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Billion-dollar crypto company Celsius collapses in wake of violent market crash

·2-min read
Bitcoin has led a market-wide crypto collapse in June 2022 (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Bitcoin has led a market-wide crypto collapse in June 2022 (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Cryptocurrency lender Celsius has filed for bankruptcy after the huge market crash that took place last month.

The organization, which built its business off claims that it was less risky than a bank and would provide better returns, will be restructured after it was taken down by the dramatic plunge in the value of cryptocurrency.

“This is the right decision for our community and company,” Celsius founder Alex Mashinsky said Wednesday, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. “I am confident that when we look back at the history of Celsius, we will see this as a defining moment.”

The Celsius cryptocurrency CEL lost nearly 80 per cent of its value amid the crash, which wiped more than $400 billion from the crypto market.

It stopped customers from making withdrawals, swaps, and transfers between accounts so that it could “honour, over time, its withdrawal obligations”.

It also said this was “necessary action for the benefit of our entire community in order to stabilise liquidity and operations while we take steps to preserve and protect assets.”

Members of Celsius’ board said that suspending withdrawals was “difficult but necessary step” and that “without a pause, the acceleration of withdrawals would have allowed certain customers—those who were first to act—to be paid in full while leaving others behind to wait for Celsius to harvest value from illiquid or longer-term assets before they receive a recovery.”

Accounts will stay frozen until Celsius has restructured, with the company apparently having $167 million in cash to finance “certain operations” in bankruptcy.

Celsius was valued at $3.25 billion as recently as November, offering customers the promise of high interest returns on cryptocurrency deposits.

“Many investors may be confused, concerned or anxious—especially in light of the recent pausing of withdrawals and the lack of public communications from the company and its CEO”, Joseph Rotunda, director of enforcement at the Texas State Securities Board, said.

“The pausing of withdrawals and the changes in the market presented a clear signal that the firm may have been suffering from significant and severe financial problems. The minimal public communications since the pausing of withdrawals also contributed to questions regarding the viability of future operations.”

Celsius is not the only crypto company to be declaring bankruptsy, however. Voyager has also filed after it faced large numbers of customer withdrawals. Crypto hedge fund Three Arrows has also gone into liquidation – after borrowing $650 million from Voyager.

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