Twenty four karat gold bars as seen in the U.S. West Point Mint facility
Twenty four karat gold bars as seen in the U.S. West Point Mint facility in West Point, New York, on June 5, 2013. AP

Major cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex has rolled out margin trading for the Tether Gold (XAU₮) stablecoin, the company said on its website on 30 January.

According to the announcement, three margin trading pairs have been released for the digital asset, which is allegedly backed by physical gold, enabling traders to trade Tether Gold against Tether’s native stablecoin USDT, Bitcoin (BTC) and the U.S. dollar (USD). The exchange further stated that the initial equity can go as low as 20 percent, providing traders with a maximum of 5 times leverage.

Tether announced the release of its new gold-backed digital asset last week, claiming that one Tether Gold token represented ownership of one troy ounce of physical gold. The product was made available as both an ERC-20 token for the Ethereum blockchain, and a TRC20 token for the Tron network. The firm has also said that the gold backing each token is held in a “Switzerland vault”.

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Tether Gold is only one of the stablecoins launched by Tether, the creator of the controversial USDT stablecoin. For almost a year now the company has been in the spotlight, as it struggled to convince the public that it had enough dollars to back USDT. In March 2019, the company stealthily updated its terms, revealing that their dollar-pegged stablecoin is not always backed 100% by fiat reserves.

A month later, the New York Attorney General’s office alleged that cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex lost $850 million, and used funds from Tether to cover up the mess.

On top of that, in October both Bitfinex and Tether were accused in court for cryptocurrency market manipulation, which resulted in the 2017 market bull run. Since then Bitfinex, Tether and parent company iFinex, have faced multiple suits on the matter, which resulted in four class-action suits against the companies to merge into one, according to a court order dated 24 January.

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