With all eyes on the rapidly collapsing cryptocurrency market, a shocking offer has been made to the public in the form of a $20 million bounty in exchange for evidence that a plan to liquidate a massive crypto scheme is in process.
The announcement was made by the account @TheRealPlanC on June 19 on Twitter, who stated, “Any whistleblower willing to speak & provide definitive proof that there was a planned attack on #Celsius will never have to work another day in their life.”
PlanC called the money a “verified reward” that has been “put forward by a respected #Crypto group.”
The theory about a prospective conspiracy involves some of the biggest names in crypto and one of the largest exchanges with a connection to Major League Baseball, BlackRock, and even Bill Clinton.
What is Celsius?
Celsius is a cryptocurrency scheme that markets itself as an alternative to traditional banking. On the About Us page, it touts “a platform of curated services that have been abandoned by big banks – things like fair yield, zero fees, and lightning quick transactions.”
“Our goal is to disrupt the financial industry, one happy user at a time, and introduce financial freedom through crypto,” they add.
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Official stats on the company’s website boast of enormous size and weight: the company has issued $8.2 billion in loans and has almost $12 billion in assets, according to its own records.
In selling its services, the Celsius Earn page claims that a user who sends crypto to them can make a staggering 18.63 percent annual percentage yield, paid weekly—primarily through the CEL token, which is issued on the Ethereum blockchain and can be traded to Bitcoin on most major exchanges.
And to make the dream even sweeter, the company claims that a user can take out loans from the company for as little as a 0.1 percent APR.
It’s worth noting that while Investopedia defines a “bank” as “a financial institution licensed to receive deposits and make loans,” which sounds like exactly what Celsius is doing—but on the blockchain—the key caveat in the definition is “licensed.”
Celsius states in the fine print of its website, “Celsius is not a bank, depository institution, custodian or fiduciary and the assets in your Celsius account are not insured by any private or governmental insurance plan (including FDIC or SIPC), nor are they covered by any compensation scheme (including FSCS).”
Meaning for users who send Celsius their cryptocurrency: if something goes wrong, you’re on your own.
In fact, Celsius’s Terms of Service make it clear that users who transfer cryptocurrency to the company for the purpose of attempting to gain the high yields promised are not making a deposit, but are simply giving Celsius an unsecured loan at their own risk.
The above caveats to the company’s services are crucial, as users discovered for themselves when on June 12, Celsius announced on its Blog that, “Due to extreme market conditions, today we are announcing that Celsius is pausing all withdrawals, Swap, and transfers between accounts.”
The news was preceded by a portion of blockchain analysis released by Dirty Bubble Media on June 5 that showed Celsius had blundered 35,000 Ethereum, valued at roughly $64,750,000 USD based on a then-price of $1,850 USD per Ethereum, in a basic and amateurish mistake with the protocol’s smart contracts.
A June 16 article by crypto media website Coindesk put the severity of the calamity into perspective for outsiders to the crypto world, “If the collapse of LUNA was cryptocurrency’s Bear Stearns moment, Celsius Network threatens to become the industry’s Lehman Brothers: the failure that exacerbates a market crisis.”
The CEL token has absolutely cratered in value, trading for nearly $8 USD in June of 2021 to a current price of less than 65 cents today.
Coindesk explained that although over the last two years, Celsius had run its business by “lending to human traders and it controlled the risk by requiring collateral from these borrowers,” it has since shifted to a far riskier—and dubious—strategy of utilizing decentralized finance protocols to borrow against its retail lenders’ money in an attempt to generate the yield it needs to pay the 18 percent returns it promises customers.
Website AmbCrypto reported on June 19 on two threads posted by PlanC on Twitter, hypothesizing on what had actually happened with Celsius.
In the first instance, a 25 tweet thread, AmbCrypto summarized PlanC’s theory on developments in the following way: “The analyst alleged that FTX and Alameda Research conspired to trigger the demise of Celsius. The thread in question claimed that these proponents held strong grudges with Celsius. Why? Well, because Celsius’s CEO Mashinsky decided to exit early from its Terra holdings. On the contrary, FTX and Alameda held on and lost millions in the process.”
According to Investopedia, FTX, a large Bahamas-based cryptocurrency exchange specializing in derivative trading, was founded in 2018 by now-30-year-old Sam Bankman-Fried.
The entity is enormous, having a sponsorship deal with no less than Major League Baseball to have all umpires wear the FTX logo on their uniforms since 2021.
Additionally, on June 17 it was announced that FTX would soon enter the Canadian market after acquiring Calgary-based Bitvo.
