October has seen a very important piece of news in the Blockchain Space: Paolo Ardoino will be the new Tether CEO, replacing Jean-Louis van der Velde, who will stay on as a consultant for the USDT minter. Both men will retain their respective roles as CTO and CEO at BitFinex, the cryptocurrency exchange owned by iFinex, the Hong Kong based owner of both projects.
This means an internal change of guard at the highest level of the biggest stablecoin’s hierarchy, with the direction of this $80BIL behemoth under the supervision of its Italian Chief Technology Officer (CTO) since 2017, now tasked with leading the project towards new horizons.
Tether has started its journey to the top of the Stablecoin market in 2014; After J.R. Willett published his 2012 whitepaper expanding on how to potentially build more cryptocurrencies on top of Bitcoin as a base layer. After a few precursors to Tether such as Mastercoin and RealCoin, the project was officially labeled as Tether in November 2014.
Tether’s has not always been in a state of smooth sailing. As soon as 2015, it was called out for publicly claiming that it was a separate entity from Bitfinex; the stablecoin also claimed to be fully backed from the start, but on-chain analysis suggested otherwise. To this day, no external auditor has been implemented by USDT.
USDT has seen two primary exponential growth periods in its supply; the first ranges from the beginning of 2017 up to September 2018, when the stablecoin went from an outstanding $10 Million to $2.8 Billion, a gigantic 280X growth as Bitcoin’s run to its then-all time high $20,000 price tag took place. And its second, decisive growth spurt came with the subsequent 2021 bull run; as The cryptocurrency market blew through a total $2T market capitalization, Tether officially became the go-to blockchain stablecoin provider having already surpassed Bitcoin in 2019 as the most traded asset in the space.
USDT’s fate is intertwined with cryptocurrency’s short and medium term success, as most investors utilize the stablecoin’s trading pairs to enter the market: its hypothetical collapse would bring about unforeseeable consequences.
Let’s take a look at how Tether itself chose to present its CTO and new CEO to the world, in a statement released on the 13th of October:
"Ardoino's journey in the cryptocurrency industry began in 2014 when he joined Bitfinex, recognized as the industry’s most advanced and resilient cryptocurrency exchange. At Bitfinex, Ardoino played a pivotal role in enhancing the platform's Bitcoin trading capabilities, rapidly earning recognition for his dedication and profound knowledge of blockchain technology. In 2017, Ardoino assumed the role of Chief Technology Officer at Tether, a leading stablecoin provider. At Tether, Ardoino continued to demonstrate his exceptional ability to drive innovation and expand business horizons. One of his most notable achievements was co-leading the strategy that led to the substantial growth of Tether's market presence and market capitalization, which is currently at a high of USD$83B. This achievement solidified Tether's position as a global stablecoin powerhouse and an indispensable component of the cryptocurrency ecosystem."
The Italian has shown much interest in financial inclusion across the board, which could bring Tether to focus more on building and proposing new technological infrastructure to its users.
Being Ardoino a CTO by trade, we can expect USDT to keep up the pace with crypto’s ever-changing landscape; he has also shown interest in expanding the dollar’s trading influence through the stablecoin he commands. It is also worth noting that Tether’s structure has seen relatively no significant change: being a project’s CTO already means being in a project’s shortlist when it comes to important people for its survival and future policies.
Transferring more decisional power to an already fundamental individual is not the same as shaking up a project’s core; however, certain territories which maybe were more valuable to Ardoino than previous leaders might see more exploration by Tether under his leadership. As any stablecoin, USDT’s key feature is its collateralization; as long as the project doesn’t deviate from its capacity to handle daily multi billion dollar withdrawals, this simply means a possibly more versatile technological approach by the crypto giant.
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