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Tether and the Global Markets Challenge
Disclaimer - Read the disclaimer.
The U.S. regulatory agency, SEC, regularly works with foreign countries governments and regulatory agencies when enforcing laws on foreign companies. There is more than ample case law and literature that will verify this. That does not apply to all, or even most U.S. or other countries laws. Most laws do not give jurisdiction to one country over another. We will use the example of the world famous KimDotCom and his website Megaupload.
As a Non U.S. citizen, the U.S.'s Department of Justice does not have the jurisdiction to send their agents to New Zealand to arrest him for violating US copyright. They must legally have New Zealand extradite him. This is obvious, or should be to most people. Which is exactly why he is still in New Zealand and not in the U.S. either in court or jail. He has been able to fight extradition for the last 6 years, and hopefully that's how it stays. However, there are certain things which does fall under the jurisdiction of foreign countries. I'm not even going to try to list them here as that isn't important.
The most important thing however is how the U.S. extends jurisdiction when they should have absolutely no legal grounds. Specifically this falls under the Dodd-Frank Act. "Under the Dodd-Frank Act, U.S. courts have jurisdiction over claims of securities violations brought by the SEC or DOJ that involve: 1) Significant steps in furtherance of a violation that occurred in the United States even if the transaction took place outside the United States; or 2) Conduct outside the United States that has a “foreseeable substantial effect” within the United States.”
The U.S. has on more than one occasion claimed jurisdiction over a foreign cryptocurrency exchange. Once for a lawsuit against Mt. Gox (Japan) from 2014 which is still ongoing in the state of Illinois in federal court. More details can be found here.
Again last year when the SEC and DOJ sought charges against BTC-e, a Russian Exchange, and it's owner Alexander Vinnik. Accordingly BTC-e's assets including domain, etc. was seized by the U.S. and charged with operating an unlicensed money service business, money laundering, and related crimes. Details of this case can be found here.
We now also have BCC lawsuits happening. Two have already been filed and a U.S. Judge issued an order to freeze their assets, they were provided 10 days to turn them over. If they decide to not do it since they can’t just be forced as the banking system can, they will then face criminal charges; Not just a lawsuit. More information here.
Now you know shit is serious when the U.S. Government acts faster on something than any other time in the last 200 years. Look no further than Tether and Bitfinex. Most exchanges pair the USDT coins and not USD. This is done so foreign exchanges don't have to worry about U.S. banking laws that any company dealing with USD is legally obligated to do but they are still able to pair things against the US dollar which we all see it listed as USDT/BTC. A vast majority of people will never notice nor even give this a second thought. Exchanges do this specifically because using the USD would subject them to U.S. banking laws but since Tether "USDT" is a coin and not money, exchanges don't have to follow U.S. banking laws. This creates an extra layer of protection for exchanges and they are able to operate much easier without accidentally breaking those or other U.S. money-laundering, know your customer, etc. laws; While they are still able to pair coins with USD thanks to the coins being set 1:1 with the U.S. Dollar.
Many in the community remember last year when Bitfinex announced they announced they were stopping all user activity for U.S. citizen accounts. This was done for a very specific reason, and if you research what Bitfinex did after the last hack of $70 million USD, you will understand why. I'm sure a lot of people that weren't around when the hack occurred wouldn't believe what the exchange did to their customers.
Anyway back to subject on hand. Including using the aforementioned way that exchanges protect themselves by pairing with USDT and not USD; Tether further protects itself by separating itself into multiple entities; Tether Limited (“TLTD“) for U.S. citizens, Tether International Limited (“TIL“) for all Non U.S. citizens for the purpose of issuing, use, etc. of the Tether coin. Tether "TIL", Tether "TLTD" and Bitfinex (owned by iFinex Inc.) are incorporated in Hong Kong. Last but not least, and most important. Tether Holdings founded in 2014, and iFinex Inc. are both based in British Virgin Islands. These are the only parts of Tether and Bitfinex that receive real money, actual US dollars, Euro's, Yen, etc.
Any exchange, wallet, etc. that accepts actual money payments dealing with cryptocurrency knows that by accepting real money they must follow AML/CTF laws of whichever jurisdiction that would apply. Hence why most all exchanges pair with USDT and not USD. Furthermore, most people are also aware that the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, etc. are considered tax havens which is where both holding companies are incorporated. There is much more about Tether if anyone wants to look further. Information released in the Paradise Papers links both companies and finally sheds light on the people behind this. It should be easy for anyone following along to see the possible implications. For our purpose, all we need is know how the companies are structured. Which is why the media just reported on January 31st 2018 that the U.S. issued subpoenas to both Bitfinex and Tether.
