Understanding Stablecoins: USDT and USDC

Understanding Stablecoins: USDT and USDC
Understanding Stablecoins: USDT and USDC. Image from devdiscourse

Stablecoins have emerged as a crucial component of the cryptocurrency landscape, providing stability amid the volatility of traditional cryptocurrencies. The most prominent stablecoins are USD Coin (USDC) and Tether (USDT), both pegged to the U.S. dollar but differing in their characteristics and issuing entities.

What Are Stablecoins?

Stablecoins are cryptocurrencies designed to maintain a stable value by pegging to a stable asset, typically the U.S. dollar. They combine the benefits of cryptocurrencies, such as fast cross-border transactions, with reduced price volatility. Fiat-backed stablecoins, like USDC and USDT, are the most popular, mirroring the value of traditional fiat currencies.

Stablecoins play a vital role in both centralized finance (CeFi) and decentralized finance (DeFi), including cryptocurrency exchanges, wallets, and decentralized applications (DApps). However, regulatory bodies worldwide are scrutinizing these assets to ensure compliance with financial laws due to concerns over audits, transparency, and reserve sufficiency.

USDT Explained

Tether (USDT) was introduced in 2014 by Tether Limited to provide stability and liquidity by pegging its value to the U.S. dollar at a 1:1 ratio. USDT operates on multiple blockchain platforms, enhancing its accessibility and interoperability. It enjoys high liquidity and widespread acceptance across various exchanges, making it a reliable medium of exchange and store of value within the crypto ecosystem.

Despite its popularity, USDT has faced scrutiny over its transparency and reserve backing. Tether Limited claims that each USDT is fully backed by U.S. dollars, but concerns persist about the company’s audits and transparency.

USDC Explained

Launched in 2018 by Coinbase and Circle, USDC offers a reliable digital asset fully backed by U.S. dollars. Managed by the Centre consortium, USDC ensures a 1:1 backing with U.S. dollars held in reserve, comprising ~80% in short-dated U.S. Treasurys and ~20% in cash deposits. This backing is verified through regular third-party audits, enhancing user trust.

Initially built on Ethereum, USDC has expanded to support 16 blockchain networks, including Algorand, Solana, and Stellar, ensuring broader accessibility and compatibility with various DeFi protocols.


USDT and USDC both provide stability in the volatile world of cryptocurrencies by pegging their value to the U.S. dollar. While USDT offers high liquidity and widespread acceptance, USDC stands out with its transparency and regular audits. Both stablecoins play significant roles in bridging traditional finance and the crypto ecosystem.

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Linda Titianitus