Bitfinex CTO Explains How Exchange Profits From Tether USDt

  • Bitfinex CTO Paolo Ardoino explained in a recent interview how the exchange profits from USDT.
  • The exchange was forced to use Tether reserve funds to cover $850 million in losses incurred by its fraudulent payment processor Crypto Capital.

Bitfinex Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Paolo Ardoino says that Tether is a “huge” money driver for the exchange, despite the legal trouble over last year’s investigation. 

According to an interview with Decrypt on Mar. 10, Bitfinex’s CTO called tether a huge money driver for the exchange. Bitfinex is the primary operator of Tether’s USDt stablecoin, which is said to be backed with U.S. dollars. Tether has dominated the stablecoin marketplace, with a market cap of $4.9 billion and daily trading volumes of $51 billion, higher than even bitcoin.

However, USDt has come under controversy regarding its exact backing. While Tether was originally billed as being back 1:1 with US dollars, Bitfinex revealed the currency is only 74% backed following last year’s investigation. The cryptocurrency exchange has been accused of using Tether reserve funds to cover $850 million in losses incurred after its Panama-based payment processor Crypto Capital was found to be fraudulent

Despite spending more than $500,000 on legal costs related to the case, Bitfinex’s CTO Paolo Ardoino calls Tether a major money driver for the exchange. 

He told Decrypt, 

It’s a huge money driver. That is one of the reasons why our racing horse is USDT.

He continued, 

The revenues of Tether are basically cash holding and safe investments like treasuries, so you can easily understand that if you can have a three, 3.5% return per year on a $4 billion market cap, or $4.8 now billion market cap, that is quite some interesting money there. You can do the math. More than $100 million.

Ardoino added that the majority of Tether reserves are held in cash rather than investments. He concluded by explaining the sudden boom in stablecoins, claiming others are "trying to get a piece of the pie."

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Binance and OKEx Represented Approximately 75% of Top Tier Exchanges' Trading Volume in June

Two cryptocurrency exchanges represented three-quarters of the spot trading volume seen in June. The exchanges, OKEx and Binance, traded over $80 billion combined.

According to CryptoCompare’s June 2020 Exchange Review, Binance was the largest top tier cryptoassets exchange by volume in June, trading $41.8 billion throughout the month, 19.6% less than what it traded in May. It was followed by OKEx, which traded $40.6 billion in June, down 29% from May.

In third place came Coinbase, which traded $6.86 billion, down 38.5%. In total Binance and OKEx represented approximately 75% of the trading volume on the top 15 top tier exchanges.

er.pngSource: CryptoCompare

The same report found, as CryptoGlobe reported, that spot trading volumes plummeted throughout the month of June. Top tier cryptoassets exchanges saw their volumes “decreased drastically” to $177 billion, which means they traded 36% less than in May, while lower-tier exchanges traded $466 billion, 53% less than in May,

The highest recorded trading volume in a single day in June amongst top tier exchanges was of $9.26 billion.  In comparison, in March’s Exchange Review, the cryptoassets data provider revealed that the March 12-13 crypto market crash led to high in daily trading volumes, as $75.9 billion were traded across exchanges in a single day. Top-tier exchanges traded $21.6 billion that day.

Whether a cryptoasset exchange is lower-tier or top tier is determined by CryptoCompare’s Exchange Benchmark. The trading volume drop affected both top and lower-tier platforms, as the crypto space’s spot volumes ended up representing “roughly half of the daily volumes seen in the previous month.”

OKEx and Binance Stand Out

OKEx and Binance were the two top tier cryptoassets trading platforms standing out, and they likely managed to do so because of Coinbase’s own downfalls and because of their diverse offerings to users.

Coinbase likely saw its trading volume dwindle over repeated outages it suffered during significant cryptocurrency price movements, while other users opposed Coinbase’s, and likely moved to other trading platforms.

Meanwhile, Binance and OKEx have solidified their offerings to users, allowing them to earn interest on their cryptocurrency holdings, and enriching their derivatives portfolios with various cryptoassets. As CryptoGlobe reported, OKEx has last month expanded its derivatives portfolio with ETH/USD options, with EOS/USD options planned for the near future.

 Both also offer discounts to their users if they use their tokens, Binance’s BNB, and OKEx’s OKB. Notably, OKEx’s OKB has significantly outperformed both BNB and bitcoin over the last 12 months.

graph.pngSource: CryptoCompare

Over the last 30 days, Binance’s cryptocurrency outperformed that of its rival bitcoin trading platform, as BNB dropped 6.1% over said period, while OKB dropped 9.9%. Bitcoin, in comparison, dropped 3.9%.

Featured image via Unsplash.