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A Comprehensive Look at the Types of Stablecoins in Cryptocurrency

Are you curious about the different types of stablecoins in the cryptocurrency market? Stablecoins are a type of digital currency designed to provide stability in value. Unlike volatile cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum or other altcoins, stablecoins offer a more stable alternative by being pegged to the value of another currency, commodity, or financial instrument.

In this article, we will explore the four primary types of stablecoins:

  • Fiat-Backed Stable Coins
  • Crypto-Backed Stable Coins
  • Commodity-Backed Stable Coins
  • Algorithmic Stable Coins
StablecoinTypePegged toCollateralExample
Tether (USDT)Fiat-backedUS dollarUSDTether Limited
Gemini Dollar (GUSD)Fiat-backedUS dollarUSDGemini Trust Company
USD Coin (USDC)Fiat-backedUS dollarUSDCircle
Dai (DAI)Crypto-backedEthereumETHMakerDAO
BitUSD (BITUSD)Crypto-backedUS dollarBTSBitShares
Synthetix USD (sUSD)Crypto-backedUS dollarSNXSynthetix
Digix Gold (DGX)Commodity-backedGoldPhysical goldDigixDAO
Paxos Gold (PAXG)Commodity-backedGoldPhysical goldPaxos Trust Company
Ampleforth (AMPL)AlgorithmicNoneNoneAmpleforth Foundation

Types of Stablecoins

Fiat-Backed Stablecoins

FIAT-backed Stablecoins

Fiat-backed stablecoins are pegged to real-world currencies in a one-to-one ratio. Tether (USDT) is the most popular fiat-backed stablecoin and is pegged to the US dollar, this ensures that the value of the stablecoin remains stable. Every USDT in circulation is backed by a corresponding US dollar held in reserves by Tether Limited. Other examples of fiat-backed stablecoins include Gemini Dollar (GUSD) and USD Coin (USDC).

Crypto-Backed Stablecoins

Crypto-backed stablecoins

Crypto-backed stablecoins are pegged to other cryptocurrencies. Dai (DAI) is the most popular crypto-backed stablecoin and is backed by Ethereum.

DAI, an Ethereum blockchain stablecoin, incessantly strives to uphold its value in adherence to the U.S. dollar by utilising an intricate web of smart contracts, and incentivizing decentralized participants to ensure maintenance and governance operations.

DAI’s creation stems from an overcollateralized loan and reimbursement procedure, executed via the decentralized application of MakerDAO’s smart contracts. Here, users depositing Ether (or any other accepted cryptocurrency collateral) have the ability to loan against their deposits’ value and, in turn, receive novel DAI. For Ether, the minimum collateralization ratio currently stands at 150%, implying that a depositor furnishing Ether worth $150 is eligible to borrow up to 100 DAI, approximately equivalent to $100.

Other examples of crypto-backed stablecoins include BitUSD (BITUSD) and Synthetix USD (sUSD). Crypto-backed stablecoins work in a similar way to fiat-backed stablecoins, with the underlying cryptocurrency collateralizing the stablecoin.

Commodity-Backed Stablecoins

Commodity-backed Stablecoins

Commodity-backed stablecoins are pegged to physical commodities, such as gold or silver. Digix Gold (DGX) is the most popular commodity-backed stablecoin and is backed by physical gold stored in a vault in Singapore. Every DGX token is backed by one gram of gold, which is audited by a third-party auditor.

Paxos Gold (PAXG) is another example of a commodity-backed stablecoin that is backed by physical gold. Commodity-backed stablecoins are collateralized by the underlying commodity, ensuring that the value of the stablecoin remains stable.

Algorithmic Stablecoins

Algorithmic-Stablecoins by marketcap by

Algorithmic stablecoins are not backed by any underlying asset but instead use algorithms to maintain their stability. FRAX, Ampleforth (AMPL) and Cello USD are some of the most popular algorithmic stablecoins, for example Ampleforth uses a unique algorithm to adjust the supply of AMPL tokens in response to changes in demand. When demand for AMPL tokens increases, the algorithm will increase the supply of tokens to maintain the stability of the price. When demand for AMPL tokens decreases, the algorithm will decrease the supply of tokens to maintain the stability of the price.

Empty Set Dollar (ESD) is another example of an algorithmic stablecoin that uses an algorithm to maintain its stability. Algorithmic stablecoins do not require any underlying collateral to maintain their stability.

Types of Stablecoins in Cryptocurrency

  • Stablecoins are cryptocurrencies that provide stability in value.
  • There are four primary types of stablecoins: fiat-backed, crypto-backed, commodity-backed, and algorithmic stablecoins.
  • Each type of stablecoin has its own unique characteristics and advantages, making them suitable for different use cases.

Advantages of Stablecoins

Stablecoins offer several advantages over volatile cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. One of the primary advantages of stablecoins is that they provide a more stable alternative for transactions. This makes them suitable for everyday use cases, such as online shopping or peer-to-peer transactions.

Stablecoins also offer advantages for decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols. DeFi protocols allow for financial transactions to be conducted without the need for intermediaries like banks. Stablecoins can be used as a medium of exchange in DeFi protocols, providing stability in value and improving the mobility of crypto assets.

