Tether: The Coin That Could Wreck Crypto

Tether has a special history, even through the often-unrealistic standards of crypto. The company was founded in 2014 by Brock Pierce, a cryptocurrency promoter who starred in the movie “Mighty Ducks” as a child actor. He and his partner, Rev. Collins, later transferred control of the company to a former plastic surgeon named Giancarlo Devassini, who had stored some of Tether’s assets in a bank in the Bahamas, run by one of the makers of the “Inspector Gadget” cartoon. .

Tether has grown rapidly. Last year, it issued about 50 billion stablecoins, more than three times the worldwide supply. “If we want to redeem until the last cent, we can do it,” said Mr. Arduino said in an interview.

The company is managed by about 50 employees in Europe, Asia and Latin America. Its chief executive, JL van der Welde, is a Dutch businessman whose LinkedIn profile indicates he is based in Hong Kong; The company declined to confirm its location. He and Mr. Devasini, the chief executive officer, rarely speaks in public. The public face of Tether is Mr. Arduino, who describes his colleagues as “ordinary people” who are amazed by the company’s growth.

“They didn’t think at first that it would get that big,” he said. Ardino said. “They were not ready to be public figures. There is nothing wrong with that. “

At some point, Tether insisted that his stablecoins were fully backed by the US dollar. But last year, New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, called those claims “false.”

A few years ago, the cryptocurrency exchange associated with Tether lost $ 850 million in trading deals. To cover the loss, the exchange, Bitfinex, took out a loan from Tether’s reserves, leaving Stablecoin partially unaccounted for. James’s investigation.

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