The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is closely examining the cryptocurrency markets.
On Tuesday, it was reported that the CFTC issued subpoenas to cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex and digital asset company Tether. According to Nathaniel Popper of The New York Times, this took place just last month – though the legal notices were only reported today.
News of the subpoenas arrives shortly after Tether dissolved its relationship with auditor Friedman LLP.
A somewhat mysterious figure, Jean-Louis Van der Velde, is listed as CEO of both Bitfinex and Tether.
At present, there are approximately $2.3 billion Tether tokens outstanding, per CoinMarketCap. Although they are meant to be pegged one-to-one with the US dollar, they have sometimes deviated from that standard.
Recently, Tether has drawn the ire of cryptocurrency enthusiasts who suspect that the company is creating the USDT without possessing actual dollar reserves. Some have speculated that this is being done in an effort to pump the price of bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.
At present, a peer-to-peer Hong Kong cryptocurrency exchange, OKEx, accounts for a substantial portion of the Tether trading volume.
At the time of publication, OKEx has $832 million, or 34.38 percent, of Tether's 24-hour trading volume across the bitcoin, bitcoin cash, and Ether trading pairs. Notably, Bitfinex possesses $124 million, or 5.14 percent, of Tether's 24-hour trading volume – but that's apparently one-to-one on the USDT/USD trading pair.
At the time of press, Ronn Torossian, president of 5WPR, agency of record for Bitfinex and Tether, had not yet replied to a request for comment. Calls to Friedman LLP were not returned.
Thus far, there have been no announcements regarding the subpoenas from social media channels for Bitfinex or Tether. There are also no relevant press releases posted on either company's website.