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Transparent stablecoins? Conclusion of Tether vs. NYAG raises new questions

Republished by Plato

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A long-standing legal drama finally found resolution on Feb. 23, with the New York Attorney General’s office announcing that it had come to a settlement with cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex after a 22-month inquiry into whether the company had been trying to cover up its losses — touted to be worth $850 million — by misrepresenting the degree to which its Tether (USDT) reserves were backed by fiat collateral.

According to the terms of the announced settlement, which now marks an end to the inquiry that was initiated by the NYAG back in Q1 2019, Bitfinex and Tether will pay the government body a fixed sum of $18.5 million but will not be required to admit to any wrongdoing. That being said, the settlement clearly states that henceforth, Bitfinex and Tether can no longer service customers in the state of New York.

Furthermore, over the course of the next 24 months, Bitfinex and Tether will be required to provide the NYAG with quarterly reports of their current reserve status and duly account for any transactions taking place between the two companies. Not only that, but the firms will also be required to provide public reports for the specific composition of their cash and non-cash reserves.

On the subject, NY Attorney General Letitia James said that both Bitfinex and Tether had covered up their losses and deceived their customers by overstating their reserves. When asked about this most recent development, Stuart Hoegner, general counsel at Tether, replied to Cointelegraph with a non-committal answer, stating:

“We are pleased to have reached a settlement of legal proceedings with the New York Attorney General’s Office and to have put this matter behind us. We look forward to continuing to lead our industry and serve our customers.”

Does a New York exclusive ban even make sense?

To gain a better legal perspective of the situation, Cointelegraph spoke with Josh Lawler, partner at Zuber Lawler — a law firm with expertise in crypto and blockchain technology. In his view, the lawsuit, and particularly the nature of the settlement in which Tether and Bitfinex agreed to cease actions, underscore the confusion inherent in the regulation of digital assets in the United States.

Additionally, the agreement by Bitfinex and Tether to prohibit the use of its products and services by New York persons and entities seems on paper to be nearly impossible to accomplish, with Lawler opining:

“Are they saying that no one with a New York nexus can own or trade Tether? Tether is traded on virtually every cryptocurrency exchange in existence. Even if Tether could restrict the use of Tether tokens by New Yorkers, is that really a good idea? Do we now have a world in which every state can pick off particular distributed ledger projects from functioning within their jurisdiction?”

Lastly, even though the deal between Bitfinex/Tether and the NYAG has come in the form of a settlement — i.e., it is not subject to an appeal or federal scrutiny under the commerce clause — state-centric bans may further add to the existing regulatory uncertainty.

Added transparency is always a good thing

With regulators now asking Tether and Bitfinex to be more forthcoming about their monetary dealings and issuing an arguably small fine on them, it seems as though an increasing number of firms dealing with USDT will now have to pull up their socks and get their account books in order. Joel Edgerton, chief operating officer for cryptocurrency exchange bitFlyer USA, told Cointelegraph:

“The key point in this settlement is not the elimination of the lawsuit, but the increased commitment to transparency. The risk from USDT still exists, but increased transparency should cement its lead in transaction volumes.”

In a somewhat similar vein, Tim Byun, global government relations officer at OK Group — the parent company behind cryptocurrency exchange OKCoin — believes that the settlement can be looked at as a win-win scenario not only for NY OAG and Tether/Bitfinex but also for the cryptocurrency industry as a whole, alluding to the fact that that the 17-page settlement revealed no mention of Bitcoin (BTC) being manipulated via the use of USDT.

Lastly, Sam Bankman-Fried, chief executive officer for cryptocurrency exchange FTX, also believes that the settlement, by and large, has been a good development for the industry, especially from a transparency perspective, adding:

“Like many settlements, this one had a messy outcome, but the high-level takeaway here is that they found no evidence to support the heaviest accusations against Tether — no evidence of market manipulation or unbounded unbacked printing.”

Will scrutiny of stablecoins increase?

Even though stablecoins have been under the regulatory scanner for some time now — since they claimed to be pegged to various fiat assets in a 1-1 ratio — it stands to reason that added pressure from government agencies may be present when it comes to the transparency side of things from here on out.

Another line of thinking may be that governments all over the world will now look to curtail the use of stablecoins, such as USDT, especially as a number of central banks are coming around to the idea of creating their very own fiat-backed digital currencies. As a result, governments may want to push their citizens to use their centralized offerings instead of stablecoins.

