Two Bitfinex shareholders have recently revealed the New York Attorney General’s fraud allegations regarding the crypto exchange and Tether – which share management, as they believe Bitfinex will be able to unfreeze the $850 million it’s claimed it lost.
Speaking to CoinDesk Bitfinex shareholder Zhao Dong, who predicted BTC will remain below $6,000 for most of 2019 and has been trying to reassure the crypto community the exchange is solvent, revealed Bitfinex’s chief financial officer Giancarlo Devasini assured him this is a temporary situation.
Per the news outlet, Zhao claims Devasini told him the exchanges needs a “few weeks” to unfreeze the $850 million it has ‘stuck’ with a third-party payments processor called Crypto Capital. He was quoted as saying:
The funds were in several banks in Poland, [the] U.S. and Portugal, so I’m not sure but that’s what I heard.
Earlier this week, Bitfinex was accused by the New York Attorney General of having an $850 million hole since late 2018, which it reportedly covered by borrowing millions from Tether. Crypto Capital reportedly claims the funds were seized by government authorities in various countries, while Bitfinex’s management believes the firm may be engaged in fraud.
To cover the ordeal Bitfinex reportedly got a $625 million transfer from Tether between November of last year and March of this year, which it then returned. It then got a $900 million line of credit from the firm, secured by iFinex shares. Per the NY AG, both Bitfinex and Tether are engaged in fraud.
Notably, Tether quietly diluted its USD reserve claims in March of this year, presumably at about the same time it gave Bitfinex the line of credit. While the NY AG claims the missing funds belong to both Bitfinex’s corporate accounts and its users, Zhao claims they’re only from its users.
What the information I have right now is there are no losses, but the funds belong to clients. If the U.S. government seized the funds, they should know, the funds doesn’t belong to Bitfinex or Tether, it’s the clients’ money.
The development led to a crypto market sell-off that saw the price of bitcoin drop from a $5,400 high to about $5,100 before recovering. The flagship cryptocurrency is currently trading at $5,250, according to CryptoCompare data. The sell-off showed traders are still wary of Tether and Bitfinex.
Zhao, when asked whether he was concerned, claimed he wasn’t and that he trusts the companies, as they survived a hack back in 2016 and a freezing of their funds by Wells Fargo back in 2017. Per his words, Tether’s model is better than fractional reserve banking, as most banks “only have 2-3 percent of reserves,” while Tether maintained “70 percent reserved” even after the $800 million ordeal.
Tian Jia, another Bitfinex shareholder, revealed he also still supports Bitfinex, and that he heard from its executives since the news broke. Per Tian, Bitfinex’s management is still “trying to get it [the funds] back by approaching Panama and the [U.S. Attorney General].”