Tether, the company behind the USDT stablecoin, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the government of Georgia. The collaboration aims to establish the former Soviet republic as a hub for peer-to-peer and blockchain technology. But is that the whole story?
Like other MOUs, the formal agreement lays the groundwork for collaboration between the stablecoin issuer and the small country. To the benefit of both parties, it lacks the legal obligations of a contract. However, it serves as a useful marker for Tether’s ambitions.
Tether Announces Second Georgia Partnership in as Many Months
The firm’s announcement sets forth Tether’s (USDT) plans to set up a fund to support local startups in developing blockchain technologies. However, it does not specify the amount in question or how this will be spent.
Learn more about stablecoins like Tether’s USDT: What Is a Stablecoin? A Guide to Asset-Backed Cryptos
Strangely, the firm’s announcement alludes to shared ambitions to develop Georgia as a hub for tech startups. The partnership will apparently not only support local startups but also encourage “international collaborations.”
Although it is not entirely clear how Tether stands to benefit from the deal, apart from altruism for its own sake.
Georgia’s Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, Irakli Nadareishvili, said:
“We also agreed on cooperation in the educational field regarding blockchain technology, which will contribute to the development of local blockchain technologies in the country, as well as the introduction of companies operating in this sector in Georgia.”
This is not the first time the stablecoin issuer has launched a partnership with the country. Last month, Tether announced a collaboration with Georgia’s Business and Technology University (BTU) for educational purposes.
Is Georgia Open to Tether’s Influence?
The two closely timed partnerships suggest Tether has charmed the Georgian government. However, their closeness raises questions. Economies with significant investment by one industry are open to bias and favoritism in policy-making.
In the case of Ireland, a significant presence on the part of Facebook and Amazon, and others, has correlated with a desire for tech-friendly tax and regulation. But no two countries are the same. Unlike Ireland, Georgia is not part of a larger bloc, so it is arguably more susceptible to corporate influence.
How far do Tether’s ambitions reach? Its generosity extends beyond the Caucuses. Earlier this month, Tether announced a $1 billion investment into the world’s largest Bitcoin mining site in El Salvador.
The company should have money to throw around, too. According to analysts, it could become one of the most profitable companies in the United States this year. With profits even exceeding those of asset manager BlackRock.
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