What is Tether (USDT)?
Tether is the name of a collateralized stablecoin designed to closely track the price of the USD. In other words, Tether is a cryptocurrency whose value is tied 1:1 to the USD. It achieves this by maintaining a reserve of assets equal to the amount of Tether issued out. For every $1 worth of Tether issued there is $1 worth of commercial paper, fiduciary deposits, cash, reserve repo notes, and treasury bills in the Tether reserves. Founded in 2014, Tether has quickly become one of the most popular stablecoins with a circulating supply of just under 80B USDT.
What makes it unique?
Tether guarantees the price to be pegged to the USD by adding more value to the reserves every time USDT is generated;
Stablecoins pose significant utility in the world of highly volatile cryptocurrencies: people looking to hedge volatility have flocked to stablecoins to protect the value of their investments;
Meant to combine the unrestricted characteristics of cryptocurrencies with the stability of the USD;
Tether provides the ability for companies and individuals to transact in dollars without having to go through an intermediary like a bank or a financial institution.
Despite being the source of much controversy and doubt over the actual backing of their reserves, Tether and Bitfinex recently settled with the New York Attorney General’s office to end a fraud probe into the nature of their reserves. While admitting no wrong-doing, Tether and Bitfinex agreed to pay an $18.5M fine. The probe was regarding Tether’s claim that all USDT is 100% backed by their reserves, but a period in 2017 seems to indicate that wasn’t the case. The company has issued a statement saying that, despite online speculation and after two and a half years of probing, no Tethers have been found to be issued without the proper backing. Tether is currently the most popular stablecoin, occupying the third most valuable position by market cap.