If you didn't know what company it was that was structured in this way with multiple sister corps, parent corps, locations, etc. Most people would be baffled as to why any company would go through all that trouble. What practical reason could a cryptocurrency company, in a unregulated world, have to do that in the first place? Fraud is rampant and no one seems to ever go to jail. Even if doing the same thing in any other business would likely result in criminal charges. So why would any company go through all that trouble if they had nothing to worry about. Even if their entire goal is to defraud people such as "B-Connect", why would any foreign company dealing with crypto go through that much trouble in such an unregulated market? Number one that is substantially more expensive financially and also much more work that would have to be done. Not including the additional time and cost to hide that stuff
This is where we need to ask ourselves a question. Putting aside any thought of Tether committing fraud or whatever else is alleged. Let's just look at the basic facts: If foreign exchanges, etc. aren't subject to outside laws because they are located in a different country. Why would any of them use a coin in place of real money for pairings? Wouldn't it be easier no matter what to just pair listing against the dollar. USD/BTC or whatever fiat currency is paired against cryptocurrency. That would just create more accounting and unnecessary additional steps to convert crypto to fiat? No business would adopt a model like that if there was not a fundamental need for the extra work/cost/etc.
We first had to ask that question before we can even ask the next one. So if exchanges are protected from foreign country laws just by using USDT. Why would Tether, Bitfinex, "B-Connect" International for that matter, stop doing business with U.S. citizens if they use USDT and are not based in the U.S.? Why would it matter then if they do business with them? Maybe the reason they ensure that no U.S. citizen can do business with them is because U.S. law does still apply to them if they transact with them. By now everyone knows "B-Connect" was a Ponzi scheme, and if you have paid any attention, the U.S. is going after them tooth and nail. Yes "B-Connect" did have U.S. locations however "B-Connect" International which is the holding company of the new "B-ConnectX" is already up and running and is unable to be shut down since US citizens are not permitted to use that service now.
There is a much more serious risk at hand. A risk that will make the 2014 Mt. Gox crime, which destroyed market cap by over 80% and didn’t recover until 2017, look like a weekend robbery at a convenience store. From 2014 until January 2017 a total of 10 million USDT had been created. No one would even question if they had 10 million USD in a bank account to back each coin up. When Well’s Fargo terminated them as a customer at the end of March, start of April, the total USDT supply increased to 44 million. December 1st when the Paradise papers were released 440 million Tether. Apparently within a week subpoenas were issued, that right there should indicate the severity of the problem.
December 31st 2017 supply was well over 800 million USDT. Fast forward a month and the total is 2.2 billion USDT at the end of January 2018 when the MSM finally picks up on it. NYTimes was the first to have an article of the US mainstream news. To add to the horror show playing out in front of all of us Tether is now issuing a new USDT and EURT on the Ethereum blockchain. The 2.2 billion are on the omni layer protocol which on the Bitcoin blockchain. Note: The new ERC20 USDT and EURT are not intended to replace the USDT that are bitcoin based but rather to compliment.
The implications of this reach much further than the cryptocurrency markets. If you are unaware how Market Capitalization works I will simplify this. If the entire cryptocurrency market capitalization is 500 billion that does not mean that the equivalent amount of money has been put into the system. According to a previous report from JP Morgan since 2009 a total of 6 billion $USD actually entered into the cryptocurrency market and that gave it a 300 billion market capitalization. If you want a more detailed explanation of market capitalization you can look here.
Now what does this all mean? What does this have to do with you or anyone else? You might be saying I don’t have any USDT so why do I even need to care or pay attention. Well simply explained, if $6Bn USD can create a 300 billion market cap. $2Bn USD that technically isn’t there could remove much, much more than $2Bn of hard assets and money from the cryptocurrency market.
Tether is acting as if they are the U.S. Federal Reserve without having to guarantee the USD like the Federal Reserve and U.S. government. In the last few months leading up to the recent all time high’s (ATH) many stories came out of people taking out second mortgages so they could invest in Bitcoin. Multinational corporations have become involved. Even governments have either knowingly or unknowingly invested into it. One of the key players here was also a key player in the 2008 global financial collapse. Only a couple things can happen:
1. Tether has 20%-100% of the USDT backed up with US dollars. Everything should be okay except cryptocurrency now has a central bank.
2. They don’t have US dollars to back it up. Exchanges lock the doors as everyone creates a run on the bank trying to get out before or during the crash, investors lose everything, all $$$ in the system is extracted out by Tether. That will have a detrimental effect on global markets and could trigger the collapse of the stock market bubble which will also take out the housing bubble.
No matter what, this is going to be a very painful ride. Even if they do have the money, the US will make sure it doesn’t continue. Chances of them having the $3Bn as one of their insider friends stated are slime to non existent.
On the bright side, we will witness the greatest theft mankind has ever seen.
Last updated: February 02, 2018
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