Celsius Network, the bankrupt crypto lending platform, has been hit with a $4.7 billion fine by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC). This judgment, however, will be suspended in order to enable the platform to return its remaining assets to consumers through bankruptcy proceedings.
The FTC has accused Celsius and its affiliate firms of offering, marketing, and promoting products and services that could be used to deposit, exchange, invest, or withdraw any assets. It has also alleged that the firm’s co-founders, Alex Mashinsky, Shlomi Leon, and Hanoch Goldstein, misappropriated more than $4 billion in customer assets while claiming that the platform was a “safe place” to store cryptocurrencies.
In addition, the FTC found that Celsius made $1.2 billion in unsecured loans, lied about having a user insurance policy worth $750 million, and failed to track its assets and liabilities until late 2021.
The FTC’s announcement follows the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) lawsuit against Celsius Network and its former CEO Alex Mashinsky, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) ruling that the former CEO and the platform were guilty of violating several laws while operating in the country.
It is clear that the US regulators are determined to punish Celsius and its former CEO for their actions. Consumers should be wary of any platform claiming to be a “safe place” to store their cryptocurrencies, as it is likely to be operating in an illegal manner.