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The cryptocurrency industry has been busy with the sudden collapse of FTX, one of the top crypto exchanges (banks), for almost two months now. Many people still can’t get their money out of FTX, and another ruling is more bad news for people using exchanges.

Celsius, a popular crypto lending firm, filed for bankruptcy back in July and is still undergoing legal proceedings. Bankruptcy generally prioritizes investors getting their money back over customers getting their money back, and in the case, there isn’t much in the way of bank-adjacent laws forcing crypto exchanges to work differently.

The judge overseeing proceedings for Celsius, Martin Glenn, ruled that Celsius’ terms of use meant “the cryptocurrency assets became Celsius’s property,” according to The Washington Post. In other words, if you used Celsius, you agreed to give up control of your money by agreeing to the terms of service.

The ruling shouldn’t have a sudden effect across the entire industry — it’s a ruling about one specific company’s terms of service, not a court decision or new law about all crypto companies and exchanges. However, it’s possible the terms of service for other crypto exchanges could be interpreted in a similar way. In the United States, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) generally protects money stored in traditional (fiat) banks, but there’s no regulation like that in place for crypto exchanges operating in the US.

The bankruptcy proceedings for Celsius is another indicator your money probably isn’t safe in any crypto exchange. FTX, formerly one of the world’s most popular crypto exchanges, is still undergoing bankruptcy and reorganization. The process revealed that much of FTX’s funds (including customer money held in the exchange) was provided to sister trading firm Alameda, and FTX itself eventually became insolvent. The sudden collapse of FTX has had a ripple effect, causing a few other high-profile crypto companies to collapse — mostly from holding vast reserves of FTX’s crypto token (which is now mostly worthless).

If you’re determined to stay in the crypto ecosystem, you should probably transfer (at least some of) your funds to a hardware wallet, where your money can’t be used as a slush fund by an exchange or handed to investors if an exchange collapses. Your crypto will probably continue declining in value, though.

Source: The Washington Post

Profile Photo for Corbin Davenport Corbin Davenport
Corbin Davenport is the News Editor at How-To Geek, an independent software developer, and a podcaster. He previously worked at Android Police, PC Gamer, and XDA Developers.
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