Celsius billion-dollar Ethereum shift stirs speculation on creditor payback plans

Bankrupt crypto lending platform Celsius has shifted 459,561 Ethereum (ETH), valued at over $1 billion, to centralized exchanges, including Coinbase, Paxos, and FalconX, in the past 24 hours, per on-chain data.

In detail, more than 300,000 ETH 97,454 ETH, equivalent to $673 million, was sent to Coinbase Prime. The firm also moved 146,507 ETH, valued at around $323.3 million, to Paxos, and another 7,800 ETH, worth $17.2 million, were transferred to FalconX.

This latest transfer follows a series of similar fund movements by Celsius in recent days. On Jan. 24, blockchain investigator Lookonchain reported that the firm deposited 18,000 ETH, worth $40 million, to Coinbase.

Meanwhile, the crypto analytical platform Spot on Chain provided a more in-depth analysis of the transfers. According to the firm, Celsius has deposited 740,321 ETH, worth an estimated $1.69 billion, to centralized exchanges, including FalconX, Coinbase, OKX, and Paxos, since November 2023.

However, despite these transactions, the firm still holds a sizeable amount of ETH. Its address retains 62,468 ETH, approximately $139 million as of press time.

Why is Celsius making these transfers?

Spot On Chain’s analysis suggests the possibility of an over-the-counter (OTC) transaction, as around 97.2% of the total deposited funds to Coinbase were withdrawn to 12 newly created wallets.

“We noticed that 12 fresh wallets have withdrawn 296,835 $ETH (660M) from Coinbase shortly after Celsius deposited $ETH to the CEX, accounting for ~97.2% of the total deposited amount. This is probably an OTC deal,” the firm said.

Meanwhile, the motive behind the transfer remains undisclosed. But it coincides with creditors’ anticipation of a potential repayment launch in February.

On Jan. 25, the Celsius Newco Community suggested that the firm had an effective date of Jan. 31, with expectations of distributing liquid crypto to Earn Creditors starting mid-February.

A Celsius distribution FAQ hints at Coinbase being the platform of choice for creditor repayments in specific countries. Eighty-nine countries (excluding the United States) are eligible for the Coinbase distribution.

The Celsius Creditors Community group on social media platform X (formerly Twitter) also includes several creditors of the failed firm, who reveal that they received instructions to prepare for their Celsius distribution via Coinbase.

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