Lifestyle Interview: From Computer Geek to Tether CTO

by | Mar 1, 2023 | Interview, Lifestyle | 0 comments

Coming up again in our Lifestyle series is Paolo Ardoino. Remember him?

I had earlier interviewed him in his capacity as the CTO of Bitfinex.

Today, he shared with us how he moved from being a computer geek to a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for Tether, the first stablecoin ever.

He further shed light on Tether’s accomplishments so far and future plans.

Grab a seat and enjoy the full gist.


Paolo Ardoino’s Profile

Paolo Ardoino serves as the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Tether.

He has always been destined to fill this role from his earliest interaction with computers, quickly becoming obsessed with hardware, networks, and cryptography.

After his graduation from Genoa’s Computer Science University in 2008, Paolo started working as a researcher for a military project focused on high availability, self-recovering networks, and cryptography.

Throughout this role, Paolo refined his knowledge of distributed systems and experimented extensively with cryptography.

Interested in finance, Paolo began developing financial-related applications in 2010 and founded Fincluster as CTO in late 2013.

Backed by two financing investment rounds, Fincluster delivered an advanced, modern, and accessible web platform serving different clients with customization capabilities.

Fincluster developed a comprehensive, cloud-based financial application for advisors, fund managers, and institutions, and served numerous small and medium-sized companies throughout London, Milan, and Lugano.

Paolo assumed the role of CTO for Tether in 2017.

As the CTO of Tether, Paolo is responsible for overseeing the development and dissemination of technology for external customers, vendors, and other clients to help improve and increase business. Paolo has been involved with establishing Tether tokens USDT as the most used and adopted stablecoin.

You can check him out on:

Now that you know about Paolo Ardoino, let’s get to the interview right away.


Interview with Tether CTO, Paolo Ardoino

1.  Let’s meet you, Sir.

My name is Paolo Ardoino. I am a computer scientist, a geek, and an innovator. I have extensive knowledge and have coded algorithms for many fields, from artificial intelligence and automated learning to data analysis, cryptography, and networking.

I strive to continuously learn new technologies and improve my programming skills so that I can conceive new ideas, tests, and projects.

In 2017, I assumed the role of Chief Technical Officer (CTO) for Tether. Before then, I had joined Bitfinex at the beginning of 2015 as a Senior Software Developer and transitioned to the role of CTO for Bitfinex in 2016.

During that period, I oversaw a strong portfolio of different programming languages and developed a genuine passion for distributed systems, high-performance computing, and cloud platforms.

2. How will you describe your crypto journey so far?

So far, my crypto journey has been an amazing experience. As a computer scientist and blockchain technology specialist, after my first interaction with computers, I quickly became obsessed with hardware, networking, and cryptography.

During my time as a Senior Software Developer for Bitfinex, I was tasked with developing trading engines with platform scalability and low latency. That experience has been invaluable to my time as CTO for both Bitfinex and Tether.

3. Why was Tether created?  

For many who have entered into crypto recently (or those new to covering the industry), the history of Tether has become somewhat of an affixed fascination.

Tether is a company built on firsts, that is, it was the first to introduce the concept of stablecoins in 2014, with a very simple idea: use the blockchain—the same technology that powers Bitcoin—to move fiat currencies in a transparent, efficient, and decentralized way, to help the crypto industry to mature, allowing, for example, the arbitrage activity among different crypto-exchanges.

It was the first to navigate the complex banking systems as a truly unique financial innovation that the world has never seen before and learned a valuable lesson.

Tether was created to aid faster, cheaper, borderless transactions with increased payment security, price stability, and accessibility, as well as to give its customers and business more control over their funds.

These initiatives, led by Tether’s executive leadership, are demonstrative of its commitment to transparency and being stewards of promoting the understanding and utility of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.

4. What distinguishes Tether from other stablecoins?

Well, to begin with, Tether is the largest stablecoin on the market, with the highest trading volume and liquidity. As a stablecoin, Tether is designed to maintain a fixed value over time.

It is important to note that the value of a stablecoin is typically pegged to a specific fiat currency, like the U.S. dollar or the Euro.  

What makes Tether useful to consumers is that it can easily be transferred between exchanges or people, instead of being limited to simply transferring money through banks.

Tether is easy to buy and sell and is available at the place you buy your cryptocurrencies (exchanges). Tether is often used as a way to hold money on exchanges when traders feel the market is extremely volatile.

Tether also supports transfers on a larger and more diverse list of blockchains including but not limited to Solana, Ethereum, and TRON.

As mentioned earlier, Tether is the first stablecoin. and has withstood multiple black swan events in crypto. Tether has never refused redemption in its history, making it the most trusted stablecoin in the world.

5. How has Tether fared over the years?

Tether has championed financial freedom and innovation over the years as we have focused on emerging markets and serving more than 2 billion unbanked or underbanked people across the globe.

As a result, we are proudly not just the largest and most liquid stablecoin in the world, but we have stood tall against black swan events and volatile markets to ensure we never refuse redemption in our history.

Tether is a resource for the unbanked, a tool for an evolving payment system, and a leader in driving the mainstream adoption of a new financial revolution. Through the use of Tether, people in regions across the globe who are either unbanked or underserved by the current financial order can now have access to in-demand fiat currencies like the U.S. dollar.

