Stable-Coins and the Tether-Controversy | Summit Bangkok 2018

In this article, you will find a recap of everything regarding stable-coins — including the intense USDT discussion at Beyond Blocks Summit Bangkok 2018.

This panel, named “Tokens, Coins and Above: The Rise of the Security and Stable Coins”, featured the following speakers:

  • Brent Philbin (CryptoBasic Podcast) — Moderator
  • Grace Chong (Herbert Smith Freehills)
  • John Fiorelli (Kenetic Capital)
  • Kingsley Advani (Chainfund Capital)
  • Sam Bankman-Fried (Alameda Research)

Moderator Brent Philbin from the CryptoBasic Podcast started off the panel with an interesting hypothesis:

“If ICOs had raised stable-coins instead of Ethereum, what would have happened differently?”

Sam Bankman-Fried (Alameda Research) kicked off.

“It would have kept markets way more orderly, and it would have stopped this massive reserve of Ethereum that was going to be dumped anyways. It’s f****** insane — from an ICO perspective — to raise a billion dollars and to keep 100% of it in such an extreme volatile thing and just hope it will go up.”

Instead, he suggested having kept 100% in stable-coins. After this, Kingsley Advani from Chainfund brought up a fair point; the lack of variety when it comes to stable-coins at the time these projects raised. Of course, there was USDT/Tether — and there was no way that this wouldn’t spark some controversy later on. However, the panel discussed a variety of other things regarding stable-coins prior to that, such as:

  • Competition
  • Redeem-ability
  • Algorithmic stable-coins
  • Future applications

Most people that were in the room will remember this panel for the intense (classic), “is Tether fully backed?”-discussion. Just about 15 minutes into the panel, Sam said:

“Tether is 100% backed. It’s basically just trolls on the internet saying otherwise. It will not come crashing down if it is redeemable — which it is.”

Initially, nobody jumped in, but just minutes later, moderator Brent Philbin decided to throw some critical questions at him.

“If we talk about signalling theory; the easiest way to prove something is usually what you want to go with. If you don’t choose to go with that method, it lends some doubt over the entire thing. Why haven’t they done the easy audit, and — since they haven’t — how can you be so sure about the ‘definitely 100% backed’.”

Sam started with the fact that they have serious regulatory issues and that lots of major financial institutions don’t want to touch Tether. The most remarkable thing he said was that he talked with auditors from major accounting firms who have audited Tether saying that, “yes, it checks out.”

“Why not publish it then?” — According to Sam, the reason is (that) they don’t want to have any public association with them. After Sam talks some more about the hot regulatory waters they’re in, Brent concludes the discussion with saying it might be very good for them to just say it; that they want to give an audit but are having trouble.

This is where the topic of discussion shifted to the second-panel subject: security tokens and their offerings, STOs. If you want to know more about this, watch the video above or read our article about STOs vs ICOs here.

The real heat started right at the end of the panel. When the moderator asked who in the audience believed that Tether was 100% backed, nobody raised their hand. Zero people. One person stood up and put Sam to the spot, ‘asking’ him to name the auditor(s) he spoke to multiple times. Words won’t really do this justice, so click here (33:23) to watch the full discussion.

If you’re interested to see even more and get in-depth insights of both sides on the Tether discussion, we highly suggest to tune in to the Crypto Basic Podcast. They interviewed both Steve — the audience member with the critical questions — and Sam himself. In this episode, they gave their post-event perspective as moderators and attendees on Beyond Blocks Summit Bangkok.

“I don’t think it’s controversial. Tether is a scam.” — Steve

Just last week, this article appeared on CoinDesk:

What do you think? Is Tether 100% backed?

Let us know!