Tether is a stablecoin, namely a cryptocurrency associated with an underlying security. Tether provides one of the most relevant ways to buy bitcoins and has been the centre of many controversies. In fact, it has been hypothesized that new tethers are issued without the underlying reserves, and that new massive Tether emissions are the basis of strong speculative movements on the Bitcoin, with consequent bubble effects. In the course of this article, we conduct a Social Network Analysis focused on the Tether transaction graph to identify the main actors that play a leading role on the network and characterize the transaction flow between them. From our analysis, we conclude that 1) the Tether transaction network does not enjoy the Smalltalk property, with the robustness and reliability it carries with it; 2) cryptopcurrency exchanges are the nodes with the greatest centrality; 3) even Assortativity is not found, as the subjects who move Tether on a large scale do not give continuity to their presence and operations, therefore do not get a chance to consolidate stable links between them; and 4) among the exchanges, Bitfinex, which has co-ownership and co-administration relationships with the Tether issuer, can be mostly associated with the Rich-gets-Richer property.

Tether: A Study on Bubble-Networks

Pareschi R.
2021-01-01

Abstract

Tether is a stablecoin, namely a cryptocurrency associated with an underlying security. Tether provides one of the most relevant ways to buy bitcoins and has been the centre of many controversies. In fact, it has been hypothesized that new tethers are issued without the underlying reserves, and that new massive Tether emissions are the basis of strong speculative movements on the Bitcoin, with consequent bubble effects. In the course of this article, we conduct a Social Network Analysis focused on the Tether transaction graph to identify the main actors that play a leading role on the network and characterize the transaction flow between them. From our analysis, we conclude that 1) the Tether transaction network does not enjoy the Smalltalk property, with the robustness and reliability it carries with it; 2) cryptopcurrency exchanges are the nodes with the greatest centrality; 3) even Assortativity is not found, as the subjects who move Tether on a large scale do not give continuity to their presence and operations, therefore do not get a chance to consolidate stable links between them; and 4) among the exchanges, Bitfinex, which has co-ownership and co-administration relationships with the Tether issuer, can be mostly associated with the Rich-gets-Richer property.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11695/134770
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