Fears that “stablecoin” tether had in fact been minting its dollar-pegged tokens out of thin air to manipulate the price of bitcoin appear to have been baseless. A Bloomberg hack reportedly “reviewed” Tether’s bank statements and found its market cap to consistently match its dollar reserves.
The news is a blow to Tether conspiracy theorists (and the Department of Justice)—if Tether’s tethers are fully backed, “manipulation” just becomes…trading. It is, however, still possible that Tether has allowed its order-books to be overrun by so-called "wash traders" and “spoofers," third-party traders who abuse bitcoin’s price by buying and selling Tethers in quick succession causing artificial price peaks. But at least they’re wash trading with real money. Phew!
Bitcoin software developer Blockstream has reportedly consolidated its dominion over space—or at least near-earth orbit—with a new satellite over the Asia-Pacific region that will, apparently, let those without Internet in on the Bitcoin network. Blockstream CEO Adam Back suggested this would make the network more “robust” and resilient to government censorship.
To be clear, Blockstream doesn’t own any actual satellites itself, but rather, has equipped certain earthbound bitcoin nodes—the core contributors to the bitcoin network that verify transactions—with low-fi satellite dishes, or “ground stations,” that can broadcast transactions/The Blockchain through geosynchronous satellites, which use old-fashioned radio signals instead of the internet.
The interstellar project, which began in August 2017, is already up and running across the Americas, Europe, and Africa. But what about the Mushroom Kingdom?
Western Union BULLISH on maybe trialing crypto-payments one day
A nice PSA from Odilon Almeida, the president of massive cross-border payments firm Western Union:
“Western Union is ready today to adopt any kind of currency. We already operate with 130 currencies. If we one day feel like it’s the right strategy to introduce cryptocurrencies to our platform, technology-wise it’s just one more currency."
"I think cryptocurrency may become one more option of currency, or assets, around the globe to be exchanged between people and businesses. If that happens, we will be ready to launch.”
Now, we at Debrief are the last to read hype into things like this, but that is pretty…conclusive? At the very least, it’s a step-up from the usual “PayPal junior staffer’s mum BULLISH on finding out what blockchain means.” Not to mention Western Union’s trialing of crypto-based cross-border solutions like Ripple Labs’s xRapid (with, admittedly, limited success). But let’s get off the hype train right here.