According to a report by Bloomberg, 318 addresses hold $1 million or more of Tether tokens (USDT). This finding suggests that the distribution of Tether is limited to a mere few players. These large holders, referred to as whales, include Malta-based Binance and Hong Kong-based Bitfinex. This type of centralized holding could potentially affect the coin’s reputation in the future.
Big Players Could Manipulate Prices
John Griffin, a University of Texas professor, said,
“The concentration of Tether suggests that control of Tether is in the hands of a few central players who can swing Bitcoin prices, and have a vested interest in doing so.”
He added that many of these players have a vested interest in keeping the “Tether game” strong.
However, the concentration of ownership raises risk in the already volatile cryptocurrency market. According to Nic Carter, co-founder of Coin Metrics, these big holders of Tether cater to high-frequency traders and Chinese investors who are looking to exchange yuan and move their funds into the cryptocurrency market. He also suggested that Bitcoin’s 2017 price surge was likely caused by unchecked market manipulation by these players.
Since an individual or entity can own multiple addresses, the ownership of Tether could even be more concentrated than anticipated. Bitcoin, on the other hand, has over 20,000 addresses with balances of at least $1 million, indicating that it is more widely distributed.
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Tether: Shrouded in Controversy
Tether has been mired in controversy for the past several years. Companies associated with the stable coin have been accused of covering up losses of $850 million in client and corporate funds. While the token’s developers earlier claimed that the US dollar backed each USDT, it unofficially dropped the claim earlier this year. It now boasts a market capitalization of around $4 billion. Most of Tether’s trading takes place on large cryptocurrency exchanges such as Binance, Bitfinex, and Huobi.
Tether Limited, the company behind Tether, has also refused to conduct an audit proving whether it has enough reserves to back the token’s ballooning market cap.
Despite the controversy surrounding Tether, it continues to grow by the day. Tether is now being offered on Bitfinex using BlockStream’s Liquid Network sidechain, an inter-exchange settlement layer built on top of the Bitcoin blockchain.
Do you think that Tether needs to address its long-standing problems of centralization and lack of proper distribution? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.