First Mover Americas: Celsius Network Accused of Running a Ponzi Scheme

The latest price moves in crypto markets in context for Jan. 31, 2023.

AccessTimeIconJan 31, 2023 at 1:12 p.m. UTC
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This article originally appeared in First Mover, CoinDesk’s daily newsletter putting the latest moves in crypto markets in context. Subscribe to get it in your inbox every day.

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Bankrupt crypto lender Celsius Network used new customer funds to pay for other customers’ withdrawals, the definition of a Ponzi scheme, an independent examiner for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York said in a Tuesday filing. “In every key respect – from how Celsius described its contract with its customers to the risks it took with their crypto assets –how Celsius ran its business differed significantly from what Celsius told its customers,” the independent examiner wrote.

Alameda Research, a trading firm affiliated with FTX, the bankrupt crypto exchange founded by Sam Bankman-Fried, wants to regain $446 million it transferred to bankrupt lender Voyager Digital prior to Alameda's own bankruptcy filing, a new lawsuit says. According to a complaint filed Monday, Alameda repaid all of its outstanding loans to Voyager after Voyager filed for bankruptcy last July. Some of those loans had yet to mature at the time Voyager requested their repayment.

The price of virtual world The Sandbox’s SAND token is surging ahead of its token unlock scheduled for Feb. 14. Token unlocks are usually bearish because they increase supply. The Sandbox will be releasing 12% of the token’s supply, equivalent to around $273 million worth of SAND. The utility token’s price has increased 90% since the start of the year to 74 cents. Notably, however, the token is down 90% from its all-time high of $8 reached in November 2021.

Chart of the Day

Chart of the Day 01/31/2023
  • The two charts show South Korea-based crypto exchange Upbit flipped Binance, the world's largest crypto exchange by trading volume, last week in terms of trading volume for metaverse tokens.
  • "Typically, Binance dominates trading activity across all sectors, thus the trend suggests that the Korean region has a particular affinity for the metaverse," Paris-based Kaiko Research said.
  • Metaverse tokens like AXS, MANA and ENJ have rallied sharply this month.

– Omkar Godbole

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Lyllah Ledesma

Lyllah Ledesma is a CoinDesk Markets reporter currently based in Europe. She holds bitcoin, ether and small amounts of other crypto assets.

Omkar Godbole

Omkar Godbole is a Co-Managing Editor on CoinDesk's Markets team.

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