The sands are shifting in the stablecoin ecosystem, with Circle’s USD Coin quickly eating into the dominance of the sector’s leader, Tether.
According to a Feb. 1 report from Glassnode, the amount of USDC on exchanges increased by more than 112% in January alone, growing from $431 million to over $915 million.
Since the beginning of the year, roughly $1 billion worth of new USDC has been minted — of which more than 90% has been sent to centralized exchanges.
With nearly half a billion worth of USDC making its way onto exchanges in a single month, Glassnode speculates that traders are planning to mobilize the tokens to buy up any forthcoming dips in the crypto markets:
“This high figure should increase investors' confidence in any dips being quickly bought up, making it a bullish signal.”
USDC’s January growth may have been bolstered by Circle introducing a stablecoin-to-fiat bridge to enable seamless transfers from USDC to USD last month.
Since the beginning of 2020, the supply of Circle’s stablecoin has surged by over 900% from just over 500 million to 5.1 billion according to company stats.
By contrast, the amount of Tether in circulation has increased by around 500% over the same period. However, Tether’s recent increase in capitalization represents more than four-times the fiat-value of USDC’s growth over the past 13 months.
The third-largest stablecoin by circulation is MakerDAO’s Dai, which has grown in capitalization by a whopping 3,800% from just $40 million in January 2020 to more than $1.6 billion today. Binance’s stablecoin, BUSD, also saw significant growth with a 600% increase in supply over the same period to currently boast a $1.4 billion capitalization.
With rival stablecoins outpacing Tether’s growth recently, USDT’s stablecoin dominance has dropped below 75% for the first time, according to Coin Metrics.
The drop in Tether’s stablecoin market share may be somewhat attributed to the company’s ongoing legal woes with the Office of the New York Attorney General, potentially prompting traders to seek alternative stable tokens to protect against the risk of USDT losing its peg during the proceedings. Tether has lost its peg several times in recent history, dropping down to $0.96 on Jan. 5 and in October 2018.
Tether may come under further pressure should the new "Stable Act" be passed by U.S. lawmakers. If passed, the bill would require stablecoin issuers to obtain a chartered banking license, submit to audits by the Federal Reserve, obtain insurance and possibly store assets at the federal reserve.