The Texas Securities Commission will look into claims that Celsius Network is offering and selling securities that are not registered or permitted in Texas, and is not registered as a broker-dealer under the state’s Securities Act.
After a hearing, the Texas State Securities Board may require Celsius Network to stop offering securities registered with the state or federal government, while the New Jersey Bureau of Securities has ordered the platform to stop selling interest-bearing cryptocurrency products.
An investigation into allegations that Celsius Network is offering and selling securities in Texas that are not registered or permitted, as well as failing to register as a broker-dealer under the state’s Securities Act, will be conducted by the Texas Securities Commission, according to a filing made on September 17.
Celsius Network might be vulnerable to a cease and desist order if a judge finds that the platform’s offerings constituted unregistered securities, according to the lawsuit.
A cease and desist order was issued against Celsius by the New Jersey Bureau of Securities on the same day, alleging that the cryptocurrency lending operation and proprietary trading were funded at least in part by the sale of unregistered securities in violation of the New Jersey Securities Law, which Celsius denies.
According to the state regulator, the platform generated almost $14 billion in revenue from the sales.
“Financial companies that operate in the bitcoin marketplace have been put on notice,” said Andrew Bruck, the acting attorney general of New Jersey, in a statement. “If you sell securities in New Jersey, you must adhere to the state’s investor-protection regulations. Companies that deal in cryptocurrency are not exempt from government regulation.”
The hearing in Texas will take place on February 14 and will be either online or in person.
A cease-and-desist order issued by the judge would require Celsius Network and its affiliates Celsius Network Limited, Celsius US Holding, and Celsius Lending to cease offering cryptocurrency services in Texas without first registering with either Texas’ securities board or the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.
Celcius controlled more than $24 billion in digital assets as of September 3, according to the Texas filing, making it one of the largest decentralized finance companies in the world. Since reporting $1 billion in digital assets in June 2020, it has seen a more than 2,300 percent increase in the value of its holdings.
By the 9th of June, Celsius Network had more than $344 million in assets under management in Texas, with assets coming from more than 9,000 residents and local businesses.
Celsius was alerted on May 14 by the Texas State Securities Board’s Enforcement Division that it may not have been in compliance with the state’s Securities Act, according to the notice.
Specifically, it claimed that the Earn Interest-Bearing Accounts offered by the platform violated Section 4.A of the Securities Act, claiming that they constituted “investment contracts, notes, or evidences of indebtedness regulated as securities.” The filing was made on Sept. 17.
The claims leveled against Celsius are similar to those leveled against crypto lending platform BlockFi by both state regulators — as well as the state of Alabama — in July.
An online hearing in Texas slated for Oct. 13 will consider the imposition of a cease and desist order against the company for allegedly illegally supporting its crypto lending operations and proprietary trading through the sale of unregistered securities.
As a result of the cease and desist order issued against BlockFi in New Jersey, the platform was banned from onboarding new interest account clients in the state.