La plateforme de cryptomonnaies Celsius en faillite, ses clients ruinés

La plateforme de cryptomonnaies Celsius en faillite, ses clients ruinés

An Irishman on the verge of losing his farm, an American with suicidal thoughts, an 84-year-old widow who has lost all her savings: clients of crypto investment platform Celsius are desperate. Since the company filed for bankruptcy in mid-July, hundreds of letters from former users have reached the courts filled with anger, shame, and often regret.

“I knew there were risks,” said one client, for example, who did not sign his testimony. “It seemed like it was worth it.” Celsius was one of the most important players in this sector, which lends money and remunerates deposits, playing in the field of banks without offering the same guarantees. The platform offered interest rates above 18% for savers, but 0.1% for borrowers. It had 1.7 million customers in June.

Celsius owes its customers $4.7 billion

But in the face of the cryptocurrency crash (bitcoin has lost more than 60% since November), several companies froze withdrawals and/or filed for bankruptcy in the US. However, Celsius and his boss, Alex Mashinsky, had assured that the platform was a safe place to deposit your cryptocurrencies. Now he owes $4.7 billion to his clients.

His letters, accessible on the court’s public database, often recount dramatic consequences, whether the loss runs into the hundreds or millions of dollars. They come from all over the world, from inexperienced crypto enthusiasts to evangelists for these new assets. Almost everyone agrees on one point: their trust has been betrayed.

betrayed trust

“From the single mom in Texas who works hard and struggles to pay her bills, to the school teacher in India who put her hard-earned money into Celsius – I think I speak for everyone when I say I feel betrayed, ashamed, depressed and angry. off,” wrote one “EL” customer. “Alex Mashinsky completely lied to me,” said one, who describes himself as “a loyal Celsius customer since 2019.” “Alex said Celsius was safer than banks,” he added.

Again on June 7, Celsius boasted “of having one of the best risk management teams in the world”. “We have been through other crypto declines before (this is the fourth!). Celsius is ready,” the firm said. He claimed to have the reserves to pay his obligations. Withdrawals worked normally. But everything changed on June 12, when he announced the freeze.

Without it, he explains then, withdrawals would have been “accelerated”, allowing “some customers, the first to act, to be fully refunded, leaving others behind waiting”. It is, he promises, restructuring to “maximize value for all stakeholders.” Some customers receive a message from the company.

Stress, sleep loss, and suicidal thoughts

“When I finished reading the email, I collapsed on the floor, my head in my hands, trying to hold back my tears,” said a man who had around $50,000 in assets stored at Celsius. Clients who say they are the hardest hit, including one individual who claims to have put up $525,000 on government loans, say they considered suicide. Others speak of stress, lack of sleep, and their deep shame at risking their savings or set aside funds to pay for their children’s college.

As a private company, in an unregulated industry, Celsius had few obligations to meet. “Most of these companies gave unsecured or insufficiently collateralized loans,” says Antoni Trenchev, co-founder of Nexo, another crypto platform that he says got away with a stricter lending policy and prudent risk management. . Victims hope that the court that handles the bankruptcy process will help them recover at least some of their money. It could take years.

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