The Cryptonomist interviewed the CTO of Tether and Bitfinex Paolo Ardoino about the latest news from the two companies and their future plans, including a debit card and much more.
Hi Paolo, recently Tether reached a $50 billion market cap. Please share your thoughts.
It’s a great achievement, sometimes we wonder whether we are dreaming because the growth has been incredible, much faster than we could have imagined. 1 year ago, around mid-March 2020, we were at 5 billion, and in the space of a year, we’ve reached ten times that number.
There have been three significant events that I think have helped us reach this milestone. First of all, we sorted out the problems with the NYAG, we proved that we have the full backing of all the dollars and thus increased our level of transparency. As a result, we have given more trust to exchanges and companies where they had not yet listed Tether, and indeed Coinbase immediately decided to list us. The remaining few exchanges are now opening up to the listing.
Moreover, Coinbase is one of the two founding members of USDC and yet it saw in Tether an increase in transparency and interest from market makers and therefore decided to list USDT, thus it is a sort of stamp of approval from Coinbase, which is not a small feat.
Any new projects or news related to Tether? What are you working on?
Our focus is moving towards the “physical”. Tether has expanded very successfully on the crypto side and is the most widely used stablecoin as far as exchanges and traders are concerned. However, this is somewhat limiting; in order to continue to grow we need to look at “real” use cases such as people buying in physical shops, so we are focusing more and more on having a strategy to bring Tether into shops, creating ad-hoc tools to drive expansion across a wider range.
And how are you going to do that with Ethereum which has such high fees, does it become a bit problematic to spend €1 at the bakery with €20 fees?
Tether is multichain and we see that right now Tether on Tron has grown a lot because there are no fees, since when you need to buy one euro of bread you are interested in speed and zero fees. The same thing applies to traders because if they want to participate in a project with $100, they definitely don’t want to pay 30% in fees. That’s also why we added Solana, even though it’s a more centralized blockchain than Ethereum, it has much lower fees.
As we are heading towards the masses we need more efficient blockchains, and Tether is supported by these.
Speaking of mass adoption and the ability to spend in shops, are you also thinking about a debit card?
We are working on a debit card. We want to replace the traditional modus operandi, otherwise there would still be a 3% fee. This is not replacing the traditional world, this is giving the traditional world a way to keep control. What we want to do is create a set of mobile solutions for retailers to accept Tether without going through traditional means.