss is much higher than the potential gain for Spendee so I don't believe they would do a hit and run with US$1.5 million, even though US$1.5 million can buy a lot of Pilsner Urquell (famous Czech beer) in Prague where the Spendee is located in.
Will I buy a Spendee utility NFT?
The short answer is no, and here's why.
As an existing Premium Spendee user, I am S$16.98 which works out to US$12.63. That's ~55% discounted off the listed price. Existing subscribers can mint a Spendee utility NFT for 0.05 ETH which works out to US$123.19.
That's basically prepaying 9.75 annual subscriptions of the existing app in advance for the future apps and community benefits.
For new users, they will be prepaying 6.42 years (0.06 ETH / US$22.99) of annual subscription.
Pro tip: Wait for the 40-50% discount offers that Spendee runs from time to time to get the best deal.
Having used the existing Spendee app for close to 1.5 years now, I'm pretty sure that I will be using the app for another 1.5 years at least, if nothing changes. But even I wouldn't have confidence to say that I would be using the app for the next 10 years to get my money's worth.
The community benefits feels gimmicky at best to marketers like me so I do not see much benefits in them.
Having access to the Crypto app would be interesting, but I believe that non-NFT holders will be able to gain access to the app through a freemium model that the current app is based on. I am happy to wait to see what the app is able to deliver and then decide if I want to just use the free features, pay the annual subscription, or even buy the NFT in the open market.
While I am confident that the NFT sale will go through successfully, I think that the resale price for these utility NFTs will go down because there's very little speculations in such NFTs. I also imagine that the real users (like me) for this utility NFT will be a niche group so with very little demand against a large supply (9,999 x 4 launches over time), the price should eventually decrease over time.
When the price of a utility NFT (plus fees) is much lower than the cost of a lifetime subscription of the existing Spendee app, I'll grab one for a cheap lifetime access of all Spendee apps, current and future.
What are your thoughts about Spendee's utility NFT launch, or even NFTs in general? I've love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.