NewsBusiness

Celsius Pays Off Last DeFi Loan in Push to Recoup $1 Billion

The repayment to Compound netted Celsius almost $200 million in collateral.

3 min read
Celsius. Image: Shutterstock

Troubled crypto lending platform Celsius has paid off its last major outstanding debt.

This morning, according to data from Etherscan, Celsius paid back $50 million in DAI—MakerDAO’s dollar-pegged stablecoin—to decentralized finance (DeFi) lending protocol Compound. In return, Celsius received its collateral for the loan: almost $200 million worth of wrapped Bitcoin, or WBTC.

The loan had been over-collateralized, meaning Celsius originally had sent Compound digital assets in excess of the loan to help cover potential losses. The 10,000 WBTC returned to Celsius, as of this writing, was worth about $198 million. (WBTC is a version of Bitcoin modified to function on the Ethereum blockchain.)

Today’s repayment signifies the clearance of the last of Celsius’ major debts to decentralized finance lenders. Last month, the company received $440 million in collateral after paying off a loan to DeFi protocol Maker. Just yesterday, Celsius similary recovered some $415 million after substantially reducing its debt with Aave.

Recouping so much collateral is no small matter for Celsius. The company came dangerously close to losing these deposits to collateral liquidation at several points in May and June, when plummeting crypto prices risked pushing them below 150% of the value of the loans they were supposed to cover.

It’s still unclear whether this influx of over $1 billion in recovered debt collateral will, along with whatever additional liquidity the company has, sufficiently cover Celsius’ client obligations.

Just over a month ago, the lending platform, which offered users high-yield loans of up to 18% on cryptocurrency deposits, paused all customer withdrawals, swaps, and transfers, citing liquidity issues. It has not yet unfreezed them.

The company was one of the first crypto-lending platforms to freeze accounts after markets began tanking in early May, and since then, others—Babel Finance, CoinFLEX, and Voyager among them—have followed suit.

Celsius CEO Alex Mashinsky has been silent on Twitter since late last month, when he reposted a company blog post stating the Celsius team was “working as quickly as we can to stabilize liquidity and operations.” The post offered no timeline as to when customer accounts might be unfrozen.

On Sunday, a report revealed that the company had replaced lawyers hired only weeks ago to oversee the company’s restructuring process. Just yesterday, Vermont’s financial regulator labeled Celsius “deeply insolvent” and claimed that previous statements made by Mashinsky and other company representatives about the safety of customer funds are “untrue.” Vermont regulators, along with those in at least five other states, are currently investigating Celsius over its decision to freeze customer accounts.

Celsius did not respond to multiple requests for comment on this story.

Stay on top of crypto news, get daily updates in your inbox.