The very first thing most individuals do when getting into crypto utilizing a DEX is to change their fiat foreign money for stablecoins, which might later be exchanged for different tokens.

Nonetheless, apart from being crucial channels for customers to start out investing in crypto, stablecoins are additionally the muse of the entire DeFi industry—performing primarily as a medium of change but in addition getting used for liquidity swimming pools and yield farming.

Stablecoin Classification (Footprint Analytics)
Stablecoin Classification (Footprint Analytics)

The market cap of stablecoins remains to be dominated by centralized stablecoins, with USDT occupying half of the market. DAI, the main decentralized stablecoin, ranks fourth, whereas UST, an algorithmic stablecoin, follows in fifth place.

Stablecoin Market Cap Share (Nov. 2021) (Footprint Analytics)
Stablecoin Market Cap Share (Nov. 2021) (Footprint Analytics)

Resulting from its shut relationship with fiat USD, Tether has naturally attracted consideration from regulators. There has additionally been rising concern that the foreign money’s below collateralization now poses a systemic structural danger.

Nonetheless, centralized, decentralized and algorithmic are all totally different. Are all of them equally unstable? Is the worry of stablecoins warranted? Might Tether deliver down all of DeFi?

1. Decentralized Stablecoins

USDT, which has a first-mover benefit, is the dominant centralized stablecoin. Its issuance mannequin is {that a} consumer sends a specific amount of USD to Tether’s checking account, and Tether will switch the identical quantity of USDT to that consumer after confirming receipt of the corresponding funds.

USDT’s worth actions primarily stem from the diploma of credit score recognition of the issuing firm, the depository financial institution, and the USD by the holders of the stablecoin.

Tether’s transparency and compliance points are issues that centralized establishments can not do away with. Nonetheless, the large variety of customers and huge use case base accrued by USDT make individuals use it anyway.

USDT’s market cap has been steadily rising, rising to as a lot as 3 times what it was initially of the yr in early November. USDC, in second place, has lower than half of USDT’s market cap, regardless of being extra clear in its disclosure.

Stablecoin Market Cap (Since Jan. 2021) (Footprint Analytics)
Stablecoin Market Cap (Since Jan. 2021) (Footprint Analytics)

Centralized stablecoins depend on fiat foreign money to maintain their tasks viable. In comparison with decentralized stablecoins, centralized stablecoins are weak to regulation, and the fiat cash saved offline can’t be queried and certain by on-chain protocols.

Regardless of the decentralized spirit of blockchain, numerous key tasks, like Tether, are centralized. Why is that this problematic?

Think about if the SEC brings fees towards Tether, or if Tether is discovered incapable of offering adequate reserves. Customers holding USDT won’t be protected against losses.

2. Overcollateralized Stablecoins


MakerDAO, which launched in 2018, has led the way in which within the improvement of overcollateralized stablecoins. Because of this, DAI has turn out to be the market cap chief for this class of stablecoins. Though Liquity, which went stay in 2021, innovated and improved on MakerDAO, the shortage of use instances for its stablecoin, LUSD, has restricted its adoption.

Abracadabra, which has a mannequin much like MakerDAO, has grown quickly in two months with its interest-bearing tokens collateral, and the market cap of its stablecoin, MIM, has surpassed that of LUSD, which was one step forward of it.

Over-collateralization Stablecoins Market Cap (Since Jan. 2021) (Footprint Analytics)
Over-collateralization Stablecoins Market Cap (Since Jan. 2021) (Footprint Analytics)


Overcollateralized stablecoins mint $1 value of stablecoins by depositing collateral value greater than $1. The collateral can due to this fact be different tokens that aren’t secure in their very own method similar to ETH, protocol tokens, and LP tokens. Such stablecoins are on the identical chain because the collateral and the principle danger comes from the fluctuation of the worth of the collateral, so the liquidation mechanism of such protocols is especially vital.

On the collateral aspect, MakerDAO has launched centralized belongings similar to USDT and USDC since March 2020, and doubts have grown about whether or not DAI is decentralized sufficient. The dangers of DAI are tied to centralized stablecoins.

Liquity, a protocol whose solely collateral is ETH to mint LUSD, strives to be decentralized in all features and has higher capital utilization and liquidation mechanisms.

Whereas Abracadabra’s core mechanism is much like MakerDAO, permitting collateralized interest-bearing belongings, it’s extra like a extra aggressive MakerDAO deployed in a number of chains with extra collateral, which permits its stablecoin, MIM, to develop quickly, but in addition implies larger danger.


The every day buying and selling quantity of DAI far exceeds that of all different stablecoins, primarily as a result of DAI, as an early cultivator, might be supported on numerous protocols.

LUSD, resulting from its incentive mechanism, has greater than 60% of stablecoins circulating inside its personal system, supporting fewer exterior use instances.  Even MIM’s buying and selling quantity far exceeds that of LUSD. That is primarily resulting from the truth that Abracadabra provides the power to extend leverage by means of flash loans, in addition to growing the liquidity of MIM on Curve by incentivizing its token, SPELL.

Over-collateralization Stablecoins Volume (Since Sep. 2021) (Footprint Analytics)
Over-collateralization Stablecoins Quantity (Since Sep. 2021) (Footprint Analytics)


When it comes to stability, MakerDAO regulates the provision and demand of DAI via a stability payment and DSR (Dai Financial savings Fee), which impacts the value of DAI. Nonetheless, these changes are primarily based on a vote by holders of MKR, the tokens issued by MakerDAO. Most MKR is held by early traders and enormous traders.

