Tether Shows Law Firm Its Funds But Stops Short of an Audit

Tether Shows Law Firm Its Funds But Stops Short of an Audit

Tether has released a surprise “Transparency Update” that purports to show it has enough funds in the bank to cover the $2.6 billion of USDT in circulation. The company has stopped short of a full audit, however, leaving critics bemoaning  Tether’s inability to settle the solvency debate once and for all.

Also read: Major Korean Crypto Exchange: $31 Million Vanishes

Tether Tries to Dispel the FUD

Tether Shows Law Firm Its Funds But Stops Short of an AuditSpeculating over the solvency of Tether, and specifically whether its dollar-pegged stablecoin is actually backed by fiat reserves, is a pastime that has spawned entire Twitter personas devoted to the issue. Vocal Tether critic Bitfinexed has been joined by a growing chorus of critics demanding full transparency from Tether, which is part owned by Bitfinex. Tether has now obliged, producing, for the second time in six months, a legal report into its financial standing.

The report, which was produced by the law firm of a former FBI director, carries weight from a legal perspective. But it fails to provide cast iron guarantees that Tether is not operating a fractional reserve. Until the company’s accounts are professionally audited, the true state of Tether’s finances will remain a point of speculation.

“As many are aware, Tether and related parties have been the subject of scrutiny over the course of the past several months,” begins the Transparency Update. “We have spent our time largely disregarding these allegations, instead letting our efforts, and the continued faith of our community of users, speak for themselves.” Many cryptocurrency traders would rather Tether had addressed these issues sooner rather than letting the blind “faith” of its community serve as a guarantee.

Enter Freeh, Sporkin & Sullivan

Tether Shows Law Firm Its Funds But Stops Short of an AuditThe magnificently named Freeh, Sporkin & Sullivan are the legal firm who were handed the task of taking a snapshot of Tether’s bank balance. This they did on June 1, whereupon they confirmed that there were sufficient funds to cover all USDT in circulation on a 1:1 basis.

“Recent reports have opened our eyes to the fundamental lack of understanding surrounding Tether, the issuance and redemption mechanisms, and the compliance procedures that we have built,” continues the Transparency Update document. “To mitigate this, we will be taking additional steps aimed at opening up Tether to the general public and clearing away any uncertainty that may exist.”

The simple answer, and the one that cryptocurrency holders have been screaming out for, is for Tether to commission an independent audit. Only once that has been completed can the lingering doubt disperse and faith in Tether be restored. While today’s report is hardly the all-clear that the crypto community might have hoped for, its release still helped propel BTC up by $150, undoing the damage inflicted hours previously by the news of Bithumb’s $31 million hack.

Do you think Tether has the funds to cover all of the USDT in circulation? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Tether Releases ‘Transparency Update’ Vetted by Former FBI Director’s Law Firm

Controversial cryptocurrency startup Tether has released a “transparency update” indicating that its dollar-pegged USDT token, which had a $2.55 billion market cap as of June 1, is fully backed by physical dollars deposited in two separate banks. Released on Wednesday, the report was a product of Freeh, Sporkin & Sullivan LLP (FSS), a legal firm … Continued

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New Report Blames Tether for Bitcoin’s Bull Run

New Report Blames Tether for Bitcoin’s Bull Run

Tether is back in the news thanks to a new report alleging it played a pivotal role in bitcoin’s mega-bull run last year. This isn’t the first time the dollar-pegged stablecoin has been blamed for market manipulation, but is the most compelling evidence to date that 2017’s record highs may not have been entirely organic.

Also read: Ripple CEO: Bitcoin Controlled by Chinese, Absurd to Think it Could be Primary World Currency

How Untethered Is Bitcoin?

Meet the Stablecoins Trying to Take on Tether“Is Bitcoin Really Un-Tethered?” runs the title of a provocative new research paper published today. Its authors have taken an algorithmic investigative approach, using blockchain analysis to determine the extent to which timed release of tethers into the cryptocurrency ecosystem may have served as a tool for artificially inflating prices. Long-time tether critic Bitfinexed has been alleging as much for months, and successfully persuaded a portion of the cryptocurrency community that tether-led market manipulation was rampant.

