What Are Stablecoins?

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Are you struggling to keep up with the volatile nature of most cryptocurrencies? Enter stablecoins – digital currencies designed to minimize fluctuations in value. This piece will demystify what stablecoins are, how they work, and their role in the cryptocurrency universe.

Let’s dive into a world where stability meets decentralization!

Key Takeaways

  • Stablecoins are digital currencies designed to minimize fluctuations in value, making them attractive for various use cases in the crypto market.
  • They work by maintaining price stability through different methods such as linking their value to stable assets like the U.S. dollar or using smart contracts to adjust supply.
  • Popular stablecoins include Tether (USDT), USD Coin (USDC), TrueUSD, and Maker DAI, each with its own unique features and backing reserves.
  • Stablecoins come in different types: fiat-collateralized, crypto-backed, non-collateralized, and commodity-backed.

Understanding Stablecoins

Stablecoins are a type of cryptocurrency that aim to maintain price stability, making them attractive for various use cases in the crypto market.

Definition and Purpose

Stablecoins are a type of cryptocurrency. Their value doesn’t change much. This is because it’s linked to the value of something stable, like the U.S dollar. People use stablecoins for many reasons.

They help lower price changes in crypto markets. Also, they act as a safe place to put money and can be used to buy things or count wealth. Stablecoins allow easy cross-border payments as their values do not shift with exchange rates.

How Stablecoins Work

Stablecoins work in a very interesting way. They aim to keep their value steady, just like the name suggests. These coins use different ways to hold their price stable. Most times, they are tied or pegged to real things like dollars or gold.

The issuer of these coins holds enough of this real thing as backup for all the stablecoins out there. Some stablecoins use a smart contract system on blockchain platforms such as Ethereum.

This helps them adjust their supply up and down, keeping the coin’s value stable. That’s how they avoid big ups and downs in price like other cryptocurrencies have!

History of Stablecoins

The first stablecoin, BitUSD, was introduced in the early days of cryptocurrency and aimed to maintain a 1:1 peg with the US dollar. This was followed by the rise of Tether ($USDT), which quickly became one of the most widely used stablecoins.

USD Coin (USDC) later emerged as another prominent stablecoin, along with TrueUSD and Maker DAI.

The First Stablecoin: BitUSD

BitUSD came out in 2014. It was the first stablecoin ever made. BitShares, a blockchain platform, launched it. Instead of using fiat currencies as security, it used other types of crypto coins.

The way BitUSD worked was new and yet untested at that time. Even so, its launch showed how stablecoins could change the world of cryptocurrency for good later on.

The Rise of Tether ($USDT)

Tether (USDT) has quickly become the largest stablecoin in the cryptocurrency market. Launched in 2015, Tether is pegged to the U.S. dollar at a 1:1 ratio, meaning that for every USDT token, there is an equivalent amount of U.S. dollars held as reserves.

This peg provides stability and reassurance to investors, making it a popular choice among cryptocurrency traders. In fact, Tether’s market capitalization currently stands at a staggering $83 billion, solidifying its position as the dominant player in the stablecoin space.

Additionally, Tether goes beyond just backing their tokens with U.S. dollars – they also have gold reserves to further enhance stability and attract investor trust. As a result of these factors, Tether continues to rise in popularity and maintain a strong presence in the ever-growing world of cryptocurrencies.

USD Coin (USDC), the Next in Line

USD Coin (USDC) is a stablecoin that has gained significant popularity in the cryptocurrency market. It is fully backed by U.S. dollars, which means that for every USDC token in circulation, there is an equivalent amount of U.S. dollars held in reserve.

The main purpose of USDC is to maintain price stability at one USDC equal to one U.S. dollar.

One of the key advantages of USDC is its transparency and auditability. It undergoes regular audits to ensure that the reserves backing it are accurately accounted for, adding trust and accountability to the stablecoin.

Additionally, being pegged to the U.S. dollar makes it a reliable and predictable medium of exchange globally.

As a result, USDC has become widely adopted in various use cases such as remittances and cross-border payments due to its instant global payment capabilities and stability provided by its peg to the U.S. dollar.

With these features, it’s no wonder why USD Coin (USDC) has quickly risen to become one of the largest stablecoins by market capitalization.


TrueUSD is a stablecoin that was launched in 2018 by TrustToken Incorporated. It aims to provide stability and transparency in the cryptocurrency market. TrueUSD is backed by U.S. dollar reserves, meaning that for every TrueUSD token issued, there is an equivalent amount of U.S. dollars held in reserve.

