As the arena of digital currencies continues to flourish, conflicts and controversies arise, casting a shadow over the field’s underlying principles of transparency and accountability. One such contentious event is the legal altercation between bankrupt crypto lender Celsius and StakeHound, a prominent liquid staking platform.
The Root of the Celsius and StakeHound Controversy
Celsius, a renowned cryptocurrency lending firm, filed a lawsuit against StakeHound in response to the latter’s alleged breach of contract involving assets worth over $150 million. The assets in question consist of diverse tokens, notably Ethereum’s ETH, Polygon’s MATIC, and Polkadot’s DOT. According to court documents, Celsius accuses StakeHound of failing to return these tokens, triggering a tumultuous legal battle.
In 2021, as per the court filings, Celsius entrusted StakeHound with many tokens for staking, including 25,000 staked native ETH, 35,000 native ETH, 40 million MATIC, and 66,000 DOT. This exchange was made against StakeHound’s liquid staking tokens, also known as “stTokens”, which were estimated to be worth a staggering $150 million.
A Twist in the Tale
In an unexpected turn of events, StakeHound filed an arbitration agreement against Celsius in Switzerland following the crypto lender’s bankruptcy declaration. As part of the Swiss filing, StakeHound audaciously claimed that it has “no obligation” to trade the stTokens back for other tokens. Moreover, the liquid staking platform alleged that it had lost the keys to 35,000 Celsius ETH tokens, absolving itself from any responsibility to return these tokens.
In response, Celsius cited a violation of Section 362 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, asserting that the arbitration filing contravenes this critical legislation. This section, often called the “automatic stay”, primarily inhibits most creditors from pursuing debt collection or instigating legal action against a bankrupt entity.
The Blame Game and Unresolved Obligations
In an intriguing development, StakeHound attributed the loss of the keys to Fireblocks, its custody provider, and subsequently initiated legal proceedings against them in 2021. Despite this, Celsius remains adamant that StakeHound’s professional relationship with Fireblocks has no bearing on its contractual obligation to return the owed tokens.
As the legal tussle unfolds, the future of these entangled entities remains uncertain, underlining the volatile and sometimes unpredictable nature of the ever-evolving crypto domain. The crypto industry will keenly follow this case, as the resolution could set an essential precedent for similar disputes in the future.
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