“Tether seems to be used both to stabilize and manipulate bitcoin prices,” said the paper’s co-authors, professor John Griffin and doctoral student Amin Shams.
Critics of tether have raised concerns over the past year about whether Tether Limited actually holds $1 in reserve for each tether issued, as it claims. More than $2.2 billion of tether was issued between March 2017 and January 2018, according to the paper.
Regulators worldwide are increasing their scrutiny of cryptocurrency markets. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice have been investigating whether bitcoin and other cryptocurrency prices are being manipulated, Bloomberg reported last month.
In December, the CFTC sent subpoenas to Tether and Bitfinex, a popular cryptocurrency exchange that is affiliated with, and shares executives with, Tether. The reason for the subpoena was unclear.
Bitfinex denied that tether issuances could be used to manipulate bitcoin.
“(Neither) Bitfinex nor Tether is, or has ever, engaged in any sort of market or price manipulation,” Bitfinex and Tether Chief Executive Officer JL van der Velde said in a statement.
Bitcoin soared last year, peaking at nearly $20,000 in December, before the price collapsed. It was at $6,624.45 on Wednesday afternoon.
The researchers found that tether issuances rose last year during periods when the price of bitcoin was dropping. When bitcoin was rising, the same pattern could not be found.
Once issued, nearly all tether was moved to Bitfinex and then shifted to other exchanges, where it was used to buy bitcoin, propping up the price, the paper said.
The researchers used algorithms to analyze data from blockchains, the decentralized ledgers that underpin bitcoin and other virtual currencies, between the beginning of March 2017 to the end of March 2018.
The periods with the largest flow of tether accounted for 87 hours, or less than 1 percent, of the data, but were associated with 50 percent of bitcoin’s compounded return, and 64 percent of the returns on six other large cryptocurrencies.
The researchers then did 10,000 simulations looking in each case at 87 random hours from the data and were unable to find similar results.
“Overall, our findings provide substantial support for the view that price manipulation may be behind substantial distortive effects in cryptocurrencies,” they said.
Mainstream Giant AT&T To Allow Bill Payment In Crypto
Colossal mainstream telecom provider AT&T announced it now accepts Bitcoin payments for bills, via BitPay.
AT&T Now Accepts Crypto
According to a May 23 statement on att.com, “AT&T* will now accept online bill payments through BitPay, a respected cryptocurrency payment processor. AT&T becomes the first major U.S. mobile carrier to provide a cryptocurrency payment option to customers.” BitPay will now appear as a payment choice when clients pay online or through myAT&T app usage, the statement noted.
AT&T Communications Finance Business Operations vice-president Kevin McDorman said in the statement:“We’re always looking for ways to improve and expand our services […] We have customers who use cryptocurrency, and we are happy we can offer them a way to pay their bills with the method they prefer.”
In the fall of 2018, the crypto space also saw Ohio take a shine to Bitcoin, allowing residents to pay their taxes in the asset, via BitPay.
Conceived in 2011, the crypto payment operation BitPay Inc. is “the largest bitcoin payment processor in the world, serving industry-leading merchants on six continents,” according to BitPay’s website.
Adoption In The Works
Mainstream adoption for cryptocurrencies is at the doorstep of the industry, with big businesses utilizing blockchain, mainstream entities looking to trade crypto and new entities, such as AT&T, now allowing bitcoin as a payment method.
Japan Scrutinizing Crypto Exchanges Ahead of G20 Summit
Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) is said to be scrutinizing cryptocurrency exchanges in the country to ensure anti-money laundering (AML) processes are in place.
A report from the Nikkei Asian Review on Wednesday, citing an unnamed FSA official, said that inspections are being carried out ahead of the G20 summit next month. The G20 – the international forum of which Japan holds the presidency for 2019 – is planning measures to crack down on money laundering using cryptocurrency and, hence, the country aims to ensure that it has its financial house in order, they said.
Adding to the pressure, global money-laundering watchdog, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), will review Japan’s domestic money laundering laws this autumn – an investigation that will include cryptocurrency platforms.
Cryptocurrency exchanges are, therefore, being asked by the FSA to clearly explain what measures they are taking to prevent money laundering, such as verifying user IDs to prevent anonymous transactions.
Last month, cryptocurrency exchanges Huobi Japan and Fisco were reportedly investigated by the FSA to assess their customer protection and AML provisions.
The FSA official said in today’s report:
“We’ll continue with the on-site inspections, and we’ll make sure everything is sound.”
Japan is also trying to make improvements after receiving the FATF’s lowest rating for customer identification processes at financial institutions in 2008, the official added.
The FATF published a draft document earlier this year, proposing a number of measures that national governments should adopt to more effectively supervise cryptocurrency transactions, and therefore lower money laundering risks.
Japan has already been making moves to tighten up the crypto industry. The nation passed a law in April 2017 that brought cryptocurrency exchanges under AML/know-your-customer (KYC) rules and mandated that such platforms must be licensed. The law also notably recognizes bitcoin as a legal method of payment.
Finnovating to Host Startup Competition at Barcelona Trading Conference
The global innovation consultancy is just one of the event’s local partners.
Finance Magnates and Ultimate Fintech are joining together to create the largest event dedicated to the crypto trading community, the Barcelona Trading Conference 2019 on July 1o1th to July 11th. Several regional partners, including Finnovating, an advisory group focused on promoting collaboration between startups, tech providers, and financial services experts will demonstrate why Barcelona is quickly transforming into one of Europe’s hottest spots for digital assets.
Finnovating Co-Founder Jésus Pérez Sánchez stressed how the Barcelona Trading Conference highlights “the progress in the Spanish crypto ecosystem, where we have worked in the first STO.”
He noted that companies like Finnovating can “analyze key tech sectors in Spain and Latin America, which helps big corporations adapting to new market requirements through collaborations.”
BTC 2019 expects to draw 200+ fintech professionals, 60+ exhibitors, and 70+ of the top crypto speakers for dozens of panels and workshops covering the latest developments and market trends. The sessions will be held on a single floor of the Barcelona CCIB, Southern Europe’s largest convention center.
Other local partners include the Generalitat de Catalunya, Lawyer, and VC Investments Advisor Vicente Ortiz Alonso, and Jesus Rodriguez, CTO at IntoTheBlock. Public blockchain platform NEO Global Development will also be hosting a Spanish language workshop for programmers.
BTC 2019 will feature a number of workshops offering insider perspectives on the evolving cryptocurrency marketplace, including key topics such as stablecoins, tokenized CFDs, and is expected to become the preeminent Crypto trade conference, with thousands of attendees and dozens of speakers.
Ultimate Fintech and Finance Magnates have already earned a reputation for running the financial services industry’s premier events, including the London Summit, the iFX EXPO International and the iFX EXPO Asia conferences.
The Barcelona Trading Conference takes place July 10-11th, 2019, and promises Crypto enthusiasts interested in regulation, technology, and asset management exceptional networking opportunities. Visit our website for more information and to register for tickets.