Goldman Sachs Joins Investors Eyeing Crypto Lender Celsius’ Assets

  • The fundraise follows an increasing number of Goldman forays into digital assets, including starting its own in-house trading desk
  • It’s unclear whether the bank would manage any assets it acquires or outsource

Goldman Sachs is furthering its push into crypto. 

Its latest bid: angling to raise approximately $2 billion to snap up distressed assets stuck in limbo from troubled digital asset lender Celsius, according to two sources familiar with the matter. 

The fundraise — which one source said likely would occur via the investment bank’s asset management unit — could purchase assets from Celsius at a discount, even if the lender does not declare bankruptcy. The source said the $2 billion is an estimation at this stage, adding that such a raise would be in line with the big tickets the bank typically requires to make an investment worthwhile for its wealthy backers. 

A spokesperson for Goldman was not immediately available for comment. Sources were granted anonymity to discuss sensitive business dealings. CoinDesk first reported the capital raise. 

The initiative would place Goldman squarely in the growing numbers of traditional financiers looking to profit from buying cryptocurrencies and equity, as well as refinancing debt, from crypto investment firms underwater as a result of the latest market downturn.

It’s not clear if Goldman would oversee the acquired assets or if the bank would tap a third party for custodial purposes and trading. It could also sell some on the open market. 

The move follows Goldman’s recent bullish push into crypto, including establishing its own trading desks and gauging interest from institutional investors in lending products. The strategy preceded Celsius significantly. 

Celsius, which ran $12 billion in May, has been on the brink of insolvency since the firm abruptly said it would halt all withdrawals from its platform earlier this month. In the event of a bankruptcy proceeding, customers would be considered unsecured creditors — and thus far down the list in terms of recouping their assets. 

“Goldman didn’t want to buy into the top of the market,” one source said. “This is more their style.”

The source drew a parallel between the woes of star stock trader Gabe Plotkin’s now-shuttered Melvin Capital, which took an emergency cash infusion from Steve Cohen’s Point72 Asset Management and Ken Griffin’s Citadel.

Though Melvin closed after a kerfuffle in which the firm tried to launch a new fund to keep taking in limited partner management fees, the hedge fund firm did not go bankrupt. 

Whether Celisus does remains to be seen.

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  • Managing Editor

    Michael Bodley is a New York-based managing editor for Blockworks, where he focuses on the intersection of Wall Street and digital assets. He previously worked for the institutional investor newsletter Hedge Fund Alert. His work has been published in The Boston Globe, NBC News, The San Francisco Chronicle and The Washington Post.

    Contact Michael via email at [email protected]

  • Blockworks


    Dan Keeler is Editor-in-Chief at Blockworks. Prior to joining Blockworks, he was Frontier Markets Editor at the Wall Street Journal where he managed the Journal’s coverage of smaller emerging markets as well as created a number of high-profile events and a highly regarded newsletter. Before joining the WSJ, he was the Editor of Global Finance magazine. He is also the founder of New York’s FM Network, a group that hosts gatherings of finance professionals focused on smaller emerging markets.

    Contact Dan via email at [email protected]

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