Celsius Network, the embattled crypto lender that is facing liquidity troubles, fully paid off its remaining debt to the decentralized finance (DeFi) lending protocol Compound, freeing up nearly $200 million of pledged collateral.
The firm paid down $50 million to Compound early Wednesday and reclaimed 10,000 wrapped bitcoin (wBTC), a bitcoin-replica token retrofitted for the Ethereum blockchain. The wBTC stake is worth about $195 million at current prices.
Data on the blockchain transaction tracer Etherscan shows that a wallet linked to Celsius transferred 50 million DAI tokens – MakerDAO's dollar-pegged stablecoin – to Compound in two instances. After the down payments, Compound released 6,900, then 3,100 wBTC tokens to Celsius that had been locked up on the protocol as collateral.
The maneuver followed a similar treasury-management tactic that Celsius used recently to fully pay off and close its loans from the DeFi lending protocols Aave and Maker. The loans on these protocols are overcollateralized, meaning the borrower has to lock up more digital assets in value than the loan's value.
Paying off overcollateralized loans is theoretically a net positive for Celsius's liquidity because the move unlocks more assets in value than what is needed to pay down the loans.
However, Celsius has been making good on its debt to DeFi protocols. Since the start of July it has paid back $223 million to Maker, $235 million to Aave and $258 million to Compound.
After paying down the Maker loan, blockchain data showed that the firm sent almost $500 million wBTC previously reclaimed as collateral to the crypto exchange FTX.
UPDATE (July 13, 21:13 UTC): Added 4th graf with information about the firm's latest wBTC transaction and 10th graf about previous wBTC transfer to FTX.
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