At the time, though, when BTC was hitting new all-time highs virtually every day all through November and December, most traders didn’t care; they were too busy watching their portfolio go up. But in the sober light of 2018’s enduring bear market, tether’s ability to influence the price of BTC is of major concern. If it transpires that last year’s record prices were the result of manipulation then without tether’s support, the prospect of bitcoin hitting another all-time high is remote. In fact, with BTC currently languishing below $6,500, even five figures feels like a long way off.

Tether Consistently Pumps BTC, Claims Report

Tether Back in the Printing Business With Massive $300 Million BatchThe abstract to the report by John M. Griffin and Amin Shame states: “We find that purchases with Tether are timed following market downturns and result in sizable increases in Bitcoin prices…such heavy Tether transactions are associated with 50% of the meteoric rise in Bitcoin and 64% of other top cryptocurrencies…These patterns cannot be explained by investor demand proxies but are most consistent with the supply-based hypothesis where Tether is used to provide price support and manipulate cryptocurrency prices.”

This flies in the face of a previous study which found little correlation between tether printing and BTC price increases. “[The author’s] testing does not support the claims that BTC prices are moved by USDT printing — although, Ivanov explains, his statistical analysis doesn’t necessarily fully disprove tether manipulations,” we wrote in February. The author of that report conceded, however, that only a complete audit of tether would settle the matter once and for all.

Not everyone is convinced that prices increasing following tether printing is proof of manipulation

Tether Rises to Claim 12th Spot by Market Cap

For a cryptocurrency whose price is designed to stay constant, at $1 a token, tether has been on the rise recently. It recently leapfrogged dash and monero to claim 12th spot in the cryptocurrency charts based on market cap. This feat is due to the decline of the cryptocurrency market in general, which currently stands at $273 billion. As the markets continue to bleed red, tether, together with other stablecoins, forms one of the few safe harbors.

New Report Blames Tether for Bitcoin’s Bull Run

Bolstering the findings of today’s report into tether is the revelation that cryptos such as ether and zcash also pumped following the release of tether, with the green candles often breaking out on USDT exchanges first. When Bitfinex stopped issuing tethers for a while earlier this year, the cryptocurrency breakouts also ceased.  At 66 pages, and complemented by meticulous charts, citations, and algorithmical analysis, the authors of today’s report have produced the most comprehensive tether investigation to date.

The report finishes: “Overall, our findings provide substantial support for the view that price manipulation may be behind substantial distortive effects in cryptocurrencies. These findings suggest that external capital market surveillance and monitoring may be necessary to obtain a market that is truly free. More generally, our findings support the historical narrative that dubious activities are not just a by-product of price appreciation, but can substantially contribute to price distortions and capital misallocation.”

Do you think tether played a part in inflating prices last year? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Did Tether (USDT) Really Manipulate the All-Time Price Highs of Bitcoin (BTC)?

Tether (USDT) Bitcoin (BTC)

Tether (USDT) & Bitcoin (BTC) – A new study has surfaced this morning putting Tether in the negative spotlight once again. Last December, Tether was subpoenaed by the U.S Commodity Futures Trading Commission to provide proof that the digital currency was in fact back by a reserve of U.S. dollars. Bitfinex was also subpoenaed due to it losing banking relationships, but continued to remain operational.

CEO of Bitfinex, JL van der Velde, spoke out against the accusations last year in an emailed statement and said:

“Bitfinex nor Tether is, or has ever, engaged in ...

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Bittrex Launches USD Fiat Trading

Bittrex Launches USD Fiat Trading

Bittrex has finally introduced fiat currency support. The US exchange, which was established in 2013, subsisted with tether as its USD surrogate until recently, before adding another stablecoin, TrueUSD, a couple of months ago. Around the same time, its CEO Bill Shihara revealed that the platform would be adding USD pairs and today they went live for corporate clients.

Also read: Weiss Ratings Publishes Complete List of 93 Cryptocurrency Ratings

More Fiat, Less Tether

Bittrex, along with exchanges such as Binance and Upbit, has been gradually weaning itself away from tether, which for a long time was the only dollar-based hedge available. It has been speculated that the desire to list other stablecoins, and to eventually pivot to USD, was partially born out of a desire to be less reliant on the notoriously opaque tether. Whatever the reasoning, Bittrex has now secured the banking facilities necessary to enable fiat-crypto trading, and in Malta Binance is believed to be following suit.

