After printing almost a billion dollars in January alone, Tether (USDT) has suddenly gone very quiet, printing none at all since the 23rd of January, eleven days ago.
That’s probably the longest period they have gone without printing since they started issuing Tethers en-mass, but why did they suddenly stop?
On the 30th of January it was reported CFTC had subpoenaed Tether, with that report initially stating it was “last week.”
The source of that news appears to be an individual from Tether or Bitfinex because Bloomberg said the person “asked not to be identified discussing private information.”
CFTC then later revealed the subpoena had been sent on the sixth of December, with many arguing this was old news and as tether had printed since the sixth of December, it was unaffected.
But was it old news? Bloomberg isn’t know for shabby reporting. They had a scoop of sorts which others didn’t, so you wouldn’t expect them to make significant mistakes because you’d think they were not under immense time pressure to get it out straight away.
And although you could hypothesize they might have overlooked 6th of December and taken it for 6th of January, that’s still not a week away from the 30th of December.
Bloomberg therefore was most probably told by their source the subpoena was sent last week, and thus that’s what they reported.
But CFTC said it was sent on the 6th. So what most probably happened is that it must have taken some time for the subpoena to be actually received.
We don’t know how exactly CFTC sent it, but with Bitfinex based in Hong Kong, a month or so for actual receipt isn’t unreasonable.
And now looking back at the data, it is probable the subpoena was received around the 23rd of January, which is “last week” from the 30th of January.
As you might understand, it would have probably taken some time for Tether and Bitfinex executives to understand the now changed situation, with one of them then probably making it public through Bloomberg a week later.
From the day the subpoena was most likely received, 23rd of January, Bitfinex has printed no further funds. Quite unusually so considering they were printing hundreds of millions in the previous days.
They did try to print 30 million USDT on the 31st of January, but on the same day, that was revoked, with the tokens destroyed. Why they were revoked, we do not know, but perhaps an executive got involved and asked them to ceases operations.
Tether thus has seemingly immediately gone silent after receiving the subpoena, with the initial Bloomberg report now looking more correct than the updated version.