Additionally, for people in countries whose native currencies are battered by high levels of inflation, Tether empowers those countries’ residents to access U.S. dollars without having to go through black markets or prohibitively costly premiums through official exchange rates.

As a leader in championing transparency and financial freedom, Tether is proud of its record of making the crypto economy more efficient. We see ourselves not as a replacement for Bitcoin, but as a complementary piece to Bitcoin and crypto in general as a highly liquid, innovative, and popular token. There will always be a market for Tether, as it presents an opportunity for traders to interact with the larger crypto ecosystem.

6. How does the Team manage Tether being on various blockchains? Have there been any challenges with it?

Tether’s executive leadership team understands its responsibility as the market leader and fully embraces its role in helping educate the world about how stablecoin technology fits into traditional finance, and how it will reshape payments technologies and the financial infrastructure of the world in decades to come

Touching on having it on various blockchains, I am thrilled to inform you that aside from our dedicated team, the success of Tether comes first and foremost through word of mouth and a dedicated community that recognizes its innovation and utility. Definitely one of the critical aspects of our work at Tether is ensuring the maximum levels of security when integrating with new blockchains or managing swaps of Tether tokens across multiple blockchains.

Tether was the first stablecoin in the crypto industry and is used by tens of thousands of traders each day. It is essentially a dollar on a blockchain and is available on almost every single crypto platform and exchange in this world.

7. What measures have been taken to ensure Tether is safe from collateralization issues?

Tether holds a strong, conservative, and liquid portfolio with an emphasis on safeguarding its reserves. As a leader in transparency and accountability to its customers, Tether was first among its peers to both disclose the composition of its reserves and deliver public attestations.

As Tether has indicated in its published statements and in its most recent assurance attestation with a reporting date of February 9th, 2023, the accuracy of Tether’s Consolidated Reserves Report (CRR), which breaks down the assets held by the Group as of December 31, 2022.

The CRR shows that, in addition to reducing its secured loans as committed, Tether ended 2022 with zero commercial paper in its reserves, and at least $67 billion in consolidated total assets and excess reserves of at least $960 million.

Tether’s reserves remain extremely liquid, with the majority of its investments being held in cash, cash equivalents, and other short-term deposits.

This latest report demonstrates its commitment to transparency and highlights a $300 million reduction in secured loans, more than $700 million net profit added to Tether reserves in the last quarter of 2022, and the highest percentage to date of assets allocated in US Treasury Bills, with direct exposure of over 58%.

8. How successful has Tether been in serving as a financial inclusion and inflation-hedging tool?

Stablecoins have become a viable medium of exchange for e-commerce and have proven to be a resource for businesses looking for a more economical and more efficient way for payments to be made among buyers and sellers.

Stablecoins, like Tether, are a catalyst for cryptocurrency micropayments, which are furthered by widespread merchant adoption.

Crypto platforms like Bitpay, Bitfinex Pay, and Coinbase Commerce are already allowing merchants to accept stablecoins as payment for goods and services, while leaders in the digital payment space, like Venmo and Cash App, have enabled crypto payments. This added value has given Tether stablecoins the opportunity to overtake credit card networks in the e-commerce sector.

Tether has also found significant use cases for migrant workers making remittances across international frontiers.

Before access to stablecoins like Tether, these workers were limited to only being able to send remittances through businesses like Western Union to get money back to their families and loved ones. This is a slow and costly process, where families end up losing a big chunk of their funds to high fees. Stablecoins eliminate the broker from this equation, allowing these families to retain more of their wealth.

For those looking for a digital stablecoin that is not subject to fiat inflation, Tether offers Tether Gold (XAUT), a product for those wanting a stablecoin that is based on a commodity that is scarce and expensive to mine and we have started listing this on some popular platforms in Africa.

9. With the increased crypto adoption in Africa, does Tether have any plans for the African market and the cryptocurrency space at large?

Yes, Tether is focused on being a catalyst for the freedom of communications, freedom of money, and equality in access in Africa and the cryptocurrency space at large.

Tether will continue to emphasize these messages by bringing digital dollars to the real world. Tether has its sights set on reaching individuals, retailers, and shops in the future.

Unlike many of Tether’s competitors, our focus is not on the United States or Wall Street, but on emerging markets around the world like Africa.

The United States is fortunate to have a highly developed financial infrastructure and the world’s premier currency, the U.S. Dollar. Emerging markets, on the other hand, often struggle with limited financial infrastructure, unstable currencies, and limited access to the Dollar.

Tether’s focus on emerging markets has been a key part of the Tether story and expands operations beyond a single main country.

Tether will continue to fight for financial freedom and support projects and organizations which advance global freedom and financial inclusion in emerging markets, like those found in Africa.

10. With the level of crypto knowledge you have acquired now, what advice will you give your crypto-younger self?

My advice to young crypto lovers and traders is that they should continually seek financial freedom as that is what Tether represents and always do their own research. 

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ABOUT ME

Chiamaka Atueyi
Content writer at Nigeria Bitcoin Community. Whether as a member of my high school Press club or part of the Scriptwriters in my community, I've been on a writing path from the start. The reason? I like keeping people informed.