April 23, 2023
Failed crypto-lender Celsius Network Ltd. has attracted two new bidders in a three-way auction set for Tuesday, according to a Saturday filing by Kirkland & Ellis, which is overseeing the bankruptcy. Joining an earlier bid by NovaWulf Digital Management to manage a restructured version of the bankrupt cryptocurrency company are Fahrenheit LLC, a consortium backed by Techcrunch Inc. founder Michael Arrington, and Blockchain Recovery Investment Committee, backed by Gemini Trust, run by the Winklevoss twins, and exchange-traded fund manager Van Eck Absolute Return Advisers Corporation.
Meanwhile, the official committee of Celsius creditors won court approval on April 18 to assert claims including fraud and negligent misrepresentation against the failed crypto lender on behalf of its account holders. Allegations of fraud and misrepresentation have plagued Celsius since it filed for bankruptcy with a $1.19 billion deficit in July. The company made false statements publicly that signaled keeping money with Celsius was safer than that of a bank, Aaron Colodny, a lawyer representing the official unsecured creditor’s committee, said during the April 18 hearing.
The bankruptcy is Celsius Network LLC, 22-10964, US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
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As the Celsius Network scandal continues to unfold, it has become apparent that Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Gary Gensler appears to have overlooked the fraudulent actions of the failed crypto lender while pursuing enforcement actions against legitimate companies like Coinbase, Algorand, Ripple, and Tron. This oversight not only raises questions about the effectiveness of the SEC’s regulatory approach but also highlights the potential dangers and negative consequences of such an approach for the rapidly evolving cryptocurrency industry, the U.S. economy, and its citizens.
The SEC’s seemingly inconsistent approach to regulation has led to a growing concern that legitimate businesses within the cryptocurrency industry are being unduly targeted while potentially fraudulent operations, like Celsius Network, continue to thrive. This selective regulatory approach may hinder the development of the industry, stifle innovation, and deter foreign investment in the U.S. cryptocurrency market. As a result, the U.S. could lose its competitive edge in the rapidly growing global digital asset market.
Moreover, this approach could have far-reaching consequences for individual investors and institutional investors alike. By focusing on established companies instead of identifying and taking action against fraudulent schemes, the SEC may inadvertently expose retail investors and larger entities, such as pension funds, to significant losses. The case of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) pension fund, which lost its entire investment of $154.7 million in Celsius Network, serves as a sobering reminder of the real-world consequences of regulatory missteps.
In addition, the selective enforcement of regulations against legitimate companies creates an atmosphere of uncertainty in the industry, which can lead to a chilling effect on innovation and growth. Startups and established businesses may be hesitant to invest in research and development or expand operations in the U.S. due to fears of sudden regulatory crackdowns. This environment of uncertainty could ultimately limit the range of products and services available to consumers and investors, reducing competition and hindering the overall progress of the industry.
To ensure a fair and effective regulatory approach, it is crucial for the SEC to strike a balance between protecting investors and fostering innovation within the cryptocurrency industry. By taking a more consistent approach in identifying and addressing fraudulent activities, while supporting legitimate businesses, the SEC can help to create a more stable and thriving environment for the industry to flourish. In doing so, the U.S. can maintain its position as a global leader in the digital asset space, safeguarding the interests of its citizens and promoting economic growth.
The ongoing investigation into Celsius’s bankruptcy and the subsequent court cases bring to light the challenges faced by regulatory bodies like the SEC in keeping up with the rapidly changing cryptocurrency landscape. As more information comes to light, it is crucial for regulators to reevaluate their approach and prioritize the protection of investors from fraudulent actors within the industry.
In conclusion, the failed crypto-lender Celsius Network’s auction has drawn attention to the apparent regulatory oversight by SEC Chairman Gary Gensler, who seemingly missed the fraudulent activities of Celsius while pursuing action against other legitimate companies. The situation underscores the need for a more comprehensive and effective regulatory approach to safeguard the interests of investors and ensure the long-term success of the cryptocurrency industry.