While a group of traders has been busy pumping the bankrupt crypto lender Celsius Network’s CEL token in a short squeeze, founder and CEO Alex Mashinsky cashed out some of his CEL token holdings, which have multiplied in value even as his company struggles.
The wallet sold CEL tokens in multiple transactions Saturday and Tuesday, swapping 17,475 CEL for $28,242 worth of ether (ETH) on the decentralized exchange UniSwap, according to blockchain data tracer Etherscan.
The transfers were first spotted by a Twitter user who goes by the name alto.
Celsius and Alex Mashinsky did not respond to CoinDesk’s emailed request for comment.
Mashinsky’s transfers came as he and his beleaguered enterprise gear up for a second hearing in a federal bankruptcy court in New York next week. At the same time, the Unsecured Creditors Committee (UCC) formed to protect the interests of those who deposited money on the Celsius platform, is preparing to investigate Mashinsky and other insiders.
Celsius faced financial difficulties and froze withdrawals in June, then filed for bankruptcy protection on July 13. The CEL coin issued by the crypto lending platform as a utility token has also faces regulatory scrutiny from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for not being registered as a security.
Mashinsky is reportedly among the largest individual CEL holders after Celsius’ treasury. Long before its financial woes, Celsius publicly listed the largest CEL owners on its web page. Mashinsky was found to hold more tokens than the next four holders combined, Arkham reported in July in a lengthy investigation into Celsius and Mashinsky using blockchain data.
Arkham identified multiple wallets owned by Mashinsky, which had regularly sold large amounts of CEL tokens on various decentralized exchanges, totaling $44 million over several years, the report added.
The specific wallet that completed the transactions held about $1.1 million in CEL tokens and some ETH and USDC at press time, according to Nansen's portfolio tracker.
CEL has rallied in a community-driven short squeeze attempt. The token was recently changing hands around $2, which marks a whopping thirteenfold price increase since it hit 15 cents on the day when Celsius announced the suspension of customer withdrawals.