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As customers of Celsius wait for the crypto lender’s bankruptcy proceedings to play out, one crypto exec has stepped up to make its lenders whole.
Ray Youssef, CEO of the peer-to-peer Bitcoin marketplace Paxful, has agreed to refund all affected users of its Paxful Earn product, which let users earn a yield on their Bitcoin in partnership with Celsius.
“Paxful, like many others, were paralyzed to act as we could not retrieve funds held by Celsius,” wrote Youssef in a public statement on Wednesday. “Another hit came when the courts ruled that Celsius Earn Accounts belonged to Celsius’ bankruptcy estate, not to its users.”
Celsius froze withdrawals in June after Bitcoin’s price collapsed below $20,000, bringing the firm’s DeFi loans dangerously close to their liquidation point. It filed for bankruptcy shortly after paying them off and has since only paid off a select segment of creditors involved in its custody program.
“This didn’t sit right with me then, and it still doesn’t sit right with me today,” Youssef continued. He confirmed that he would personally refund all affected users, who will be able to access their funds in their Paxful account later this week.
“We all need to hold ourselves to a higher standard. That means offering transparency and putting users above financial gains,” he added.
Paxful’s CEO made a similar appeal to “integrity over revenue” in December when he announced that his marketplace would no longer support Ethereum trading. At the time, Youssef characterized Ethereum as a “foundation of granite,” and Bitcoin as the only workable tool for freeing billions of people in the Global South from “economic apartheid.”
The Global South is where Paxful appears to be most prominent. According to Coin Dance, the marketplace currently generates between $30 million to $40 million in weekly volume, the vast majority of which currently comes from Argentina.
The South American nation recently cracked a 100% annual inflation rate for the first time in three decades, which Bitcoin boosters often claim the cryptocurrency can protect against.
Youssef declared in late December that global P2P Bitcoin volume is “multiples” of those of centralized platforms and could “easily” exceed $100 billion per day—but there is no way to track all of it.