Tether, the startup company that backs a dollar-pegged cryptocurrency, has hired Leonardo Real, former AML manager at the Bank of Montreal, to take on the role of its Chief Compliance Officer.
Leonardo has over 10 years of experience within the traditional finance and funds compliance industry. His appointment as Tether’s CCO is intended to provide the virtual coin operator with the expertise and experience required to ensure that it can understand and meet relevant regulatory compliance standards.
These new hires from mainstream finance firms respond to the recent calls to regulate cryptocurrency exchanges, which are gathering steam with several regulators now require the operators of such venues to perform the same level of client due diligence as banks do.
Mr. Real is also a longtime advocate of blockchain technology and the integration of token markets into the mainstream. In 2016, he organized a cryptocurrency, AML-focused event in Toronto, which was attended by regulators, bankers, law enforcement professionals, and companies in the crypto space to discuss risks of blockchain and related startups.
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Bitfinex Murky Relationship with Tether
The news of Real’s addition to the Tether team comes in the wake of a prolonged debate over its tokens, which are backed by US dollar deposits, with each token always worth one dollar.
In addition to allegations of not having adequate USD reserve to back its USDT token, a recent research by a University of Texas professor claimed that Tether seems to be used to generate fake demand in order to both stabilize and manipulate Bitcoin prices. Although the report can’t confirm price manipulation, it does point to suspicious patterns.
Questions about Tether and Bitfinex have dogged the cryptocurrency world since last year, after the CFTC asked the leading bitcoin exchange to provide more information about their relationships, as the two entities share the same CEO, Jean-Louis van der Velde.
Commenting on his appointment, Tether’s CEO said: “His depth of experience managing AML risk in capital markets, as well as the wealth management and commercial banking sectors, combined with his proven expertise in quality control management and strategy formulation will make him an invaluable asset to our company. All of us at Tether have every confidence in his ability to oversee and manage all relevant compliance issues as we continue to move forward and grow.”
“Joining Tether as CCO is an an incredibly exciting move for me personally, and I am particularly impressed by the motivation, dedication, and talent of the Tether team. I look forward to helping showcase Tether’s commitment to transparency and regulatory compliance within the blockchain and cryptocurrency space,” added Real.