Tether attestation shows stacks of US treasury bills, more gold than bitcoin

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Tether released its latest attestation by BDO Italy on Wednesday, revealing $81.8 billion in assets and $79.3 billion in outstanding Tether tokens as of March 1.

Tether is the largest stablecoin and one of the three largest cryptocurrencies, representing a systemically important representation of liquidity in the markets. The quality and quantity of its reserves are vital issues for the cryptocurrency industry.

That said, the firm has often struggled to produce accurate and whole attestations. In the past, executives have excused this lack of transparency in several ways, including:

  • Arguing that no one wants to audit crypto companies,
  • repeated unfulfilled promises that an audit is in the process and will be published in due course, and
  • suggesting that an audit would compromise its ‘secret sauce’ and benefit competitors.

Its transparency webpage, while meant to be updated daily, has previously been discovered to contain factual holes. What’s more, concerns about commercial paper have never been fully addressed, there’s no reliable data to back up claims of assets over liabilities, and Tether hints at a strange ability to never lose money — despite interest rate issues and investments in now-defunct companies like Celsius.

Tether attestation claims improved financial situation

According to its Q1 2023 report released on Wednesday, Tether’s assets consisted of $53 billion in US treasury bills, $7.5 billion of overnight credit backed by its US treasury bills, $7.4 billion in money market funds, and only $481 million in cash and bank deposits.

Tether additionally has $3.4 billion in gold and $1.5 billion in bitcoin, the attestation stated.

Tether previously announced its intention to reduce the quantity of secured loans in its portfolio to zero in 2023. This latest attestation shows a reduction of approximately 9% in the first quarter, suggesting there will be a significant acceleration in the reduction of that item over the next three quarters.

Read more: Tether transparency: A lesson in lying

The behemoth stablecoin issuer further claimed that it made a $1.4 billion net profit in the first quarter of this year, resulting in a surplus of $2.44 billion

Besides the notable increase in Tether’s surplus, the quantity of cash and bank deposits have plummeted – from around $5.3 billion in its December attestation to only $481 million in March. Recently, Tether has been accused of falsifying banking records in order to maintain access to US dollar banking. Tether’s attestations therefore show a company in an improving financial situation. Paolo Ardoino, tech chief and frequent spokesperson for Tether executives, said on Twitter that the company has grown to 60 employees.

In 2021, the New York Attorney General made it mandatory for Tether to produce quarterly attestations. As of March this year, that’s no longer required. It remains to be seen if Tether will continue to publish attestations.

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