Tether (USDT) is a cryptocurrency with a value meant to mirror the value of the U.S. dollar. The idea was to create a stable cryptocurrency that can be used like digital dollars. Coins that serve this purpose of being a stable dollar substitute are called “stable coins.” Tether is the most popular stable coin and even acts as a dollar replacement on many popular exchanges! According to their site, Tether converts cash into digital currency, to anchor or “tether” the value of the coin to the price of national currencies like the US dollar, the Euro, and the Yen. Like other cryptos it uses blockchain. Unlike other cryptos, it is [according to the official Tether site] “100% backed by USD” (USD is held in reserve). The primary use of Tether is that it offers some stability to the otherwise volatile crypto space and offers liquidity to exchanges who can’t deal in dollars and with banks (for example to the sometimes controversial but leading exchange Bitfinex). The digital coins are issued by a company called Tether Limited that is governed by the laws of the British Virgin Islands, according to the legal part of its website. It is incorporated in Hong Kong. It has emerged that Jan Ludovicus van der Velde is the CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex, which has been accused of being involved in the price manipulation of bitcoin, as well as tether. Many people trading on exchanges, including Bitfinex, will use tether to buy other cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. Tether Limited argues that using this method to buy virtual currencies allows users to move fiat in and out of an exchange more quickly and cheaply. Also, exchanges typically have rocky relationships with banks, and using Tether is a way to circumvent that. USDT is fairly simple to use. Once on exchanges like Poloniex or Bittrex, it can be used to purchase Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. It can be easily transferred from an exchange to any Omni Layer enabled wallet. Tether has no transaction fees, although external wallets and exchanges may charge one. In order to convert USDT to USD and vise versa through the Tether.to Platform, users must pay a small fee. Buying and selling Tether for Bitcoin can be done through a variety of exchanges like the ones mentioned previously or through the Tether.to platform, which also allows the conversion between USD to and from your bank account.
The bitcoin network is a peer-to-peer payment network that operates on a cryptographic protocol. Users send and receive bitcoins, the units of currency, by broadcasting digitally signed messages to the network using bitcoin cryptocurrency wallet software. Transactions are recorded into a distributed, replicated public database known as the blockchain, with consensus achieved by a proof-of-work system called mining. Satoshi Nakamoto, the designer of bitcoin claimed that design and coding of bitcoin began in 2007. The project was released in 2009 as open source software. The network requires the minimal structure to share transactions. An ad hoc decentralized network of volunteers is sufficient. Messages are broadcast on a best effort basis, and nodes can leave and rejoin the network at will. Upon reconnection, a node downloads and verifies new blocks from other nodes to complete its local copy of the blockchain. A bitcoin is defined by a sequence of digitally signed transactions that began with the bitcoin's creation, as a block reward. The owner of a bitcoin transfers it by digitally signing it over to the next owner using a bitcoin transaction, much like endorsing a traditional bank check. A payee can examine each previous transaction to verify the chain of ownership. Unlike traditional check endorsements, bitcoin transactions are irreversible, which eliminates the risk of chargeback fraud. Although it is possible to handle bitcoins individually, it would be unwieldy to require a separate transaction for every bitcoin in a transaction. Transactions are therefore allowed to contain multiple inputs and outputs, allowing bitcoins to be split and combined. Common transactions will have either a single input from a larger previous transaction or multiple inputs combining smaller amounts, and one or two outputs: one for the payment, and one returning the change, if any, to the sender. Any difference between the total input and output amounts of a transaction goes to miners as a transaction fee. In 2013, Mark Gimein estimated electricity consumption to be about 40.9 megawatts (982 megawatt-hours a day). In 2014, Hass McCook estimated 80.7 megawatts (80,666 kW). As of 2015, The Economist estimated that even if all miners used modern facilities, the combined electricity consumption would be 166.7 megawatts (1.46 terawatt-hours per year). To lower the costs, bitcoin miners have set up in places like Iceland where geothermal energy is cheap and cooling Arctic air is free. Chinese bitcoin miners are known to use hydroelectric power in Tibet to reduce electricity costs. Various potential attacks on the bitcoin network and its use as a payment system, real or theoretical, have been considered. The bitcoin protocol includes several features that protect it against some of those attacks, such as unauthorized spending, double spending, forging bitcoins, and tampering with the blockchain. Other attacks, such as theft of private keys, require due care by users.