There are dozens of apps that will reward you for your online and in-store purchases. But as cryptocurrencies pick up steam and become more mainstream, some companies have started offering rewards as crypto rather than cashback.
In this StormX review, we’ll take a look at one of the most popular crypto rewards apps, digging into whether it’s worth your time and effort.
Jump directly to our StormX final verdict.
StormX is a free app that gives your cryptocurrency for shopping online. Using the app is fast and easy, and there are opportunities to increase your earnings the longer you use the platform.
- Makes it easy to start building a crypto portfolio.
- You can earn higher rates if you hold your crypto in the app (instead of cashing it out).
- Allows you to earn interest on your crypto holdings (under certain conditions).
- Has a small list of partner retailers compared to other cash-back portals.
- To get the most out of the app, you need to be willing to hold your rewards as their proprietary cryptocurrency (STMX).
StormX is essentially a cashback shopping app, similar to Swagbucks and Rakuten, with over 500 brands available to shop at. You can also play games and complete certain micro-tasks to earn more.
The key difference is that with StormX, you earn crypto (rather than cash) for shopping through referral links (or by using the browser extension to activate offers).
See also: How to get free Bitcoin.
Now, it’s important to note that you don’t earn the cryptocurrency directly: you accumulate points, called Bolts, which sit in your StormX account as you earn.
You can then withdraw your Bolts as one of the following cryptos when you hit $25:
- BTC (Bitcoin)
- ETH (Ethereum)
- DAI (KeeperDAO)
- LTC (Litecoin)
- STMX (StormX)
To withdraw, you’ll have to connect a cryptocurrency wallet by providing your wallet address or creating a new wallet in the app. For instance, you could connect a hardware wallet or a wallet from an exchange like Coinbase or Binance.
If you hold STMX tokens (which we’ll cover in more detail later in the review) in your connected wallet, you can move up in Stormx’s membership tiers and potentially earn more on your purchases.
StormX recently shot into the spotlight after partnering with the Portland Trailblazers — the first NBA team to strike such a deal with a crypto company. StormX has been named the Trailblazers’ exclusive blockchain partner.
Note that StormX has no relation to the popular online marketplace StockX, despite the similar name.
How StormX Works
StormX is an offer-based program. There are two main ways to earn on StormX when shopping:
- Through the app, which is available for iOS and Android devices.
- With the browser extension, which is available for Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge.
When you’re shopping through the app, it works a lot like other shopping rewards platforms. You can browse through StormX’s brand partners within the app. When you find one you want to shop at, simply tap the brand and you’ll be redirected to that store. Complete your purchase, and Bolts will appear in your StormX account.
The app also has a “Balance” tab, where you can view your activity and earning history.
If you use the browser extension, you’ll first link your StormX account to the extension using your login information. Once you do so, simply activate it when you’re on an eligible website. It then tracks your purchases, and StormX awards you Bolts if you buy anything that qualifies.
Once you accumulate $25 in Bolts, you can navigate to the “Balance” tab and click “Withdraw.” From there, pick your desired cryptocurrency to withdraw it to your linked wallet.
How Much StormX Pays
Our research found that StormX pays average cashback rates and works at a relatively small selection of retailers.
To test the app’s earning potential, we sampled cashback rates for 10 popular online stores on four cashback platforms. Note that these are the same retailers we sampled for our TopCashback review.
- StormX tied for the highest rate available 30% of the time.
- StormX tied for (or had) the lowest rate available 30% of the time.
- StormX never offered more cashback than was available elsewhere.
- No cashback was available at 40% of the retailers we sampled.
You can learn more about different cashback portals in our roundup of the best cashback sites and apps.
Regular Membership vs. Rewards Membership
Anyone who signs up for StormX can earn Bolts. However, you can upgrade from the regular membership to a “Rewards” membership to earn more Bolts on every purchase.
When you start out on the platform, you can’t do anything with your Bolts — they just sit there accumulating. To withdraw them, you have to connect a wallet. Once you connect that wallet, you automatically become a “Rewards” member. So in essence, the “Regular” membership is just a placeholder.
There are different tiers of Rewards membership. The first, called “Purple” only pays 1X cashback — the same as the rate for regular membership.
To increase your earnings, you have to be holding a certain amount of StormX’s proprietary cryptocurrency (STMX) in your wallet.
You can either buy STMX through any exchange, that supports the crypto, such as Uniswap, or you can get it by redeeming your StormX Bolts for it.
Note that some of the higher tiers also decrease the time it takes for you to be awarded your Bolts.
Here are the membership tiers, their requirements, and their rewards amounts:
|Tier||Rewards||Reward Time Reduction||STMX Required|
By structuring its rewards tiers this way, StormX is aiming to create stability and demand for STMX. As more people buy or earn STMX and hold it in their wallets, its price may increase (or at least stabilize).
Plus, think of it this way: if they’re rewarding users in STMX and then incentivizing them to hold those rewards, they avoid having to pay out in a crypto that they’d need to purchase on the open market (like Bitcoin).
This is also why they have a staking program, which we’ll explain further in the next section.
Staking involves “locking up” a portion of your crypto holdings to help process blockchain transactions and contribute to the blockchain’s security. In return, your crypto earns more crypto. It’s kind of like a crypto certificate of deposit in this regard.
Additionally, staking is a more environmentally friendly way of minting and distributing new coins than mining. It’s only available with cryptocurrencies that use a “proof-of-stake” model.
