Celsius swaps legal team and continues to pay down debt

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Struggling crypto lending platform Celsius has hired new attorneys from Kirkland & Ellis LLP to advise on its available restructuring options, The Wall Street Journal reported on July 10.

According to the publication, Celsius has decided to replace its current restructuring adviser from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP with lawyers from Kirkland & Ellis LLP, an international law firm specializing in private equity, mergers and acquisitions and other corporate transactions. The law firm recently acted as general counsel in the bankruptcy of Voyager Digital, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week.

While Celsius management has yet to announce the company’s next step, it appears to be trying to avoid the same fate as Voyager Digital. In late June, The Block quoted “people with knowledge of the situation,” who noted that Celsius’ lawyers at the time were arguing for filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, but company executives allegedly wanted to avoid the long procedure.

Celsius also continued to pay off its outstanding debts with decentralized finance (DeFi) lending protocols. Most recently, the company repaid a 20 million USD (USDC) coin loan from Aave, which was captured by a blockchain analytics firm Shield July 11. Last week, Celsius also transferred $41.2 million to Maker, repaying its remaining debt to the protocol and releasing approximately $500 million in Wrapped Bitcoin (wBTC) collateral.

Celsius suspended all withdrawals, trades and transfers between accounts on its platform on June 13, citing “extreme market conditions” as the reason. According to DeFi tracking platform Zapper, Celsius currently owes 130 million USDC and $82,500 in REN tokens to Aave, and around 85.2 million DAI tokens to Compound, bringing its total debt to around $215 million.

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