Report Shows Crypto Focused Hedge Funds are Shorting USDT

A Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report revealed that crypto-focused hedge funds are increasingly shorting the controversial U.S. dollar-pegged stablecoin, Tether (USDT), amid a bleak market outlook nearly a month after the implosion of terraUSD (UST). 

Leon Marshall, head of institutional sales at Genesis, the first U.S. OTC bitcoin trading company, said in a statement that “There has been a real spike in the interest from traditional hedge funds who are taking a look at tether and looking to short it.” Marshall added the positions were worth at least “hundreds of millions” of dollars. 


Genesis explained that short positions increased after the multi-billion-dollar implosion of UST. Prices of the programmable stablecoin, which is supposed to trade 1:1 to the U.S. Dollar, plunged to currently trading 3 cents as of the time of this writing. The fall of LUNA and UST caused a contagion risk damage within the crypto space that affected prominent crypto lenders and trading funds. 

What You Should Know 

  • According to the WSJ, some funds are shorting USDT as a bet on the broader economy as the U.S. Federal Reserve raises interest rates to curb 40-year-high inflation. Others are concerned about the quality of the assets backing tether. 
  • Stablecoins like Tether are backed by fiat currencies and equivalent asset investments such as “commercial paper,” bank deposits, bonds, gold, and cryptocurrencies, as per issuer Tether Global. 
  • The stablecoin market has taken a hit since UST’s implosion in May with investors redeeming huge amounts of USDT. In mid-June, investors pulled some $1.7 billion from Tether in a week alone.  

Data from CoinGecko reveals that Tether’s market capitalization has fallen over $20 billion since mid-May. 

  • Funds like Fir Tree Partners and Viceroy Research LLC have previously bet against Tether, citing opacity about the asset’s actual backing and the lack of audited reserves. 
  • Tether officials have, however, denied such risks exist. In June, Tether said rumors of its portfolio being “85% backed by Chinese or Asian commercial paper” were “completely false” and likely perpetrated by those looking to generate “additional profits from an already stressed market. 

In April, a Tether spokesperson told MarketWatch that said that the short-sellers seem to be involved in a “clever scheme to raise capital from those less knowledgeable, by leveraging on disinformation with the end goal of collecting a management fee.”


CryptoStablecoinTether (USDT)

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