For StormX, a staking program makes sense because it may help attract new investors. Combine that with the rewards tiers — members can move up these and boost their Bolts rewards by holding more STMX in their connected wallets — and shopping through StormX becomes more rewarding.
Of course, there are risks to staking crypto. For instance, if you stake some of your coins when the market peaks right before a crash, you miss out on the opportunity to take those profits.
Plus, with many proof-of-stake cryptos, including StormX, you may have to pay a “gas” fee. This covers the computing energy involved in processing and validating transactions on the blockchain in question.
Since StormX is on the Ethereum blockchain, StormX pays the fee in ETH. This fee can fluctuate — when more people are using the Ethereum blockchain, fees increase and vice-versa.
STMX Value and Performance
STMX flatlined at around $0.001 from 2018 until 2021. From January through March 2021, it had a huge run upwards before coming back to earth.
Besides a spike in early September that was quickly followed by a crash, STMX has been fairly sideways. At the time of writing, STMX has a market cap of about $323.50 million. There are about 44,000 STMX holders, with a total of 10 billion on the market (source).
If the world continues adopting crypto, STMX could potentially climb slowly and steadily upwards. People may find the idea of crypto cashback intriguing since their earnings have a chance of appreciating in value.
Then, if they learn that STMX can help them earn more cashback on StormX, they’ll likely buy more of it. That increased demand could push up prices.
Note: To access it, you have to go to the app’s settings panel and look for the “Play” link.
Here are some additional ways StormX Play lets you rack up Bolts to redeem for cryptocurrency:
- Playing games.
- Taking surveys.
- Signing up for services through StormX Play (for example, signing up for a subscription service).
More labor-intensive activities or expensive offers garner more Bolts. For instance, signing up for a paid subscription service generally pays out more Bolts than taking a short survey.
It’s a unique way to earn some crypto without buying it. However, if you don’t care what currency you earn in (dollars or crypto), something like Swagbucks might be your better option for these types of activities.
Learn more in our Swagbucks review.
StormX Debit Card
If you’d like to spend your crypto earnings, StormX offers a debit card and an accompanying web app for managing the card balance. This card comes with a unique address that you can use to deposit crypto onto it — a lot like how crypto wallets have addresses.
That means you can send crypto from any wallet you have, including your StormX membership wallet.
You can use it at one of StormX’s many partners, such as CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens and Walmart. It automatically sells your crypto for fiat currency (such as U.S. dollars) when you make a purchase, and has a daily spending limit of $5,000.
That’s where the main advantage lies: you won’t have to move crypto out of a wallet and sell it for cash to spend it — the card lets you skip all that.
In doing so, you can take advantage of potential last-minute upward moves in the price of a crypto.
Getting your card only takes a few minutes; just sign up, fill out the short application and they’ll send you a virtual card so you can spend instantly while your physical card comes in the mail.
Now, the drawback here is that the IRS considers cryptocurrency property for tax purposes. That means they treat purchases with crypto as sales of that crypto for cash — cash that you then use for your purchase.
That means you might have to track every purchase to stay compliant on your taxes. You might rack up a lot of capital gains or losses if you aren’t careful.
There are no crypto deposit, exchange or transaction fees, but StormX does say that fees are “coming soon” on its website.
StormX: Our Take
StormX is built on an interesting but fairly niche concept. If you’re into cryptocurrency investing or trading, it could be worth a look. The chance to earn crypto — which could potentially increase in value — on regular purchases is fairly compelling for enthusiasts.
StormX can also be a way for beginners to wade into the cryptocurrency world. You aren’t simply investing in crypto; instead, you’re buying things you normally would and earning crypto on those purchases.
However, if you aren’t interested in cryptocurrencies, you won’t find much value here. It’s much easier to manage cashback in U.S. dollars through other shopping rewards sites and apps.
Additionally, you can always buy cryptocurrencies with regular cashback if you’d like. It’s effectively the same thing, although you’ll need to find a broker or exchange to do so.
One other thing to keep in mind: at the time of writing, there is no IRS guidance on the tax implications of crypto cashback — only buying, selling and spending crypto. That could change in the future if the IRS deems it necessary.
STORM is the old crypto StormX used for its app. StormX originally minted 10 billion of these in 2017. In summer 2020, they performed a token swap, allowing users to switch to the new STMX tokens.
These tokens had two new features:
1. No “God Mode” that lets StormX mint new tokens during hacks or emergencies. Slashing this mode further decentralized StormX.
2. Staking: Allowing members to stake their STMX and earn more on the staked amount.
STORM still exists, but without these benefits. You now earn STMX when using StormX.
Bolts are the cashback points you earn on StormX. These are redeemable for the following cryptocurrencies:
– BTC (Bitcoin)
– ETH (Ethereum)
– DAI (KeeperDAO)
– LTC (Litecoin)
– STMX (StormX)
Yes. Enter code G4CKIYID when signing up on desktop. If downloading the StormX app, use this link. To earn a welcome bonus, you’ll need to hold enough STMX tokens to earn a Gold, Platinum, or Diamond Membership within 90 days.
How much you’ll earn depends on your membership level, as shown in the image below:
StormX Review Summary
Overall, StormX reflects the growing mainstream interest in cryptocurrency. It doesn’t offer any extraordinary level of value, but the concept of earning “cryptoback” on your purchases is neat.
If cryptocurrencies begin to see more widespread uses aside from trading, StormX could definitely be a nice app to use. Subsequently, STMX would likely increase in value as more people seek to increase their shopping rewards.
For now, however, the app remains relatively niche.
What to read next: How to make money with Bitcoin.