Jun 17, 2022 - Economy

Stablecoin tether's market cap continues its slide

Source: CoinGecko; Chart: Axios Visuals
Source: CoinGecko; Chart: Axios Visuals

Since the bear market in crypto set in in early May, users have been redeeming the stablecoin tether (USDT) for dollars at a high rate.

Why it matters: The dollar-backed tether has been the liquidity lubricant that has made crypto markets work. It's the main partner in trading pairs with cryptocurrencies on exchanges all over the world.

  • Be smart: Tether's dropping along with the rest of the cryptocurrency market, but it works differently with a stablecoin.
  • When the market cap of a stablecoin drops, it's because that actual supply is dropping (whereas bitcoin's market cap drops with price, but the supply stays the same).
  • Meanwhile, its rival, usd coin, has been increasing supply, suggesting some users are switching.
Through June 16; Data: CoinGecko; Chart: Axios Visuals
Through June 16; Data: CoinGecko; Chart: Axios Visuals

By the numbers: Tether reached an all-time high market cap over $83 billion in May, but has shed 17% of its supply since.

  • Every day for the last week it has shed over a hundred million tether, some days, nearly a billion.

Each tether is meant to be redeemable for one U.S. dollar.

  • In a mid-May attestation, it said it had $82.4 billion in reserves. Of that, it noted that $20.1 billion was in commercial paper and $39.2 billion was in U.S. treasuries.

Be smart: Tether's commitment to transparency has long been a cause for concern.

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