For the privileged few

Tether’s new trading platform will finally allow traders to directly “redeem” tethers for dollars. So long as they’ve got a minimum of $100,000 in the bank.

Are you a reclusive millionaire who likes investing in dubious cryptocurrencies in extravagant, sporadic bursts no more than once a week (as per terms and conditions)? Then Tether’s new native “fiat-to-tether” trading platform might be for you! But nobody else.

The platform, announced in a blog post published this week, allows moneyed, “professional”  investors to directly trade their tethers for dollars without going through the Bitfinex exchange, where most tethers live.

Since its inception, Tether confessed, it had longed to build such a platform, but, woe be told, it never did, largely thanks to an endless—and continuing—slew of scandals and banking failures. Like that time a law firm corroborated Tether’s supposed dollar reserves and then…uncorroborated them, or that other time Wells Fargo said they were friends, and then withdrew all support. During those tough times, Tether relied largely on Bitfinex, which was large enough to accommodate Tether’s trading volume.

But now it’s back. Deltec Ltd, Tether’s new Bahamian banking partner, has only been entangled in some mild bribery cases and has signed an almost credible-looking letter attesting to its banking relationship with the stablecoin company. So it’s understandable that, finally, Tether has something to smile about. Indeed, per the blog post: “Through this update we are proud to offer greater flexibility and utility to Tether’s customers, and a return to our original mission for the stablecoin.”

Proud! How nice. But, like all things Tether, there’s a wee caveat. To keep the service “professional,” Tether has set the minimum spend at $100,000 dollars, and has limited transactions to once a week, cutting off those who might otherwise be tempted to get their feet a little tethery before taking the full dive and blowing through a lot of money.

It’s also somewhat alarming. Large tether infusions have long been associated with dramatic changes in the price of bitcoin. By encouraging enormous transactions, Tether runs the risk of exerting further undue leverage on bitcoin’s price.

And also? It’s a little suspicious. Tether, with its conspicuous lack of real customers, and the on-going Grand Conspiracy that Tether is actively trading its own Tethers—so it can manipulate the price of bitcoin—might have just created the perfect foil for preventing users from ever using it.  

Of course, it’s easy to get all conspiratorial around Tether. More likely is that Tether just wants an excuse to extract juicy commission—0.4 percent for transactions up to $1 million, 1 percent for transactions up to $10 million, and 3 percent for transactions up to £100 million—from its beloved, “professional,” customers. Can’t blame a kid for tryin’.

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