An Irishman at risk of losing his farm. An American having suicidal thoughts. An 84-year-old widow’s lost life savings: People caught in the meltdown of crypto lender Celsius are pleading for their money back.
Hundreds of letters have poured into the judge overseeing the firm’s multi-billion-dollar bankruptcy and they are heavy with anger, shame, desperation and, frequently, regret.
Celsius and its CEO Alex Mashinsky had billed the platform as a safe place for people to deposit their crypto currencies in exchange for high interest, while the firm slowed out and those invested deposits.
The company owed $4.7 billion to its users, according to a court filing earlier this month, and the endgame is unclear.
“From that hard-working single mom in Texas struggling with past-due bills, to the teacher in India with all his hard-earned money deposited in Celsius — I believe I can speak for most of us when I say I feel betrayed, ashamed, depressed, angry,” wrote one client who signed their letter EL
“I have been a loyal Celsius customer since 2019 and feel completely lied to by Alex Mashinsky,” wrote a client who AFP is not identifying to protect his privacy. “Alex would talk about how Celsius is safer than banks.”
– Repeated assurances before fail –
“We have made it through crypto downturns before (this is our fourth!). Celsius is prepared,” the firm wrote.
One client, who reported having $32,000 in crypto locked up at Celsius, noted the impact.
But that changed quickly, and on June 12 Celsius announced the freeze: “We are taking this action today to put Celsius in a better position to honor, over time, its withdrawal obligations.”
“By the time I finished the e-mail, I had collapsed onto the floor with my head in my hands and I fought back tears,” wrote one man who had about $50,000 in assets with Celsius.
Others reported heavy stress, lack of sleep and feelings of deep shame for putting their retirement savings or their children’s college money into a platform that was far riskier than they knew.
Celsius did not reply to a request for comment on the clients’ letters.
“It’s just not unusual for people to come out of something like this with zero,” said Don Coker, an expert witness on banking and finance.