Announced in July 2014 by Brock Pierce, Reeve Collins and Craig Sellars as Realcoin, Tether (USDT) is the most popular and liquid stablecoin in the crypto-currency ecosystem. It is a token that was first issued on the Bitcoin blockchain using the Omni Layer platform, however it has since been launched as a token on various other blockchains (Ethereum, Tron, EOS and Algorand). Each token represents a claim (redeemable) against a single fiat US dollar held by Tether (the company). As the fiat reserves backing the tokens are held in the traditional banking system, it can be difficult to maintain transparency about the value of such reserves. Tether attempts to provide transparency about the full reserve (not fractional reserve) by issuing statements from accountants with visibility into the reserve banking accounts which are then matched against the publicly visible token issuances on the various blockchains.
Bitcoin is widely accepted and used to purchase and trade compared to other cryptocurrencies. Almost every cryptocurrency exchange in the world has listed Bitcoin. Due to its popularity and the attention it gets from media, Bitcoin has an large ever-increasing user base. Bitcoin tops the Market Capitalization Chart with $208 Billion with market dominace of more than 60%, followed by the second highest Ethrereum at a mere $29 Billion.
Designed to be backed 1:1 by fiat (US dollars), Tether tokens (USDT) are minted or burnt (destroyed) as the reserves held by Tether (the company) increase (via deposits) or fall (via claims against the tokens). In this way, Tether tokens are seen as a stable store of value in an otherwise highly volatile crypto-currency ecosystem. The advantage in holding Tether is that it removes the friction in exiting fully into the banking system (with time delays and additional fees required for processing), allowing traders to quickly re-establish positions and react to sudden changes in market movements.
- Redeemable for a single fiat US dollar from Tether (the company).
- No requirement to exit into the banking system (with associated time lag and fees), whilst retaining a relatively stable US dollar peg, making USDT a point of stability in volatile cryptocurrency markets.