Tether (USDT) has been a focal point in discussions surrounding stablecoins, cryptocurrencies designed to maintain a stable value by being pegged to a fiat currency like the U.S. dollar. Tether Limited, the company behind USDT, asserts that each USDT token is backed by one U.S. dollar held in reserve. This article aims to present a comprehensive, fact-based analysis of Tether by examining its attestations, public statements, regulatory filings, and the most recent assurance opinion for Q1 2023. The objective is to assess the evidence supporting their claims of stability and full backing by real-world assets.
Attestations: A Consistent Increase in Tether Reserves
The Numbers Speak
Tether has released multiple attestations from third-party accounting firms to validate its reserve holdings. These attestations have shown a consistent and significant increase in Tether’s reserves over time. For example, an attestation by Friedman LLP in March 2019 reported that Tether’s reserves were $2.8 billion. By August 2022, an attestation by BDO Italia confirmed that the reserves had grown to $68.15 billion over time.
The Latest Attestation: A Closer Look
The most recent attestation letter from BDO Italia was published on March 8, 2023, covering the period from January 1, 2023, to March 31, 2023. This attestation confirms that Tether’s consolidated assets totaled at least $81,833,149,345 as of March 31, 2023. The majority of these assets, $39,204,000,000, were held in cash and cash equivalents. Commercial paper accounted for the second-largest portion, with a total value of $20,102,049,345. The attestation also mentioned other assets like secured loans, corporate bonds, and other investments, although it did not provide specific details on these assets.
Q1 2023 Assurance Opinion: A Milestone in Tether Transparency
Today, Tether Holdings Limited published its assurance opinion for Q1 of 2023, completed by BDO Italia. This report re-affirms the accuracy of Tether’s Consolidated Reserves Report (CRR), providing additional categories such as Physical Gold, Overnight Repo, Corporate Bonds, and Bitcoin ownership for the first time. This move aims to increase transparency in Tether’s reserve reporting. The CRR reveals that their excess reserves reached an all-time high of $2.44 billion, up $1.48 billion for the first quarter of 2023.
They closed the first quarter of 2023 with $81.8 billion in consolidated total assets. The majority of its reserves are invested in U.S. Treasury Bills. The company has also been working to reduce its reliance on pure bank deposits as a source of liquidity and instead leverage the Repo market. This strategy aims to ensure higher protection standards for its users by maintaining the required liquidity.
The CRR indicates that approximately 85% of Tether’s reserves are incredibly liquid, held in cash, cash equivalents, and other short-term deposits. The report also highlights a 25% reduction in secured loans from 8.7% to 6.5% of this asset class within the overall reserves. Gold and Bitcoin represent about 4% and 2% of the total funds, respectively. All new issuance of tokens has been invested in U.S. Treasury bills or placed in overnight Repo.
Paolo Ardoino, CTO of Tether, stated, “We are thrilled with the tremendous success Tether has achieved in Q1 2023, with our reserves’ surplus reaching an all-time high of $2.44 billion. Our net profits for the quarter were $1.48 billion, a testament to the strength and stability of our platform.”
Tether’s Public Statements: An Ongoing Commitment to Transparency
Words and Actions
Tether has made several public statements asserting that its reserves are fully supported by real-world assets. In a 2019 blog post, the company stated that its reserves are “100% backed by fiat currency reserves and/or cash equivalents.” In a subsequent 2022 blog post, Tether reiterated that its reserves are “fully backed by liquid assets.” These public statements indicate that Tether is aware of the scrutiny it faces and is committed to transparency.
Despite facing accusations from the New York Attorney General in 2021 about misleading investors, Tether has continued to release public statements affirming the full backing of USDT. The company’s willingness to address public concerns and commit to ongoing transparency lends credence to its operations.
Regulatory Filings: A Step Toward Credibility
Tether has submitted multiple filings to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), stating that its reserves are backed by real-world assets. While these filings do not disclose the specific assets in Tether’s reserves, submitting to regulatory oversight adds an additional layer of credibility to the stablecoin’s operations.
Privacy vs. Transparency
Tether has defended its lack of full transparency by citing the need to protect customer privacy. While this has been a point of contention, it’s worth noting that even traditional financial institutions are not required to disclose every detail of their reserves to the public.
A Fact-Based Assessment
The evidence available suggests several key points in favor of Tether’s stability and legitimacy:
- Growing Reserves: As confirmed by third-party attestations, the consistent increase in Tether’s reserves indicates growing confidence in the stablecoin.
- Diversified Reserves: The presence of commercial paper in Tether’s reserves is not uncommon in corporate finance and suggests a diversified approach to maintaining liquidity.
- Commitment to Transparency: Tether’s ongoing public statements and commitment to releasing regular attestations indicate a willingness to be transparent.
- Regulatory Compliance: Although not fully transparent, Tether’s regulatory filings with the SEC add an additional layer of credibility to its operations.
- Q1 2023 Assurance Opinion: The latest report confirms the backing of Tether’s reserves and introduces new categories for greater transparency. The report also highlights Tether’s profitability and the liquidity of its reserves.
While investors must conduct their due diligence, the available factual evidence suggests that Tether is making consistent efforts to prove its stability and legitimacy.
Ready to trade? Check out our REDLINE OTC Desk! Large crypto trades with private and personalized services.