What are stablecoins?
USDT, USDC, and BUSD differ in the Cryptocurrency space. In this article, we will be focusing in detail on these stablecoins, unfolding each of them, their benefits in the ecosystem, Key differences, and similarities.
Stablecoins are cryptocurrency assets whose value is pegged to that of a stable asset, such as fiat money, gold, or another cryptocurrency, to uphold its price. Fiat-backed stablecoins are often pegged to the value of the United States dollar at a 1:1 ratio. Stablecoins provide users with the convenience of fast, inexpensive, and secure transactions via blockchain without having to deal with the limitations of traditional financial systems. As their name suggests, stablecoins provide stability and considerably less volatility than other crypto assets such as Bitcoin.
Moreover, the stablecoin’s main role is to deliver an alternative to the unfavorably highly volatile cryptocurrencies. They are specifically designed for the volatility relative to unpegged cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. There are several types of stablecoins, and they all come with differences in purported purposes. Some can be used for payments and are more likely to retain value than the highly volatile cryptocurrencies.
The Benefits of Stablecoins Include:
Stablecoins play a vital role in the future of global finances. Some of the benefits of stablecoins include:
Given the fact that stablecoins do not fluctuate similarly to other cryptocurrencies because of being pegged to Fiat currencies, they are more beneficial as an exchange medium and a store of value.
Fiat-backed stablecoins refer to digital assets with financial reserves in a fiat currency held by a regulated financial institution like a traditional bank. Blockchain technology makes transactions more secure and provides stability to stablecoins. The fact that they are backed by fiat currency adds an extra level of safety for the Cryptocurrency space investors.
While typical banks are closed on weekends or holidays, you can access cryptocurrency exchanges to get whatever you need in the digital space. These exchanges offer services and are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and can be found worldwide.
International usage: Stablecoins offer a way to send and receive cross-border payments quickly and easily.
Stablecoins are cryptocurrencies that don’t fluctuate in value like other digital assets, meaning that the price will generally stay consistent with traditional fiat currencies
Quick transactions: Deposits in regular currencies can take a long time to show in your bank account. However, stablecoin transactions are significantly faster and usually instant
Low transaction fees
With a typical transaction, you’re stuck paying absurdly high fees, especially if it’s an international fund transfer. On the other hand, stablecoins provide an opportunity for low-cost transactions, with some even providing zero-fee trades, transfers, and conversions.
Many stablecoins are transparent, so users can see enough reserve assets to redeem them. Also, users can monitor their transactions managed on the Blockchain and do not involve banks or other financial institutions as intermediaries.
Stablecoins provide liquidity to decentralized finance (DeFi) projects. Therefore, it’s easier for users to make market predictions and help them avoid fear during market drawdowns and fluctuations in the price of cryptocurrency.
How Do Stablecoins Work?
Smart contracts are used to manage the creation and redemption of stablecoins. For example, users can exchange their traditional currency, such as USD, for the equivalent amount of stablecoin. This fiat currency is then held in reserve by the stablecoin issuer, allowing users to redeem their tokens at any time for the same value in fiat currency.
However, it’s important to note that stablecoins can be backed by multiple sources other than fiat currency. These include precious metals, other cryptocurrencies, and even algorithms. A stablecoin’s risk level is directly proportional to its backing source. Generally, most fiat-backed stablecoins tend to be more stable than others owing to their link to a centralized financial system.
However, the redemption of one’s stablecoin holdings in its equivalent value in fiat is not guaranteed. From a legal standpoint, most stablecoin issuers do not offer their users the legal right to claim fiat currency back.
In the case of Tether, for example, its terms of service explicitly state that they hold the right to delay users from withdrawing or redeeming their tokens in the event of illiquidity or loss of their assets held in reserve. Furthermore, a provision regarding returning Tether tokens in-kind means that they can return securities or other assets to its users instead of fiat money.
