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Ethereum Stablecoins Rise Amid Global Pandemic

Ethereum Stablecoins Rise Amid Global Pandemic

With the current Coronavirus outbreak, we’ve seen a extreme liquidity crunch within the legacy monetary system. As a end result, risk-on belongings like Bitcoin and Ether have suffered as world traders flock to money. The age-old saying “cash is king” is very true throughout occasions like these. 

In the world of open finance, stablecoins function one of the crucial helpful instruments for DeFi customers in a time of uncertainty. They successfully act because the money equal in our trade and are the perfect safe-haven asset now we have as avid DeFi customers. As such, we’ve seen a resurgence in stablecoins in current weeks as crypto traders intention to guard their capital from the volatility and uncertainty of a worldwide pandemic. 

A Brief Background on Stablecoins

Today, there are predominantly two types of stablecoins: fiat-collateralized and crypto-collateralized. 

Fiat Collateralized

Stablecoins that retain a 1:1 peg by using respected monetary establishments to carry an equal quantity of fiat currencies in reserves.

Fiat collateralized stablecoins embrace: 

  • Tether ($USDT)* — Tether Limited
  • USD Coin ($USDC) — Coinbase and Circle
  • TrueUSD ($TUSD) — Trust Token Inc
  • Gemini Dollar ($GUSD) — Gemini
  • Paxos Standard ($PAX) — Paxos 


Stablecoins that require digital belongings similar to Ether to be held in sensible contract escrow as collateral for the issuance of recent, steady tokens within the type of an interest-bearing mortgage.

Crypto collateralized stablecoins embrace: 

  • Dai ($DAI)MakerDAO 
  • sUSD ($sUSD) — Synthetix (not included on this evaluation)

The State of Stablecoins

Since the height of the ICO bubble in late 2017 and early 2018, stablecoins have steadily amassed worth into the asset class. The development in stablecoins over the previous few years has been unparalleled, particularly as different main crypto belongings stagnate. The driving causes behind the surge? Likely two issues: (1) high-yielding rates of interest in lending markets and (2) uncertainty in crypto belongings. 

In current weeks, stablecoins have seen a surge in whole provide as traders flock in the direction of stability and different low-volatility belongings amid the worldwide pandemic. Almost all stablecoins have seen a spike in market cap (thus the circulating provide).

The largest gainers for Ethereum stablecoins is Tether, who’s been migrating a big quantity of its provide away from Bitcoin’s Omni layer and Tron and over to Ethereum. As it stands at this time, over $three.6B in Tether is at the moment circulating on Ethereum – making it one of many largest tokenized belongings on the sensible contracting platform.

Ethereum Stablecoins by way of CoinMetrics

The second highest gainer this yr is the one crypto-native stablecoin in our information set, Dai. Despite the truth that the MakerDAO system is experiencing some turbulence in lieu of Black Thursday, the system’s stablecoin has elevated its market capitalization by 28.91% in 2020 alone. The permissionless stablecoin boasts a market cap of $51M after seeing a steep decline following the liquidation occasions. 

Data by way of CoinMetrics

In addition, regardless of Gemini’s GUSD solely having a fraction of the market cap relative to its friends, the Winklevoss’ stablecoin has additionally seen regular development this yr, growing from $three.7M to $four.4M in market cap or a 20.39% improve YTD. 

Lastly, one of the crucial notable surges in current weeks has been Coinbase’s USDC. While it largely noticed drawdown in market capitalization for almost all of the yr, it not too long ago spiked to achieve almost 20% in YTD development, holding a large market cap of $625M. 

Taking a fast snapshot of the efficiency of the belongings at this time, USDT has surged by over 51% in market cap – an enormous improve in USDT’s circulating provide on Ethereum. This may largely be resulting from a mix of recent USDT being minted in addition to current USDT migrating over to Ethereum. With that, TUSD is the one stablecoin within the subject who skilled a drawdown in market cap this yr, lowering by 11.15% whereas Paxos Standard (PAX) remained comparatively stagnant when it comes to development. 

