Bitfinex and Tether Fight Back: 'No Ongoing Fraud', 'No Victims'

iFinex, the parent company of Bitfinex and Tether, has recently issued its official court response to the fraud allegations made against it by New York’s Attorney General, which accused the crypto exchange operator of an $850 million ‘cover-up.’

According to the document, iFinex moved to vacate the court order alleging the firms covered up an $850 million loss of corporate and client funds, arguing the order was based on “incomplete or incorrect facts and the wrong legal standard.”

In its document, Bitfinex and Tether argued the NYAG didn’t “even try to explain how tethers qualify as securities or commodities covered in the Martin Act.” The Act would establish the regulator’s authority over both companies. To this, iFinex added:

This is backwards: the Attorney General should not be afforded the drastic remedy of a preliminary injunction, or an order requiring the Respondents to address blunderbuss document demands, without establishing the basis for its authority to even regulate in this sphere.  For this reason, the Court should vacate the April 24, 2019 Order in its entirety (including as to the discovery aspects).

Moreover, Bitfinex and Tether argued that there was “no ongoing fraud, and no “victims” in need of drastic remedy of an injunction to protect them.” It adds Tether disclosed its reserves could “consist of loans to affiliates, and did so before the line of credit transactions the Attorney General challenges.”

As covered, Tether quietly diluted its USD reserve claims in March of this year, in a move that drew criticism from the cryptocurrency community, as it seemingly meant the company didn’t have a dollar in its reserves for every USDT token in circulation, while maintaining that “1 USD₮ is always valued by Tether at 1 USD.”

The document further notes USDT holders have been free to “redeem or sell their tethers at any point (including now), and that Tether itself has “ample reserves to meet the demand.”

Bitfinex, Tether Claim NYAG Misused Term “Investor”

The cryptocurrency exchange operator further argued it doesn’t have to inform its users of all matters they would “find material” as a private company, and that the NYAG misused the term “investor” when referring to Bitfinex and Tether’s customers.

These, the document adds, aren’t “entitled to disclosure” as if they were investors. It reads:

The Attorney General’s pervasive misuse of the term “investor” gives the false impression that the Attorney General is acting on behalf of shareholders of Bitfinex and Tether, who of course are owed certain duties of disclosure about their ownership stake.  But here the Attorney General’s ostensible constituents are customers of Bitfinex and Tether, who are not investors, and who not entitled to disclosure as if they were.

In the document, the cryptocurrency firms further argue that a preliminary injunction wouldn’t “protect anyone,” but claim it would instead cause “great disruption to Bitfinex and Tether.” The document argued NYAG isn’t trying to maintain a “status quo” as it claims, but is instead “attempting to dictate how two private companies may deal with one another and deploy their funds.”

Bitfinex Suffered a ‘Significant’ Impact

iFinex further noted that the “impact on Bitfinex” caused by the NYAG’s fraud allegations has been “significant.” Per the document, since the NYAG’s report became public “about 30,000 bitcoin worth about $170 million, has come out of one wallet,” and “about 1 million ether, has come out of the other wallet.”

Also read: Bitfinex Shareholder Starts Accepting Pre-Orders for Exchange's Token Sale

This, as customers have been withdrawing their holdings from the cryptocurrency exchange. Notably, iFinex blames the NYAG’s move for halting a cryptocurrency market rally, as bitcoin’s price was recovering up until April 24.

Per the document, the rally was halted by the case, resulting in “an approximate loss of $10 billion across dozens of cryptocurrencies” within one hour of the case becoming public.

Cannabis Shops Turn to Crypto Apps Amidst Coronavirus Cash Shortages

Michael LaVere
  • Cannabis shops in Boulder, Colorado are using bitcoin payment app Strike to conduct "contactless" exchanges.
  • Cash shortages and lack of sanitation are causing businesses to find alternative means for transaction. 

Cannabis shops are using bitcoin payment services to conduct business in place of fiat amidst the coronavirus pandemic. 

According to a report by CoinDesk, cannabis dispensaries in Boulder, Colorado have been onboarded to the closed beta for Strike, a bitcoin payment service application founded by lighting network supporter Zap. 

Zap, founded by Jack Mallers, has been operating a closed beta for the payment application Strike which allows users the option of sending bitcoin or dollars and receiving funds in their bank account. The application uses a simple QR code interface, similar to Venmo, that allows users to send funds without having prior knowledge or expertise with bitcoin. 

Mallers said, 

Every Strike user is given a public domain at strike.me. We’re using Lightning for really fast online settlement of value transfers. … It’s also beneficial for privacy on the sender’s side.

Johnny Kurish, general manager at Boulder’s Helping Hands Herbals cannabis shop, said the application allowed his dispensary to process $1,000 worth of purchases since being added to the beta last week. 

Kurish said the dispensary will switch to only accepting Strike payments, which allow for contactless exchanges in light of the coronavirus pandemic. 

He said, 

We’re really lucky to have curbside drop-offs. We check the ID through the roll-up window, deliver the cannabis to a podium in front of the car. We’re happy to reopen with an option that’s safe for our staff.

Featured Image Credit: Photo via Pixabay.com