Tether Response to Flawed Paper by Griffin and Shams

We have now reviewed the updated Tether article by John M. Griffin and Amin Shams.

To obtain publication, Griffin and Shams have released a weakened yet equally flawed version of their prior article. The revised paper is a watered-down and embarrassing walk-back of its predecessor that still suffers from the same methodological defects, coupled with the clumsy assertion that one lone whale may be responsible for the rise of bitcoin in 2017. 

The purported conclusions reached by the authors are built on a house of cards that suffers from the absence of a complete dataset. As an example of one of many deficiencies, the authors openly admit they do not have accurate data on the crucial timing of transactions or the flow of capital across different exchanges. This critical lack of information means they are unable to establish a valid sequence of events through which the alleged manipulation could have happened. The updated paper is still based on the same incomplete and cherry-picked data that made the original study deficient. Furthermore, the authors now admit that the patterns of trading they observed could be consistent with the market purchase of Tethers, as opposed to the issuance of unbacked Tethers. Importantly, the authors do not possess or reference any data disputing that Tether has sufficient reserves to back up Tether token issuances in circulation.

Despite Griffin’s false bravado in recent aggressive statements to the media, the authors demonstrate a fundamental lack of understanding of the cryptocurrency marketplace and the demand that drives Tether token purchases. Simply stated, the digital token economy is driven by larger and more complex factors than the trading practices of any single player. Judging by the reaction to the updated paper, sophisticated and experienced traders in the ecosystem appear to fully understand this concept. To reduce the spike in the bitcoin price in 2017 to such simplistic terms is facile. It is also an insult to the millions of people in our community that believe in the sound principles governing the digital currency economy.

Tether and its affiliates have never used Tether tokens or issuances to manipulate the cryptocurrency market or token pricing. All Tether tokens are fully backed by reserves and are issued pursuant to market demand, and not for the purpose of controlling the pricing of crypto assets. It is reckless – and utterly false – to assert that Tether tokens are issued in order to enable illicit activity. Tether token issuances have quadrupled since December 2017. This growth is not a product of manipulation; it is a result of Tether’s efficiency, acceptance and widescale utility within the cryptocurrency ecosystem.