If cryptocurrency is an engine, then tether (USDT) is one of its pistons.
According to a report The latest addition from cryptocurrency provider Protos, the stablecoin USDT has become a major cornerstone of the crypto industry over the past seven years.
The report notes that USDT acts as a tool to “promote the smooth functioning of the crypto market”, acting as a bridge between fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies operating on an open blockchain network.
In the report, Protos takes a deeper look, mainly to analyze which giants are buying USDT and delivering crypto platforms. It turned out that the two market makers were the largest buyers of the USDT issued and together accounted for almost 55% of the total initial volume to date.
Last year alone, $ 49.2 billion (71%) of the USDT was repurchased by Alameda and Cumberland, about 60% of all coins issued during that period.
In total, Alameda Research and Cumberland acquired approximately $ 60.3 billion between 2014 and October 2021.
The company that bought the most was Alameda Research, led by crypto billionaire and owner of the FTX exchange, Sam Bankman-Fried. They have earned $ 36.7 billion in the past few years, which is nearly a third of all existing USDT, with $ 31.7 billion (86%) received in the last 12 months.
The report says that of the $ 36.7 billion transferred to Alameda Research from Tether’s coffers, more than $ 30.1 billion went to FTX. However, the company has wallets in several other crypto exchanges, including Binance, which holds $ 2.1 billion, and Huobi and OKEx, which hold $ 1.7 billion and $ 115 million, respectively. The rest of FTX’s USDT has been moved to non-exchange wallets.
The second largest USDT buyer, Cumberland, is a subsidiary of DRW Holdings and is considered one of the world’s leading market makers. The company bought $ 23.7 billion in USDT over the past seven years, of which $ 17.6 billion or 74% of all coins purchased last year, which is 22% of all USDT exports ever recorded. Of that, $ 18.7 billion (79%) went to Binance, $ 131.5 million to Poloniex, $ 9 million to Bitfinex, and another $ 30 million to Huobi and OKEx.
In his research, Protos found that Cumberland has been working with Binance since at least early 2019, acting as the primary source of liquidity and market maker.
With a market capitalization of over 74.44 billion, Tether is the largest stablecoin in the world and the fourth largest cryptocurrency. However, its success is increasingly being scrutinized by regulators and the media. They were fined $ 41 million last month by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) for violating the Commodity Exchange Act.
Previously, Tether had also fallen victim to speculation about a Ponzi program after a Bloomberg article accused it of using USDT reserves to fund “billions of dollars in short-term loans to Chinese companies.” Tether soon hit back on the report, calling it “suspicious”.
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According to AMBCrypto