Tether Pulled $300 Million in Cryptocurrency out of Circulation Last Week

Tether LLC, the issuer of the eponymous USD-backed cryptocurrency tether (USDT), pulled $300 million worth of the “stablecoin” out of circulation last week, just days before the token lost its dollar peg.

Blockchain data from Omni, the second-layer protocol that operates on the Bitcoin blockchain and serves as the infrastructure for the tether token, reveals that cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex sent 300 million USDT to the Tether treasury address last week through two separate transactions.

Source: Omni Explorer

The first, executed on Oct. 9, returned 100 million USDT to Tether. Just five days later, on Oct. 14, Bitfinex — which reportedly shares a management team with Tether — sent another 200 million tokens to the treasury address. Previously, on Oct. 3, Bitfinex had returned 10 million USDT to the treasury, which has not issued any new tokens since Sept. 21.

According to Tether’s “Transparency” report, the company has been authorized to issue another $486 million worth of USDT but has not yet done so. That number correlates with the more than 486 million USDT that are currently sitting in the company’s Omni wallet.

Tether market cap
Source: tether.to

At present, USDT has an outstanding market cap of 2.5 billion tokens, down from an all-time high of nearly 2.9 billion. Despite purportedly being pegged to the U.S. dollar at a 1:1 ratio, the cryptocurrency’s market cap has declined even further, to a present value of about $2.4 billion, representing a $100 million discount to the alleged value of its outstanding balance.

tether price market cap
Source: CoinMarketCap

That’s because, as CCN reported, USDT’s dollar peg evaporated last night, dropping the token’s value as low as $0.92 (and lower on some exchanges), though it has since recovered to about $0.96.

Tether has long been a controversial asset within cryptocurrency circles, but this controversy has intensified in recent days amid reports that Bitfinex and Tether are once again struggling to find a consistent banking partner. Bitfinex confirmed to CCN that fiat deposits are currently paused but has said that the situation should normalize within a few days.

Meanwhile, traders are increasingly opting to use other stablecoins, as new offerings from heavyweights such as Gemini, Circle, and Paxos are gradually chipping away at tether’s stranglehold on that multi-billion dollar market.

Following their respective listings, those tokens — Gemini Dollar (GUSD), USD Coin (USDC), and Paxos Standard (PAX) — quickly began to trade at a slight premium to USDT, suggesting that traders were more confident in their USD backing, or at least that they believed these new tokens could more easily be redeemed for the underlying assets.

Those premiums have widened on Monday, in tandem with USDT’s vanishing fiat peg. As of the time of writing, GUSD, USDC, and PAX were trading at premiums of roughly 9.8 percent, 8 percent, and 9.5 percent against their USDT trading pairs on various exchanges.

Featured Image from Shutterstock

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MetaMask Browser Extension Pulled From Google Chrome Store for 5 Hours, ‘Unsure’ of Cause

MetaMask, a browser extension for interacting with the Ethereum network, was pulled from the Google Chrome Web Store, it announced in a tweet Wednesday, July 25. The app has since been listed again, the company confirmed in a post five hours later.

MetaMask is one of the oldest and widely used decentralized apps (DApps) on the Ethereum network, serving as an important gateway for the network’s users.

According to MetaMask’s official Twitter account, the company is “unsure” of the reasons for Google Chrome’s decision to temporarily delist its extension from the store:

“PSA: MetaMask has been delisted from the Chrome Web Store. We are unsure of why this is the case and we will update everyone as we get more information. All other browsers are unaffected.”

The company stated that users who already have the extension installed on their Chrome browsers “should be unaffected” in the short term, but new installs would be unavailable for some time.

While the app was delisted, Augur, an Ethereum-based prediction market protocol, tweeted a warning to its users to not download the MetaMask extension that was actually present in Google Chrome’s store, as it was a fake, phishing application.

Following the app’s reappearance in Chrome’s store, MetaMask urged its followers to stay tuned for a “formal retrospective” of the event:

“PSA2: We are back on the chrome webstore. Stay tuned for a formal retrospective from the team.”

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