Earlier in 2021, Zeke Faux set out to solve the mystery. There are now 69 billion Tethers in circulation, 48 billion of them issued in 2021, which means that Tether Holdings should hold around $69 billion in real money to back the coins, an amount that would make it one of the largest banks in America. This has caught it in the crosshairs of US regulators and prosecutors who want to know how the notorious stable-coin is backed if it's genuinely backed at all. Faux goes on a wild search for the US dollars supposedly backing the stable-coin at the centre of the global cryptocurrency trade and in the crosshairs of US regulators and prosecutors. The money trail led from Taiwan to Puerto Rico, the French Riviera, mainland China, and the Bahamas. "It was hard to believe that people had sent $69 billion in real US dollars to a company that seemed to be practically quilted out of red flags. But every day, on cryptocurrency exchanges, traders buy and sell Tether coins as if they're just as good as dollars. Some days, more than $100 billion in Tether changes hands. It seemed the people with the most at stake in the crypto markets trusted Tether, and I wanted to know why. Luckily, in June, 12,000 of them were gathering in Miami for what was billed as the biggest crypto conference ever."