What is Tether (USDT)? If you, reader, have been interacting with cryptocurrencies and assets for any length of time - and especially if you’ve been trading cryptoassets - the utility of stablecoins has probably become clear by now.
As long as you don’t need to exchange your crypto for actual fiat money, stablecoins allow you to mimic the function of cash within the crypto-universe - specifically, the function of stability. And as much as we all love crypto, stability is something most of us need - and most cryptos are distinctly unstable.
And among stablecoins stands Tether (or USDT), both loved and dreaded, still bigger than any other stablecoin. Tether has been around for a while, with the first USDT “minted” in 2014.
Tether tokens are backed 1:1 by the dollars that customers or investors put up when buying them. It does not have its own blockchain, but rather functions within Bitcoin’s script as a second-level currency. This layer atop Bitcoin’s is called the Omni Layer.
Tether’s relationship with the cryptoasset industry might be described as permanently ambivalent. Although the most widely used stablecoin, there has been rife speculation that Tether does not actually back their issuing with real dollars from customers or investors - that they are simply printing money!
Entire blogs have been dedicated to gleaning the details of this supposedly fraudulent operation, and many have speculated that Tether would someday bring down the whole cryptoasset industry.
This is because, for years, Tether and the closely associated Bitfinex exchange - who have shared banking relationships and management - have struggled to maintain long term access to regulated banking. In the first half of 2019, Tether’s banking arrangements have seemed to stabilize - but who knows for how long.
Tether’s Elastic Tether - The Tether Premium
During the most recent of Tether’s major banking concerns, the stablecoin’s price diverged significantly from its 1:1 USD valuation by as much as five percent. This premium caused USDT-paired bitcoin to trade a hundred or more dollars more than USD-paired bitcoin, creating a fair bit of havoc in the markets at the time.
Because of the possibility of such price fluctuations, it is probably a good idea when using Tether to remain vigilant - especially if using it for long term storage.
How to Get It
Despite all these worries, Tether has not yet imploded in a fiery wreck. So if you want to hazard using it, here’s how.
By far the easiest way to acquire USDT is by buying it on nearly any cryptoasset exchange that you’re currently using. It is almost universally available on prominent (and even not so prominent) exchanges. It can be bought with both fiat currency and many cryptoassets.
Although Tether is subjected to ever-increasing competition from other altcoins - both centralized and algorithmic - Tether will almost always be available.
Many altcoins trade directly against Tether, which tends to make these markets more liquid and volatile. This is because many traders and investors hold Tether in order stay out of markets; and trading Tether directly for an altcoin instead of needing to make the extra step of buying bitcoin or Ether is significantly simpler.
Direct From the Source
The other way to get Tether is by buying it directly from the company itself.
Mostly, though, buying direct from Tether is for those with deep pockets. For quite some time, redeeming Tether for actual dollars was not available. Late last year, the service resumed - but only for those holding a minimum of 100,000 Tether tokens.
Dealing directly with the Tether gateway requires a full registration (with fee) and KYC/AML submission. Furthermore, US citizens or residents are barred from using Tether’s official gateway.
If you still want to buy directly from Tether, however, here's how to do so:
Part 1 - Create an account with Tether.io
Step 1: Click here to go to Tether.to
Step 2: Click “Signup” to create an account
Step 3: Fill in your personal details and click “Create Account”
Step 4: Your account will be created. In order to use it, you must activate 2-factor authentication, which will also add an extra layer of security to your account. Click “Security Page”
Step 5: Choose the method to activate 2-FA with. We’re going to choose “Google Authenticator”
Step 6: Scan the QR-code (1) or type the code (2) in Google Authenticator
Step 7: You will be given a code (Which changes every so often). Type the code in and click “Enable”
2-FA is now active. You’ll need your phone to access your account, so make sure you don’t lose it.
Step 8: Now go to your email address and click the activation link sent by Tether
Your email will be confirmed
Part 2 - Verify your Identity
In order to deposit or withdraw USD, you must first go through a verification process
Step 1: Click "yourusername" on the upper right corner
Step 2: Click "Verification"
Step 3: Choose "Individual Verification"
Step 4: Now scroll down. Take some time to read the information displayed as it will help with the verification process
Step 5: Click "Continue to Individual Verification"
Step 6: Complete all sections displayed to fully veirfy your account. Click "Begin" to start each section
Part 3 - Send/Recieve/Withdraw
Sending and recieving USDT is pretty straight forward. You will be given a Bitcoin wallet address which you can use to recieve USDT funds. All you need to do is go to "Add Funds":
You will be shown a wallet address which can be used to recieve USDT or Bitcoin:
To Recieve funds from your bank account click "Fund from Bank" and follow the instructions shown
To send USDT or Bitcoin simply go to "Send Funds"
Then simply enter the Bitcoin address and amount of USDT you want to send.
To convert and send USDT to your bank account click "Withdraw" and follow the instructions shown
Lastly, you can also convert your BTC to USDT and vice-versa. Simply click "Convert" and follow the instructions shown
And that's it! You can now use USDT freely. Remember that to convert USDT to USD and vice-versa you need to verify your account.