Celsius token CEL rises 300% in one week amid a GameStop-like ‘short squeeze’ event

The crypto lending platform’s Insolvency risks puts CEL price at risk of a 70% drop.

The price of CEL, the native token of Celsius Network, has almost quadrupled since June 19 in what appears to be a frenzy stirred up by day traders.

CEL price short squeeze

CEL’s price rose from $0.67 on June 19 to $1.59 on June 21, a 180% spike compared to the crypto market’s 12.37% rise in the same period.

Notably, the rally started after PlanC, an independent market analyst, announced a $20 million bounty for anyone who could prove that the Celsius Network suffered a coordinated attack at the hands of a third party, which prompted the crypto lending firm to suspend withdrawals last week.

CEL/USD daily price chart. Source: TradingView

The announcement led to a frenzy on Twitter, with many accounts placing the hashtag #CelShortSqueeze in their bio and thus reflecting their intentions to target investors who have betted CEL’s price would fall.

The hashtag was trending higher in the U.S. on Twitter. Meanwhile, internet queries for the keyword, “CEL short squeeze” also reached a perfect score of 100 between June 12 and June 18, according to data tracked by Google Trends. 

Internet queries for ‘CEL Short Squeeze.’ Source: Google Trends

The “trending” hashtag and keyword hint that day traders bought CEL tokens en masse, thus pushing its price upward.

Thus, investors who were “short,” i.e., those who borrowed and sold the token in anticipations of buying it back at a lower price, had to purchase back at a higher price instead to “cover” their bearish positions.

As a result, the so-called “short squeeze” proved successful, resulting in a massive CEL rally.

The event served as a reminder of the popular GameStock stock frenzy in January 2021, wherein an army of Redditors profited by damaging the short positions of Melvin Capital and other hedge funds, causing billions of dollars of losses.

Insolvency risks sustain

Celsius Network, which held over $20 billion worth of digital assets under management last year, now risks becoming an insolvent organization. The reason is its inability to pay excessively high yields to clients (as much as 18%) on their crypto deposits.

In May, Celsius had only $12 billion worth of assets, almost half of what it held at the beginning of 2022, according to its website. The firm stopped disclosing its assets under management afterward.

CEL, a native currency inside the Celsius ecosystem for earning interest income and paying back debts, remains under downside pressure as it trades almost 84% below its peak level of $8 in April 2021.

Related: Cloudflare outage affects multiple crypto exchanges

The CEL/USD pair now eyes a retest of $1.95 as its range resistance level, according to the Fibonacci retracement graph shown below. 

CEL/USD weekly price chart. Source: TradingView

While a successful break above the level could have CEL test $3.11 as its next upside target, a pullback, on the other hand, could drive the price lower toward $0.34, the current range support, down 73% from today’s price.

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