Celsius amends bankruptcy plan on SEC’s feedback

Crypto lender Celsius, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July 2022, has announced a pivot in its reorganization plan to solely concentrate on Bitcoin mining. The move comes after Celsius made a $4.7 billion settlement with U.S. authorities over fraud allegations.

This updated strategy comes in response to feedback from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding the initial reorganization proposal, which included both mining and staking activities.

Hours before Celsius’s announcement, there were reports that the SEC requested additional details about the assets of the firm, signaling regulatory concerns that may have influenced the revised focus of the reorganization. The implementation of the plan was previously entrusted to Fahrenheit Holdings, which encompasses Arrington Capital and U.S. Bitcoin Corp. They had acquired Celsius in May 2023 through a bidding process.

“In the coming weeks, the Debtors intend to file a motion with the Bankruptcy Court to approve modifications to the Plan to reflect the new Mining NewCo transaction. The Debtors do not believe that these modifications will require resolicitation of the Plan. The Debtors still anticipate that distributions to creditors will commence in January of 2024,” the filing reads.

The new company emerging from Celsius’s restructuring, currently referred to as NewCo, will be a Delaware-registered entity with a primary focus on Bitcoin mining operations. As part of the restructuring process, certain assets that were to be transferred to “Fahrenheit NewCo” will now remain with Celsius’s estates.

Celsius proposed that the newly focused “Mining NewCo” will be a publicly traded entity in the United States, with ownership stakes going to Celsius customers. This move represents a shift from Celsius’s previous business model, which was heavily scrutinized by the SEC when it filed a lawsuit against the firm and its former CEO, Alex Mashinsky, in July 2023.

Mashinsky was subsequently arrested by the U.S. Justice Department on charges including securities fraud and commodities fraud, accused of defrauding customers. He is currently out on bail, with his trial set to commence in September 2024.

Celsius Network, once a major player in the crypto lending industry, faced severe financial woes and eventually filed for bankruptcy in 2022. This bankruptcy filing brought to light large financial liabilities that exceeded the platform’s assets by $1.2 billion.

Creditors of Celsius expect varying returns in the form of Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH), ranging from 67% for Earn Account holders to 85.6% for participants in Celsius’ Earn Program. This stands in contrast to the alternative option of asset liquidation, which would result in a lower recovery of around 47%, as outlined in court documents.