Even under the often surrealistic crypto standards, Tether has a strange history. The company was founded in 2014 by Brock Pierce, a cryptocurrency evangelist who, as a child actor, starred in the movie “Mighty Ducks”. He and his friend, Reeve Collins, then handed over control of the company to a former plastic surgeon named Giancarlo Devasini, who had kept some of Tether’s assets in a bank in the Bahamas run by one of the creators of the “Inspector Gadget” cartoon.
Tether is growing rapidly. Last year, it issued about 50 billion stablecoins, more than three times the worldwide supply. “If we have to exchange up to the last cent, we can do it,” Mr Ardoino said in the interview.
The company is operated by approximately 50 employees in Europe, Asia and Latin America. The chief executive, JL van der Velde, is a Dutch businessman LinkedIn profile suggests he is based in Hong Kong; the company declined to confirm location. He and Mr Devasini, the head of operations, rarely speak in public. Tether’s common face is Mr. Ardoino, who describes his friends as “normal people” who are shocked by the company’s growth.
“He didn’t think it could initially be too big,” Mr. Ardoino said. “He’s not ready to be a common man. There’s nothing wrong with that.”
Sometimes, Tether insists that the stablecoin is fully backed by the U.S. dollar. But last year, New York Attorney General Letitia James, called the claim is “false.”
A few years earlier, Tether-related crypto currency exchanges had lost $ 850 million in business deals so sour. To cover the loss, the exchange, Bitfinex, took a loan from Tether reserves, leaving stablecoin partially unbacked, according to Ms James’ investigation.