- Tether and Bitfinex have withdrawn their opposition to a New York FOIL request by major news outlets.
- The companies affirm a commitment to transparency but caution against full document disclosure.
- The background of the FOIL request is linked to Tether and Bitfinex's 2021 legal settlement with the New York attorney general involving transparency reports.
Tether and Bitfinex, notable entities in the cryptocurrency sector, have agreed to no longer oppose a freedom of information (FOIL) request filed by several leading news publication companies in New York.
The companies emphasized, however, that their approach to transparency would not involve a blanket release of all their documents, explaining:
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It's essential to clarify that transparency does not mean a wholesale release of all our documents.
Despite their agreement to not appeal against the FOIL request initiated by journalists Zeke Faux, Shane Shifflett, and Ada Hui, Tether and Bitfinex expressed reservations about the conduct of these reporters.
The firms criticized past reports on their operations as exceeding the norms of professional journalism. They accused prominent media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg, of being "one-sided and inaccurate."
Nevertheless, both companies restated their willingness to engage with journalists and regulators who uphold ethical reporting standards and respect data privacy boundaries. They called for a responsible review of documents prior to any public release, underscoring that their commitment to transparency does not imply an unrestricted public disclosure of all documents.
The FOIL request stems from Tether and Bitfinex's settlement with the New York attorney general's office in February 2021. This settlement, which included an $18.5 million fine, resolved a dispute over the alleged mixing of $850 million in client and corporate funds. As part of this settlement, the companies were obliged to submit quarterly transparency reports to the New York attorney general for two years.
Following the end of these obligations, CoinDesk submitted a FOIL request in New York, seeking the public disclosure of materials related to Tether's first quarterly report under the settlement terms. Tether had initially opposed the FOIL request in June 2023, citing concerns over the potential release of confidential customer data and sensitive commercial information vulnerable to exploitation by malicious entities.
Tether and Bitfinex's decision to stop opposing the New York FOIL request marks a shift towards greater openness in their operations, balancing a commitment to transparency with concerns over the extensive release of sensitive information.