Initially, the Seattle-based exchange will offer the USD paired against BTC, tether (USDT), and TrueUSD. This means that traders can swap between dollar-pegged tokens, which could be useful in the event of needing to send dollars to another exchange, or in the event of a stablecoin slipping from its dollar peg, as previously happened to TrueUSD upon news of its Binance listing.

Bittrex Launches USD Fiat Trading

Bittrex Signs with Signature

Bloomberg reports that Bittrex has inked a deal with New York’s Signature Bank. This will allow corporate clients in certain US states to make fiat deposits. While retail investors will be unable to benefit from this facility initially, Bittrex hopes to eventually roll the service out to all users who reside in states where it is licensed. As of today, May 31, corporate traders in Washington, California, New York, and Montana can make fiat deposits. Due to the restrictions in place, which will prevent the majority of Bittrex’ three million users from being able to participate, USD trading volume is likely to be low to begin with.

Bittrex Launches USD Fiat Trading“It’s been a long path [towards securing a banking agreement],” Bittrex Chief Executive Officer Bill Shihara told Bloomberg. “It’s not just about banks being able to trust Bittrex. It’s about banks being able to trust crypto in general. And I think it’s really showing that crypto is turning the corner in terms of mainstream acceptance.”

“They really do look and pore through the entire business,” Shihara said. “They want to make sure that we’ve got robust AML/KYC processes, that we’ve got the right controls on our finances. They do background checks and everything. They really look at our business soup to nuts.”

Will you use Bittrex’ banking facilities to deposit fiat currency once they’re available to retail investors? Let us know in the comments section below.

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PR: MoneyToken to Give out Loans in Stablecoin from Goldman Sachs-Backed Circle

MoneyToken to Give out Loans in Stablecoin from Goldman Sachs-Backed Circle

This is a paid press release, which contains forward looking statements, and should be treated as advertising or promotional material. Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support this product/service. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the press release.

Following the announcement that Circle, a fintech startup backed by Goldman Sachs, plans to launch a stablecoin pegged to the U.S. dollar, the blockchain-based ecosystem MoneyToken has confirmed the listing of the stablecoin, Circle USDC, on its lending platform and decentralized exchange.

“USD-C is compliant and easy-to-cash-in alternative to Tether, and we expect a lot of requests from traditional and crypto business to add it as an option to our platform, I think that need was just in the air”
Alex Rass, co-founder of MoneyToken

MoneyToken is a worldwide blockchain-based financial services ecosystem, which provides opportunities for leveraging, borrowing and lending cryptocurrency assets. In early 2018 MoneyToken has announced strategic partnerships with several TOP-10 cryptocurrencies and was supported by founder of Bitcoin.com, Roger Ver, who has joined the MoneyToken’s advisory board.

USD-C is ERC-20 token based on the Ethereum network. Circle plans to offer USDC through Poloniex. It will also incorporate USDC in its social payments app and over-the-counter (OTC) trading desk.

Circle is a peer-to-peer payments technology company, which was founded in 2013 by internet entrepreneurs Jeremy Allaire and Sean Neville.

Circle has bought Poloniex exchange and was backed by $250,000,000 from Goldman Sachs, Bitmain, IDG Capital, Breyer Capital, General Catalyst, Accel, Digital Currency Group and Pantera, along with new investors Blockchain Capital and Tusk Ventures.

There is no direct connection between MoneyToken’s founder Alex Rass and Circle’s CEO Jeremy Allaire, but so quick reaction probably means some connections in between or with Goldman Sachs, that is interested to integrate their USDC coin into existing crypto ecosystem.

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This is a paid press release. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the promoted company or any of its affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in the press release.

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Another Report Links Bitfinex to Puerto Rico’s Noble Bank

The whispers that cryptocurrency exchange giant Bitfinex has found a banking partner in the Caribbean are growing louder. Citing three people with knowledge of the matter, Bloomberg reports that the exchange operator has opened accounts at Noble Bank International, a financial institution based in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Noble, notably, does not hold funds directly, … Continued

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Markets Update: Digital Assets Show Recovery After the Past Three Days of Dips

Digital asset markets are doing some healing during the past 24-hours of trading after touching some lows the day prior. At the moment the entire cryptocurrency market capitalization of all 1,600+ tokens is around $377Bn with around $16Bn worth of 24-hour trade volume. Bitcoin Core (BTC) markets are up 2.3 percent averaging $8,314 per coin while Bitcoin Cash (BCH) prices are up 1.5 percent at around $1,180 per BCH.