Crypto-backed stablecoins, on the other hand (such as a Bitcoin-backed one), may experience significantly more volatility and may not always be able to maintain their pegg due to the volatility of their underlying assets.
Algorithmic stablecoins also carry many risks due to their architecture and are extremely vulnerable to devaluation, de-pegging, and speculative attacks. TerraUSD (UST) and its sister token Terra (LUNA), for instance, rocked the stablecoin industry with controversy when UST lost its peg to the U.S. dollar, resulting in a massive depeg. LUNA’s price continued to plummet as investors kept selling UST at lower prices amid further depegging, resulting in a huge meltdown within the Terra ecosystem.
What Is USDT, And How Does It Work?
Source: Techpoint Africa
USDT, or Tether, is one of the most popular stablecoins. The stablecoin is issued by Hong Kong-based company iFinex, which owns the BitFinex crypto exchange. USDT has been designed to have a value pegged to a fiat currency like the U.S. dollar, and each USDT token is backed by assets held in reserve, equal to the total number of tokens in circulation. As such, USDT can be spent, transferred, or exchanged much like any other fiat currency. USDT works in several ways, and here is a broad explanation of how it works.
Backing and pegging: The company behind the stablecoin claims that each token of USDT is backed by one U.S. dollar held in reserve. This translates to a ratio of 1:1.This backing is essential to build trust that each USDT token in circulation is directly proportional to the equivalent amount of real-world currency.
Creation and redemption: Creation is the process of issuing new units of a financial asset, while redemption returns these units to their original value. Tether allows users to create and redeem the USDT tokens on its platform. When a deposit of a US.dolar is made into Tether’s bank account, the same value of USDT is initiated and issued and vice versa when redeeming USDT for the U.S. dollar.
Reserve holdings: Tether holds the total number of U.S. dollars in reserve, similar to the total number of USDT tokens in circulation. This is essential in ensuring enough fiat currency to redeem USDT tokens for U.S. dollars at a ratio of 1:1.
Stability and usage: As the name stablecoin suggests, USDT has been highly designed to maintain a stable value with every token approximately worth $1. This is vital for investors who want to move their digital assets temporarily out of the highly volatile cryptocurrency market. On the other hand, USDT is mainly and widely used for trading on the market exchanges. Investors move their finances into USDT during high volatility to avoid potential losses.
While USDT has faced controversies surrounding its reserve management and level of decentralization, it remains one of the most widely used and well-known stablecoins in the market. It is accepted by numerous exchanges and compatible with several wallets.
What Is USDC, And How Does It Work?
USDC is also a U.S. dollar-backed stablecoin, and it was developed to reduce Bitcoin’s and other cryptocurrencies’ volatility through faster fund transfers. Created by Circle Internet Financial, USDC is an Ethereum token that can be stored in a crypto wallet or transferred to the Ethereum blockchain.
Backing and pegging: Issued by regulated financial institutions and companies, every USDC token is backed by a reserve of U.S. dollars held in a bank account, which is subject to regular audits and reporting. The main reason for doing this is to maintain a 1:1 ratio peg to the U.S. dollar, which means one USDC token is supposed to be worth one U.S. dollar.
Reserve holdings: USDC issuers must maintain U.S. dollar reserves equal to or greater than the total USDC tokens. This reserve ensures that USDC tokens can be redeemed for U.S. dollars at a ratio of 1:1.
Creation and redemption: Tokens are created when users deposit U.S. dollars with the issuing organization. For every dollar deposited, a corresponding amount of USDC is issued. On the opposite, users can redeem USDC tokens for U.S. dollars by sending back the tokens to the issuer, and the issuer is supposed to send an equal amount of U.S. dollars.
Stability and usage: Highly designed to be a stable store of value, one USDC token value closely tracks the value of one U.S. dollar. This level of stability makes it satisfactory for trading, making transactions, and a dependable medium of exchange within the cryptocurrency ecosystem.
