Tether boasts of its financial stability after strong profits, money moved out of banks

Stablecoin operator Tether Holdings pulled over $4.5 billion out of banks in the first quarter of 2023, causing a “substantial reduction” in counterparty risk, the company reported in a post touting its latest attestation by BDO Italia. 

Tether’s (USDT) market capitalization grew from $66 billion to over $82 billion in the first quarter, while Tether shed over 90% of its bank deposits, bringing it down from $5.3 billion to $481 million. Tether said the remaining bank deposits are spread out among several banks, referring to its competitors that suffered losses after recent bank failures.

Simultaneously, Tether boosted its United States Treasury bills to a new high of over $53 billion, or 64% of its reserves. Combined with other assets, Tether’s USDT token is now backed by 85% cash, cash equivalents and short-term deposits “that can be sold rapidly to process redemptions.” That includes over $7.5 billion in repo facilities. In addition:

“Decade-high yield rates drive revenues up, increasing Tethers surplus reserves, effectively overcollateralizing USDT.”

Tether revealed its holdings of gold and Bitcoin (BTC) in this quarter’s attestation for the first time in a show of its commitment to transparency, it said. It emphasized its financial attainment in the quarter compared with other companies, naming BlackRock, Netflix, Starbucks, Cash App and PayPal as companies whose profits it exceeded.

Tether has been striving for months to improve its financial indicators and has taken pains to highlight its successes. It announced in June that it would reduce the commercial paper in its reserves from $20 billion to $8.4 billion by the end of that month and to zero by the year’s end. It reached that goal successfully.

Tether, owned by Hong Kong-based iFinex, has fought negative suspicions and allegations about its finances. There were rumors that Tether had large investments in Chinese commercial paper when the massive China Evergrande Group experienced a financial crisis.

Tether was fined $18.5 million by the New York attorney general’s office in 2021 for misrepresenting the fiat backing for its reserves. The settlement also required greater financial transparency from the stablecoin issuer.

Related: Circle CEO blames US crypto crackdown for declining USDC market cap

This month, John Reed Stark, the former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission internet enforcement office head, called Tether “a Mammoth House of Cards” in a voluminous “terrific and civil exchange of ideas” with Tether chief technical officer Paolo Ardoino on Twitter.

Stark pointed out that Tether promised to commission a full audit within “months, not years” in 2021, which still has not happened. An attestation, such as the one published this quarter, is typically more narrowly focused and does not provide an outside opinion on the company’s financial well-being.

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