The company also has globalist backings. In October of 2021, CNBC reported that FTX raised $420 million from 69 investors at a $25 billion valuation, from names as consequential as BlackRock, Sequoia Capital, Singapore-based Temasek, and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board.
Alameda Research is also Bankman-Fried’s brainchild, listed on Bloomberg as a “a quantitative trading firm” that provides “liquidity in crypto currency and digital assets markets.”
According to Forbes’s 30 Under 30 list, the firm “makes about $3-4 million daily” trading $5 billion a day of customer funds.
“By investing that income into blockchain platforms like Uniswap and Compound that connect lenders and borrowers with little overhead, Alamada generates an additional 7% to 50% annualized depending on the asset,” they add.
May 3 reporting by Forbes showed Bankman-Fried sharing the stage with no less than Bill Clinton and Tony Blair at a cryptocurrency-themed conference in the Bahamas lauding the advent of Web3, a likely cornerstone of the coming attempts to transform the world into a communist dystopia governed by Central Bank Digital Currencies and Digital Identity.
Forbes described the event as “inch[ing] closer in resemblance to the World Economic Forum’s Davos conference, not minding the casual dress code.”
In the second scenario, PlanC alleged that multiple crypto community influencers and competitors to Celsius embarked on a campaign of misinformation and doubt, causing an exodus of users from Celsius to other platforms.
Playing for keeps
Specifically, PlanC claimed that Alameda had dumped 50,000 stEth, a derivative token issued on the Lido protocol that is supposed to be pegged to Ethereum in advance of an upcoming upgrade to the network that will see the protocol transform from the proof-of-work model that requires miners to proof-of-stake.
The move appears to have been observed by Ethereum blockchain watchers as early as June 9.
The play is significant as it caused the price of stEth to depeg roughly 7 percent from Etherum, meaning that holders of stEth tokens effectively endured that amount of monetary inflation.
The depeg seems to have been consequential, since, according to other Twitter threads posted by cryptowatchers, Celsius owns a staggering $1.5 billion worth of stEth, which it decided to post as collateral for a loan on the AAVE protocol.
At the same time, because of market volatility, the price of Etherum has been cut in half from roughly $1,788 USD on June 9 to a low of $883 on June 18.
Another June 7 thread posted on Twitter by a blockchain analyst claimed that Celsius has outstanding liabilities of 1 million ETH—amounting to close to $2 billion at the time—but only 268,000 coins available and liquid.
Additionally, Celsius appears to have a significant $1.6 billion loan through the MakerDao decentralized finance protocol, backed by almost a half billion dollars worth of collateralized Bitcoin.
Celsius’s collateral will be liquidated by the protocol if the cryptocurrency market continues to collapse. June 14 reporting by Crypto News showed that the company would lose its collateral if the price of Bitcoin fell slightly under $17,000.
But by June 16 , a post on Reddit revealed that Celsius had taken significant steps to shore up its financial situation, paying off debts and depositing more collateral in order to reduce its liquidation mark to a Bitcoin price of $13,601.
However, this figure is still precariously too close for comfort after Bitcoin posted a low of roughly $17,500 on June 18, the first time in history the digital currency has fallen beneath a previous cycle’s all time high.
The high of Bitcoin’s previous cycle was $19,666 on Bitstamp posted in December of 2017. The market then abruptly corrected—trading for a low of $3,122 over the course of a 3 year bear market—before finally setting a new all time high in December of 2020 as the recent cycle that saw a new bubble form over $60,000 USD commenced.
End user consequences
Liquidations of this size for Celsius would likely mean for its users—who provided the company with unsecured loans in exchange for promises of huge yield—that the worst possible consequences of not being able to retrieve their funds will manifest.
One user told Coindesk that they believed when they deposited their funds that their money was protected by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority.
“I only ever received about 3%-5% APR yield on my bitcoin,” they stated.
And added, “This did not seem unreasonable, given Celsius’ stated business model. However, once Celsius paused all withdrawals on their accounts, I looked closer. I would describe their use of DeFi protocols as gambling with customers’ money.”
Another user interviewed by the outlet said ominously, “I hope to get my bitcoin back from Celsius. I’ve written to them saying I’d be happy to just receive my deposited bitcoin less any interest it’s accrued over the years. I expect to get back nothing, so I hope at least for an apology.”
Shortly after posting the offer of a $20 million bounty, PlanC reported that he had been blocked on Twitter by Sam Bankman-Fried’s official account.
“I never tagged, Sam, FTX or Alameda once in any of my posts. But, someone is not a fan of my recent findings,” PlanC stated.