As always, the truth is somewhere in the middle…
Bitfinex’ed definitely overreaches at times, but you can’t seriously argue that memos from March 31, 2017 lend any credibility to Tether at this point.
Those audits reflect a supply of ~$44 Million and Tether lost its banking ties shortly thereafter. Since then, Tether has ballooned 50 fold and now sits at ~$2.2 BILLION. Any rational investor can see red flags in this kind of inflation without proper banking channels.
And no, the burden of proof does NOT lie with accusers. Tether’s own marketing materials promise “frequent professional audits”. They have one job — ensure users can trust that $USDT is unequivocally backed 1:1 by USD fiat reserves at all times. No one forced Tether to create a stable coin. They make sizable profits from fees, but are unable to properly invest in auditors.
Just like exchanges are responsible for maintaining critical functionality of uptime, order fulfillment, etc. Tether has an obligation to transparently account for their reserves. Yet one year later, there is no audit and not even a simple press release explaining why the relationship with Friedman LLP was severed.
Bitcoin was specifically designed to operate in a trust-less environment so that users can circumvent trusted third parties. But here we are, being asked to blindly trust a single company that lacks any semblance of transparency.
I personally believe that anyone downplaying this four-alarm fire is actively harming the crypto community at large. Best case scenario — Tether finally produces concrete audits and we can all breathe a sigh of relieve. Worst case — Their fraud finally comes to a head and the entire cryptocurrency market suffers heavy losses and a public stain that could rival Mt. Gox.