As the dust settles on the collapse of Do Kwon’s “20% APY” Anchor protocol — which RealVision’s Raoul Pal called “basically risk-free” mere weeks before its collapse — many are now turning their gaze to the people who did business with Kwon. Step forward Celsius, a company led by a curious billionaire with even curiouser business dealings.
Celsius, which was one of Kwon’s largest financial connections — it once had $535 million in his Anchor Protocol — pays interest on popular crypto assets, allowing depositors to earn generous yields on their assets. Indeed, its flagship Earn account offers customers up to 17% APY.
Powering these generous yields — far above the paltry interest offered by traditional bank accounts — is Celsius’ native token, CEL. A $50 million ICO that briefly hit a $3.4 billion valuation, it has shed 90% of its market capitalization during the last 12 months.
Now fears are circulating regarding Celsius’ financial connections to the failed Terra LUNA stablecoin (UST), as well as the world’s largest stablecoin, Tether (USDT). (Celsius once paid interest on $1 billion worth of USDT.)
Reports are also surfacing about unresolved issues with securities regulators. Its CFO was previously arrested in connection with alleged fraud and money laundering. A few customers are simply afraid that the entire company has Ponzi-like characteristics.
Its CEL token has collapsed -75% in the last three months. So, as Celsius navigates the next few tumultuous weeks, people interested in Celsius’ history can find a complete timeline of events below.
History of Celsius and its founder Alex Mashinsky
1980-1982: Alex Mashinsky attends The Open University of Israel. He obtains a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Electrical Engineering.
1987-1989: Alex Mashinsky attends Tel Aviv University, majoring in Economics. He obtains a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics.
January 1995: Alex Mashinsky founds telecom exchange Arbinet.
August 1997: Alex Mashinsky founds Comgates.
January 2001: Alex Mashinsky founds Elematics.
February 2003: Alex Mashinsky founds Transit Wireless.
March 2003: Alex Mashinsky becomes a member of the Metro New York chapter of YPO.
January 2004: Alex Mashinsky sells Comgates to Telco Systems.
April 2004: Alex Mashinsky founds venture fund Governing Dynamics.
June 2004: Alex Mashinsky leaves Elematics.
2005: Alex Mashinsky becomes an advisor and angel investor at nSphere.
May 2005: Alex Mashinsky founds ride-sharing app GroundLink.
June 26, 2017: A patent is issued for a “System and method for IP bandwidth trading,” co-designed by Alex Mashinsky.
2010: Alex Mashinsky becomes an investor with Dubset Media Holdings.
May 25, 2010: A patent is issued for a system for VOIP efficient communications through networks, designed by Alex Mashinsky.
July 6, 2010: A patent is issued for a “System and method for faciliting targeted marketing over a communications system,” co-designed by Alex Mashinsky.
August 4, 2010: Transit Wireless signs deal with New York City to provide Wi-Fi and cell phone service in New York City’s subway system.
September 2010: Alex Mashinsky leaves Arbinet.
September 16, 2010: A patent is issued for a system for “Self-charging electric vehicles and aircraft, and wireless energy distribution system,” designed by Alex Mashinsky.
December 21, 2010: A patent is issued for a “Method and system for facilitating trading,” co-designed by Alex Mashinsky.
May 17, 2011: A patent is issued for a system of “Online trading and dynamic routing of electrical power,” co-designed by Alex Mashinsky.
August 2011: Alex Mashinsky leaves nSphere.
September 2011: Alex Mashinsky leaves YPO.
February 2013: Alex Mashinsky joins Tellabs as a board member.
December 2013: Alex Mashinsky leaves his position as a Tellabs board member.
December 2013: Alex Mashinsky leaves his position with GroundLink.
April 2014: Alex Mashinsky joins Inseego Group (formerly Novatel Wireless) as CEO and board member.
November 2015: Alex Mashinsky leaves his position at Inseego Group.
May 10, 2016: A patent is issued for a “System and method for managing multimedia communications across convergent networks,” co-designed by Alex Mashinsky.
July 4, 2017: A patent is issued for a system for “Intelligent routing of electric power,” co-designed by Alex Mashinsky.
March 16, 2018: Celsius Network launches crypto-backed lending platform.
March 23, 2018: Celsius Network announces a deal with Invox Finance to offer 9% APY loans to businesses.
August 2, 2018: Hub Token deposits thousands of Ethereum with Celsius Network.
August 7, 2018: Celsius Network announces a deal with Lightyear.io to provide lending and borrowing services for ICOs on the Stellar (XLM) blockchain.
August 18, 2018: W. Scott Stornetta joins Celsius Network’s Board of Directors.
September 21, 2018: Celsius Network becomes a founding member of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Impact Fund.
October 16, 2019: Celsius Network integrates TrustToken’s fiat currency-backed stablecoins.
October 15, 2018: Ann LaCarrubba joins Celsius Network as General Counsel.