Also read: “Stablecoin” Trueusd Pumps After Binance Listing

The Week-Long ‘Consensus Pump’ Never Came to Fruition

The mid-May ‘blockchain week’ Consensus pump never materialized last week even though there was plenty of positive cryptocurrency news. During the course of the week, most digital assets in the top 500 lost a good portion of gains. This weekend is a different story as a bunch of markets are seeing some recovery from the dips. Bitcoin Cash markets are up 2.3 percent averaging roughly $1,188 per BCH at the time of publication. The decentralized currency’s 24-hour trade volume has dropped considerably to $683Mn which doesn’t give traders hope for a bigger weekend push. The top five exchanges swapping the most BCH today include Okex, Huobi, Hitbtc, Lbank, and EXX. BTC pairs with BCH has increased significantly as BTC represents 41 percent of today’s BCH trades. This is followed by tether (USDT 30%), USD (13%), KRW (11%), and the Euro (1.2%).

Markets Update: Digital Assets Show Recovery After the Past Three Days of Dips
BCH/USD prices on May 19, 2018.

BCH/USD Technical Indicators

Looking at the BCH/USD four-hour charts on both Bitstamp and Bitfinex shows bulls need to muster up more strength to break upper resistance. The two Simple Moving Averages (SMA) still have a gap with the 100 SMA above the 200 SMA indicating a good path to the upside. However even though there is a gap it looks as though the two trend lines may cross hairs shortly. RSI oscillator levels point towards an oversold region at 38, and the MACd indicates there will be improvement shortly as well. Looking at the order books towards the upside shows bulls have gigantic sell walls to eat through between the current vantage point and $1,250. On the back side if the BCH bears remain in power there are still some solid foundations between now and $1,130. Traders are looking out for some deeper consolidation before the next breakout as positions currently look like musical chairs at the moment.

Markets Update: Digital Assets Show Recovery After the Past Three Days of Dips
BCH/USD prices on May 19, 2018, Bitfinex $1,880 per BCH.

The Top Digital Currencies See Some Recovery

Overall most cryptocurrencies today are in the green and nurturing the market wounds from the past 72-hours. Bitcoin Core (BTC) prices are doing decent rebounding today at $8,318 per coin but trade volumes are also low at $5Bn. Ethereum (ETH) the second highest valued market cap is doing very well as markets are up 4.3 percent. One ETH is trading at $708 during Saturdays mid-afternoon trading sessions. Ripple (XRP) prices are up 2.1 percent as each XRP trades at $0.68 cents. Lastly, the fifth position held by EOS is doing the best out of the top five contenders as EOS prices are up 5.6 percent — a single EOS today trades for $13.13 per token.

Markets Update: Digital Assets Show Recovery After the Past Three Days of Dips

The Verdict: Bullish Optimism Wanes

Optimism is there among cryptocurrency traders and enthusiasts but people are becoming skeptical of the positivity and those predicting bullish pumps. Of course, while the dips take place traders are finding shelter in Tether, and True USD while they wait out the storm. For now, there’s a whole lot of consolidation happening until traders decide when the next big move happens which could go either way at this vantage point.

Where do you see the price of BCH and other cryptocurrencies headed from here? Let us know in the comments below.

Disclaimer: Price articles and markets updates are intended for informational purposes only and should not to be considered as trading advice. Neither Bitcoin.com nor the author is responsible for any losses or gains, as the ultimate decision to conduct a trade is made by the reader. Always remember that only those in possession of the private keys are in control of the “money.”

