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The Celsius Network (CEL)’s fall from grace has been nothing short of spectacular – and the crypto lender has been amongst the highest-profile casualties of one of the most brutal crypto winters to date.
The firm initially suspended withdrawals from its platform in early summer before filing for bankruptcy. The case is being heard in a court in the Southern District of New York, USA. But behind the headlines are the people who invested money – in some instances their “life savings” – in Celsius.
Many of these people have submitted their written testimony to the court and the presiding judge, Martin Glenn, ahead of a forthcoming hearing. Here’s what some of them had to say.
‘Angry with myself’
Frustration is the single most striking emotion that underpins the letters sent to Judge Glenn. Many explained that their decisions to use Celsius’ services have compromised life not only for themselves, but also their families.
A number of them accused the CEO of Celsius, Alex Mashinsky, of spreading “lies” – and many castigated themselves for having believed his “untruths.”
The Florida-based Mark Hide wrote that he had “over USD 25,000 worth of cryptocurrency deposited in a Custody account” with Celsius, and explained:
“I strongly feel that Celsius, in particular Alex Mashinsky, has lied to the community about the safety of our assets. I feel like I have been lied to and misled. I am embarrassed that I have so much money tied up in what now seems to be a scam.”
He claimed that the incident “has affected me personally,” adding,
“[I] now have so much anger with myself for getting my family in this position. All I hope for is that I can retrieve my cryptocurrency and can keep it in storage myself and avoid any future scams.”
A Finnish citizen named Petri Tuomela, who claims to have had more than USD 50,000 locked up in Celsius, explained:
“I am embarrassed, sad, and angry that my life savings were invested [in] a ‘bank’ which was a lie. This will have significant ramifications to my retirement and it is beyond awful.”
The situation is ‘precarious’
With the fate of their coins up in the air, some investors expressed their displeasure at the way Celsius has been handling the matter, and appear unsure how to proceed.
One individual named TK Kimmel wrote that while Celsius had “paused its account transfers and withdrawals,” it “has not paused its loan activity,” which puts Celsius customers “in a terribly precarious situation.”
Kimmel wrote that as Celsius “requires customers to add more funds to their loan accounts in order to prevent liquidation,” customers were now in a quandary.
“How can we possibly be expected to add more funds to Celsius until we are assured the platform is safe and that we can recover all the funds we currently have stored on the platform?”
One false move, Kimmel suggested, could bring about a “devastating loss of […] life savings” for customers.
A customer named Danielle wrote that it was “not only disheartening but blood-boiling” to learn that Celsius was “continuing to pay their employees and high-level executives while holding the members’ assets hostage.” She called the situation infuriating and pleaded with the judge “not to allow this company and their executives to swindle their way out of paying their debts back to the Celsius members in full.”
Danielle urged that Celsius executives could not “be allowed to go on with life as normal while we lose our life savings,” and explained:
“I have elderly parents whom I care for and the assets currently held in Celsius [are intended] to help them live out their last years in comfort. I pray I will see my funds returned in full.”
Another customer who did not appear to provide their name claimed that their brother had “attempted suicide” over the matter and added:
“I have a mental disorder and I cannot sleep now. I haven’t slept since the account was frozen.”
The same customer begged the judge:
“Please jail these people, they are still getting crazy salaries from our money. […] They have zero shame for what they did. They are evil and if you do not stop them, they [are] going to do it again and again to other people.”
Jens Deweirt, a Belgian who claims to have deposited the “hard-earned life savings” on the Celsius platform, denounced the “blatant lies” of “Mashinsky and the company,” and concluded:
“This has an immense impact on my life. I hope this can have a positive outcome, since a lot of people were victims to the deception of Mr. Mashinsky and his company.”
And another, named Sean Russell, complained that he had “put time, sweat, and money into mining digital currencies” and “really hoped” that it was “not just all gone now.”
“I feel betrayed by Celsius, and shame that I even went so far as to recommend Celsius to friends and family. […] If there are powers that you possess to make restitution, please use them.”