Tether (USDT) Surges Past $86 Billion: History of Stablecoin & Controversies

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Tether's circulating supply has reached 85.42 billion, indicating a 22% year-over-year growth. The new milestone comes despite the company facing controversies regarding the backing of its stablecoin.

Tether (USDT), the world’s largest stablecoin, has reached a new milestone, with its market supply recently surpassing $86 billion. According to data from CoinMarketCap, USDT’s circulating supply currently stands at 85.42 billion, indicating a 22% year-over-year growth.

Tether surpassed the 84 billion mark on October 22, just two months after the leading stablecoin crossed the 83.76 billion milestone. In just two weeks following that milestone, the supply of USDT surged beyond the 85 billion mark.

Amid its rising market capitalization and supply, the stablecoin continues to maintain its dominant position in the market. For perspective, the second-largest stablecoin, USD Coin (USDC), has a distant market cap of $23.98 billion.

Likewise, USDT leads the pack with an average of 337,000 daily active addresses and 680,000 daily transactions. Data from DefiLlama, a decentralized finance analytics platform, further highlights USDT’s dominance, holding more than 68% of the total stablecoin market share.

Notably, USDT has also experienced a significant surge in its presence on cryptocurrency exchanges. Last month, the amount of USDT held on exchanges reached levels not seen since March 2023, indicating a 40% increase in available USDT since June 13.

“The $9.99B worth of Tether sitting on exchanges is the highest level of buying power for crypto’s top stablecoin in approximately seven months,” crypto analytics platform Santiment said in a post on X (formerly Twitter). “Since June 13, these exchanges have seen a 40% increase in available USDT.”

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This rise in holdings suggests that market participants are increasing their positions in USDT, pointing to growing interest from investors seeking to enter or re-enter the crypto market. Such inflows indicate that investors are preparing to execute buy orders at current or lower price levels.

History and Controversies of Tether

Launched in 2014, Tether was initially introduced as Realcoin and operated on the Bitcoin (BTC) blockchain using the Omni Layer protocol. The primary objective of Tether was to create a stable digital currency that maintained a 1:1 peg with the US dollar.

In 2015, Realcoin rebranded as Tether and expanded its offering to support multiple blockchain platforms, including Ethereum (ETH) and Tron (TRX). This allowed for the issuance of USDT on different blockchains, increasing its accessibility and liquidity within the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

Tether’s main value proposition lies in its claim to be backed by reserves, with each USDT token representing a corresponding unit of fiat currency held in reserve. Initially, Tether asserted that US dollars fully backed its reserves, but in recent years, they have expanded to include other assets, such as cash equivalents and loans to affiliated entities.

Over the years, Tether has faced its fair share of allegations and controversies. One of the most significant concerns surrounding it is the issue of its backing. 

The company claimed that each unit of Tether is backed by 1 USD. However, in 2021, the Attorney General of New York found that it was “lying” about the content of its reserves, fined it $18 million, and forced it to release regular reports detailing its actual reserves.

“Tether’s claims that its virtual currency was fully backed by US dollars at all times was a lie,” NYAG Letitia James said at the time.

Additionally, Tether has faced scrutiny for its association with the crypto exchange Bitfinex. One of the biggest controversies was over its suspicious comingling of funds. 

Despite these controversies, Tether remains a crucial player in the cryptocurrency space. Last month, the company also announced plans to provide real-time updates of its reserve data to enhance transparency and address concerns regarding the backing of Tether’s stablecoin.

Currently, Tether publishes and updates its reserves data at least once per day, as stated on its transparency page. The company releases monthly reserve reports and conducts quarterly reserve reviews. 

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Ruholamin Haqshanas
Cryptocurrency journalist

Ruholamin is a crypto and financial journalist with over three years of experience. Apart from Techopedia, he has been featured in major news outlets, including Cryptonews, Investing.com, 24/7 Wall St, The Tokenist, Business2Community, and has also worked with some prominent crypto and DeFi projects.  He holds a Bachelor's degree in Mechatronics. Ruholamin enjoys reading about tech developments, writing, and nature-watching