This makes it fully collateralized and ensures that its value remains at parity with the dollar. Third-party attestations verify the reserves, making TrueUSD a trustworthy alternative to other major stablecoins like Tether or USD Coin (USDC).

Since its launch, TrueUSD has experienced significant growth and has become one of the fastest-growing stablecoins available today.

Maker DAI

Maker DAI is a stablecoin that operates on the Ethereum blockchain. It is regulated by MakerDAO, which acts as a decentralized autonomous organization. The value of Maker DAI is pegged to one United States dollar, ensuring price stability.

To back its value, Maker DAI holds Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies worth 150% of its total value. With a market cap of $4.7 billion, Maker DAI is one of the largest and most popular stablecoins available today.

Types of Stablecoins

Stablecoins come in different forms, including fiat-collateralized stablecoins, crypto-backed stablecoins, non-collateralized stablecoins, and commodity-backed stablecoins.

Fiat-Collateralized Stablecoins

Fiat-collateralized stablecoins are a type of stablecoin that maintain a reserve of a fiat currency, such as the US dollar or euro, as collateral. These stablecoins are designed to have their value pegged 1:1 to the value of the fiat currency they are backed by.

This means that for every unit of stablecoin in circulation, there is an equivalent amount of fiat currency held in reserve.

Fiat-backed stablecoins are considered one of the most popular and widely used types of stablecoins. They provide stability and reliability since their value is directly tied to an established and regulated fiat currency.

Crypto-Backed Stablecoins

Crypto-backed stablecoins are a type of stablecoin that are backed by other cryptocurrencies. Instead of using fiat currencies or commodities as collateral, they use cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum to maintain price stability.

Users can deposit and lock their crypto assets in smart contracts, which then generates the equivalent value in stablecoins. The reserve cryptocurrency used for backing can be prone to high volatility, but this type of stablecoin still provides users with the benefits of using cryptocurrencies while minimizing the risks associated with price fluctuations.

Non-Collateralized Stablecoins

Non-collateralized stablecoins are a type of stablecoin that do not have any reserves in smart contracts. Unlike collateralized stablecoins, they don’t rely on backing from bank deposits or cash-like assets.

Instead, non-collateralized stablecoins maintain price stability through algorithmic formulas that control the supply of the stablecoin. These algorithms use seigniorage-style mechanisms to adjust the supply based on market demand and ensure that the value of the stablecoin remains pegged to a specific currency or asset.

Because they don’t require external reserves, non-collateralized stablecoins can be more decentralized compared to their collateral-backed counterparts.

Commodity-Backed Stablecoins

Commodity-backed stablecoins are digital currencies that have real assets like gold, oil, or other commodities backing them. The purpose of these stablecoins is to provide stability in value and give people greater access to commodities.

These stablecoins exist on a blockchain as representations of tangible assets. They are backed by reserves held by a central entity, ensuring their value and stability. Commodity-backed stablecoins offer an alternative for those who want exposure to commodities without directly investing in them through traditional means.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Stablecoins

Stablecoins offer stability, transparency, and accessibility in the volatile world of cryptocurrencies. However, concerns of centralization and regulatory issues remain. Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of stablecoins.

Advantages: Stability, Transparency, Accessibility

Stablecoins offer several advantages that make them attractive to users. Firstly, stability is a key advantage of stablecoins because their value is pegged to another asset, such as a fiat currency or a commodity.

This means that stablecoins are not subject to the price volatility often seen in other cryptocurrencies, making them more reliable for everyday transactions. Secondly, transparency is another advantage of stablecoins.

Many stablecoin issuers provide real-time audits and publicly disclose their reserves, ensuring that users can trust the stability of the coin’s value. Lastly, accessibility is a significant advantage of stablecoins as they can be easily purchased and used by anyone with an internet connection and a digital wallet.

Disadvantages: Centralization, Regulatory Concerns

Stablecoins have some disadvantages that need to be considered. One of these is centralization, which means that a single entity or organization has control over the stablecoin. This can lead to issues like lack of transparency and potential manipulation.

Additionally, regulatory concerns are raised when it comes to stablecoins. Due to their nature as cryptocurrencies, they may not have the same level of consumer protection as traditional financial systems.

This poses risks for fraud and could be problematic for the overall payment system. These concerns highlight the importance of carefully monitoring and regulating stablecoins to ensure stability and protect users’ interests.

