Tether Strikes Back at Wall Street Journal, Accusing the Publication of Bias and Malice

Tether, the issuer of the most popular stablecoin, USDT, has been under intense scrutiny from the media for years. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), in particular, has been one of the most vocal critics of the company, publishing numerous articles that have cast doubts on Tether’s operations, compliance, and transparency.

However, Tether recently hit back at the WSJ, pointing out that the media outlet has been publishing inaccurate, outdated, and misleading information about the company. According to Tether, the WSJ’s latest report insinuates that Tether operates outside the realm of regulation, which is not true.

Tether operates under substantial financial regulations and cooperates on a near-daily basis with global law enforcement agencies. This includes regular cooperation with the US Department of Justice and other top-tier US agencies, even though Tether does not service US-based customers.

To support its claim, Tether counted the number of articles that the WSJ published about or mentioning Tether from January 1, 2021, to January 1, 2022. Tether found that during that period, the WSJ published 84 articles about or mentioning Tether, and most of them were negative.

In contrast, the WSJ published only 28 articles about or mentioning FTX during the same period, and almost all of them were positive. FTX is a crypto exchange that has gained significant popularity in recent years.

Tether believes that the WSJ’s biased coverage of the company is unfair and misleading. The media’s role is to identify important public interest stories, ideally before they happen. However, many of the companies that the mainstream media supported in 2022 have turned out to be among the largest financial failures in history, resulting in catastrophic losses for countless users and investors.

In contrast, Tether has consistently demonstrated its commitment to increased transparency, cooperation with regulators, and adjusting its reserves. In 2022, Tether completely reduced all commercial paper holdings to zero, something that its critics said the company would never be able to do.

During the height of the Terra Luna collapse, one of the largest incidences of volatility the industry has ever experienced, Tether was able to redeem over 10% of outstanding USDT, equal to $7 billion USD, within 48 hours. Tether processed redemptions for close to $20 billion from market peak to trough. Banks have historically failed under far less pressure.

Tether has less than 1000 active users, and its KYC/AML standard follows the Bank Secrecy Acts standards as a minimum, as Tether Limited is a FinCEN registered MSB. This allows Tether to conduct enhanced due diligence on all customers in order to understand the provenance of funds deposited with the platform and the purpose of the relationship. Each customer receives a higher level of attention than most traditional financial institutions as Tether screens for various risks.

Tether has built and maintains world-class compliance programs and guards itself against money laundering, terrorist financing, nuclear proliferation, and sanctions risks through policies and procedures that seek to limit the chances that criminal elements are onboarded to the Tether platform.

Tether is also a proud partner of global law enforcement and routinely has an open dialogue with law enforcement agencies across the globe, including the US Department of Justice, as part of our commitment to cooperation, transparency, and accountability. Tether conducts sanctions and blockchain screening to ensure its customers’ funds are not connected to high-risk wallets.

Tether has assisted law enforcement in over 160 investigations across four continents and currently has over ~$400 million frozen due to various investigations. Tether also froze and returned approximately $33 million in Tether tokens that had been stolen from the Poly Network in August 2021. Additionally, Tether has partnered with IHOPE to combat childhood trafficking, a cause the company is passionate about supporting to prevent cryptocurrency from being used as a tool for child trafficking.

CTO Paolo Ardoino expressed Tether’s commitment to being a positive force in the crypto space by highlighting the risks of child exploitation and helping to organize sensible risk mitigating controls in the cryptocurrency industry. Despite biased coverage from legacy media outlets like the WSJ, Tether continues to build a global financial infrastructure that delivers real benefits to people in emerging markets. Tether is utilized globally by people and businesses to meet financial needs, particularly in countries like Brazil, Lebanon, Turkey, Myanmar, and Argentina.

It is notable that the WSJ does not write many stories about all of the positive things Tether has accomplished as the world’s largest and most widely used stablecoin. Tether has successfully provided tens of millions of users globally with low-cost, reliable, always-on services. The poor track record of separating signal from noise in the crypto industry makes a rehashing of allegations from 2018 seem like more of the same from the WSJ.

The article raises an interesting question – what if Tether was an exciting startup out of Silicon Valley funded by Wall Street buddies? Would the WSJ’s coverage be different? While the WSJ certainly has the right to criticize Tether if it feels that criticism is warranted, it is important to recognize Tether’s accomplishments and positive impact on the global financial infrastructure.

In conclusion, the recent coverage of Tether by the Wall Street Journal has generated controversy and criticism from Tether supporters who feel that the article was biased and unfairly targeted the stablecoin issuer. While Tether has faced its share of controversy and legal issues, the company has also made significant efforts to assist law enforcement and combat child trafficking, among other initiatives. Tether’s supporters argue that the company’s accomplishments and positive impact on emerging markets should not be overlooked, and question whether the WSJ’s coverage would be different if Tether was a Silicon Valley startup. Ultimately, the debate highlights the ongoing challenges and complexities surrounding cryptocurrencies and their place in the global financial system.

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