Data by way of CoinMetrics

On-Chain Value Transfers

One of the extra attention-grabbing metrics to take a look at with stablecoins is how a lot on-chain worth they’ve processed on any given day. Given stablecoins act as both a Medium of Exchange (MoE) or a Store of Value (SoV), the worth transferred signifies the quantity of utilization the stablecoin is experiencing. 

Naturally, the main stablecoin in market cap can be a transparent chief in on-chain transaction quantity – possible resulting from merchants flocking to the asset as a hedge towards volatility. The solely different two stablecoins processing a big quantity of worth on Ethereum is USDC and DAI. Given their relevance in main DeFi protocols, like Compound, it ought to come as little shock that they’re transferring a big quantity of worth relative to the remainder of their friends. 

Data by way of CoinMetrics

The final metrics we’ll check out is the adjusted NVT Ratio. For these unfamiliar, NVT is the ratio of the community worth (or market capitalization, present provide) divided by the adjusted switch worth. While that is predominantly used for L1 tokens (like Bitcoin and Ether) as a fundamental metric for measuring whether or not an asset is below or overvalued, it’s an attention-grabbing metric to take a look at within the lens of stablecoins. 

A stablecoin with a decrease NVT may point out that the asset is used extra incessantly than its friends, maybe as a buying and selling pair for liquidity, tangible utilization as an MoE, or actively used inside different DeFi purposes and protocols (like Compound or dYdX). 

Data by way of CoinMetrics

With that in thoughts, we dove into the typical NVT ratio for these belongings year-to-date. Notably, TUSD boasts the best NVT ratio relative to its friends. The excessive ratio together with its unfavorable development YTD indicators that the demand for TrueUSD appears to be diminishing as customers choose in the direction of different stablecoins available on the market. 

On the flip aspect, Dai has the bottom NVT ratio – displaying that MakerDAO’s stablecoin is used somewhat incessantly relative to its market cap and its friends. The rationale traces up as Dai’s is a local on-chain asset along with its ubiquity amongst most DeFi protocols. The second-lowest NVT ratio is Tether, one of the crucial extensively traded belongings on main exchanges throughout the globe. While it’s not utilized in DeFi protocols as a lot as Dai or USDC, Tether remains to be in a position to keep a comparatively low ratio relative to the opposite stablecoins within the subject. 

Lastly, USDC has the third lowest NVT ratio in our information set of 9.1. USDC’s integrations in main DeFi protocols permits Coinbase’s stablecoin to see a average quantity of tangible utilization.

Key Takeaways

It’s clear that DeFi customers and the crypto trade at giant are flocking in the direction of stablecoins as a protected haven asset amid the present state of uncertainty. The Coronavirus pandemic has compelled the group to look in the direction of security as traders liquidate risk-on belongings and opt-in in the direction of steady belongings to climate our the storm. 

Paired with engaging new yield alternatives via initiatives like Curve and iEarn, holding stablecoins has by no means been extra engaging.

However, whereas these belongings supply stability within the brief time period, because of the nature of their pegs, they are typically poor long-term investments because the inflationary nature of fiat currencies devalues the belongings over time. 

Given the present macroeconomic backdrop and the way most central banks and sovereign states are exploring huge stimulus packages, it will likely be attention-grabbing to see how stablecoins carry out within the subsequent few months and years as quantitative easing (QE) takes maintain of the markets and plenty of fiat currencies expertise considerably greater inflation charges than typical.  

It’s possible that because the epidemic wanes and the financial stimulus takes into impact, many traders could transfer away from high-inflationary belongings (like fiat currencies and in flip stablecoins) and elect to place their capital into inflation-resistant, non-sovereign belongings like Bitcoin, Ether, and Gold. 

If you take pleasure in our analysis content material, be sure that to observe us on Twitter and tell us! 

Research Analyst at Fitzner Blockchain Consulting. Lucas has years of expertise working with a number of blockchain-based startups as head of group, blockchain strategist and venture supervisor the place he targeted on token economics, writing, advertising and marketing, and development.

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