Starting on 6th March, BitFinex users can trade futures contracts on Tether Gold (XAUT) against Tether (USDT), a widely-known and controversial stablecoin pegged to the United States dollar.
The new feature is only available to verified users in certain jurisdictions
Announcing the news on Friday, BitFinex specified that the futures trading enables traders to buy or sell assets at a specified price and data in the future, featuring up to 100x leverage. The exchange also noted that futures and derivatives trading on BitFinex is provided by iFinex Financial Technologies, a product division at iFinex, which is the parent company of both BitFinex and Tether.
As per the blog post, Tether Gold/Tether futures trading will only be available to verified users in certain jurisdictions. According to BitFinex verification rules, account verification isn’t mandatory to trade or transact with various cryptocurrencies on BitFinex, while the exchange offers two levels of verification for deposits and withdrawals of stablecoins like Tether.
A spokesperson at BitFinex clarified to the media that the list of jurisdictions that are eligible for Tether Gold/Tether futures trading is the same as the one applied to general derivatives terms of service on BitFinex website. Specifically, the list mentions countries like Cuba, North Korea, Venezuela, Iran, Syria as well as the annexed region of Crimea as prohibited jurisdictions.
The news comes after Tether Gold purportedly becomes the biggest gold-backed token
The launch of futures contracts trading for Tether Gold will drive even more exposure to the asset, BitFinex noted in the announcement. According to the announcement shared with the media, Tether Gold crossed a $21 million market cap on 4th March, becoming the world’s biggest gold-backed digital asset by overtaking the nearest rival PAX Gold (PAXG).
At press time, Tether Gold’s fully diluted market capitalization accounts for $26.8 million, PAX Gold has only about $18.7 million in market cap, according to data from major crypto tracker Etherscan.
PAX Gold was launched months before Tether Gold though. As reported, stablecoin operator PAX Gold in September 2019 as the “first crypto-asset redeemable for physical gold.” Tether Gold was launched in late January 2020, with its trading immediately rolled out on BitFinex.
Commenting on the news, Tether CTO Paolo Ardoino said that Tether Gold has had a really great start, projecting that Tether Gold should soon reach a market cap of at least $100 million. He said:
I believe that this is nothing in comparison to the potential of this new asset, especially in the context of increased investor interest in risk diversification and capital safety against political uncertainty. Tether Gold offers diversification in terms of risk and volatility and I expect it to reach a market capitalization of at least $100 million.
BitFinex and Tether continue to actively cooperate in the cryptocurrency market despite facing class-action lawsuits accusing them of crypto market manipulation.