Stablecoins have emerged as a foundational part of the cryptocurrency ecosystem over the past couple of years due to their ability to provide crypto traders with an offramp during times of volatility and their widespread integration with decentralized finance (DeFi). These are necessary for the health of the ecosystem as a whole.
Currently, Tether (USDT) and USD Coin (USDC) are the dominant stablecoins in the market, but their centralized nature and the persistent threat of stablecoin regulation have prompted many in the crypto community to shun them and search for decentralized alternatives.
Binance USD (BUSD) is the third-ranked stablecoin and is controlled by the Binance cryptocurrency exchange. DAI, the top ranked decentralized stablecoin, has 38% of its supply backed by USDC which, again, raises questions about its “decentralization.”
Investors’ pivot toward decentralized stablecoins can be noted by the rising market capitalizations and the number of DeFi platforms integrating TerraUSD (UST), FRAX (FRAX) and Magic Internet Money (MIM).
Here’s a look at some of the factors backing the growth of each stablecoin.
TerraUSD (UST) is an interest-bearing algorithmic stablecoin that is part of the Terra (LUNA) ecosystem and is designed to remain value-pegged with the United States dollar.
In order to mint new UST, users are required to interact with Anchor Protocol and either burn an equivalent value of the network’s native LUNA token or lock up an equivalent amount of Ether (ETH) as collateral.
The addition of Ether as a form of collateral really helped kick things into high gear for UST because it allowed for some of the value held in Ether to migrate into the Terra ecosystem and this resulted in an increase to UST circulating supply.
1/ bETH is now live on the Anchor web app!
You can now borrow $UST against bETH, a wrapped version of the stETH staking derivative for ETH 2.0.
As a result of the growth of UST, the Terra network recently surpassed Binance Smart Chain in terms of total value locked (TVL) on the protocol, which now sits at $17.43 billion, according to data from DefiLlama.
Terra has also been adopted by the Curve stablecoin ecosystem which further helped its distribution across numerous DeFi protocols. This also gives UST holders another way to earn a yield alongside the 19.5% annual percentage yield (APY) offered to users who stake their UST on Anchor Protocol.
FRAX (FRAX) is a first-of-its-kind fractional-algorithmic stablecoin developed by Frax Protocol. It is partially backed by collateral and the remaining portion is stabilized algorithmically.
The real story behind the growth of FRAX starts with its adoption by the DeFi community within multiple well-known projects and decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) voting to add support for the stablecoin within their ecosystems and treasuries.
FRAX was adopted early on by the OlympusDAO rebase protocol as a form of collateral that could be bonded to obtain the platform’s native OHM token. It also became the stablecoin of choice within the recently launched TempleDAO protocol.
On Dec. 22, 2021, FRAX was added to Convex Finance (CVX) and was immediately thrust into the ongoing Curve Wars where a handful of major DeFi protocols are battling to accumulate CVX and Curve (CRV) to gain voting power over the Curve network and increase their stablecoin yield.
This week, the Curve Wars received a new participant after Tokemak members voted to add FRAX and Frax Share (FXS) to its Token Reactor, vowing to “bring the fight to a massive new scale.”
Magic Internet Money
Magic Internet Money (MIM) is a collateral-backed stablecoin issued by a popular DeFi protocol called Abracadabra.Money. What differentiates this coin is that it is “summoned” into existence when users deposit one 16 supported cryptocurrencies in “cauldrons” that support MIM.
There are limitations placed on the amount that can be borrowed from the assets supported on Abracadabra and this is part of the protocol’s effort to avoid the problems faced by MakerDAO (DAI). Namely, the presence of too many centralized stablecoins and the history of catastrophic liquidations during market volatility.
MIM has also been integrated into the pools on Curve Finance, further highlighting the important role that Curve plays for stablecoins within the DeFi ecosystem and underscoring the incentives for participating in the Curve Wars.
MIM’s cross-platform and centralized exchange integration, including its long list of collateral options, have boosted its circulating supply to $1.933 billion, making it the sixth-ranked stablecoin in terms of market capitalization.
While the amount of value held in these decentralized stablecoins is only a fraction of that held in USDT and USDC, they are likely to continue to see their market share increase in the months ahead as proponents of decentralization choose them over their centralized counterparts.
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Bitcoin continues to underperform as a general “risk-off” sentiment has investors driving toward gold as a safe haven asset.
Not Risking It
Concerns about the Russo-Ukrainian war continue. The U.S. inflation struggles at a four-decade high and Fed rate hike fears prevail. The uncertainty extends to the world economy as a recession is expected instead of a recovery. The IMF’s managing director Kristalina Georgieva called it “a crisis on top of a crisis.”
