OKEx To List Four New Stablecoins In Coming Days

Continuing the whirlwind of news for stablecoins, OKEx announced today that it will list four new stablecoins on its platform, just as the largest and most controversial stablecoin, Tether (USDT), experiences huge price volatility.

The Malta-based exchange will list Paxos Standard Token (PAX), USDC//Coin (USDC), True USD (TUSD), and the Gemini Dollar (GUSD), all to begin trading within the next couple of days. The announcement comes only hours after Kucoin, another well known crypto-asset exchange based in Hong Kong, temporarily suspended and then resumed transfers of Tether tokens on its platform, citing “wallet system maintenance”.

Tether Action

The price of USDT fluctuated wildly today, and caused BTC/USDT pairings to trade at record-high premia, owing to the divergence in price between USDT and genuine fiat U.S. dollars. The difference in bitcoin price on USDT exchanges versus the Coinbase exchange, which does not use USDT, exhibits the effect of Tether price premia.

Due to the outsized role Tether plays in underpinning the crypto-asset industry, today’s market turmoil has been cautiously attributed by some to issues surrounding Bitfinex and Tether, which are closely linked through common management and investors and based together in Hong Kong.

Specifically, Bitfinex and Tether have been moving from bank to bank to bank over the past year, after being “dumped” by the Wells Fargo & Co bank, following subpoenas by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission over accusations that Tether could not back up its virtual currency with the equivalent amount of fiat.

As CryptoGlobe recently explored, Tether has been generally controversial in the crypto-asset industry for some time, serving as a linchpin for liquidity on many exchanges while never actually accomplishing a legal audit, and thus never proving its tethers are backed by real dollars.

All four of the new stablecoins listed today by OKEx differ from Tether in that they have to date experienced no banking problems, while three of them - GUSD, PAX and USDC - are regulated.

The Gemini exchange’s GUSD has been criticized, however, for having the ability to completely halt or reverse transactions of its ERC-20 stablecoin if Gemini so chooses, or is obliged by law enforcement to do so.

 

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BitMEX Slammed as Roubini Raises the Stakes in War Against Crypto

Neil Dennis

Every new concept has its critics and there's none so vehemently opposed to cryptocurrencies as New York University academic Nouriel Roubini, who has just taken his most vicious swipe yet at the emerging asset class.

In an essay entitled "The Great Crypto Heist", published this week on the website Project Syndicate, the NYU Stern Business School professor accuses financial regulators of "being asleep at the wheel" while an army of unregulated exchanges, propagandists and scammers commit "rampant fraud and abuse".

He singles out crypto-derivatives exchange BitMEX as being a particular threat to retail investors. Roubini clashed earlier this month with Arthur Hayes, the chief executive of BitMEX.

Regulation

But first, the professor explains why the sector needs to be more closely monitored. The broader financial sector came under increased regulatory scrutiny following the 2008 financial crisis, to protect investors and society. 

The regulatory regime does not capture cryptocurrencies, however, which are launched and traded outside the domain of official financial oversight, he says.

The result is that crypto land has become an unregulated casino, where unchecked criminality runs riot.

BitMEX

He rounds on BitMEX, registered in the Seychelles, which offers highly-leveraged bets on the rises and falls of cryptoassets: products more broadly known as derivatives.

These investment products have come under the microscope of regulators in many countries. The UK's Financial Conduct Authority would like to ban the sale of cryptoasset derivatives and exchange-traded notes to retail customers, saying they are too difficult to value and are prone to extreme price movements due to the volatile moves of the underlying cryptoassets.

Other global regulators have made moves to reduce the amount of leverage offered by crypto-derivatives exchanges. Roubini points out that with a 100-1 leverage, even a 1% price move in the underlying assets could trigger a margin call that wipes out the investor's entire account and leave them owing the exchange.

Hayes, boasted openly that the BitMEX business model involves peddling to 'degenerate gamblers' (meaning clueless retail investors) crypto derivatives with 100-to-one leverage.

BitMEX aslo runs a proprietary trading desk - an internal, for-profit desk that trades cryptocurrencies with its own money - that has been accused of front-running its own clients, Roubini asserts. He adds:

Hayes has denied this, but because BitMEX is totally unregulated, there are no independent audits of its accounts, and thus no way of knowing what happens behind the scenes.

Perhaps his most grand accusation in the essay, however, is that exchange is being used for criminal activity:

BitMEX insiders revealed to me that this exchange is also used daily for money laundering on a massive scale by terrorists and other criminals from Russia, Iran, and elsewhere; the exchange does nothing to stop this, as it profits from these transactions.

Tiff in Taipei

Roubini accused Hayes this month of holding back the broadcast of a video recorded of their clash at conference in Taipei - to which Hayes had secured exclusive right to.

In the essay, he continues this accusation, saying:

I suppose this is par for the course among crypto scammers, but it is ironic that someone who claims to represent the 'resistance' against censorship has become the father of all censors now that his con has been exposed.

Crypto Cancer Metastasized

In his final dig at the industry, Roubini says crypto trading has created a multi-billion dollar industry that does not just include the exchanges, but also "propagandists posing as journalists, opportunists talking up their own books and lobbyists seeking regulatory exemptions.

It is time global regulatory bodies stepped in, he concludes:

So far, regulators have been asleep at the wheel as the crypto cancer has metastasized. At a minimum, Hayes and all the others overseeing similar rackets from offshore safe havens should be investigated, before millions more retail investors get scammed into financial ruin.

So far, Hayes appears to have remained silent following the article's publication. No activity on his Twitter account. But the ball is now firmly in his court as the war of words heats up.