Crypto lender Celsius has swiftly moved its Ethereum (ETH) staking tokens from the liquid staking platform Lido following the platform’s recent introduction of withdrawal capabilities.
In a notable transaction on May 15, Celsius wallets transferred a substantial amount of 428,015 stETH (Lido staked Ether) to the Lido staked Ethereum wallet, valued at $772 million. Speculation suggests that this transfer may indicate preparations for future withdrawals.
On-chain data analysis reveals that Celsius conducted a test withdrawal of 0.1 stETH a few hours later, further fueling the belief that Celsius is exploring options for independent staking without Lido’s involvement. Another possibility is that the significant transfer serves as loan collateral as Celsius undergoes restructuring plans, according to Simon Dixon, a Bitcoin pioneer and Celsius creditor.
The blockchain intelligence firm Arkham Intelligence highlighted a previous transfer by Celsius, wherein 40,928 ETH was sent to a smart contract named “Figment ETH2 Beacon Depositor 1” last week. Subsequently, this amount was moved to the Ethereum Beacon Chain deposit contract on May 12, as confirmed by Etherscan.
Lido, which charges a 10% staking commission, introduced the ability to withdraw on May 15 with protocol upgrade V2. Lido V2 incorporates two significant components, notably allowing Ethereum stakers to directly unstake ETH through the protocol, providing a more user-friendly experience.
Currently, Lido commands 29% of all staked Ether, accounting for 6.27 million ETH with an approximate value of $11.3 billion. Additionally, there are 54,046 ETH awaiting withdrawal in the queue, not including the aforementioned stash from Celsius, as reported by on-chain analytics firm Nansen.
Celsius faces ongoing legal challenges
Celsius, having filed for bankruptcy on July 14, 2022, has been exploring options for restructuring and recovery amidst allegations of operating as a Ponzi scheme. The platform’s former CEO, Alex Mashinsky, has also faced legal challenges.
In January 2023, Mashinsky was sued by New York Attorney General Letitia James, known for her lawsuits against Tether and Bitfinex, on charges of defrauding investors.
In February 2023, creditors filed another lawsuit against Mashinsky, claiming that the company’s executives had cashed out before the platform’s collapse.
Although the intentions behind Celsius’ staked ETH, both on and off Figment, remain unclear, the Southern District of New York has approved a restructuring plan allowing approximately 85% of Celsius customers to recover 72.5% of their cryptocurrency holdings.
As the situation unfolds, stakeholders eagerly await further developments regarding Celsius’ management of the staked Ethereum funds and its ongoing efforts to stabilize the platform and reimburse affected customers.