October 31, 2019: Celsius Network adds EOS to its interest-earning platform.
February 19, 2020: Celsius Network integrates Simplex to provide credit card processing for purchases of digital assets.
February 27, 2020: Celsius Network taps Stonehenge Global Fund Administration to support crypto fund management.
March 9, 2020: Celsius Network selects Prime Trust to provide deposit security.
March 26, 2020: Camilla Churcher joins Celsius Network as Head of Business Development.
March 30, 2020: Celsius Network selects Chainlink (LINK) to provide blockchain oracle services.
March 31, 2020: Celsius integrates Onchain Custodian for Asian clients.
April 13, 2020: Celsius Network reduces its minimum loan amount to $1,000.
May 5, 2020: Celsius Network adds Tether Gold (XAUT) to its interest-earning platform.
May 20, 2020: Celsius Network offers cash loans with 1% APY and surpasses 100,000 users.
June 4, 2020: Celsius Network surpasses $1 billion in assets under management.
June 11, 2020: Celsius Network launches fundraising round on BnkToTheFuture with a $15 million goal.
June 22, 2020: Tether is the lead investor in Celsius Network’s $10 million funding round.
June 23, 2020: Celsius Network adds Ethereum Classic (ETC) to Celsius’ mobile app, offering 8.33% APY to depositors.
July 15, 2020: BnkToTheFuture invests in Celsius Network funding round.
July 23, 2020: Celsius Network adds SEPA and ACH as payment options for buying digital assets.
July 24, 2020: Celsius Network closes an $18.8 million funding round.
July 29, 2020: Celsius Network adds Celsius Tokens to its list of digital assets that can be used as collateral for loans, bringing the total number of assets that can be used as collateral to 26.
September 21, 2020: Celsius Network adds support for Paxos’ PAX Gold (PAXG).
October 21, 2020: Celsius Network lowers its minimum loan amount to $500 and pre-approves 200,000 customers.
October 29, 2020: Celsius Network adds more Chainlink oracles.
November 24, 2020: Celsius Network donates 25,000 ETH to help fund Ethereum 2.0 development efforts.
December 9, 2020: Celsius Network hires Chainalysis to audit its assets.
January 24, 2021: Alex Mashinsky tells Bloomberg that corrections in bitcoin’s price are healthy and that he expects money to continue to go into bitcoin due to the Fed’s continued money-printing.
March 10, 2021: Celsius Network confirms more than $10 billion in assets under management.
March 12, 2021: Bittrex’s Global exchange lists CEL.
March 18, 2021: Bitfinex exchange lists CEL.
March 19, 2021: Rodney Sunada-Wong joins Celsius Network as Chief Risk Officer. Vijay Konduru joins Celsius Network as Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Analytics.
March 24, 2021: Celsius Network adds Apple Pay as a payment option for buying digital assets.
March 27, 2021: Attorney Ron Deutsch joins Celsius Network as General Counsel and Chief of Mergers and Acquisitions.
April 1, 2021: Celsius Network adds CoinShares’ wDGLD token to its yield platform.
April 18, 2021: Celsius Network announces a deal with Liquid to offer 15% APY to Liquid customers.
April 21, 2021: Carl Hua joins Celsius Network as Chief Architect for DeFi research and development.
May 6, 2021: Celsius Network teams up with B21 Crypto to launch a one-click yield platform, Earn.
May 20, 2021: A security auditing team grants Celsius Network ISO/IEC 27001 security certification.
May 24, 2021: Celsius Network launches a web app.
May 27, 2021: Celsius Network announces a sponsorship deal with NBA point guard Spencer Dinwiddie.
June 3, 2021: Celsius Network confirms 100,000 Bitcoin is deposited on its yield platform.
June 4, 2021: Celsius Network announces a $200 million investment into bitcoin mining, including the purchase of mining equipment and acquisition of a stake in Core Scientific.
June 4, 2021: Celsius Network signs a deal with iHeartMedia to distribute a podcast hosted by Alex Mashinsky.
June 22, 2021: Celsius Network acquires MVP Workshop.
June 28, 2021: Celsius Network adds support for Binance Coin (BNB), Polkadot (DOT), and Bancor Network Token (BNT).
July 8, 2021: Celsius Network launches yield verification tool Rewards Explorer.
July 15, 2021: Celsius Network and Horizon (ZEN) release a proof-of-reserve blockchain, zkAudit.
July 21, 2021: Celsius Network joins Michael Saylor’s Bitcoin Mining Council.
July 23, 2021: Celsius Network confirms a $54 million investment in mining company Core Scientific.
August 16, 2021: Celsius Network obtains a license to offer loans in California.
August 19, 2021: Celsius Network adds Anchorage Digital as a custodian for part of Celsius’ treasury.
August 24, 2021: Celsius Network announces $20 billion in assets under management.
August 30, 2021: Celsius Network reaches 1 million users.
