Major crypto lender Celsius freezes withdrawals as markets tumble -Breaking
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A representations of cryptocurrencies on this illustration taken, January 24, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
By Tom Wilson, Alun John and Abinaya V
LONDON (Reuters) -Main U.S. cryptocurrency lending firm Celsius Community on Monday froze withdrawals due to “excessive market situations,” within the newest signal of strain on the sector from tumbling crypto markets.
Celsius Community, a big participant in crypto lending, affords interest-bearing merchandise to prospects who deposit their cryptocurrencies with the corporate, and lends out crypto currencies to earn a return.
It raised $750 million in funding late in November from traders, together with Canada’s second-largest pension fund. The corporate was valued on the time at $3.25 billion.
In a weblog put up, the corporate stated it had frozen withdrawals, in addition to transfers between accounts, “to stabilise liquidity and operations whereas we take steps to protect and defend property.”
“We’re taking this motion right now to place Celsius in a greater place to honour, over time, its withdrawal obligations.”
The Celsius transfer places the highlight on the sustainability of crypto lending corporations after a interval of breakneck development final yr fuelled by low rates of interest and booming crypto markets.
The surge of curiosity in crypto lending led to issues from regulators, particularly in america, who’re apprehensive about investor protections and systemic dangers.
MARKETS UNDER PRESSURE
Crypto markets have come below strain alongside shares and different property in monetary markets amid rising rates of interest and surging inflation. The collapse in Could of the so-called stablecoin terraUSD and its sister token luna has additionally shaken the crypto trade.
The most important cryptocurrency bitcoin fell additional after Celsius’s announcement, dropping greater than 7.8% to $24,502, its lowest since December 2020.
Ether, the second largest token, dropped as a lot as 12% to $1,245, its lowest since March 2021.
Main traders and enterprise capital corporations wager closely final yr on the crypto lending sector.
As of Could 17, Celsius Community had $11.8 billion in property, its web site stated, down by greater than half from October, and had processed a complete of $8.2 billion value of loans.
CEO Alex Mashinsky was quoted in October final yr saying Celsius had greater than $25 billion in property.
Mashinsky didn’t instantly reply to a textual content message in search of remark outdoors U.S. enterprise hours.
In a tweet on Monday, rival crypto lender Nexo stated it had provided unspecified assist to Celsius, however was refused. It stated it was “placing collectively a proposal” for any property.
The corporate’s web site on Monday was providing rates of interest of as much as 18.6%.