Use Cases for Stablecoins

Stablecoins have several practical use cases, including facilitating remittances and cross-border payments, enabling decentralized finance (DeFi) applications, and providing a stable store of value.

Explore these use cases to discover how stablecoins can benefit you in the world of cryptocurrencies.

Remittances and Cross-Border Payments

Stablecoins are useful for remittances and cross-border payments because:

  1. They can address technical challenges in cross – border payments, such as slow transaction times and high fees.
  2. Stablecoins can reduce transaction costs for cross – border payments, making them more affordable for individuals sending money to their families in different countries.
  3. Stablecoins have the potential to power the next generation of international money transfers, providing a faster and more efficient alternative to traditional methods.
  4. Stablecoins have seen rapid growth and increasing global use cases in facilitating cross – border payments, indicating their effectiveness in this area.
  5. Stablecoins enable fast peer-to-peer and cross-border payments, ensuring that funds can be transferred quickly and securely across borders.
  6. Stablecoins are suitable for use in remittances and cross – border payments due to their stability and accessibility, making them a reliable option for individuals needing to send or receive money internationally.

Decentralized Finance (DeFi) Applications

Decentralized Finance (DeFi) applications are financial services that operate without centralized financial entities. They offer various opportunities for using stablecoins, such as:

  1. Trading: Stablecoins provide a stable value compared to other volatile cryptocurrencies, making them suitable for trading on decentralized exchanges.
  2. Lending and Borrowing: DeFi platforms allow users to lend or borrow stablecoins using smart contracts. This enables individuals to earn interest on their stablecoin holdings or obtain loans by using stablecoins as collateral.
  3. Yield Farming: Yield farming involves providing liquidity to DeFi protocols in exchange for rewards. Stablecoins are often used for this purpose due to their stability and ease of use.
  4. Insurance: DeFi insurance platforms utilize stablecoins to provide coverage against smart contract failures and hacks, ensuring that users’ funds are protected.
  5. Payment Solutions: Stablecoins can be used for fast and low-cost cross-border payments within the DeFi ecosystem, eliminating the need for traditional banks or payment processors.
  6. Decentralized Savings Accounts: Some DeFi applications offer high-interest savings accounts denominated in stablecoins. Users can earn passive income by depositing their stablecoins into these accounts.

Store of Value

Stablecoins serve as a good store of value, making them suitable for regular transactions. Compared to more volatile cryptocurrencies, stablecoins offer a safer way to hold and retain value within the crypto ecosystem.

They act as a source of stored value within blockchain technology, providing stability and reducing the risks associated with price fluctuations. With their stability and liquidity, stablecoins are useful tools for various financial activities, offering users confidence in maintaining their wealth.


Stablecoins are digital assets designed to provide stability within the volatile world of cryptocurrencies. They achieve this by tracking the values of more stable assets like fiat currencies or commodities.

With their ability to offer price stability and act as a reliable medium of exchange, stablecoins have gained popularity for cross-border transactions, remittances, and serving as a store of value.

As the use of stablecoins continues to grow, they play an important role in bridging traditional finance with the emerging world of cryptocurrencies.


What are stablecoins?

Stablecoins are cryptocurrencies whose value is pegged to the price of a real-world asset like currency or gold.

How do stablecoins work?

Stablecoins aim to bridge the gap between fiat and crypto assets by backing each stablecoin token with a reserve of real-world assets.

What types of things can back up a stablecoin?

A stablecoin may get its value from real money, like U.S dollars, or even other items like gold or another cryptocurrency.

Can you use a stablecoin in different ways?

Yes! Stablecoins not only help balance the price changes in the crypto market but also offer new ways for people to handle their money around the world.

Is there more than one kind ofstablecoin?

Yes, besides fiat-backed ones, we also have algorithmic and commodity-backed ones and each has unique features.

Are all Stabelcoins alike?

No! Different types exist including Dai Stablecoin which uses smart contracts while USD Coin follows US dollar’s worth.



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About the Author:
Alex Sterling stands at the forefront of blockchain innovation, offering a technical perspective rooted in a Computer Science background. Specializing in decentralized systems, Alex's articles dissect blockchain technologies and crypto market trends, making intricate details comprehensible for readers. They are deeply involved in blockchain project development, frequently sharing their technical expertise at tech conferences. Alex's work aims to educate and inspire readers about the transformative potential of blockchain and cryptocurrency.