Celsius Lays Off 150 Employees As Withdrawal Freeze Drags: Report
Celsius has joined a series of cryptocurrency firms to lay off employees as plunging prices and market contagion hits high-profile names.
The troubled cryptocurrency lender has let go of 150 employees, Israeli news outlet Calcalist reported on Sunday. These include employees in Israel.
Celsius’ latest headcount update, from April 2021, showed over 200 employees across New Jersey, London, Tel Aviv, Cyprus and Serbia. The Hoboken-headquartered firm’s LinkedIn displays about 650 listed employees.
On the basis of the LinkedIn figure, the reported layoffs would represent a 23% cut to its workforce. Celsius didn’t immediately return Blockworks’ request for comment.
Launched in 2017, Celsius operates similarly to a bank. The company gathers crypto deposits from customers and loans them to retail and institutional borrowers, as does stressed rivals Voyager and BlockFi. Customers then receive payments from the revenue Celsius gains from its loans.
The network promises high-yield returns on deposits, as much as 18.6% annually. It claimed to have around $12 billion in assets under management in May and $8 billion in loans processed.
Celsius first sparked fears of a liquidity crisis when it paused withdrawals and transfers on its platform on June 12. It hasn’t resumed withdrawals more than three weeks later, leaving users frustrated.
The firm has reportedly resisted advice from its own lawyers to file for bankruptcy and is relying on a show of support from users to help it avoid the elaborate process.
Blockworks also learned that Goldman Sachs was looking at helping an institutional investor raise about $2 billion to acquire Celsius’ distressed assets at a discount.
Celsius’ last update came in a blog on June 30, in which it said the firm was working on stabilizing liquidity and operations.
“We continue to take important steps to preserve and protect assets and explore options available to us,” the firm wrote. “These options include pursuing strategic transactions as well as a restructuring of our liabilities, among other avenues.”
Celsius’ native token CEL is down 80% so far this year, but is up 8.7% in the last month at $0.89 as of Monday at 1:30 am ET, per Blockworks Research data.
In any case, Celsius finds itself on a growing list of crypto companies to downsize over the past month.
Coinbase cut 1,100 staff (about 18% of its team) and rescinded job offers; BlockFi laid off about 20%; Gemini let go of roughly 100 employees; Singapore-based Crypto.com reduced staff by 5% and Singapore-based Vauld cut its headcount by 30%.
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