My Second Conversation with Cas Piancey on ‘Tether: A Stable Discussion’: Solvency and Backing

PART ONE CAN BE FOUND HERE

PART THREE CAN BE FOUND HERE

Cas Piancey, my writing partner and friend, and I are doing several episodes on the history and controversy surrounding Bitfinex and Tether.

This episode is mostly focused on the post hack history. We discuss banking, insolvency, and unbacked Tethers.

You can find the episode here: https://anchor.fm/cas-piancey/episodes/Tether-A-Stable-Discussion-Part-II-es1dgc/a-a4sa0qn

To subscribe to my blog please enter your email:

My Conversation with Cas Piancey on ‘Tether: A Stable Discussion’

PART TWO CAN BE FOUND HERE

PART THREE CAN BE FOUND HERE

Cas Piancey, my writing partner and friend, and I are doing several episodes on the history and controversy surrounding Bitfinex and Tether.

This episode is mostly focused on the early history of Bitfinex and Tether, leading up to the second Bitfinex hack. Next episode we should hopefully get into some of the backing issues that the New York Attorney General helped expose.

You can find the episode here: https://anchor.fm/cas-piancey/episodes/Tether-A-Stable-Discussion-erhp88/a-a4qn2vm

To subscribe to my blog please enter your email:

The Best Case Scenario for Tether’s Activities in 2017

In 2017 Tether was issuing unbacked Tethers. This has been confirmed as part of their settlement with the New York Attorney’s General office. As an exercise in trying to ensure that I have not become overly biased around Tether what I will attempt to do in this article is construct the best case scenario for how Tether’s business was operating.

Continue reading “The Best Case Scenario for Tether’s Activities in 2017”

Guest Lecture at WHU – An Introduction to Bitfinex and Tether

UPDATE: I MAKE THE CLAIM THAT BITFINEX LIED ABOUT OWNING TETHER, THIS IS TRUE BUT I WANTED TO PROVIDE ADDITIONAL CONTEXT HERE

Recently I was asked to do a guest lecture on Bitfinex and Tether. You can find it here: https://whu.cloud.panopto.eu/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?tid=f0fca2e9-f79e-4f81-b659-acd30078104e

YouTube version:

My uploaded version:

You can find the slides here.

You can find the references here.

To subscribe to my blog please enter your email:

A Timeline of Deeply Conflicted Tether Transactions

On November 1st 2018 Tether proudly proclaimed that they were once again banked, this time with Deltec Bank in the Bahamas (archive). This announcement included a letter (my copy) (archive) signed by someone associated with Deltec that stated that Tether had a ‘portfolio cash value’ of $1,831,322,828 on October 31st. This suggested to all that Tether had the value to back their tethers.

Continue reading “A Timeline of Deeply Conflicted Tether Transactions”

Raphael Nicolle and the Founding of Bitfinex

Raphael Nicolle is the founder of Bitfinex. Before that he had an interesting path.

By day a helpdesk technician, during his free time Raphael became active under the account ‘unclescrooge‘ on BitcoinTalk. From this account he makes some interesting posts, including occasional climate change denialism, saying he would invest in illegal businesses, and at least one joke about underage prostitution to make bitcoin. First he got into pyramid schemes, schemes that were not legally registered, and then he got really into pyramid schemes, and then he started defending a pyramid scheme scammer (repeatedly), and then he lost all the bitcoins he gave that scammer.

Shortly after this, Raphael decides he will start his own OTC desk and his own lending program. People will lend him Bitcoin and he will guarantee them a 2% return per week. To make this money he said he would be performing arbitrage, which he described as ‘buy low and sell high’. (Astute readers will note that this at best an extraordinarily simplified definition of what arbitrage is.) This program appears to not have taken off, perhaps due to questions from other forum members about his advocacy for pyramid schemes in the past. The text of the post was later deleted.

After this Bitfinex launched! (Though Raphy could be found still trying to do what look like OTC trades.) Bitfinex was a brand new ‘Meta-Exchange’ that would allow people to trade at either Mt. Gox or at Bitstamp through the BitFinex interface. They also had their own exchange that was based on stolen Bitcoinica code. Bitcoinica was an exchange that was rife with security issues that had recently shut down. The unique feature for Bitfinex that made it attractive (besides the ability to aggregate liquidity across multiple exchanges) was the fact that they had margin and lending integrated into the platform. However, the fact that it was built on stolen code with a multitude of issues in the early months. However, eventually they started to even out. However, there were still some interesting posts including at one point Raphael even made sure to point out that his exchange was a bucket shop. (This was a fact that Vitalik Buterin had warned about in Bitcoin Magazine.)

Raphael gradually took a less and less public role in Bitfinex until (according to his LinkedIn) left his role as CTO the same month that the Bitfinex hot wallet was hacked. He is now interested in anti-aging and looking for an executive producer (he should get in touch with the chairman of Deltec).

To subscribe to my blog please enter your email:

My Appearance on The Blockchain Debate podcast with Larry Cermak and Patrick McKenzie

You can find it here.

I had a ton of fun recording this podcast, however, due to time constraints I was not able to get to all my notes on whether or not Tether acts in good faith. I would like to summarize a few of the things I was not able to get to here:

  1. Bitfinex has used the bank accounts of friends and family of Bitfinex in order to service withdrawals.
  2. The firm who provided Tether’s last attestation is no longer operational, and Freeh, one of the lawyer behind it UPDATE: is no longer a lawyer is no longer practicing law, but may still be licensed.
  3. Tether advertised no KYC swaps between Bitcoin and Tether.
  4. Tether held tens of millions of dollars in the bank account of their General Counsel.
  5. The founder of Bitfinex was promoting ponzis right up until he announced Bitfinex.
  6. The founder of Bitfinex once described his own exchange as a bucket shop.

There are many more, but I just wanted to give you a taste of some of the stuff we ran out of time to get to.

To subscribe to my blog please enter your email: