Kiffmeister’s #Fintech Daily Digest (05/16/2021)*

Digital Currencies: Risk or Promise?

I have no news of any importance to report today (and none yesterday) but if you’re looking for some good reading on central bank digital currency (CBDC) check out the latest edition of the Cato Journal with CBDC ruminations from a super star line-up! If you want the highlights check out this Twitter thread from Juan Gutiérrez, but many of the articles are well worth reading in their entirety.

Tether publishes … two pie charts of its reserves

There have also been some interesting blog posts and Twitter threads on the Tether scandal. As a reminder, for the first time, Tether revealed the breakdown of its reserves that back its USDT stablecoin. As of March 31, 2021 they were composed of 49.6% commercial paper, 18.4% fiduciary deposits, 12.6% secured loans (none to affiliates) and 10% in corporate bonds and precious metals. The remaining 9% was held in the form of various cash equivalents. Here are some of the blog posts and Twitter threads I found interesting and enlightening:

  • Paul Amery gave a succinct discussion of the data and how the disclosure compares to other stablecoin issuers. 
  • Amy Castor and David Gerard cast their critical eyes on the data and provide some critical analysis. 
  • Caitlin Long on how this Tether scandal may be connected to the crypto selloff of the last few days. 
  • Stephen Diehl on why the scandal represents a form of systemic risk for the crypto market. 

*For those interested in intra-day updates and news that didn’t make the Daily Digest cut, please check out my Diigo fintech bookmarks: