Tether Slashes Commercial Paper Holdings by 21%

The largest stablecoin issuer by total supply released its latest attestation report on Tuesday.

AccessTimeIconFeb 22, 2022 at 4:45 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 5:57 p.m. UTC
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Tether has reduced its commercial paper holdings by $6.2 billion over the last quarter in 2021, according to its latest attestation report.

The largest stablecoin issuer by total supply cut its assets held in commercial paper from $30.5 billion in the period ending in September to $24.2 billion in December. Tether also drastically reduced its cash assets, from $7.2 billion to $4.2 billion.

Instead, the company allocated most of its reserves to Treasury bills, almost doubling assets in short-term government securities from $19.4 billion to $34.5 billion.

The attestation categorizes all $24.2 billion commercial paper assets as “Cash & Cash Equivalents & Other Short-Term Deposits & Commercial Paper,” though only $13.4 billion of that amount matures within 90 days. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) define “cash equivalents” as investments with maturities of three months or less.

The recent attestation is the first one authorized by accounting firm MHA Cayman, which announced it would take over Tether as a client earlier this year. MHA Cayman is a subsidiary of U.K.-based mid-tier firm MHA MacIntyre Hudson, which has recently been on the U.K. Financial Reporting Council’s radar for audits the company issued in 2018 and 2019.

As part of its settlement with the New York Attorney General in February 2021, Tether is required to release quarterly attestations of its assets and liabilities as a way of being more transparent when it comes to what exactly backs its tether (USDT) stablecoin. The NYAG had alleged Tether and sister company Bitfinex had attempted to cover up the loss of approximately $850 million in customer funds.

In June 2021, CoinDesk filed a Freedom of Information Law request, asking the NYAG to release Tether’s reserve breakdowns during the agency’s inquiry into the stablecoin issuer. Tether has challenged CoinDesk’s request on claims that releasing this information would result in its proprietary commercial processes being publicized.

Tether released its first attestation report in March 2021, revealing the amount of its assets and liabilities. Back then, about 50% of its reserves were held in commercial paper, compared to 30.1%, according to its latest report.

The stablecoin issuer has a total of $78.6 billion in assets as of December 2021, up from $41 billion on March 31, 2021.

USDT is used by crypto investors who want to avoid the volatility of other cryptocurrencies. It is supposed to maintain a 1:1 peg to the U.S. dollar.


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Helene Braun

Helene is a New York-based reporter covering Wall Street, the rise of the spot bitcoin ETFs and crypto exchanges. She is also the co-host of CoinDesk's Markets Daily show. Helene is a graduate of New York University's business and economic reporting program and has appeared on CBS News, YahooFinance and Nasdaq TradeTalks. She holds BTC and ETH.

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