Concerns and Challenges of Stablecoins

Despite their advantages, stablecoins also present concerns and challenges. One of the primary concerns is the need for regulation as they gain popularity. Stablecoins have the potential to impact the financial system, which has led to calls for increased regulation to mitigate potential risks.

Stablecoins are not completely immune to risks and can lose their peg, as seen in some instances in the market. I’m sure that those that have been in the crypto market for a while remember the collapse of the Terra’s cryptocurrency UST which was the third largest stablecoin in circulation, after Tether and USDC in terms of market cap. This collapse led to insecurity in the crypto marketing in general as billions of dollars have been lost.

.Here are some key points to consider:

  1. Impact on Traditional Financial Markets: A collapse of a stablecoin can have an impact on traditional financial markets, such as the US bond market and the economy. Regulators are concerned about the potential consequences because when users redeem their stablecoin for fiat currency, the issuer may have to sell off the assets in their reserve, potentially causing disruptions.
  2. Market Confidence: Stablecoins rely on maintaining their peg to a real-world asset, typically the US dollar. Even a slight deviation from the peg can erode market confidence in a stablecoin. The market has shown that collateralized stablecoins, which are backed by reserves of traditional assets, have proven to be more resilient.
  3. Adoption Challenges: Stablecoins face adoption challenges, as they are not yet widely accepted or used. Education is needed to raise awareness of stablecoins and their potential benefits.
  4. Centralization Challenges: Stablecoins face centralization challenges, as some stablecoins are issued and controlled by a single entity. This can lead to concentration of power and control, which goes against the decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies

It’s important to note that stablecoins play a crucial role in the world of crypto trading and are designed to keep a steady value. However, they are not without risks, and their stability depends on various factors such as the underlying assets and the mechanisms used to maintain the peg.

Use Cases and Examples

Stablecoins have several use cases, including international trade, peer-to-peer transactions, and DeFi protocols.

Stablecoins are a type of cryptocurrency that are designed to maintain a stable value in relation to a traditional currency or asset[2][4]. Here are some of the use cases and examples of stablecoins:

  1. On-ramps/Off-ramps: Stablecoins can be used as a bridge between fiat and cryptocurrency, allowing users to easily move in and out of the crypto market.
  2. Payments: Stablecoins can be used for everyday transactions, such as buying goods and services, due to their stable value.
  3. Remittances: Stablecoins can be used to facilitate cross-border remittances, allowing people to send and receive money with lower fees and faster settlement.
  4. Market Liquidity: Stablecoins can provide liquidity for crypto traders by forming a trading pair on exchanges. They enable traders to quickly move in and out of positions without opening their portfolios to unwanted risks.
  5. Savings: Stablecoins can be used as a store of value and a means of saving, especially for those who do not have access to traditional savings accounts. Over time, this can help people achieve financial stability and security.
  6. Lending and Staking: Stablecoins can be used for lending and staking in decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms.
  7. Gaming: Stablecoins can be used in gaming platforms, where they can be used to buy in-game items and assets.
  8. Microtransactions: Stablecoins can be used to facilitate microtransactions, allowing people to make small payments for goods and services without requiring traditional banking infrastructure. This is especially advantageous for small business owners and entrepreneurs who operate in cash-based economies.
  9. Emerging Markets: Stablecoins are useful for people in emerging markets or frontier markets, in countries with failing currencies, to hold for intermediate-term savings. They can help people achieve financial stability and security.

Personal Experience on the use of Stablecoins

As a fervent enthusiast in the cryptocurrency world, I’ve experienced both the highs and lows of trading, with a particular focus on stable coins.

Owing to my continual desire to exploit market fluctuations, I maintain some funds on exchanges, adhering to the traditional ‘buy low, sell high’ strategy. Interestingly, I’ve made it a habit to sell in stable coins, ensuring my money remains readily at hand on the exchange for potential lucrative opportunities. My experiences with USDT have been positive thus far as apart from the fact that your are “secure” from volatility, it makes it super simple to transfer funds from one exchange to the other.

For individuals rather averse to greater risk, I would suggest sticking with such large-cap stable coins – they are not immune to failure, but hold a lower probability of so due to their size.

Despite this, not all of my encounters with stable coins have been positive. I’ve previously experienced the depegging of UST. Once one of the largest stable coins, UST’s market would customarily auto-correct itself whenever a depeg occurred, due to its dynamic nature. Nevertheless, this was not the case on this occasion, leading to my loss of a few thousand dollars.

Conclusion on the Types of Stablecoins

Stablecoins have emerged as a pivotal element in the dynamic sphere of cryptocurrency, serving as a calmer alternative amidst the tempestuous nature of crypto.

Different types of stablecoins, each boasting distinct attributes and benefits, are uniquely suited to an array of use cases. Nevertheless, these coins are not without their share of concerns and challenges. Thus, prospective investors need to immerse themselves in extensive research, introspect on their risk-taking capacity, and proceed wisely before making any investments. Grasping the diversity of stablecoins and their underlying collateral frameworks assists investors in making enlightened decisions, thereby capitalizing on the perks offered by stablecoins.

Insider Tips on Stable Coins

  • Consider the purpose of stablecoins before investing. Some stablecoins may be more suitable for certain use cases than others.
  • Stablecoins can be useful for hedging against price volatility in the cryptocurrency market.
  • Credibility and transparency of the issuer should be considered before investing in stablecoins.