“The war is a supply shock that reduces economic output and raises prices. Indeed, we forecast inflation will accelerate to 5.5 percent in advanced economies and to 9.3 percent in emerging European economies excluding Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine. ” The IMF stated last week.
Reuters recently quoted Commerzbank analyst Daniel Briesemann, who talked in a note about the factors that have “lent buoyancy to gold in recent days,” mentioning the “strong buying interest on the part of ETF (Exchange Traded Fund) investors” and news about the Ukraine war.
“Russia appears to be preparing to launch a major offensive in the east of the country – that is generating considerable demand for gold as a safe haven,” the analyst said.
This summarizes the “risk-off” sentiment at the moment. As expected, equities suffer as investors are selling risky assets and purchasing the ones negatively correlated to the traditional market. Thus, the crypto space is struggling alongside de stocks market and gold is rising.
Bitcoin Outperformed By Gold
Data from Arcane Research’s latest weekly report notes that it has been a gloomy year for the “digital gold.” In the first three weeks of 2022, Bitcoin sank 25% and it is still down by 18% in the year despite its slight recovery.
Similarly, Nasdaq records a 19% decline in the year, having underperformed against bitcoin “by a small margin,” notes the report, adding that “This is surprising given that bitcoin has tended to follow Nasdaq, albeit with higher volatility.”
The general fear over geopolitical and macroeconomic uncertainty has given gold the safe-haven asset spotlight once more. The asset outperformed all the other indexes seen below with a 4% gain.
Meanwhile, the currency market is performing with “the same risk-off patterns.” The Dollar has been proving its “risk-off” dominance as the US Dollar Index (DXY) is up 7%. The Chinese yuan has taken a hit over concerns about the country’s “zero-covid” policy –which creates issues for the global supply chain– and the slowing down Chinese economy. In contrast, investors have been running to the US Dollar for safety.
Bitcoin supporters usually refer to the coin as “digital gold” alleging it is a safe haven asset, and this narrative had held well while BTC had been “uncorrelated with most other major asset classes,” but the tide is shifting with the 2022 scenario as investors are rather placing the coin “into the risk-on basket”.
A previous Arcane Research report indicated that bitcoin’s 30 -day correlation with the Nasdaq is revisiting July 2020 highs while its correlation with gold has reached all-time lows.
A pseudonym traded noted that “As Bitcoin adoption goes on and more institutional investors enter the market, the correlation of BTC and stocks becomes more and more tight. That is a paradigm that the crypto world struggled to come to terms with in the past but is now more real than ever. A healthy stock market is good for Bitcoin.”
Meanwhile, the general sentiment of traders seems to be bearish, with many saying that the coin could visit the $30k level soon.
The crypto community headed to Nassau in the Bahamas this week for the inaugural Crypto Bahamas conference.
Like most conferences, panels fill up the agenda and on Wednesday the topics at Crypto Bahamas ranged from NFTs to crypto in sports and to asset allocation in Web3. During one particular conversation, titled Evolution of NFTs: Culture, Utility and Regulation, panelists had some insightful musings on the NFT market.
To put the Crypto Bahamas conference into context, Sam Bankman-Fried’s cryptocurrency exchange FTX moved its headquarters from Hong Kong to the Bahamas in Sept. 2021. It recently inked a multi-year partnership with Anthony Scaramucci’s investment firm SkyBridge Capital, and its events arm SkyBridge Alternatives, or SALT. They jointly presented the conference.
That’s why the NFT panel consisted of multiple perspectives from Tristan Yver, head of strategy at FTX U.S., Joseph Doll, attorney at Fenwick law firm, Roham Gharegozlou, the chief executive officer at Dapper Labs, and Sarah Hammer, the managing director of The Stevens Center for Innovation in Finance at The Wharton School. Zack Guzman, writer for the Meta-owned newsletter platform Bulletin, moderated.
Gharegozlou pointed out how new the NFT market truly is when “most people have only been thinking about it for a year and a half,” making valuations “very immature.” As the CEO of Dapper Labs, the company behind NBA Top Shot, Gharegozlou recognized that “utility, rewards and the how you value and NFT is primarily based on the strength of that of the community.”
He added that a good way for an NFT collection to build a strong community is to have multiple tiers of scarcity. In the case of NBA Top Shot, at the higher price end there is extreme scarcity, but there are also millions of “common” moments so that people can “get their first NFT and see how it feels without breaking the bank.”
