Tether alleged that it received a ransom note asking it to pay 500 bitcoins or the actors will leak documents to the public that could harm the Bitcoin ecosystem
Tether, the issuer of the USDT stablecoin, revealed that it received a ransom note asking it to pay 500 bitcoins (worth around $22 million at current BTC value) to a certain address. Failure to pay the ransom would force the bad actors to leak documents that could harm the Bitcoin ecosystem.
The company said this was a sad attempt at a shakedown but takes the threat seriously and will deal with it accordingly. Tether tweeted, “Today we also received a ransom demand for 500 BTC to be sent to bc1qa9f60pved3w3w0p7snpxlnh5t4uj95vxn797a7. The sender said that unless they receive the BTC by tomorrow, they will leak documents to the public in an effort to harm the bitcoin ecosystem. We are not paying”.
Tether added that it had reported the forged communications and the ransom note to the authorities. The company said it would fully support authorities in an investigation of the extortion scheme.
“It is unclear whether this is a basic extortion scheme like those directed at other crypto companies or people looking to undermine Tether and the crypto community as a whole. Either way, those seeking to harm Tether are getting increasingly desperate”, Tether added.
Tether remains one of the most important yet controversial companies in the crypto space. Its USDT token, pegged to the Greenback (US dollar), is used by traders and exchanges, making it an important part of the crypto ecosystem.
However, Tether has been accused of artificially inflating Bitcoin’s price, especially during 2017’s bull run. Tether’s market cap has surged massively in recent years, and the company claims that every USDT token issued is backed by dollars or dollar-equivalent assets held in a bank account.
Last week, the USDT issuer settled with the New York Attorney General (NYAG) regarding a multi-year investigation surrounding an $850 million loan made to Bitfinex exchange. Despite the settlement, Attorney General Leticia James recently said Tether’s claims that the USDT tokens were fully backed by US dollars at all times was a complete lie.
Tether has been in the news numerous times over the past few years. However, it would be interesting to see if Tether can prove that its USDT tokens are backed by US dollars held in banks. Under terms of the agreement, Tether will provide quarterly reports on its reserves till 2023.