Total Market Cap: $541 billion (-7% w/w)
MC 7-Day High-Low Range: $148 billion (-56% w/w)
Bitcoin Dominance: 34.3% (+0.4 w/w)

Tether Printing Cash

Tether (USDT) is the preeminent “stablecoin” in the crypto world; over 1.6 billion USDT have been printed and circulated, each purportedly backed 1-to-1 by USD. Market participants use USDT as an easy way to “cash out” or “park their money” without having to go through a fiat gateway (and their exorbitant fees) to convert to real cash. All major crypto exchanges offer USDT as a trading pair and proxy for USD value. The problem is that Tether has virtual impunity to print as much as they want, and no third party has been able to validate the claimed “100% backed” USD in Tether’s bank accounts.

Until now. Early Bitcoin adopter and whale Zhao Dong, as well as CEO of crypto exchange Lao Mao, were hanging out in the Tether CFO Giancarlo’s hotel room, and Giancarlo pulled out his phone to show them Tether’s bank accounts in Tokyo. Over $3 billion! The group celebrated by taking a selfie and posting it on Weibo. Some weren’t convinced: “你出个第三方律师会计师证明才信,你说的不算”

In other news, an “actual” USD-backed and professionally-audited stablecoin called TrueUSD just launched for early access. If we can’t trust banks in this world, who can we trust!?

India Wants Its Taxes

Reuters continues its crusade against crypto with a new article about the Indian government’s crackdown to get their fair share of crypto gains via taxes. The government’s survey over 17 months showed $3.5 billion worth of transactions (and those were just the honest ones). A finance ministry official (very specific) said they were “looking into the possibility of imposing restrictions”, a seemingly vague threat except PM Modi got rid of large bills a year ago, so Indian citizens should really just pay their taxes and not mess with Modi.

Weiss Ratings: Sub-Prime Crypto

In a thinly-veiled attempt to “blockchain-ify” their company, the venerated (/s) ratings agency Weiss Ratings (with their very modern website) released their first crypto ratings report, giving no “A” grades, a “C+” to Bitcoin (BTC), and the highest grade “B” to Ethereum (ETH) and EOS. Their ratings are behind a paywall, but full screenshots reproduced courtesy of Twitter tweets. Official ratings methodology. Reddit digs up garbage on Weiss and an inside look at their methodology.

Robinhood vs. Coinbase

Robinhood (referral), the zero-fee stock trading mobile app supposedly popular among “Millenials”, announced their foray into crypto this morning with “Don’t Sleep”. Users can now start tracking 16 different crypto tokens, and begin trading Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) in February. Millenials have long decried the iron fist of Coinbase (referral) and sought deliverance… we hope our prayers have finally been answered. Over 900k users have signed up for the waitlist at time of writing.

See you guys next week —

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Last week: Crypto Weekly Roundup 1/18/18
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Crypto Weekly Roundup is for informational purposes only and does not constitute any investment recommendations.