A wild search for the US dollars supposedly backing the stablecoin at the centre of the global cryptocurrency trade — and in the crosshairs of US regulators and prosecutors 

In July, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen summoned the chair of the Federal Reserve, the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission and six other top officials for a meeting to discuss Tether.

The absurdity of the situation couldn’t have been lost on them: Inflation was spiking, a Covid-19 surge threatened the economic recovery and Yellen wanted to talk about a digital currency that had gotten so large that it threatened to put the US financial system at risk. It was as if a playground snowball fight had escalated so wildly that the Joint Chiefs of Staff were being called in to avert a nuclear war.

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