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“It isn’t $400 million.” “It’s the credibility that comes with the people who wrote those checks,” said Celsius CEO.
Celsius Network, a cryptocurrency lending platform, has raised $400 million in a new equity funding round, as US regulators tighten their grip on crypto lending.
Celsius announced the funding on Tuesday, noting that it was led by Canada’s second-largest pension fund, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), and WestCap, an equity firm founded by former Airbnb executive Laurence Tosi.
Celsius Network raises $400m. @FT
“The funding round was led by WestCap… and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ).” More:https://t.co/L5wpMxCvcR
— Celsius (@CelsiusNetwork) October 12, 2021
The firm intends to use the proceeds from this investment to continue expanding its offering and products, focusing on institutional grade products. Celsius also expects to double its team from 486 employees to nearly 1,000 and expand globally through strategic acquisitions.
Celsius CEO Alex Mashinsky expressed hope that the new fundraising would help the industry reassure regulators about the stability of his crypto lending business and expand it across mainstream financial markets. “It’s not $400 million. It’s the credibility that comes with the people who wrote those cheques,” he said in an interview with the Financial Times on Tuesday.
“With more than $25 billion in assets and over $850 million in yield paid to over 1.1 million users Celsius has distributed 10x more yield for the crypto community than any other lender,” Mashinsky told Cointelegraph.
The new funding round values Celsius at more than $3 billion, a significant increase from a $10 million equity funding round last year, which valued Celsius at $150 million post-money. Alpha Sigma Capital, a blockchain fund, previously assessed Celsius’ valuation in March, calculating that the company had an implied value of $3.13 billion, or three times its market capitalisation at the time.
Celsius Network, founded in 2017 in London, is a significant crypto lending platform that allows users to earn interest on digital assets such as Bitcoin (BTC). The company has emerged as one of the most important players in the field of decentralised finance, reporting digital asset holdings of more than $20 billion in late August.
Celsius, which began operations in the United Kingdom, announced in June that it will relocate its headquarters from the United Kingdom to the United States and “where applicable, to several other jurisdictions.”
Following that, the crypto lending firm received several warnings from various US regulators, with the Texas State Securities Board and the New Jersey Bureau of Securities alleging in September that Celcius had violated local securities laws. Other US states, including Kentucky and Alabama, are said to have issued similar warnings, while Celsius claims to be operating in full compliance with US laws.
Celsius’s problems with US regulators coincide with the country’s broader crackdown on crypto lending. The New Jersey Bureau of Securities issued a cease and desist order to major cryptocurrency lender BlockFi in July, sparking a wave of similar orders in several other states. Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the United States, was forced to abandon its crypto lending product Lend after the Securities and Exchange Commission threatened legal action.