Tether (₮) (USD₮) is a cryptocurrency with digital tokens designed to replicate the value of the United States Dollar. The theory is that this provides protection from the volatility of cryptocurrencies, so 1 USD₮ will always be worth $1. To achieve this Tether claims to have each token backed 100% by actual assets in the platform’s reserve account.
The origins of Tether came from a whitepaper published online in January 2012, in which software developer J.R. Willett described the possibility of building new currencies on top of the Bitcoin protocol. Credited with ‘inventing the ICO’ to fund the project, Willett went on to implement his idea in the form of the ‘Mastercoin’. The Mastercoin protocol became the technological foundation of the Tether platform. Tethers exist on blockchains using the Omni Protocol, and as ERC20 tokens.
Two original members of the Mastercoin Foundation, Brock Pierce and Craig Sellars, became co-founders of Tether. Former child actor, Brock was a minor partner in a digital entertainment network that raised $88 million in venture capital in the 1990s. In 2013, he joined brothers Bart and Bradford Stephens in founding the venture capital firm Blockchain Capital (BCC) which was reported to have raised $85 million in two venture funds by October 2017.
Co-founder Craig Sellars started his career as a UX developer, worked in various engineering positions before presiding over a number of wireless operations. His first foray into the blockchain space was at Tether, later becoming CTO of exchange Bitfinnex for a year and a half. Since then he has held a variety of roles as co-founder, technologist, facilitator, and advisor for several blockchain projects and companies including vAtomic, Unsung, Fuzo, Factom, Synereo, Tau Chain and the MaidSafe Foundation. He is the founder of the Omni Foundation which developed the protocol used by Tether.
Reeve Collins, the third co-founder, launched several ventures before Tether, including Traffic Marketplace, one of the first online ad networks to be acquired by Vivendi Universal, RedLever, a branded entertainment studio, acquired by Adconion Media Group, and Pala Interactive, where he secured $70 million to create a legal, real-money gambling site in the US.
Tether was incorporated in Hong Kong with offices in Switzerland. In January 2015, the cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex enabled Tether trading on its platform. Bitfinex officials Philip Potter and Giancarlo Devasini were responsible for setting up Tether Holdings Limited in the British Virgin Islands in 2014. A spokesperson for Bitfinex and Tether stated that Jan Ludovicus van der Velde was also the CEO of both firms at the time.Read More