Tether takes jab at Ripple after CEO hints at US crackdown

Tether takes jab at Ripple after CEO hints at US crackdown
Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse is waging a war of words with Tether CEO Paolo Ardoino. Credit: Robert Tjalondo/chainofevents
  • Tether CEO Paolo Ardoino calls Ripple chief Brad Garlinghouse an "uninformed" CEO.
  • Ripple is launching a stablecoin at the end of 2024.

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse reignited a long-running spat between stablecoin issuers after saying authorities are coming for his biggest rival.

“The US government is going after Tether,” he said on the Worldclass podcast on Friday. “That is clear to me.”

The crypto payments firm chief failed to explain much else, most notably how he knows such a detail about the $111 billion stablecoin.

Tether was quick to snap back: A spokesperson told DL News that Tether’s executives “wish Ripple’s team will have more success with their new stablecoin than they’ve had so far.”

Garlinghouse’s comments came a month after Ripple announced the launch of a stablecoin. The coin is expected to hold reserves in cash and Treasuries, much like market leaders Tether and Circle, and is slated to launch by the end of the year.

According to CoinGecko, Tether is worth more than $111 billion, and Circle’s USDC stablecoin is worth $33 billion.

Tether CEO Paolo Ardoino took to X on Monday to share “updated statistics” about his company’s work to win over regulators and critics. Notably, he said Tether froze $1.3 billion in USDT — the firm’s stablecoin — linked to illicit finance and said the firm cooperates with law enforcement.

Ardoino called Garlinghouse “an uninformed CEO” who is spreading fear about USDT, pointing out that the Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating Ripple.

Join the community to get our latest stories and updates

Ripple is being sued by the SEC for alleged securities violations related to the sale of the XRP token. The regulator initially included Garlinghouse and fellow Ripple executive Chris Larsen but dropped them from the lawsuit in October.

Garlinghouse then qualified his statement, responding to Ardoino that he “wasn’t attacking Tether.”

“My point was that the US govt has clearly indicated they want more control over USD-backed stablecoin issuers, and thus, Tether, as the largest player, is in their line of sight.”

State of stablecoins

Ripple’s strategic initiatives lead, Eric van Miltenburg, told DL News in a recent interview that there’s plenty of room for more than two players to operate.

“The market will always look for reliable, compliancy-first stablecoin players,” he said. “Circle’s doing great work.”

As for Tether, he said it has “a little bit more of a chequered past.”

Besides concerns over sanctioned entities like Venezuela’s state-backed oil company or terrorist organisations leveraging Tether’s stablecoin, the firm has gone more than a decade without a formal audit of its reserves.

Liam Kelly is a Berlin-based DL News’ correspondent. Contact him at liam@dlnews.com.