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Who is Paolo Ardoino? The New Tether CEO in Charge of an $83 Billion Empire

Last Updated November 7, 2023 3:05 PM
Teuta Franjkovic
Last Updated November 7, 2023 3:05 PM

Key Takeaways

  • Tether announced a sudden shift in leadership, with Paolo Ardoino taking on the CEO role.
  • Current CEO Jean-Louis van der Velde will “transition to an advisory role for Tether.
  • Ardoino boasts nearly a decade of experience in the Web3 world, having played pivotal roles at Bitfinex and Tether.
  • Tether, despite challenges to its stablecoin’s peg, has shown resilience

Tether, the creator of the leading stablecoin, USDT, has undergone significant alterations in its leadership structure.

In a surprising management reorganization for one of the most popular currencies in the cryptocurrency market, Tether announced  that Chief Technology Officer Paolo Ardoino will also take over as CEO starting in December.

According to a statement from the firm, current CEO Jean-Louis van der Velde will “transition to an advisory role for Tether.”

Who is Paolo Ardoino?

According to the firm, Ardoino was appointed chief technical officer of Tether in 2017. He stated he was “excited and humbled” to become CEO.

Van der Velde, who maintains a modest public presence, and as such, is not as well known in the public, was obviously not well recognized. The company’s public face is most likely Ardoino, who engages with media outlets and frequently posts on Twitter.

Paolo Ardoino is an expert in developing technical solutions for the decentralized world, with experience spanning close to 10 years in Web3 alone.

He began working with Bitfinex in 2014 as a senior software developer but was shortly promoted to chief technology officer, a position he has held ever since. Since 2017, he has also worked for Tether, the company that produces the USDT stablecoin, as its chief technical officer.

Ardoino has worked on numerous research projects concerning cybersecurity and cryptography for military applications from the beginning of his career.

He graduated from the University of Genoa with a bachelor’s in computer science before beginning his professional career as a developer.

For everyone working in the Web3 industry, 2022 was difficult and unrelenting. Centralized exchanges and algorithmic stablecoins were the two parts of the sector that were most negatively impacted by the crypto bear market.

Despite the fact that USDT is not an algorithmic stablecoin, it faced many market risks during the year. The USDT stablecoin is pegged to the US dollar, but it was unpegged in May during the Terra incident  and again in November after the FTX crash when it was pegged to $0.97.

Tether reiterated to CCN how Jean-Louis van der Velde expressed his confidence in Paolo Ardoino’s leadership to steer Tether into an exciting new phase.

Anticipating Tether’s Growth

He anticipates Tether’s continued growth, particularly in emerging markets and transformative technology, and looks forward to a future of boundless financial possibilities under Paolo’s guidance.

Ardoino expressed his honor in taking on this role and his excitement to lead the team in fostering innovation and stability in the cryptocurrency and global arena. He emphasized the importance of community collaboration in breaking down barriers and committed to upholding transparency, security, and advancing the integration of digital assets into the global financial landscape.

This was, according to the company, carefully planned transition, and it “aligns seamlessly with Tether’s long-term strategy, solidifying its position as a prominent leader in the crypto industry with resources for expansion. It underscores Tether’s dedication to supporting the growth and innovation of the crypto industry and its pivotal role in the ever-evolving financial ecosystem.”

Tether’s Reserves and the Controversies

What supports Tether is currently — and has been for a while — the largest question. It was first introduced as Realcoin in 2014, and its one-to-one backing by the US dollar was its main selling point. On the website for a while, it said, “Every tether is always backed 1-to-1 by traditional currency held in our reserves.”

This text was changed to read: “Every tether is always 100% backed by our reserves, which include conventional currency and cash equivalents and, on occasion, may include other assets and receivables from loans made by Tether to third parties, which may include affiliated entities (collectively, “reserves”).” in February 2019.

You’re not alone if the phrase “affiliated entities” made you wonder what it meant. As you can see, Tether also announced cooperation with the cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex in 2014. The Paradise Papers dump in 2017 revealed that Bitfinex and Tether are both controlled by the same individuals.

In the meantime, Tether tweeted on August 9th, “Tether has always been fully backed.”

What Can Ardoino Bring?

Ardoino has essentially served as Tether’s spokesperson for years. He has given numerous media interviews and made appearances on podcasts, frequently to defend his business and the USDT token that it is linked to against criticism.

Recently, he stated  that the company would “eventually” provide a thorough audit.

“We’re working on it,” he said.

Ardoino explained  that the absence of a full audit by the company was due to none of the main four auditing firms’ willingness to cooperate with an unregulated sector. Although crypto-related legislation is being implemented globally, the industry still lacks a comprehensive regulatory framework.

One thing is sure, if it’s to believe his sayings from 2022, Ardoino does not plan an IPO. Pointing to the situation with unbanked people and those with volatile and/or rapidly depreciating national fiat currencies, Ardoino says Tether’s total addressable market is the world’s 2 billion unbanked who cannot trust or cannot afford to use fiat reserve bank accounts in their countries.

He gave Turkey  as a prime example of a Tether use case. “(Turkish Lira) lost 50% of its value just in the last six months or something like that – it’s just insane.” Turkish people have been turning to Bitcoin (BTC) and USDT in droves after their recent currency collapse.

Ardoino said this mission focus, rather than chasing quarterly profits for Wall Street, is why Bitfinix and Tether will not have an IPO: “I’m proud that Tether is not planning to go public. We want to keep doing what we are doing and keep helping our audience, that is people that are less fortunate. And that is what, in my opinion, Bitcoin teaches us.”

Ardoino Confirms Networking $1B Profit

In its audited third quarter attestation report , Tether revealed $3.2 billion in surplus reserves for the quarter, a tiny decrease from $3.3 billion in the previous one.

With the majority of its cash and cash equivalents coming from US Treasury bills, or T-bills, the corporation witnessed its greatest percentage of cash ever.

Reserves are thought to act as insurance against a stablecoin’s detachment from the US dollar.

A year ago, Tether began converting a portion of its holdings to t-bills, and the company’s increased efforts during the first three bank failures this year that catered to the cryptocurrency community helped it survive.

T-bills accounted for $72.6 billion, up from $72.5 billion, during the quarter that ended on September 30, representing 85.7% of its total reserves, up from 85% the previous quarter.

Tether CEO Paolo Ardoino confirmed  the networking profits are still around $1 billion.

He said that mining, mining companies and mining opportunities and a few other areas from its report are outside of the consolidated report.

“So it means that we didn’t use Tether reserves,” he said .

“We took a part of the profits of the last quarter in order to make these investments. So they are fully kept outside of the reserve to not have that reserved or counted as reserved, so no one can stay as well. But mining is is tricky, is difficult.”

“So the excess reserve that we have on POP, all the 100 reserve that we that are backing USD are still accounting for $3.2 billion. So that is always our goal, to make sure that the USDT has spoken, remains overly back, overly collateralized, right. We are around 101 O 4 percent, 104% all their connector.”

Ardoino added that “when there is nothing happening in the market, people turn over to USDT.

“The other important part of our station is that Tether still holds around $72.6 billion in U.S. Treasury bills between direct exposure and indirect exposure. Just to clarify, I think it’s important we we got some questions, incorrect exposure is there.

Direct ownership of Pebbles and their accounts from morning market funds and overnight reverse repos political other allies in the US to build. So the total is $72.6 million. So we still puts the ball in Mexico, Australia and UAE and ownership,” he stated .

Tether is still under intense regulatory examination, and it will take some time to determine how Ardoino’s appointments will benefit the business.

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