Related: Many pieces of the Diem puzzle still missing as launch gets delayed

On the subject, Byun noted: “Stablecoin is just one type of cryptocurrency or ‘convertible virtual currency,’ and therefore, stablecoins and the stablecoin market will continue to attract scrutiny and mandated examinations from regulators.” That said, Byun believes that whether it’s Bitcoin, Ether (ETH) or Tether, crypto investors generally understand that investing in crypto remains a high-risk activity and that they “must practice caveat emptor” at all times.

Does Tether impact institutional adoption?

Another pertinent question worth exploring is whether or not the settlement may have an adverse impact on the institutional investment currently coming into this space. In Lawler’s opinion, the decision is not going to slow down adoption even in the slightest. “Institutions are not principally focused on Tether. There are other stable coins, and Bitfinex is all but irrelevant to them,” he added.

Similarly, it could even happen that the ongoing reporting requirements set by the NYAG for Bitfinex and Tether may end up bolstering institutional confidence in Tether — a sentiment that some of Tether’s most vocal and consistent critics also seem to agree with.

That being said, a lot of speculation around Tether’s fiat reserves continues to linger on; for example, Tether Ltd.’s finances are handled by Bahamas-based Deltec bank. In this regard, one anonymous report claimed that “from January 2020 to September 2020, the amount of all foreign currencies held by all domestic banks in the Bahamas increased by only $600 million,” up to $5.3 billion. Meanwhile, the total volume of issued USDT soared by a whopping $5.4 billion, up to around $10 billion.

As Tether states on its website USDT is covered by fiat and other assets, so such investigations cannot be conclusive. However, what both NYAG and the anonymous authors of the report agree upon is that Tether needs to be more forthcoming about its financial status. With that in mind, Tether’s commitment toward transparency and revealing its reserves to a regulator seems like a step in the right direction.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/transparent-stablecoins-conclusion-of-tether-vs-nyag-raises-new-questions

Blockchain

AgeUSD to Launch as First Stablecoin on Cardano Network

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Multinational blockchain technology company Emurgo initially announced the AgeUSD stablecoin in January 2021. The firm has since announced a partnership between the Ergo Foundation, Emurgo, and Charles Hoskinson’s Input-Output Global, the parent company of IOHK.

The AgeUSD stablecoin will be available on Cardano as soon as smart contract capabilities are launched on the blockchain, it revealed.

Do We Need Another Stablecoin?

Emurgo is aiming to prevent events like MakerDAO’s Black Thursday which emerged through vulnerabilities in its Dai collateralization mechanism. A mass liquidation of the vast majority of Maker vaults resulted in around $4 million in Dai being under-collateralized at the time in March 2020.

AgeUSD’s so-called “Staticoin” protocol-inspired design does not rely on collateralized debt positions (CDPs).

“Thanks to its design, the scenario that happened on Black Thursday is not possible for the AgeUSD protocol. Without CDPs, we do not have liquidation events nor the requirement for users to perform transactions to ensure that the liquidations actually work properly,”

The stablecoin runs on the Ergo blockchain aiming to automate as much as possible within the mathematics of the protocol itself. Reserve providers pay Ergo’s native currency (ERG) to mint reserve coins which represent the underlying collateral. Users of the stablecoin can also deposit ERG into the reserves in order to mint AgeUSD, it explained. This is only allowed by the protocol if there are enough reserves above its reserve ratio. Banks use a similar method to loan out funds.


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The Cardano partnership will also enable its native token, ADA, to be used as collateral to mint reserves. However, the potential downside is that the stablecoin is only backed by these two assets whereas Dai is backed by multiple cryptocurrencies.

AgeUSD will launch on Cardano when it rolls out the Alonzo update that ushers in Plutus powered smart contracts. This is expected in the latter half of this year according to the roadmap.

Cardano ADA Price Update

As the long-awaited update nears, ADA prices have been cranking to new highs, the most recent ATH being $1.55 on April 14. At the time of writing, ADA was trading up 2% on the day at $1.45 according to Coingecko.

It is the sixth largest cryptocurrency by market cap which currently stands at $46 billion and there are 32 billion tokens in circulation. The token was briefly flipped by Dogecoin but has regained its position in the charts, just below Tether.

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Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://cryptopotato.com/ageusd-to-launch-as-first-stablecoin-on-cardano-network/

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Blockchain

How sustainable is YFI’s current price run?

Republished by Plato

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The past week saw a lot of growth across the cryptocurrency market, with Bitcoin and Ethereum seeing their values pushed towards new all-time highs. However, it is safe to say that the digital assets market is no longer just about the top two cryptos in the market, with DeFi coins such as YFI registering significant gains on the charts.

