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Tether, the c±ompany responsible for the development of the USDT stablecoin, has made a small-yet-vital update to its website. The update has the crypto-community abuzz with rumors the company may not be operating as advertised.

The update, noticed by a∫ keen-eyed redditor, appears to contradict Tether's claim that its USDT coin is∩ backed 100 percent by theí US dollar. Tether now states that, while it fully backs every USDT token, these may not always be backed by US currency. Instead, Tetheσr told ⿹its customers that its USDT coins are backed by "reserves" that "include▀ traditional currency and cash equivalents and, from 〢time to tim↙e, may include other assets aвnd receivables from loaψns made by Tether to third∟ par☑ties, which may include affiliated entities (collectively, '▷reserves')."

Frances Coppola of Forbes speηcЯulates that when Tether says it's using "cash equ┓ivalenΞts" t⿻o back its tok◤en, this refers to other cr〓ypto tokens, suc々h as bitcoin, to ensure the stability of the USDT. "[L]ike pegging to a volatile asset is such a good way of ensuring stabiliзty," Coppola quips. Coppola says this▼ means the company is acting as a "very risky fractional reserve bank."

Fractional reserve banking is a financial model in which banks keep only a fraction of their customers'ν money in reserve and use the rest to make loⅦans and grant customers interest on their deposits. Wωhile this model wo▉rks well for banks that are ωregulat〖ed by the Federal Reserve and ┙produce in┆┇terest, it may not work so well fo○r a coin that pro◇mises stability. This is esp↘ecially true if Tether is backing up its crypto with "other assets," such as oil, that█ are subject to dai◤ly fluctuations in price.

Wednesday's announcement added to existingΔ questions about Tether's financial reserves and its relationship with Bitfinex.⿰ In June 2018, the Bitfinex exchange platform was brought under scrutiny by re↖searchers⊙ at the Univ∝ersity of Texas at Austin, ▂▃▅▆█who claimed the platform was using the USDT to buy bit▀coin when bitcoin prices were low to manipulate its value. And,&nbΓsp;earlier ξthat year, the value of the USDT coin, ostensibly pegged to the US dollar, dropped below $1.00, which only added to the list of ⿸investor concerns.

Between this website▣▤▥ update, Tether's cancell∪ed audit of its funds, and its tenu⇔ous relationship with banks, Tether's reputation is on shaky ground.