Cryptocurrency lending platform Celsius Network has raised $400 million in a new equity funding round amid United States regulators increasingly cracking down on crypto lending.
Announcing the news on Tuesday, Celsius noted that the latest funding was led by Canada’s second-largest pension fund, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), and WestCap, an equity firm established by former Airbnb executive Laurence Tosi.
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 checks,” 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 over $3 billion, marking a massive increase from a $10 million equity funding round last year, which brought Celsius’ post-money valuation to $150 million. Blockchain fund Alpha Sigma Capital previously evaluated Celsius’ valuation in March, calculating that the firm had an implied value of $3.13 billion, or three times bigger than its market capitalization at the time.
Founded in 2017 in London, Celsius Network is a significant crypto lending platform, allowing users to earn interest on holding digital assets like Bitcoin (BTC). The company has emerged as one of the biggest players in decentralized finance, reporting digital asset holdings of more than $20 billion in late August.
Initially operating in the United Kingdom, Celsius officially announced in June that the company will be moving its headquarters from the U.K. to the United States and “where applicable, to several other jurisdictions.”
The crypto lending firm subsequently faced several warnings from several U.S. regulators, with the Texas State Securities Board and New Jersey Bureau of Securities arguing in September that Celcius had allegedly violated local securities laws. Other U.S. states including Kentucky and Alabama reportedly issued similar warnings as well, while Celsius said it was providing services in full compliance with U.S. laws.
Celsius’s issues with U.S. regulators come amid a broader crackdown on crypto lending in the country. In July, the New Jersey Bureau of Securities issued a cease and desist order to major crypto lender BlockFi, triggering a wave of similar orders in several other states. Coinbase, the largest crypto exchange in the United States, had to abandon its crypto lending product Lend after the Securities and Exchange Commission threatened the firm with legal action.