Tether Taps Another Bahamian Bank for Dollar Transfers, But Critics Still Question Reserves

Stablecoin giant Tether is diversifying its banking portfolio, adding another Bahamian financial institution to its network. According to insiders, Britannia Bank & Trust, a privately-held entity operating in the Bahamas, now processes dollar transfers for Tether.

This move comes amid mounting questions about the stablecoin issuer’s reserves and a general sentiment of skepticism surrounding its transparency.

Tether Expands Its Banking Network

Tether, whose USDT token plays a critical role in the estimated $1 trillion cryptocurrency market, seems to be bracing against an increasingly skeptical financial environment.

The company has seen a strained relationship with U.S. banks, most notably when Wells Fargo ended its correspondent banking services in 2017. Furthermore, in 2021, Tether settled allegations with the New York Attorney General, raising concerns about its reported reserves and undisclosed losses.

Tether’s addition of Britannia Bank may signal its struggles to maintain strong ties with traditional financial systems. Britannia Financial Group, the bank’s parent company, has been expanding its crypto-related services.

Read more: What Is a Stablecoin? A Beginner’s Guide

In April, Britannia acquired Alphaplate Ltd., a proprietary crypto trading firm, underlining its bullish stance on digital assets. Yet, the company’s founder, Julio Martin Herrera Velutini, is currently awaiting trial over bribery charges, adding another layer of complexity to Tether’s new banking relationship.

The stablecoin issuer has not been fully transparent about its banking partnerships, leading to increased scrutiny and speculation. 

Patrick Tan, general counsel for ChainArgos, said,

“The secrecy surrounding Tether’s banking relationships continues to be a major impediment for developing the cryptocurrency industry, deterring regulatory approvals on other matters, and discouraging traditional asset managers with little tolerance for regulatory risk from more active participation in the space.”

Reserve and Market Cap Doubts

Britannia isn’t Tether’s first dalliance with Bahamian banks. The company’s CTO, Paolo Ardoino, revealed that Deltec Bank & Trust Ltd. and Capital Union Bank are also part of Tether’s banking network. Deltec Bank has faced its own set of controversies, including a recent $45 million seizure by US authorities due to a fraud investigation.

Mark Yusko, CEO of Morgan Creek Capital Management, had this to say on the topic:

“Do some research into Deltec Bank. It has been around for a very long time. Bad guys doing bad things. They are related to Tether, Sam, big links to Tether. If there is a link to bad people doing bad things and Tether were to have problems that would be bad for the industry and we would have another significant leg down.”

The pairing of Tether and Britannia takes place at a time when regulators are zeroing in on digital asset-related activities. Earlier this month, the Federal Reserve announced increased scrutiny of banks involved with cryptocurrencies following high-profile setbacks in the crypto industry.

These regulatory moves could serve as a double-edged sword, making it both essential and challenging for companies like Tether to forge robust, transparent banking relationships.

Tether’s circulating stablecoins have seen a 24% increase this year, reaching $82 billion in market value. In contrast, its primary competitor, USD Coin (USDC), has faltered. This growth, however, fails to quell the underlying concerns regarding Tether’s reserves.

Tether USDT Circulating Supply and Market Cap. Source: DeFiLlama

The saga between Tether and its banking partners shows a need for greater transparency and clarity in the crypto industry. Until Tether takes demonstrative steps to satisfy these criteria, questions surrounding its reserves and financial practices will continue.


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