Did Tether FAKE a hack to cover up crimes? We dive into the conspiracy theory...

It's being discussed all over the Cryptocurrency communities and social networks, as well as some of the more secretive encrypted channels, which we luckily have access to.

So, lets take a shot at connecting all the pieces of information floating around all these different places.

Disclaimer: this is a THEORY at this point. I am only reporting on this story - not endorsing it.

Tether/Bitfinex have aimed to act somewhat as a bank. To do so, they created what they call Tether, or"USDT" which does not change in value.

They have always claimed 1 USDT will always equal 1 US Dollar.

The idea is, you could sell your coins, and not have to withdraw them immediately to a bank.  They could sit in Tether, and will always stay the same value. You could then withdraw them, or put them back into cryptocurrency whenever you choose.

Basically, a savings account.

On Bitfinex, when you "cashed out" - you didn't receive USD sent to a bank, you received USDT on the exchange.

The claim some are making is: Tether/Bitfinex were making more USDT out of thin air.  Then buying other cryptocurrencies on exchanges which accepted USDT.

Which is a massive claim to make.

Today before the news officially broke, the red flags began being noticed by those watching the company closely...

As soon as news started to break, the finger pointing began...

From 4chan.
Today many are pointing to a whistleblower who goes by "Bitfinex'ed" who has been pushing this theory on twitter for some time, and earlier today went on "Off Chain Live" a podcast hosted by Jimmy Chong, and laid out his theory.

With no camera on, and his voice disquised, he went on to explain he believes the hack was an inside job.

So here's why it impacts the market - if Tether purchased Bitcoin with USDT, which doesn't actually represent $1 USD each in value, what is the true value of Bitcoin? If true, all Bitcoin purchases made with UDST will need to be re-evaluated.

That brings uncertainty to the market - how much fake money has been pumped into the Bitcoin economy?

The theory dates back some time as well.  An analyst at BHB Blockchain Lab put together this chart, showing how when new USDT was created, a Bitcoin pump followed shortly after...

New tethers VS bitcoin prices...

So where does that leave us? Well, Tether now has likely caught the attention of law enforcement (although no official investigation has been announced).  They'll need to prove they hold $1 for every 1 USDT.  If they do, case closed - conspiracy theory debunked!

If they can't, every USDT transaction will need to be looked at.  USTD isn't "worthless" even if this theory is true, it does represent the money of some legitimate Tether users, but what the true value would be is unknown.

Anyone with additional information, feel free to contact me (click my name below). Sources may remain anonymous if they wish.

Author: Ross Davis
San Francisco News Desk