Joseph Lubin, one of the co-founders of Ethereum, has thrown his weight behind the controversial stable coin of Tether (USDT). In an interview with Yahoo Finance, Lubin elaborated why he believes that USDT is backed by actual US dollars in a one-to-one ratio. He added that:
“Tether’s an interesting project. Based on our analysis, which involves just talking to a bunch of people in the space, we do believe that tethers are backed 1-to-1 by U.S. dollars in bank accounts… With respect to market manipulations, I’m not sure that market manipulations are related to Tether directly, if they do exist.”
Tether Market Manipulation
The market manipulations Joseph Lubin is referring to, are claims by a research paper by faculty at the University of Texas (Austin) stating that USDT is used to prop the value of Bitcoin (BTC) during times of turmoil. The co-authors of the paper, Professor John M. Griffin and Ph.D. Candidate Amin Shams of the same institution, stated that USDTs are minted whenever the value of BTC is declining significantly. The newly minted Tethers are then used to prop the value of BTC in the markets.
The paper goes on to conclude that:
“Our analysis centers on examining potential manipulation of Bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies. We examine whether the growth of a pegged cryptocurrency, Tether, is primarily driven by investor demand, or is supplied to investors as a scheme to profit from pushing cryptocurrency prices up. By mapping the blockchains of Bitcoin and Tether, we are able to establish that entities associated with the Bitfinex exchange use Tether to purchase Bitcoin when prices are falling. Such price supporting activities are successful, as Bitcoin prices rise following the periods of intervention. These effects are present only after negative returns and periods following the printing of Tether.”
According to Lubin, the manipulation in the crypto markets might stem from the fact that most trading platforms are relatively unregulated when compared to traditional securities exchanges. He would add:
“Ideally we’ll get a little better regulation of those centralized exchanges, at least, and we’ll see less sloshing around in price.”
Ethereum’s Difficulty Bomb Delayed
In other news, Ethereum’s core developers have decided to delay the network’s ‘Difficulty bomb’ by agreeing to include the code for such a change into the upcoming Constantinople fork.
The ETH difficulty bomb refers to the increasing difficulty level of puzzles in the mining algorithm used to reward miners with Ethereum on its blockchain. As the puzzles become more difficult to solve, there is a lag in the production of blocks on the ETH network. This lag will continue to slow down the network resulting in a scenario that has been referred to as an ‘Ice Age’ where rewards will not be based on Proof-of-Work but on Proof-of-Stake.
Per the agreement by the Ethereum core developers posted on Github, the difficulty bomb will be delayed for about 18 months and there will be a reduction in the block rewards with the Constantinople fork. The summary decision stated that:
“Starting with `CNSTNTNPL_FORK_BLKNUM` the client will calculate the difficulty based on a fake block number suggesting the client that the difficulty bomb is adjusting around 6 million blocks later than previously specified with the Homestead fork. Furthermore, block rewards will be adjusted to a base of 2 ETH, uncle and nephew rewards will be adjusted accordingly.”
This decision and plans for a hard fork, further provide hope that the Ethereum core developers will also come to a discussion with regards to the scalability issues evident on the Ethereum network.
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