One of the most prominent cryptoasset trading platforms, Bitfinex, has launched leveraged trading of its USD/USDT trading pair, it announced today in an official blog post. The company billed the move as “an important move for risk management,” and that it would “allow for more efficient price discovery.” More stablecoin margin options will be added in the future.
With this move, the Hong Kong-registered exchange is furthering its recent “Tether neutrality” initiative, which it began last month by announcing Tether-to-fiat currency trading pairs - replacing what had always been a synonymous relationship between USDT and USD on the platform.
Bitfinex wrote at the time that the new trading pair was a response to “the evolved stablecoin market,” but it could also be seen as a response to ongoing doubts regarding Tether’s stability.
Even more recently, the exchange announced a new “agnostic” attitude toward stablecoins by adding most other major stablecoins to its platform, at once expanding its selection from one to six - even including the decentralized DAI stablecoin. In line with this, today’s released added that:
There are plans to introduce margin trading for the other major stable coin pairings when sufficient liquidity is reached.
Bitfinex and Tether
Bitfinex - owned by the iFinex company along with the decentralized Ethfinex exchange - has long been associated with the centralized Tether stablecoin (USDT). The duo have shared both management and banking relations, and have togethe been the subjects of intense scrutiny and speculation in the cryptoasset industry, regarding their combined fiscal health and solvency.
Tether recently received another confidence boost, with the Bloomberg financial news claiming to be in possession documents showing the company’s general solvency across a selection of four unique months. Despite that and previous, (also private) investigations into Tether - specifically by the Friedman LLP accountancy firm - no official audit has ever been performed.
Some crypto notables have already responded, seeing the move positively:
On the general stablecoin front, Binance recently signalled a similar move away from its erstwhile Tether exclusivity, by announcing a planned “basket” of various stablecoins - a so-called “USDⓈ” trading pair (“Ⓢ” for stable), backed by many stablecoins rather than just Tether.