Tristan Yver echoed that the current valuation and pricing model for NFTs is based on a collective perception on value based on the amount of people willing to buy an asset for a certain amount. He anticipated a “movement away from this consensus view to a more unique singular view where people buy things that resonate with them rather than what resonates with a larger community.”
Joseph Doll chimed in to say that “communities need to be thoughtful about democratizing access.” There are some “massive” barriers to entry to certain projects, he said, including not being early enough or not having enough capital at the time. He questioned, “That’s not what crypto is about, right? It’s kind of about the exact opposite of that.” Democratization, he suggested, can come in the form of derivative projects at better price points.
Another important point brought up by Yver was the reality of scams, especially on Discord and Twitter. He said that “weneed to move past security aspects to be able to really bring in the next large mass of users.” He recommended talking among family and friends or asking a Discord moderator to make sure “you click the right link when minting that NFT” because “wallet security sucks right now.”
Gharegozloueven said thatElon Musk, the new owner of Twitter, should use Web3 to fix Twitter’s fraud problem, just as Discord should use Web3 authentication and verification as well. “Once NFT’s are the sort of identity bridge across all these different social networks, identity and assets, authenticity, provenance,” then the system can be more resilient he added.
When asked what “main alpha” the audience should bear in mind, Doll said to engage with and be part of these NFT communities even if it’s “scary,” because getting scammed is a “part of the journey.”
Sarah Hammer, who leads the Cypher Accelerator at Wharton business school, said that the school is launching an incubator specifically for NFT projects in partnership with Dapper Labs because the “NFT model is a business model for the future.” She emphasized that the greatest way to grow and innovate in the space is to increase education efforts in order to get more people learning and working together.
22 days ago, Bitcoin.com News wrote about a Coin Insider trends study that combed through Google Trends data in the United States. According to the report, dogecoin was the most Googled cryptocurrency in the country. Another study — published by askgamblers.com — has covered similar data, but concentrated on the U.K.’s and Europe’s Google searches. According to the report, while bitcoin is the most popular crypto asset in Europe, the study of the trends shows that the meme token shiba inu is the most popular in the United Kingdom.
Trends Study Highlights the Most Popular Crypto Assets in Europe, UK — Bitcoin Reigns in Europe, While Shiba Inu Takes the UK
This week Bitcoin.com News was sent a report from askgamblers.com that analyzes Google Trends (GT) data over the last year in order to find out what the most popular crypto assets are in the U.K. and Europe. According to the findings, bitcoin (BTC) is the most popular digital currency in Europe as it was the most searched crypto in 21 countries. BTC outpaced the competitors in the askgamblers.com study, as the leading crypto asset rules the roost in countries like Germany, Finland, Norway, Poland, Romania, and Belgium.
While bitcoin (BTC) was the top crypto across Europe, shiba Inu (SHIB) is the most popular cryptocurrency in the U.K., according to the researcher’s collected Google searches. The meme token SHIB saw a significant increase in popularity during the last 12 months. The study’s findings show SHIB commands six different countries and the United Kingdom. In fact, SHIB is huge in Russia, France, Spain, Ukraine, Italy, Hungary, and Switzerland, in terms of GT searches.
Additionally, ethereum (ETH) was the third most popular in the study capturing interest from Sweden, Czechia, Latvia, and Slovenia. Then cardano (ADA) held the fourth position in terms of GT search data, as Andorra, the Netherlands, and Bulgaria showed a lot of interest in ADA. With dogecoin (DOGE) being the most popular in the U.S., it is the fifth in Europe as the meme crypto is popular in Albania and Greece.
“With 38 million crypto users in Europe, and thousands of cryptocurrencies on the market to choose from, it is fascinating to see which one people are the most interested in investing in,” a spokesperson from askgamblers.com told Bitcoin.com’s newsdesk. “Although bitcoin is the most popular overall, the interest in shiba inu has grown to surpass bitcoin in major countries such as Russia and the U.K.”
In the U.S. research study published by Coin Insider, shiba inu (SHIB) only captured seven states across the country. Dogecoin was named the leader in that study as DOGE was the most popular in 23 states in the U.S., in terms of GT searches. SHIB’s popularity in the U.S., according to the data in that specific report, was ranked the fourth most popular crypto in the country.
What do you think about the popularity of bitcoin in Europe and the shiba inu interest in the U.K.? Let us know what you think about this research study in the comments section below.
Jamie Redman is the News Lead at Bitcoin.com News and a financial tech journalist living in Florida. Redman has been an active member of the cryptocurrency community since 2011. He has a passion for Bitcoin, open-source code, and decentralized applications. Since September 2015, Redman has written more than 5,000 articles for Bitcoin.com News about the disruptive protocols emerging today.
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