Celsius execs cashed out millions before cryptocurrency company went bust

One current and two former executives at Celsius Network cashed out millions in cryptocurrency shortly before the exchange declared bankruptcy this summer, court documents show. 

Chief technology officer Nuke Goldstein withdrew $20.8 million between May and June, while former CEO Alex Mashinsky and ex-Chief Strategy Officer Daniel Leon in May withdrew $10 million and $11 million, respectively, according to a legal filing in the case. Celsius filed for Chapter 11 protection from its debts in July.

 Mashinsky and Leon resigned last month. Celsius did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday. 

The New Jersey company launched in 2018 and quickly became one of the darlings of the crypto community. Celsius marketed itself as a type of crypto bank, encouraging people to deposit their digital currencies with the firm and earning money by  borrowing or lending against those funds.  

In 2019, Celsius launched a mobile app and made its services available in 100 countries. A year later, the company landed millions of dollars in venture capital, which helped it launch a crypto-mining arm called Celsius Mining, which it still owns today. By the spring of 2021, Celsius had 200 employees and was managing about $10 billion worth of crypto assets on its platform. 

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But Celsius collapsed as the price of digital currencies plummeted this year. Goldstein said in September that the company is considering giving out IOU tokens as a promise to eventually make customers whole, according to an internal company call shared publicly by a Celsius customer. 

Celsius is also holding an auction on October 20 and may sell some of its assets, court documents show. Sam Bankman-Fried, co-founder of crypto exchange FTX, has expressed interest in buying some Celsius assets, Bloomberg News reported.