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Snapchat’s Main Investor is Forming a Cryptocurrency Fund

On May 18, Recode reported that it has discovered Lightspeed Venture Partners, the main investment firm which backed many successful technology companies like Snapchat operator Snap, is planning to establish a fund that is exclusive to the cryptocurrency market. Three Options Sources of Recode confirmed that the venture capital firm is actively investigating into various

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Trust Token Blames Bots for Volatility of Trueusd Stablecoin

Trust Token Blames Bots for Volatility of Trueusd Stablecoin

On Wednesday Trueusd, a stablecoin designed to be pegged to the US dollar, experienced a sudden bump in price after Binance announced support. The news caused Trueusd (TUSD) to rise by an unprecedented 40% before eventually subsiding. Trust Token, the coin’s developers, have now explained to news.Bitcoin.com how this sequence of events came to be.

Also read: “Stablecoin” Trueusd Pumps After Binance Listing

Trueusd and the Moon Mission That Wasn’t Meant to Be

As reported on Thursday, TUSD pumped to $1.39 off the back of news that Binance would be listing the supposed stablecoin. Binance has since postponed its listing of the token, pushing the event back by a few days “to prepare for sufficient liquidity”. Trust Token, for its part, has responded to the incident in a blogpost, writing:

TrueUSD saw a large, sudden increase in demand after Binance first announced that they are listing TUSD. We believe that bots (and some misinformed traders) purchased TrueUSD as soon as the announcement was made.

The post continues: “Generally, our policy is that “redeemability leads to stability.” The value of a TrueUSD token is that it can be redeemed for one US dollar. There will only be as many tokens in circulation as there are dollars in the escrow account to collateralize the tokens. In the long run, this feature precedes price stability, since the price will return to $1.00 (as it did today) as long as the token continues to be redeemable.”

Trust Is Earned

Bittrex Adds Tether Competitor TrueUSD as Regulation Rumors PersistAs a piece of parting advice, Trust Token advises traders not to pay any more than $1.05 per token, otherwise “you may lose money.” Trust Token’s co-founder and CTO Rafael Cosman spoke to news.Bitcoin.com to clarify some of the issues raised in the blog post, and pointed out that when TUSD was listed on Bittrex in March, traders were issued with the same advice – not to pay more than $1.05 per token.

Assuaging concerns that TUSD could dip discernibly below $1, Rafael Cosman said:

Price stability is maintained by market-making incentives. Today, market-makers buy TrueUSD for $1.00 directly from the bank, anticipating that if the price hits even $1.01 they can arbitrage some profit. The opportunity for redemption incentivizes market-makers to keep at $1.00 and not below: if the price was to dip to $0.99, then market-makers could buy it and redeem it for $1.00. Market-makers would quickly scoop in and buy all the “sell” orders for below $1.00 until none were left and the price returned to $1.00.

Bot or Not?

Trust Token Blames Bots for Volatility of Trueusd StablecoinFollowing up on claims that bots were to blame for TUSD’s sudden price spike this week, Rafael Cosman added: “It’s fairly common knowledge in the crypto industry that there are bots that “listen” for announcements of coins listing on exchanges and buy any coin as soon as it is listed on a new exchange. This is usually profitable, since more buyers for a token can mean a higher price. However, in the case of Trueusd, any person who knows that the token is redeemable for $1.00 knows they will lose money if they buy it for more, and so market-makers holding Trueusd happily sold it to bots for above $1.00 until there was no more demand.”

Stablecoins are still highly experimental at this stage, and while some “stable bears” believe perfect dollar parity will never be reached, others are confident that anomalies such as that which befell TUSD will be ironed out in time. As Trust Token acknowledged, even “the most stable of stablecoins will occasionally experience variance.”

Do you think occasional volatility is inevitable with stablecoins? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Bitfinex Starts Sharing Customer Tax Data with Authorities

Bitfinex, an exchange famed for its opaque banking arrangements, has begun ordering its users to submit their tax details. The platform, which is registered in the British Virgin Islands, a known tax haven, will retain this information and may share it with tax authorities in their customers’ jurisdiction. The news has caused quite a stir.

Also read: Thailand Waives 7% VAT for Individual Cryptocurrency Investors

Bitfinex Wants Your Tax Details

In an email issued to a portion of its users, Bitfinex has outlined a new KYC policy. Not content with knowing the identity and location of its customers, it now wants their tax details. It has been stated that this is to accord with local laws in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) where the exchange is registered. The platform’s tax data gathering won’t stop there however: it notes that the BVI government “may then exchange that information with the tax authorities of the customer’s country of residence”.

