Here’s What Happened With Celsius and What’s to Come
- Celsius has paused withdrawals and transfers on the platform since June 12.
- The network’s management looked to avoid bankruptcy filing regardless of advisers and lawyers recommending filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
- Amid weakening market confidence Celsius’s position in the market remains shaky.
The eclipse on the crypto market has given way to unseen events that shocked market participants. First, the collapse of Terra’s LUNA and now the Celsius Network conundrum has given way to considerable skepticism in the cryptocurrency market.
Celsius Network LLC – a cryptocurrency loan company, had over $8 billion lent out to clients and $12 billion in assets under management (AUM) as of May 2022. However, in a surprising announcement, the firm announced on June 12 that it would stop withdrawals from its platform, citing ‘extreme market conditions.’
The revelation of Celsius halting withdrawals exacerbated the bearish market conditions in mid-June, briefly sending bitcoin’s price below $20,000. With the Celsius saga unfolding, many questions have spurred about the project, management, and the events surrounding the network over the last couple of weeks.
What is Celsius?
The Celsius Network is a centralized platform offering yields on various cryptocurrencies and digital assets, including bitcoin, ether, and stablecoins. The lending protocol has positioned itself like a bank but seems to operate more like a hedge fund.
Crypto lending is pretty much like savings accounts offered by traditional banks but with cryptocurrencies instead of fiat currencies. Like in a bank, for crypto lending protocols too, an investor opens an account, deposits cryptocurrency, and earns interest on the deposits.
Investors can either make deposits in bitcoin, stablecoins, or even lesser-known, more volatile cryptocurrencies. Protocols generally pay interest in the same currency deposited, which leads to varying profits.
Like other lending protocols, Celsius promises certain yearly returns that are subject to change; however, the protocol’s publicly advertised interest rates range from ‘up to 17% APY.’
The lending protocol allows users to borrow funds and use their crypto as collateral. Apart from Celsius, other protocols have also resorted to CeFi or centralized finance – an alternative to decentralized finance (DeFi), where users still work with a centralized intermediary.
Celsius promises a specific rate for users to deposit their funds on the platform. Over the last couple of years, the protocol attracted massive interest, and the company did exceptionally well.
Notably, the firm expanded its latest funding round to a massive $750 million in November 2021, reaching a valuation just above $3.25 billion.
The Celsius Saga
As the larger market battled the bearish blues, Celsius did the unthinkable – the network flat-out halted withdrawals and transfers, locking their users out of their money.
Interestingly, many in the market have compared Celsius Network to the Lehman Brothers, looking at the protocol’s failure that exacerbated a market crisis.
Celsius is rumored to be insolvent following a freeze on withdrawals since mid-June. The firm was founded in 2017 by Alex Mashinsky and S. Daniel Leon. As mentioned earlier, the lending protocol lent over $8 billion to clients per the company’s data.
After the recent withdrawal freeze, Coinbase, BlockFi, and Crypto.com have also announced job cuts. The happenings across the crypto-verse have added to the bearish waves in the market. Reportedly, Celsius has hired banking giant Citigroup, law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, and management consultants from Alvarez & Marsal to explore potential financing options.
On June 28, Celsius’ management looked to avoid bankruptcy, regardless of advisers and lawyers recommending filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. A liquidity crisis has plagued the protocol for weeks as numerous rumors have surfaced around the network, of late.
Notably, crypto Twitter has been left bewildered by the Celsius Network continuing to pay weekly rewards despite pausing withdrawals two weeks ago. Apart from the short-term implications of the recent Celsius conundrum the overall trust in the network has also been affected.
Furthermore, Celsius’s position in the market can severely affect the crypto-verse. Celsius is one of the largest lenders in the industry, and if they start liquidating the same could lead to negative market momentum alongside bearish social sentiment.
Some participants and analysts have already speculated that the most recent declines and the rangebound market momentum could partly be because of the company selling.
For now, the larger market’s bearish momentum has added to Celsius’s tragedy, and it remains to be seen where the project would go from here.