Some entries have been updated on August 20th, 2019.
2019 looks to be the year of the stablecoin. Since the beginning of 2017, 122 stablecoin projects have been announced but are still in development. We took a look at the projects with a stablecoin that have received the most outside funding.
A stablecoin is a class of digital asset which is designed to hold constant value relative to another asset. This other asset could be a commodity like an ounce of gold; a US Treasury-minted dollar (USD) or other currency; or another stablecoin.
You’ll notice that Gemini is missing from our list. Its GUSD is the ‘world’s first regulated stablecoin’ and one of the more transparent stablecoin initiatives, releasing regular audit reports and keeping its cash reserves at State Street Bank in New York, the world’s largest custodian bank. It’s also possible to spend GUSD at over 30,000 retailers across the US, thanks to the Flexa network and Spedn app. We didn’t include it because while Gemini is founded by crypto advocates Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, it has never publicly announced any fundraising rounds.
From our research, we found that all but three of the stablecoins on this list run on the Ethereum network. Apples-to-apples comparisons between stablecoins (or any crypto project for that matter) is a delicate challenge because of the variation in level of transparency, intended use cases, types of collateral, degree of backing, level of audit, etc. So here is a brief breakdown of the 15 stablecoin projects featured in the table.
With daily trading volumes in the tens of billions of dollars, Tether is the most widely circulated stablecoin. It is pegged at $1 and is primarily used on cryptocurrency exchanges to allow investors to dip in and out of the crypto market. It also acts as an alternative to traditional fiat currency deposits and withdrawals, allowing traders to hedge their bets against price movements of other cryptocurrencies.
Despite its wide use, Tether has been making headlines lately for the wrong reasons. Namely, the New York Office of the Attorney General issued an injunction against Tether and its sister company, crypto exchange Bitfinex. Bitcoin Magazine recently published a helpful summary of the ongoing dispute. One outcome of this legal action is that Tether had to reveal that it is not backed 100% by USD, as was previously claimed; the actual amount is closer to 74%. Finally, last October, it broke away from its $1 peg, though it has generally hovered right around $1 since.
Last September, the CENTRE consortium launched the USDC stablecoin. CENTRE was founded by financial services disruptor Circle and Coinbase and is defining standards and policies for fiat stablecoins as well as enforcing a governance scheme for USDC. Besides being available for trading against various cryptocurrencies, USDC can now be spent at stores using Coinbase Commerce as a payment processor.
In March, trading platform eToro announced the launch of its crypto exchange, eToroX. In addition to the six cryptocurrencies available for trading, they have created eight stablecoins pegged to the dollar, yen, pound sterling, euro, Swiss franc, and a handful of others.
Paxos Standard PAX
Formed as the first trust company to be established in New York after the financial crisis, Paxos is also one of the most intensively regulated companies on this list. In the interest of transparency, they also release monthly attestation reports conducted by their auditors, Withum. Use cases include exchange trading as well as payments using the Paxos Standard coin pegged at $1.
Mobile payments platform Celo released its own stablecoin, pegged 1:1 with the dollar. It is collateralized by a basket of cryptocurrencies. Celo is backed by top-tier VCs including Andreessen Horowitz, Social Capital, LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey.
Aimed at mass adoption as a global payments network, Terra’s stablecoin will work with the TerraX mobile app. It is being billed as a decentralized stablecoin.
Everex serves the southeast Asian market with P2P payment services including remittance and cross-border money transfers. Everex’s stablecoins include pegs to the US dollar, Thai baht, renminbi, euro, pound sterling, and Australian dollar.
One of the most traded stablecoins is TUSD, with over $200 million in daily volume. Parent company TrustToken has raised funds from an ICO and contributions from Andreessen Horowitz and Founders Fund, among others.
Open-banking platform Token launched its security-heavy Token X, which is compatible with all major cryptocurrencies on the Ethereum and Stellar networks. Its stablecoin is 100% back by assets held in escrow by Prime Trust.
Digix Gold Token DGX
Unlike most of the currency-pegged projects on this list, the DGX token is equal to one gram of gold bullion. Its reserves are held in the Safe House Singapore, which houses over 30 tons of gold and platinum.
Stronghold is built on and acts as an ‘anchor’ for the Stellar network. Stronghold USD is backed 1:1 with cash and its deposits are held by an SEC qualified custodian.
*updated August 20th, 2019.
Monerium recently became the first electronic money (or e-money) to be issued on the blockchain. Rather than first building a fiat-backed stablecoin and seeking regulatory approval, Monerium took a different approach. Instead, they based their technology on existing regulatory frameworks, namely the concept of an Electronic Money Institution. This means that it has “regulatory approval to provide fiat payment services on a blockchain and use it throughout the European Economic Area.” The European Central Bank defines e-money as “an electronic store of monetary value on a technical device that may be widely used for making payments to entities other than the e-money issuer.” In other words, e-money is money that is held and transferred digitally. Monerium is still in closed beta and is due to see wider release at the end of 2019.
Launched by Singapore-based crypto exchange Huobi in October 2018, HUSD is a stablecoin solution for the Huobi cryptocurrency exchange. It allows traders to exchange four different stablecoins for each other using HUSD as a sort of intermediary cryptocurrency. Supported stablecoins are PAX, TUSD, USDC, and GUSD.
Huobi has also announced plans for another stablecoin project, with the aim to release it in the first half of 2019. CFO Chris Lee said “this year will be huge for stablecoins and we will be a part of that.”
*updated August 20th, 2019.
Backed by 500 Startups and private investors, Stably is collateralized 1:1 by fiat held in escrow by Prime Trust, LLC. Stably is primarily traded on Binance. Every month, they publish attestation reports from accounting firm Cohen & Co.