Binance, the prominent cryptocurrency exchange, executed a substantial $3.9 billion Tether (USDT) transaction on November 9, just days before the announcement of its settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The timing and magnitude of this transfer have sparked speculation and raised eyebrows in the crypto community, particularly given the close resemblance to the $4.3 billion penalty imposed on Binance as part of the settlement.
The transfer involved moving funds from one Binance cold wallet, Binance-Cold 2, to another internal wallet, Binance 3. The source wallet currently holds $6.6 billion, primarily in USDT, along with other stablecoins like Decentralized USD (USDD), USDC, and TrueUSD (TUSD). Meanwhile, the destination wallet now contains $3.2 billion, predominantly in Tether’s USDT stablecoin.
The purpose behind this massive transfer remains unclear. Speculation includes the possibility that these funds could be allocated to fulfill Binance’s financial obligations arising from the $4.3 billion penalty, or alternatively, they might be intended for conversion into U.S. dollars or another fiat currency. Binance has not provided immediate clarification on this matter.
Tether (USDT), the world’s largest stablecoin with a circulating supply of 88.3 billion tokens, is often used by traders for seamless entry and exit from cryptocurrency trades without relying on traditional fiat currencies. Tether has faced regulatory scrutiny in the past, including a settlement in 2021 over concerns about the adequacy of its fiat backing.
The USDT transfer aligns closely with Binance’s settlement, where the exchange agreed to pay $1.8 billion in criminal fines, with an additional $2.5 billion to be forfeited. As part of the settlement, Binance’s CEO Changpeng Zhao pleaded guilty to charges and stepped down from his role, concluding lengthy investigations into Binance’s regulatory compliance and anti-money laundering controls by U.S. authorities.
The nature and implications of this substantial Tether transfer remain a subject of speculation, prompting further scrutiny into the financial activities surrounding Binance.