Regulation and transparency: USDC is a token renowned for its regulatory compliance and transparency. The issuing organizations follow financial regulations and undergo clear audits regularly to verify USDC tokens backing. This provides users with high-level confidence in the legitimacy of the token.
Uses: USDC token is used in several applications within the cryptocurrency ecosystem, which includes trading on exchanges, a means to move funds in and out of high volatility markets, and as collateral for decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms.
USDC has expanded to more multichain and is also natively available on blockchains such as Polygon, Avalanche, Algorand, Solana, Hedera, Tron, and many more.
What Is Busd, and How Does It Work?
Source: BSC News
Binance BUSD, issued and operated by Binance, which is among the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchanges, is fiat-backed, regulated, has the same worth as one USD, and can be redeemed 1:1 for cash. BUSD works in a variety of ways, which include;
Stability and pegging: It is designed to have a stable value, and the token price is consistently pegged to the U.S. dollar, with a ratio of 1:1. Therefore, one BUSD is intended to be worth one U.S. dollar.
Collateral and reserves: Binance holds an equal amount of U.S. dollars in reserve as collateral for the BUSD tokens in circulation to maintain the peg. This collateral is held in financial institutions and is audited regularly to ensure enough U.S. dollars are in place to cover the total supply of BUSD.
Creation and redemption: The Binance platform offers its users a chance to create or redeem BUSD tokens. Whenever a user deposits U.S. dollars into their Binance account, they can convert them into BUSD at an equivalent ratio of 1:1 and vice versa, where users can convert BUSD back into U.S. dollars.
Uses: BUSD token is used for trading on the Binance exchange. It allows investors to exit the highly volatile cryptocurrency markets temporarily and move their digital assets to a stable value. Furthermore, the token can be used for trading pairs with other cryptocurrencies on the Binance platform.
Transparency: Binance is transparent about its reserves and undergoes audits regularly. These audits and reporting are to verify that it holds equivalent amounts of U.S. dollars to BUSD tokens in circulation. This level of transparency is vital for building and maintaining trust in the token.
USDT vs. USDC vs. BUSD: Similarities
Despite being issued by different companies, these three popular stablecoins have several similarities. All three coins are fiat-backed and have a 1:1 worth with the USD, making them more stable than cryptocurrencies. They are also all commonly accepted and supported by major exchanges and wallets and can be redeemed for cash on a 1:1 basis.
They are also regularly audited to promote trust and transparency to their users in their value. Furthermore, all three stablecoins are available on the Ethereum blockchain, although they have all been expanding to become multichain.
USDT vs. USDC vs. BUSD: Differences
There are key differences that may affect a user’s decision on which stablecoin to use. Here is comprehensive information on the key differences these tokens pose.
Issuer and trust. For instance, USDT is issued by Tether, which has recently faced concerns about its reserve transparency. USDC is issued and regulated by financial institutions. Therefore, this maintains a high level of trust and legitimacy. BUSD, on the other hand, is purely issued by Binance, one of the world’s major cryptocurrency exchanges, and comes with a different high-level legitimacy.
Transparency: Both USDC and BUSD tokens are recognized for their clarity in reserve holdings and their regular audits. Therefore providing users with dependence on their token’s stability. Conversely, USDT has faced questions about its reserve’s clarity and transparency.
Ecosystem: USDT and USDC are widely accepted and mainly used across many cryptocurrency exchanges, but USDC is more closely associated with Coinbase and Circle. BUSD, on the other hand, is purely used within the Binance ecosystem.
Regulatory environment: On regulations, USDT faces challenges and uncertainty, while both USDC and BUSD are focused more on regulatory compliance, making them potentially more attractive based on choice.
The choice of a stablecoin mainly depends on personal preferences and what is supported by a user’s preferred exchange or wallet. Also, it may depend on creation and redemption, regulation and transparency, and specific use cases, as some stablecoins may be advantageous in certain situations. Therefore, investors and Cryptocurrency space users ought to carefully consider several factors before choosing the best stablecoin that aligns with their preferences and risk tolerance.