Celsius Employee CEL Bonus Treasuries, Explained

Ashley Harrell, Celsius’s VP of Finance and Operations, on sharing success and the insights behind the CEL employee bonus distribution plan.

6 min readNov 10, 2020

It’s no secret that a hotly anticipated event is about to happen: the CEL token holding above $1.50 for ten days. Very few crypto startups have been able to deliver a fraction of what they promised in their whitepaper. And not only did Celsius create an extraordinary ecosystem in a mobile app — we delivered it to the community only a few months after the Token Generation Event. Innovative developments, feature improvements and services are added on a regular basis. Over and over, the original concepts we presented in our early drafts of the Celsius whitepaper are actually being realized. Usership has soared, the assets under management has surpassed $2B, loan issuance is hitting new records week over week, the CEL token utility is proven, the mission is inspired, the work done is good, and the end result is overwhelming. All of this wrapped up in a nice little package means one thing… the unlocking of the famous “Treasury” is imminent.

So what does that mean? First of all, of the 700M CEL minted, 50M were reserved in a separate treasury, to be released to the main treasury for the team and for loan reserves in two separate events:

  1. 25M when CEL averages at least $1.50 for 10 days
  2. 25M when CEL averages at least $3.00 for 30 days

A few months ago, we realized that our token growth would actually lead us to the event sooner than we anticipated, so we came up with a plan on how to distribute the bonus. We had to devise a way to reward the team, incent employees to keep working hard, keep the CEL token strong and maintain the core values of the company. With that, we developed a distribution plan in target tranches and a formula on how to divide the CEL amongst the current team.

To determine how many CEL each employee receives in each tranche, we developed a formula to objectively and fairly reward:

To calculate each Individual Employee Score, we start with their position in the company and apply a value to that, multiply it by a ‘boost’ representing their length of time with the company, and then apply a final boost to their score defined by their “Lock Commitment.” The lock commitment not only represents how long the CEL will be frozen in the app, but it states the length of time the employee needs to stay actively engaged with Celsius to earn their full reward in CEL. Similar to stock options at companies, we treat this as a vesting schedule. Oh, by the way, we also offer stock options to our employees 😉

In the case of our formula, committing to a lock of three years meant a boost of five times what someone would get if they selected a one year lock. This gave an opening for someone with less tenure or a less senior role to actually earn more CEL in their bonus than someone their senior, if they selected a longer lock commitment. Alex spoke to me at length about how he wanted to develop this on an open, honest playing field that was based on objective factors. He even had me set up each individual employee’s worksheet so that he or she could see the size of their bonus against what Alex would be receiving personally while they determined their lock commitment.

The response was overwhelmingly positive. 100% of our team selected a three-year lock. This means that they will earn (vest) their total CEL over the course of three years, one third per year. Only their vested CEL will earn rewards in the app. Three years after the event, the tokens will be ‘unlocked’ to be used at their discretion.

I think it’s worth noting that to date, we have distributed nearly 123M CEL to the team, and many of our employees can be found HODLing in the top 200 CEL holders, even though their CEL assets are not locked. It’s clear that our team not only believes in the power of CEL, but they are also devoted to shaping the future of the organization to ascend new highs as an industry leader. We play the long game.

So you may be asking, what’s the immediate reward? 10% of the USD value of each person’s total bonus will be delivered in cash instead of CEL tokens. We are also managing their tax withholdings as is our obligation as their employer — so they’re not surprised by a hefty IRS bill in April. Yes, we’re responsible and compliant. But the important thing is, this distribution plan is meant to incent, motivate and reward. I hope that we can set an example to other companies, not just in blockchain and crypto, to find the benefit in sharing the success of the company with the team. We were founded on the belief that economic freedom is not just for the 1%, and that there should be better and more equitable financial systems available to every person. Not only are we committed to delivering a significant portion of our profits back to our community, we are dedicated to ensuring that our team sees the success as a line item on their paycheck as well. What other company can you find that has developed a measure of their success, determined by the people, whose utility propels their own ecosystem, and incentivizes and rewards their employees? I’d say we’re “breaking down the fucking wall” (Celsius Value #8.)

As I write this, we’re on our seventh day in a row above $1.50. Last I checked we’re approaching $2. We have already begun the process of allocating CEL to reserve balances for employees and preparing for the compliance and reporting end, as well as the cash distribution. If all goes according to plan, this will finalize on Friday, November 13th. Who said Friday the 13th was unlucky?

About Ashley

Ashley Harrell is thrilled to have grown with Celsius since its inception in 2018. She has a wide breadth of experience, from managing operations of a real estate investment trust to hosting interactive tour bus rides in New York City. When you start to peel away the many layers of Ashley, you might learn of her worldwide success in the performing arts, learning the beer industry, NYC startups and non-profit work. When she’s not busy planning what other industries she can bust into, she’s brewing beer, working in her garden, singing Schubert, and walking her dog around her new hometown in the SF Bay Area (Benicia, CA).

About Celsius

Celsius is a democratized reward-earning and crypto lending platform accessible via a mobile app. Built on the belief that financial services should only do what is in the best interests of the community, Celsius is a modern platform where membership provides access to curated financial services that are not available through traditional financial institutions. Crypto holders can earn rewards by transferring their coins to their Celsius Wallet and can borrow USD or stablecoins against their crypto collateral at interest rates as low as 1% APR.

Download the Celsius app and start earning rewards on your crypto today!

Stay Connected!

Follow Celsius Network on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit, Instagram, and YouTube.




Celsius was a global cryptocurrency platform and a leader in Bitcoin mining. For more, please visit http://cases.stretto.com/celsius.