Tether, the issuer of the dollar-pegged cryptocurrency USDT, said its relationship with audit firm Friedman LLP has ended.
The statement, provided Saturday evening by a company spokesperson to CoinDesk, confirms the suspicions of online sleuths and is likely to raise new questions about the company’s finances.
Friedman had been working on an audit of Tether, which has close ties to the cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex. Critics of the two companies, most prominently the blogger who goes by the handle Bitfinex’d, have claimed that Tether had been printing tokens out of thin air to drive up the price of bitcoin on the exchange.
It is not clear from the spokesperson’s emailed statement who broke up with whom. The statement reads:
“We confirm that the relationship with Friedman is dissolved. Given the excruciatingly detailed procedures Friedman was undertaking for the relatively simple balance sheet of Tether, it became clear that an audit would be unattainable in a reasonable time frame. As Tether is the first company in the space to undergo this process and pursue this level of transparency, there is no precedent set to guide the process nor any benchmark against which to measure its success.”
The company remains “committed to the process,” the spokesperson added.
Eagle-eyed cryptocurrency enthusiasts on Twitter had raised doubts about the status of the relationship last week, noting that Friedman had dropped Bitfinex’s name from the list of clients on the audit firm’s website. Friedman did not return calls and emails from CoinDesk over the course of the week.
In a preliminary report released in September, Friedman said Tether had $442.9 million of cash on reserve, matching the outstanding issuance of USDT – but that assessment was not a full audit and contained numerous caveats.
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