USDT market share jumps amid economic uncertainty, but USDC shrinks



The market dominance of stablecoins pegged to the United States dollar has undergone some changes over the past year. While most of them are in a downward trend, Tether (USDT) has climbed back to its all-time high, data from CoinGecko shows.

In the past 12 months, Circle’s USD Coin (USDC) has seen its market share decline from 34.88% to 23.05% at the time of writing. Market participation of Binance USD (BUSD) plunged from 11.68% to 4.18% in the same period, while Dai’s (DAI) share of the crypto market was at 3.66%, down from 4.05% in May 2022.

Tether’s USDT is meanwhile gaining ground. The stablecoin’s market dominance currently sits at 65.89%, from 47.04% one year ago. Its market capitalization has soared to $83.1 billion, while USDC’s market cap has dropped from a peak of $55 billion to just $29 billion.

In a recent interview with Bloomberg, Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire blamed the crypto crackdown by the United States regulators for the stablecoin’s declining market capitalization. The current environment in the United States appears to be beneficial for Tether.

USD Stablecoins by Market Dominance. Source: CoinGecko.

The U.S. banking crisis led to USDC depegging in March as reserves worth $3.3 billion were stuck at Silicon Valley Bank, one of three crypto-friendly banks shut down by regulators. Despite Circle’s assurances, the market quickly responded to the news, causing USDC to depeg from the dollar.

With the growing connection between the crypto space and traditional finance, stablecoins have become increasingly popular. A report released recently by the European Systemic Risk Board highlighted the need for more transparency in the digital assets market, specifically for stablecoin reserves.

Tether has been heavily criticized for lacking transparency over the past years. Owned by Hong Kong-based iFinex, the crypto firm was fined $18.5 million in 2021 by the New York Attorney General’s Office for allegedly misrepresenting the fiat backing of its reserves. As part of the settlement, the stablecoin issuer was also required to provide greater financial transparency.

Tether’s leadership has fought back against the negative allegations on Twitter. Additionally, the company is seeking to reduce its exposure to the banking system following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. Its latest audit report shows Tether pulled over $4.5 billion out of banks in the first quarter of 2023, leading to a “substantial reduction” in counterparty risk amid the ongoing global economic uncertainty.

The company also boosted its U.S. Treasury bills to a new high of over $53 billion, or 64% of its reserves. Combined with other assets, USDT is now backed by 85% cash, cash equivalents and short-term deposits, according to the report.

A similar move has been made by Circle. The stablecoin operator reportedly adjusted its reserves to mitigate risk in the face of macroeconomic uncertainty, and no longer holds Treasuries maturing beyond early June.

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