“Celsians” offer an interesting new way to lose money

It’s been nine long days since crypto fintech Celsius Network announced in a Very Important Message that it was pausing all withdrawals, swaps and transfers between accounts amid “extreme market conditions”. It’s also been nine days since CEO Alex Mashinsky last graced the world with a tweet.

But one group of supporters seems very busy indeed. On Friday, an “unofficial community-based social network for all the Celsians from around the world” announced a plan apparently meant to arrest the decline of the lending platform’s own coin, which we will refer to as CEL.

Simply put, Celsians are grasping at the Reddit playbook to try to push the price of CEL higher. They claim they want to engineer a “short squeeze” for the token. Its price has already plunged more than 90 per cent in the past six months, however, so one must assume shorts have fared pretty well already.

Twitter user @otisa502 says that if “Celsians do what Wall Street Bets retail investors did and buy CEL all the way up to $3-$5,” short conspirators will be burnt à la Melvin Capital.

But any momentum from this strategy was short lived. At pixel time, CEL was trading at $1.01 — well below its $8 all-time high.

But even that was cause for celebration:

The Celsians’ Gamestop-inspired effort coincides with rumours that a handful of so-called bad actors are responsible for the wave of outflows that hit Celsius in recent weeks.

Twitter user @TheRealPlanC last week promised $20mn to anyone “willing to speak [and] provide definitive proof that there was a planned attack” from a “respected #Crypto group.”

Any whistleblower willing to speak and provide definitive proof to FT Alphaville of the existence of a respected crypto group — or the identities of pseudonymous Celsians boosting a crashed coin in the public sphere — should leave tips in the comment section below. Expect no reward.

But anyway. Unperturbed by reports that state regulators across the US are investigating Celsius’s move to suspend withdrawals, one of the platform’s backers has come up with a recovery plan of his own.

Bnk To The Future CEO Simon Dixon wrote in a blog post last week that he hopes to use “financial innovation” to bail out depositors:

It’s not my place to reveal information before Alex and the Celsius board are ready, it’s my position to offer solutions as we have the experience, licenses and technology to do so. Our industry has come back stronger from every disaster and now is the time for us to offer support in a bottom up way in compliance with the regulations we have always followed.

As fears of losses mount, Mashinsky has few other options at hand.

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