Over the past 6 months, YFI has seen its price hike by over 520 percent. Now, while this looks extremely promising for the alt, the truth seems to be in yet another shade of grey. The price hike from over $11k in November 2020 to its press time valuation of $48,415 has been less than straightforward.

Akin to many other altcoins in the market, YFI  too has endured extended periods of the price going back and forth. However, given the current market scenario, how sustainable is YFI’s current price or is history going to repeat itself in the form of yet another short-term price correction?

Interestingly, data provided by Santiment highlighted that despite the bullish nature of the YFI market, there may be a bit of FUD finally creeping into the market as the price continues to remain close to the $50k-level. In such a scenario, what YFI really needs is a strong level of support for the price if bearishness is to soon hit the market.

Source: Santiment

Taking a look at a few of the key fundamentals can provide more clarity on where the price is likely to head in the coming weeks. According to data provided by Santiment, YFI’s supply on exchanges has been stagnant for a while and hasn’t been increasing. While fewer coins in exchanges are normally a good sign of hodling, in the case of YFI, if one were to take a look at past precedents, the price decline began as soon as the supply hit a stalemate.

Source: Santiment

Additionally, the analytics platform also pointed out that the current price rally began with low on-chain activity for the coin. However, over the past few weeks, a trend reversal has emerged, with on-chain activity noting a surge and the price continuing to be inversely relational to it.

With the price inching closer to its ATH, there is always the question of price discovery. YFI seemed to be lacking in this regard, at press time. The coin’s MVRV, as per Santiment’s data, placed it in the danger zone and prime for a new trend reversal, one that can induce a short-term price correction.

Source: Santiment

In the coming days, if the price correction does set in, YFI’s $44k-price level may end up being a key support level for the coin. However, if this level is flipped to resistance in the coming weeks, a lot of the upward momentum and price surge YFI saw over the past few months might be undone.

This, once again, will result in YFI’s price continuing its current trend by which the coin will be subject to strong ‘push and pulls’ at regular intervals.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://eng.ambcrypto.com/how-sustainable-is-yfis-current-price-run

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Blockchain

EOS, Synthetix, Maker Price Analysis: 16 April

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EOS can be expected to find strong support around the $6.8-zone. If Bitcoin stabilizes above the $60.5k-area, altcoins could have a chance of recovery in the coming days. Otherwise, it would be further selling pressure across the market. Synthetix and Maker posted gains over the past few days, but were likely to retrace a significant portion of their value.

EOS

EOS, Synthetix, Maker Price Analysis: 16 April

Source: EOS/USDT on TradingView

EOS was trading within a rising channel, and the past few hours saw the price test the upper boundary of the channel before falling lower.

The mid-point of the channel was ceded to bearish pressure. A region of demand lay just above the $6.8-mark. The confluence with the channel’s lower boundaries could serve as strong support for EOS.

The RSI was back at neutral 50 and would drop lower to signal a shift in momentum to bearish over the next day or two, especially if EOS closes a session under $6.8. This could see EOS fall further to find support at $5.6.

Synthetix [SNX]

EOS, Synthetix, Maker Price Analysis: 16 April

Source: SNX/USDT on TradingView

Synthetix ascended past the $21. 4-level of resistance, but its retest of the same level on the back of strong selling forced the price to drop to $20.7 and could drop further. On the 4-hour, the Supertrend indicator continued to give a buy signal that would only be flipped to sell on a session close under the $19.5-level.

The 20 EMA and 50 EMA (white and yellow respectively) highlighted the bullish momentum behind SNX in recent days, with the price not sinking under these moving averages yet.

The OBV was on an uptrend and suggested that the recent spate of selling was reactionary fear, rather than sustained selling.

Maker [MKR]

EOS, Synthetix, Maker Price Analysis: 16 April

Source: MKR/USDT on TradingView

Two sets of Fibonacci retracement levels were plotted to highlight some levels of importance for MKR. $2,400 is a level that MKR had been stuck under from late February till the past week. The surge past this level in recent days has been rapid, and the price did not stop at many areas to mark it as support or resistance.

As such, the move back down could be almost as rapid, and some of the Fib levels laid out possible areas of support for MKR.

The MACD was correcting lower after the MACD line rose high above the Signal line to indicate overbought market conditions.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://eng.ambcrypto.com/eos-synthetix-maker-price-analysis-16-april

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