Bitfinex Starts Sharing Customer Tax Data with Authorities

Up until a few months ago, Bitfinex didn’t even enforce basic KYC for its users. It’s now gone from being one of the laxest major exchanges to one of the most regimented, with a tax sharing policy that surpasses anything enacted by the likes of Coinbase or Bittrex. After Bitfinex’ new policy was called out on Twitter, the exchange clarified its position, explaining: “We have not sent this message to all users. We have deliberately targeted users that we believe have an obligation to self-disclose. If a user has _not_ received a message from us, she need _not_ self-certify anything to us at this time.” There appears to be an inference, however, that all users will eventually be obliged to comply.

Bitfinex Users Plan a Boycott

Bitfinex Starts Sharing Customer Tax Data with AuthoritiesPredictably, a number of Bitfinex customers have stated their desire to boycott the platform and take their trading elsewhere. Due to increased regulation, coupled with the transparency that is inherent to blockchain technology, cryptocurrency users are already among the most heavily scrutinized investors in the world. Many feel that Bitfinex’ latest policy, regardless of its legal basis, is a step too far. Coming from an exchange synonymous with operating out of tax havens and failing to fully audit its Tether stablecoin, the irony of Bitfinex now wanting to audit its customers is not lost.

If you’re a Bitfinex user, will you continue trading on the exchange in light of this news? Let us know in the comments section below.

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“Stablecoin” Trueusd Pumps After Binance Listing

“Stablecoin” Trueusd Pumps After Binance Listing

It’s customary for cryptocurrencies to pump after securing a Binance listing. Every week a handful of tokens enjoy the “Binance bounce”, gaining as much as 50% in a matter of hours. Trueusd (TUSD) was meant to be different though. It’s a stablecoin whose job is to stay as close to the US dollar as possible. And yet, when Binance announced that it was adding TUSD, the unthinkable happened.

Also read: Circle Raises $110Mn With Plans to Launch USD-Backed Coin

How Trueusd Became a False Stablecoin

Stablecoins are a burgeoning industry, with scores of projects seeking to create tether alternatives that provide stability, each pegged against the US dollar. Circle has just announced plans to launch its own stablecoin, and news.Bitcoin.com recently profiled several other new contenders, including Trueusd, which was described as:

A collateralized stablecoin backed by USD held in escrow accounts. It’s basically a more transparent tether and is available on Upbit and Bittrex – where it’s even tradable against tether.

On May 16, Binance became the latest and largest exchange to announce its intention to list TUSD. Up until this date, the coin had performed as expected, with scarcely a wobble from its dollar peg. But then Binance released its news and TUSD went on a run to rival even the pumpiest of altcoins. At 3:36am ET, Trueusd was trading at $0.997. In the space of 22 minutes, it jumped to $1.18 and by 5am was at $1.39, a 39% rise for a coin whose defining characteristic is that isn’t meant to rise.

“Stablecoin” Trueusd Pumps After Binance Listing

Stability? What Stability?

In a short blog post, Binance declared that it would “open trading for TUSD/BNB, TUSD/BTC and TUSD/ETH trading pairs at 2018/05/18 04:00 AM (UTC). Users can now start depositing TUSD in preparation for trading.” It added: “Note: TUSD is a stablecoin. The value is designed to be 1 TUSD = 1 USD.” That design clearly doesn’t account for the power of a Binance listing. This is despite Trust Token, the team behind TUSD, claiming “Our open source smart contracts ensure a 1:1 parity between TrueUSD and USD in the accounts.”

“Stablecoin” Trueusd Pumps After Binance Listing

Ironically, in pumping by 39%, TUSD may have just proven its unsuitability as a stablecoin, and strengthened the case for tether. Tether may be opaque, but at least it works, staying resolutely close to its dollar peg at all times. Trueusd seems to have spiked due to traders FOMO-ing into the coin. It is unclear whether all of these buyers were aware that they were purchasing a supposed stablecoin. The price will settle down eventually, and return to its designated price. Traders may be left wondering, however, whether a stablecoin that can appreciate by almost 40% might also be capable of diminishing in value.

Do you trust Trueusd to hold its value in future? Let us know in the comments section below.

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