Stablecoins are often discussed with regard to their “stability.” It is usually questioned whether a stablecoin is sufficiently backed with money or other assets. Undoubtedly, it is a very important aspect of stablecoin value. But, does it make sense if the legal terms of a stablecoin do not give you, the stablecoin holder, the legal right to redeem that digital record on blockchain for fiat currency?

This article aims to look into the legal terms of the two largest stablecoins — Tether (USDT) by Tether and USD Coin (USDC) by Centre Consortium, established by Coinbase and Circle — to answer the question: Do they owe you anything?

Related: Stablecoins will have to reflect and evolve to live up to their name

Tether

Article 3 of Tether’s Terms of Service explicitly states:

“Tether reserves the right to delay the redemption or withdrawal of Tether Tokens if such delay is necessitated by the illiquidity or unavailability or loss of any Reserves held by Tether to back the Tether Tokens, and Tether reserves the right to redeem Tether Tokens by in-kind redemptions of securities and other assets held in the Reserves. Tether makes no representations or warranties about whether Tether Tokens that may be traded on the Site may be traded on the Site at any point in the future, if at all.”

Let us unpack this. First, Tether may delay any claim in case of lack of liquidity, unavailability or loss of reserves. We reasonably should ask how this can even happen if they claim (in the same article) that “Tether Tokens are 100% backed by Tether’s Reserves.” The answer is found…


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