FT Article a Selective Rehashing of Irrelevant, Inaccurate, Old “News”

Tether started in 2014 with a very simple idea: use the blockchain—the same technology that powers Bitcoin—to move national currencies in a transparent, efficient, and decentralized way. Tether created the concept of a stablecoin, proved it worked and made markets stronger, ultimately growing into a business with more than US$62.2B USD₮s issued today.

Providing liquidity to crypto markets on multiple blockchains, Tether has shown the way to national governments looking to use the same idea as central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). This growth reflects the market’s confidence in us, and that confidence is ultimately our most important asset.

The entire stablecoin sector, with a US$100B+ market cap, started with Jean-Louis (JL) van der Velde and Giancarlo Devasini. They are, respectively, the CEO and CFO of Tether and Bitfinex. These visionaries initiated and championed this explosive stablecoin growth. While many VCs and economists today still don’t or won’t grasp the potential and the benefits of stablecoins, JL and Giancarlo were able to attract top talent to help grow their vision of a popular, liquid, and stablecoin that would provide boundless opportunities and benefits for institutions and individuals all over the world.

Bitfinex, founded in 2012, has grown to become one of the leading global digital token exchanges. Similar to Tether, Bitfinex has a leading development team, an excellent compliance group and programme, and highly-trained customer support staff. Bitfinex is considered by many to be the most technologically-advanced, reliable, and liquid bitcoin and digital token exchange. We have always brought innovation forward by supporting key technologies such as Lighting Network and Liquid. On many occasions, Bitfinex has traded more on a daily basis than legacy global stock exchanges.

Unlike some of our competitors, Tether’s and Bitfinex’s main objective has never been to obtain a public listing or to make a quick return at the expense of the long-term viability of the sector. Both businesses were created out of the passion and dedication to the same principles animating Bitcoin: transparency, decentralization, access, equality, and democratization of finance. While there are many copycats, none can match our respect for and commitment to the Bitcoin project.

As part of our longstanding commitment to transparency and our roles as industry leaders, it is critical that we not only provide the public with accurate information, but that we correct the record when we see misinformation and misunderstanding.

Unfortunately, we now see the need to correct the record arising from the Financial Times’s article from earlier today. The piece was nothing more than a selective presentation of decades-old information, including minor, long-resolved public-record commercial disputes from as many as 25 years ago, repackaged as “news”—and none of which has anything to do with Bitfinex or Tether or the contributions these companies have made to the biggest and most important leap in financial transformation in centuries. The article also mischaracterizes, or misunderstands, the findings in the settlement agreement with the New York Attorney General’s Office.

This is disappointing on a number of levels, including because it’s a clear effort to construct an inaccurate and one-sided narrative about Giancarlo and the companies he has helped build. But it’s perhaps not surprising, given the FT’s penchant for anti-crypto coverage. The FT asked us to respond to some questions about these decades-old commercial issues, most involving former companies, but when the FT didn’t like the answers, they appear to have downplayed them. There are a number of examples, but three will suffice here. First, the FT asked a question about “fraudulent tax losses” purportedly “linked to” one of Giancarlo’s former companies. As was explained to the FT, the problem with that allegation is that it was one of the customers of Giancarlo’s former company—not Giancarlo’s former company itself—that apparently failed to report its taxes properly. To say those tax losses are “linked to” Giancarlo’s former company is like saying that Amazon or Apple are “linked to” a tax violation by one of their customers. Second, the FT suggested that one of Giancarlo’s former companies had engaged in selling counterfeit software, when in fact Giancarlo’s company was a victim of a seller of counterfeit software and co-operated with authorities in the successful prosecution of the offender. Finally, with respect to the Tradeloop matter, the package ordered by PAG’s customer contained the goods ordered when it left PAG’s premises, but the goods appear to have been stolen en route. While the situation was unfortunate, it was not PAG’s contractual responsibility. Nevertheless, Giancarlo personally offered to partially compensate the customer for the shipment. None of these pointless and incomplete anecdotes has any relevance to Bitfinex or Tether, nor do the reasons why Giancarlo long ago chose to leave the medical profession.

Like many successful entrepreneurs, Giancarlo built several smaller businesses before ultimately building companies in a brand new industry that many observers have described as the second coming of the Internet. He is justifiably proud of the contributions that Tether and Bitfinex have made to the growth of the cryptocurrency ecosystem and the economic opportunity and possibilities they have created, not only for the customers and personnel of Bitfinex and Tether and their families, but also for other market participants throughout the world.

Giancarlo is also proud of the reputation he has helped build as an industry leader in supporting international law enforcement, regulators, and policy makers. Government officials around the globe have praised Tether and Bitfinex as leaders for working with and educating government officials and encouraging other cryptocurrency companies to do the same. That well-earned reputation is a direct reflection of Giancarlo’s commitment to help protect the safety of the cryptocurrency ecosystem and the public.

Our commitment to Bitcoin, to our customers, to the digital token industry, and to our community is undiminished. Tether, along with Bitcoin, represents a challenge to the fiat-based system. We will continue to shepherd the path forward in this burgeoning and dynamic industry, and we will continue working hard to get information out to the public and to fight FUD with facts. We also will never stop leading the effort to educate government officials who are willing to engage, listen, and learn so that they can do their jobs better while fostering a regulatory environment that supports innovation, transformation and economic empowerment around the world.

What the FT got right, apart from Giancarlo’s ability to cook a great risotto, is the critical importance of Tether and Bitfinex to the cryptocurrency industry and to this fast-growing sector of the global economy. As one executive put it, Bitfinex is “truly the institutional venue in crypto.” The market has spoken loud and clear: tens of millions of people are using bitcoin, Tether, and other digital assets every single day. Tether is the dominant stablecoin in the world and Bitfinex the most trusted exchange. 

And Bitfinex and Tether are not alone. Many individuals, companies, and institutions are joining the fight for more transparent, accessible, and democratic access to finance. Together, we will all succeed.