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Anyone Seen Tether’s Billions?

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Anyone Seen Tether’s Billions?

A wild search for the U.S. dollars supposedly backing the stablecoin at the center of the global cryptocurrency trade – and in the crosshairs of U.S. regulators and prosecutors.

Bloomberg Businessweek ,

5 min read
3 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

The popular stablecoin Tether could very well be a financial mirage.

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In the speculative and volatile universe of cryptocurrencies, stablecoins appear to offer an attractive proposition: Their value pegs to an underlying asset, such as the US dollar or a basket of securities. Tether is the most recognized stablecoin, with one Tether purportedly backed by one US dollar. But detractors are not convinced. In this intriguing narrative, journalist Zeke Faux investigates Tether and its somewhat shady valuation dynamics. Investors, regulators and cryptocurrency holders might find some valuable clues here to the mystery of Tether.


In October 2021, investors held $69 billion of Tether tokens, with the belief that the stablecoin is fully backed by cash assets.

Stablecoins, a branch of cryptocurrencies, peg their value to cash assets. Tether is the most prominent stablecoin, and it claims a one-to-one exchange rate to the US dollar. Cryptocurrency exchanges accept Tether as a common tender with which to trade thousands of other digital tokens, including bitcoin and ether. By 2017, traders had trafficked in more than $1 billion of Tether. In 2021, that figure swelled to $69 billion, which, if Tether is indeed backed by the same amount of US dollars...

About the Author

Zeke Faux is an investigative reporter for Bloomberg News and Businessweek.

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