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Tether

Digital Money for a Digital Age

A digital token backed by fiat currency provides individuals and organizations with a robust and decentralized method of exchanging value while using a familiar accounting unit. The innovation of blockchains is an auditable and cryptographically secured global ledger. Asset­backed token issuers and other market participants can take advantage of blockchain technology, along with embedded consensus systems, to transact in familiar, less volatile currencies and assets. In order to maintain accountability and to ensure stability in exchange price, we propose a method to maintain a one­to­one reserve ratio between a cryptocurrency token, called tethers, and its associated real­world asset, fiat currency. This method uses the Bitcoin blockchain, Proof of Reserves, and other audit methods to prove that issued tokens are fully backed and reserved at all times.

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About Tether

There exists a vast array of assets in the world which people freely choose as a store­of­value, a transactional medium, or an investment. We believe the Bitcoin blockchain is a better technology for transacting, storing, and accounting for these assets. Most estimates measure global wealth around 250 trillion dollars with much of that being held by banks or similar financial institutions. The migration of these assets onto the Bitcoin blockchain represents a proportionally large opportunity.

Bitcoin was created as “an electronic payment system based on cryptographic proof instead of trust, allowing any two willing parties to transact directly with each other without the need for a trusted third party. Bitcoin created a new class of digital currency, a decentralized digital currency or cryptocurrency.

Some of the primary advantages of cryptocurrencies are low transaction costs, international borderless transferability and convertibility, trustless ownership and exchange, pseudo­anonymity, real­time transparency, and immunity from legacy banking system problems. Common explanations for the current limited mainstream use of cryptocurrencies include volatile price swings, inadequate mass­market understanding of the technology, and insufficient ease­of­use for non­technical users.

The idea for asset­pegged cryptocurrencies was initially popularized2 in the Bitcoin community by the Mastercoin white paper authored by J.R. Willett in January 2012. Today, we’re starting to see these ideas built with the likes of BitAssets, Ripple, Omni, Nxt, NuShares/Bits, and others. One should note that all Bitcoin exchanges and wallets (like Coinbase, Bitfinex, and Coinapult) which allow you to hold value as a fiat currency already provide a similar service in that users can avoid the volatility (or other traits) of a particular cryptocurrency by selling them for fiat currency, gold, or another asset. Further, almost all types of existing financial institutions, payment providers, etc, which allow you to hold fiat value (or other assets) subsequently provide a similar service. In this white paper, we focus on applications wherein the fiat value is stored and transmitted with software that is open­source, cryptographically secure, and uses distributed ledger technology, i.e. a true cryptocurrency.

While the goal of any successful cryptocurrency is to completely eliminate the requirement of trust, each of the aforementioned implementations either rely on a trusted third party or have other technical, market­based, or process­based drawbacks and limitations.

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