"For us, it is clear, when we look at all this, we arrived too soon in a sector which was in transition," says CEO Charles Émond.
According to local news outlet LaPresse on Wednesday, the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), an institutional investor chartered with managing retirement assets in Canada's predominantly French-speaking province of Quebec, wrote off almost the entirety of its CA$200 million ($154.7 million) investment in troubled cryptocurrency lender Celsius Network.
The move came just ten months after the CDPQ and growth equity firm WestCap made a joint investment of $400 million into Celsius at a valuation of $3 billion. At that time, Celsius boasted over 1,000 employees, $25 billion in total assets and $850 million in cumulative interest paid to depositors.
However, as an unregulated and centralized entity, a depositors' assets are not protected in the event of losses, nor is the firm subjected to any restrictions on the use of leverage. During the onset of this year's crypto winter, the sudden and violent crash of Bitcoin (BTC) and other digital assets left a $2.85 billion gap in Celsius' net assets. As a result, it suspended withdrawals on the accounts of nearly 1.7 million customers in June.
It appears that the loss on Celsius represents only a negligible fraction of the CDPQ's portfolio. By June 30, the CDPQ managed a combined CA$391.6 billion in total assets (or about $303.4 billion), decreasing by 7.9% in the past six months. The entity is currently evaluating its legal options against Celsius, although it has not shared any details. According to court filings, Celsius is scheduled to run out of money by October.