After Celsius Customer Data Release, Bankruptcy Judge Agrees to Appoint Privacy Ombudsman

The move comes after court documents released in early October revealed the financial details of hundreds of thousands of Celsius’ customers.

AccessTimeIconOct 24, 2022 at 3:40 p.m. UTC
Updated Oct 24, 2022 at 4:22 p.m. UTC

Judge Martin Glenn, the U.S. judge presiding over the bankruptcy case of crypto lender Celsius Network, has agreed to appoint a consumer privacy ombudsman in the case, according to a court filing on Monday.

The U.S. Trustee in the case argued that an ombudsman was needed if Celsius is going to sell customer lists, a position the judge agreed with. But Celsius argued there was no need to appoint an ombudsman because any sale will automatically comply with its own privacy policy.

The judge’s decision follows the release of more than 29,000 pages of court documents in early October that revealed the financial details of hundreds of thousands of Celsius’ customers.

The information appears to have been released as part of standard bankruptcy procedure as Celsius makes its way through the Chapter 11 restructuring process after freezing customer accounts in July. About 600,000 customer accounts are affected by the disclosure, revealing their wallet addresses, transaction histories, crypto holdings, recent transactions and other information.

Celsius reluctantly agreed to the release of its customer information, arguing it would “reduce” the resale value of its customer list. In the end, users’ email and home addresses were allowed to be redacted.

Glenn cited court precedent and inadequate proof that doxxing users would put them at risk in his initial decision to compel the release of customer information.

“Sealing information such as that sought by the Debtors [Celsius] from public disclosure risks transforming the open and transparent bankruptcy process into something very different, which the Court is loath to do without a strong showing of real and not speculative risks,” Judge Glenn wrote in a September court filing.

UPDATE (Oct. 24, 15:47 UTC) – Adds more background on the initial release of customer information.


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Nelson Wang

Nelson Wang was CoinDesk's news editor for the East Coast. He holds BTC and ETH above CoinDesk's disclosure threshold of $1,000.

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