Even with these MKR non-centralized holdings, such changes are much like central financial institution financial coverage—e.g. adjusting reserve ratios, benchmarking rates of interest, and so on.— besides with a low threshold to vote. This has raised questions concerning the governance mannequin’s equity and prudence.

Liquity maintains the value of LUSD via a “onerous anchor” that opens up arbitrage alternatives to the whole market utilizing a redemption mechanism and a “tender anchor” that enables customers to mint LUSD at $1 and burn LUSD at $1 at any time.

Abracadabra’s stabilization foreign money, MIM, is much like DAI by way of stabilization mechanism, and the minting fee is used to control the price of funding of MIM, thereby affecting the steadiness of provide and demand.

Utilizing Footprint Analytics information, we are able to see that DAI is probably the most secure by way of worth fluctuation. LUSD is comparatively secure besides when the value is barely larger when it first got here on-line. MIM can be comparatively secure between $0.97 and $1.01.

Over-collateralization Stablecoins Price (Since Jan. 2021) (Footprint Analytics)
Over-collateralization Stablecoins Value (Since Jan. 2021) (Footprint Analytics)

3. Algorithmic Stablecoins


Algorithmic stablecoins maintain their worth by incentivizing the market to invest on tokens utilizing their very own protocols. The benefit is primarily that the uncollateralized mechanism permits for larger capital utilization, however can simply transfer the value out of anchor if the market doesn’t arbitrage because the protocol is predicted to be designed.

The standout amongst algorithmic stablecoins is Terra’s stablecoin UST. Terra makes use of a twin token mannequin, with Luna, a token primarily used for governance, staking, and verification, and UST, a local stablecoin anchored to USD. UST is backed by Luna, and for every UST minted, one greenback value of Luna have to be burned, and Luna maintains the anchoring of UST to USD via an arbitrage mechanism.

Fei Protocol, which set a brand new fundraising document in DeFi, can be noteworthy. It minted $2.four billion in market cap in a single week since launch, then immediately fell to $500 million in three months. Fei anchor adjustment mechanism, primarily based on PCV (protocol managed worth) and Ethereum’s redemption mechanism, maintains stability. Fei Protocol intends to resolve the issue of inefficiency and problem of enlargement of over-collateralized stablecoins, however group strain has compelled fixed modifications of its mechanism after launch. It now makes use of the Peg Stability Module mechanism, much like DAI.

Algorithmic stablecoins Market Cap (Since Jan. 2021) (Footprint Analytics)
Algorithmic stablecoins Market Cap (Since Jan. 2021) (Footprint Analytics)


UST tops different algorithmic stablecoins by way of buying and selling worth, though there may be nonetheless an enormous hole from the overcollateralized stablecoin DAI. Presently, UST is similar to MIM in market cap.

The lively quantity of UST is principally attributed to the truth that the whole Terra protocol is about up round its authentic stablecoin. Terra’s protocol has been outfitted with UST transaction situations since its inception, and UST might be related to offline funds, which in flip stimulate the demand for UST utilization.

Algorithmic stablecoins Volume (Since Sep. 2021) (Footprint Analytics)
Algorithmic stablecoins Quantity (Since Sep. 2021) (Footprint Analytics)


Because the stabilization mechanism of UST relies on the promise to pay out with Luna, it’s basically backed by the promise of Luna quite than being an overcollateralized stablecoin correct. Based mostly on belief in Terra as an entire, arbitrageurs will guarantee the soundness of UST via arbitrage habits. If the value of Luna drops drastically, an anchoring disaster will happen as customers lose religion out there worth of Luna.

The value of UST has been comparatively secure, with the one de-anchoring occurring in Might when the token worth plummeted. This compares favorably to Fei, which has been stay for greater than half a yr and experiences two critical de-anchors. Within the first incidence in early April,when Fei first went alive, Fei’s utilization state of affairs was not sufficient to assist the required minting, creating an imbalance between provide and demand. Might’s de-anchoring primarily got here from an enormous drop in token costs triggering mistrust amongst customers.

Algorithmic stablecoins Price (Since Jan. 2021) (Footprint Analytics)
Algorithmic stablecoins Value (Since Jan. 2021) (Footprint Analytics)


The three sorts of stablecoins have their very own distinctive benefits and drawbacks.

Centralized stablecoins:

  • Benefit: Largest market cap resulting from creating relative stability and a variety of use instances
  • Drawback: The centralized safety and lack of transparency is ripe for big abuse that poses a systemic danger to the entire system

Overcollateralization stablecoins:

  • Benefit: Relative worth stability resulting from over-collateralization
  • Drawback: Low capital utilization

Algorithmic stablecoins:

  • Benefit: Preserve stability by incentivizing the market to arbitrage the stablecoin, fixing the issue of capital utilization
  • Drawback: Potential for volatility in instances of uncertainty.

Stablecoins are an integral a part of DeFi as a medium of change between belongings. They don’t have a robust backing like fiat currencies, and it is best to contemplate their safety, stability and breadth when to make use of.

The above content material represents the non-public views and opinions of the writer and doesn’t represent funding recommendation. If there are apparent errors in understanding or information, suggestions is welcome.

This report was delivered to you by Footprint Analytics.

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Posted In: Analysis, Stablecoins

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Author: Cryptodaddy