Crypto Lender Celsius Shouldn't Reopen Custody Withdrawals, US Trustee Says

The office has also requested the judge deny the bankrupt lending platform’s motion to liquidate its $23 million in stablecoin holdings.

AccessTimeIconSep 30, 2022 at 6:43 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 3:34 p.m. UTC

The trustee tasked with overseeing Celsius Network’s bankruptcy proceedings has asked a federal court judge in New York to deny the failed crypto lender’s recent motions to reopen customer withdrawals and sell off its $23 million in stablecoin holdings, calling the actions impulsive and premature.

In an objection filed Friday, attorneys for the U.S. Trustee Program argued the motions should be denied at least until the independent examiner’s report has been filed. Shoba Pillay, a Chicago-based partner of law firm Jenner & Block, was appointed examiner on Thursday.

Pillay’s examination of Celsius’ holdings and operations will dig into where and how the company is holding customer funds, whether accounts were commingle and why Celsius changed its account offerings for some customers beginning in April from the its Earn program to custody service.

The company's motion to reopen withdrawals would apply only to customers holding “pure custody assets,” which Celsius has failed to define. The objection claims that distributing funds to a limited group of customers without a full understanding of the company’s crypto holdings, its debts and the transfers between its various accounts and subsidiaries could “inadvertently impact or limit distributions to other creditors.”

The trustee’s office made a similar argument against a Celsius plan to sell off its stablecoin holdings. Celsius’ motion, filed Sept. 16, said the money generated from the sale would primarily go to pay for the firm’s operations during the bankruptcy proceedings.

State regulators from Texas and Vermont have already opposed the stablecoin motion, claiming that Celsius is asking for “troublingly broad permission to sell assets insufficiently defined for purposes that are also insufficiently defined.”

“At this juncture, there are too many questions regarding the debtors’ cryptocurrency holdings to approve any withdrawals or sales,” attorneys for the Trustee’s office wrote in the objection. “Those questions arise both from the debtors’ lack of transparency … [and] the Debtors’ failure to file schedules and statements of financial affairs.”

A hearing to discuss the motions is slated for Oct. 6.


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Cheyenne Ligon

Cheyenne Ligon is a CoinDesk news reporter with a focus on crypto regulation and policy. She has no significant crypto holdings.