Auditors reveal USDC backing as Jim Cramer sounds alarm over Tether’s mad money

Grant Horton has conducted an audit on USDC’s reserves and Jim Cramer has questioned what’s going on with Tether’s commercial paper reserves.

Auditors working for Circle have disclosed the reserves backing the firm’s USDC stablecoin, while Mad Money’s Jim Cramer has questioned Tether’s lack of transparency with its USDT reserves.

Multi-national tax advisory firm Grant Horton conducted the audit, and a reserve attestation report was published on July 20 which showed that 61% of USDC’s reserves were held in cash and cash equivalents equating to $13.4 billion, as of May 28.

Circle’s total commercial paper accounts for 9% of its reserves, and the figures provide a stark contrast to Tether’s reserves, in which undisclosed commercial paper accounted for 49.5% of its total reserves — something that Cramer has been “sounding the alarm” about recently.

The Circle report defines cash as deposits at banks and Government Obligation Money Market Funds, while cash equivalents are defined as securities with an original maturity less than or equal to 90 days.

On May 28 there was 22,176,182,251 total USDC in circulation, with the total fair value of Circle’s U.S. dollar-denominated assets held in segregated accounts fully backing the supply of USDC according to the report.

Circle noted that it voluntarily disclosed its reserves as part of its transparency goals, with the firm revealing plans to go public via a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) earlier this month.

USDC Reserve Breakdown: Circle

‘Yankee CDs’ and US Treasures represented the next biggest share of assets backing the reserves at 13% and 12% each, with a combined total value of $5.6 billion.

Yankee CDs are defined as “USD denominated Certificates of Deposit issued in the US by branch(es) of Foreign Banking Organizations,” with a maximum maturity of 13 months, while the U.S treasuries have a maximum maturity of three years.

The total commercial paper allocations represent 9% worth $2 billion, corporate bonds account for 5% worth $1.1 billion, and municipal bonds and U.S. agencies comprise 0.2% worth $100 million.

Circle’s USDC reserve breakdown was published amid increased scrutiny on the stablecoin sector from the U.S. government, with United States Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen meeting with other financial regulators this week to discuss a regulatory framework for stablecoins.

Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire emphasized in a July 20 blog post that the firm is committed to providing transparency of its operations and working within the traditional financial system:

“Core economic activities underpinning USDC are built inside the perimeter of the U.S. financial system, and not outside of it.”

Jim Cramer thinks Tether is Mad Money

Speaking during a July 20 interview with The Street, Jim Cramer, the host of CNBC’s Mad Money questioned Tether’s lack of transparency and is asking why the firm hasn’t disclosed what the large percentage of commercial paper backing USDT is.

Tether released a brief reserve breakdown on May 13 and did not mention any independent review conducted on behalf of the firm.

Tether’s reserve breakdown showed that as of March 31, three-quarters of its reserves were held in cash, cash equivalents, other short-term deposits, and commercial paper. Amongst that category, commercial paper accounted for 65.39%, with cash alone accounting for just 3.87%.

Related: Stablecoins under scrutiny: USDT stands by ‘commercial paper’ tether

The firm is yet to reveal what comprises its commercial paper holdings, and Cramer has been sounding the alarm bells:

“I am concerned about Tether, and I’m not gonna stop sounding the alarm until I know what Tether has. They’ve got about $60 billion in commercial paper. Tether open up the kimono, what commercial paper do you own?”

“Why wouldn’t they tell us?” he added, as he questioned whether the SEC will step in to find out.

“There’s a belief that a lot of the commercial bank paper, is Chinese bank paper, why not put that to rest and tell us it isn’t?” he said.

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Analyst says DeFi and stablecoins held up well as crypto markets imploded

DeFi showed tremendous strength during last week’s sell-off as DEX activity and stablecoin stability prove the sector may be ready for mass adoption.

The decentralized finance (DeFi) sector faced its first real challenge during last week’s market sell-off that saw more than $1 trillion wiped from the global cryptocurrency market cap as traders feverishly ran for the safety of stablecoins amid tumbling prices. 

Despite rapidly declining token prices, the nascent DeFi sector held its own as decentralized exchanges experienced a record $11.7 billion in trading volume on May 19. Uniswap (UNI) led with $5.7 billion in volume, followed by SushiSwap (SUSHI) which saw $2.8 billion in 24-hour trading volume.

Daily DEX volume. Source: Dune Analytics

According to the recent DeFi Uncovered report from Glassnode, blue-chip DeFi tokens including, UNI, SUSHI, Maker (MKR), Aave (AAVE) and Compound (COMP) have largely mirrored the decline of Ether (ETH) over the past two weeks, “showing relatively high beta to ETH but not exceeding the decline from ATH by more than 15% from the decline of ETH.”

New users increase despite declining TVL

The pullback in prices, combined with users removing liquidity and rotating into stablecoins led to a 42% decline in the total value locked on smart contracts, which also closely tracked the falling price of Ether.

Total value locked in smart contracts vs. ETH/USD. Source: Glassnode

TVL is intrinsically tied to the underlying value of the deposited tokens and given that Ether is one of the main tokens locked across DeFi platforms, the falling TVL has less to do with users removing funds and is mostly related to the pullback in prices.

Throughout last week’s downturn, the percentage of the Ethereum supply locked in smart contracts remained above 23% while the supply on exchanges “jumped from 11.13% to 11.75%.”

Despite falling prices, new users continue to enter the DeFi ecosystem and the total number of unique 30-day traders on the top DEXs surpassed the 1 million mark for the first time amid last week’s sell-off.

Unique DEX traders. Source: Glassnode

Uniswap is the clear leader with 815,000 unique users between April 24 to May 23, while 1inch (1INCH) came second with 78,200 users and SUSHI ranked third with 10,900 users.

Stablecoins hold their pegs

Much of the strength seen in DeFi during the sell-off can be attributed to the healthy stablecoin market and the ability for major stablecoins like USD Coin (USDC), Tether (USDT) and Dai (DAI) to maintain their dollar peg “for the majority of the crash with volume-weighted average prices (VWAP) staying at $1.00 the majority of the time.”

DAI price vs. USDT price vs. USDC price. Source: Glassnode

The performance of DAI was seen as “especially positive for DeFi” according to Glassnode, as its circulating supply was able to adjust accordingly in response to collateral requirements and protocol stability. The report also highlighted that reclaimed collateral and DAI were removed from the supply as redemptions were claimed by collateral holders.

Posey said:

“This behavior allows collateral to stay healthy, liquidations remain at a healthy level, and DAI to maintain its peg.”

The one stablecoin that struggled to maintain its peg was TerraUSD (UST), which lost its peg on May 18 as the value of its collateral from LUNA fell below that of the stablecoin it collateralized. This led to “unhealthy behavior in its lending market Anchor (ANC),” causing a higher than average number of liquidations on the protocol’s native lending platform.

Overall, stablecoins performed their intended function and pegs held steady across the ecosystem with the on-chain stablecoin transfer volume reaching a record $52 billion during the height of the sell-off.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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Bitfinex and Tether Fined $18.5M in Settlement With NY Attorney General, Both Firms Barred From Trading in the City

Bitfinex and Tether Fined $18.5M in Settlement With NY Attorney General, Both Firms Barred From Trading in the CityBitfinex and Tether have been banned from operating in New York and must pay a fine of $18.5 million as part of a settlement with the New York Attorney General’s (NYAG’s) office over a case dating back to 2019. In a statement on Tuesday, NY Attorney General Letitia James accused the two entities of hiding […]
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