September 29, 2021: Celsius Network drops the minimum loan amount in stablecoins to $100.
October 7, 2021: Bloomberg reports that Celsius pays an interest rate of 5-6% on loans of about 1 billion USDT.
October 19, 2021: Celsius Network publishes a statement claiming that it is working closely with regulators.
October 25, 2021: Celsius Network opens a loan support center.
November 21, 2021: Celsius Network CFO Moshe Hogeg is arrested in Israel on charges of defrauding investors, money laundering, and sexual assault.
November 23, 2021: Celsius Network opens a Customer Care Center in Las Vegas.
November 26, 2021: Celsius Network confirms that it suspended an employee who was arrested in Israel without naming the employee. It says no funds were misplaced or mishandled by the employee. (Alex Mashinsky later confirmed to Blockworks that Moshe Hogeg was suspended and denies any knowledge of Hogeg’s alleged crimes.)
January 13, 2022: Celsius Network adds support for Avalanche (AVAX).
January 14, 2022: Aslihan Denizkurdu joins Celsius Network as COO. Frank van Etten joins as Chief Financial Officer.
January 26, 2022: The SEC opens an inquiry into Celsius Network’s lending operations.
January 31, 2022: Celsius Network adds support for Dogecoin (DOGE).
February 7, 2022: Celsius Network invests in Polygon’s $450 million funding round.
February 7, 2022: Public Mint signs a deal with Celsius Network to broaden the offerings of Public Mint’s EARN product.
February 13, 2022: Celsius Network opens an office in Hoboken, New Jersey.
February 17, 2022: Jacob Avidar joins Celsius Network as Vice President of Engineering – Growth in Technology.
February 21, 2022: Cointelegraph places Alex Mashinsky at #64 on its list, The Cointelegraph Top 100.
February 22, 2022: Rod Bolger joins Celsius Network as CFO.
February 23, 2022: Celsius Network announces an NFT hackathon.
February 24, 2022: Celsius Network delegates $30 million of wrapped Ethereum (WETH) to Maple Finance’s crypto lending platform.
February 26, 2022: Alex Mashinsky tells Bloomberg he donated $10,000 in Ethereum to Ukraine in the wake of the Russian invasion.
February 26, 2022: Alex Mashinsky tweets Celsius Network-controlled addresses to which donors can send bitcoin and Ethereum donations. He claims donations will be sent to Ukrainian humanitarian efforts.
February 26, 2022: Celsius Network launches CelsiusX, a blockchain bridge infrastructure project.
March 3, 2022: Celsius Network gives $25 in ETH to each Ukrainian customer.
March 4, 2022: Celsius Network burns 82,304 CEL tokens.
March 18, 2022: Celsius Network announces a plan to expand its crypto hackathon series.
March 24, 2022: Celsius Network sponsors France’s Paris NFT Day.
March 26, 2022: Alex Mashinsky denies rumors that Celsius Network is laundering or “peeling” money.
March 29, 2022: Celsius advertises a “limited time promotion” on new LUNA deposits, requiring a 90-day lockup.
March 30, 2022: Guillermo Bodnar joins Celsius Network as CTO.
April 5, 2022: Celsius Network hosts a booth at the Bitcoin Miami 2022 conference.
April 7, 2022: Celsius Network announces plans to support wrapped bitcoin (WBTC) on the Polygon network.
April 11, 2022: Celsius Network announces a ban on deposits with Earn from non-accredited U.S. investors starting April 15, 2022.
April 11, 2022: Celsius Network launches a Custody solution for U.S. customers.
April 13, 2022: Celsius Network files Form D (Notice of Exempt Offering of Securities) with the SEC.
April 15, 2022: MetaMask Institutional integrates Celsius Network subsidiary GK8.
April 20, 2022: Huobi Global lists CEL.
April 30, 2022: Alex Mashinsky announces his near completion of a new book detailing his vision for Web3.
May 1, 2022: Alex Mashinsky announces plans to launch new debit cards in June and September.
May 5, 2022: Celsius Network announces job openings in Atlanta, Georgia.
May 8, 2022: Alex Mashinsky gives a presentation, “The Future of DeFi and CeFi with Celsius,” at Chainlink’s Plugged-In conference.
May 11, 2022: Alex Mashinsky denies any involvement in a LUNA bailout in the wake of the TerraUSD and LUNA meltdown.
May 11, 2022: Alex Mashinsky denies any significant losses amid what he calls “extreme market volatility.”
May 16, 2022: Celsius Network files a Form S-1 draft registration statement for Celsius Mining, LLC, with the SEC, hinting at plans for an IPO.
May 18, 2022: Alex Mashinsky accuses “unknown malefactors” of attacking Celsius Network and Crypto.com’s CRO token.
May 19, 2022: Alex Mashinsky reiterates that Celsius Network had “minimal” exposure to TerraUSD and LUNA.
May 25, 2022: Celsius Network fails to post its regular, weekly report of its assets.