What Can Audit Firms and Audit Reports of Mainstream Stablecoins Reveal to Us?
The market cap of stablecoins exceeded $153.27 billion as of September 8. Without a doubt, stablecoins have become an important part of the cryptocurrency market. Such tokens maintain a stable value against one or more currencies or other assets, including crypto assets, through different means. They have been a valuable tool for many investors in the crypto world. However, the collapse of UST and other algorithmic stablecoins and the brief de-pegging of USDT, a USD-pegged stablecoin, has made the public realize that some stablecoins may not be safe at all. Meanwhile, the current market downturn has forced investors to transfer their assets to stablecoins that act as value storage. The search for a safe, reliable stablecoin has become the top priority for everyone now. So, how can we best protect the safety of our assets until the next chance emerges?
Indeed, dollar-backed stablecoins may be the most likely Holy Grail. It is claimed that every token of such stablecoins is backed by the equivalent US dollar, with independent auditing to improve their transparency and credibility. Who are the auditors behind the mainstream stablecoins? What information can an audit report reveal? Truly is here to help you find out the answer today.
What role does an audit report play? What information does it reveal?
Auditing is an assurance service that verifies the accuracy of financial statements, reporting the accuracy and completeness of financial information as much as possible to the public. An audit report is a document prepared by a third-party audit firm to ensure a stablecoin has the value that the token claims to have, so that the safety and transparency of the stablecoin can be assured to avoid de-pegging or insolvency. There is no universal standard for the time interval or contents of the audit report: such factors vary among different projects and different audit firms.
For every USD-pegged stablecoin, in particular, the generation of any token has to be backed by assets of the equivalent value. Any failure to testify the existence of such assets will raise question marks among investors who have purchased or minted the tokens. Such a situation will weaken investors’ confidence in the stablecoin, thus reducing its rate of adoption in the market. Therefore, it is vital to provide an independent audit for any stablecoin.
Who are the auditors behind the mainstream USD-pegged stablecoins?
The audit firm for TUSD is Armanino, one of the largest accounting firms in the US. The firm provides 24/7 real-time audit reports for TUSD, with details including the balances held in various bank accounts and tokens issued on different chains. You can check the tusd.io website for the full report. Meanwhile, TUSD is in partnership with Chainlink, the leading provider of decentralized oracle solutions, in a bid to upgrade the current real-time auditing to one traceable on-chain. TUSD has introduced its Proof of Reserve & Supply reference contracts and live attestations to extend its unparalleled openness and transparency to on-chain environments.
To put it simply, Armanino audits data in real time and generates individual reports that are reviewed manually to secure the data’s credibility and transparency. And based on that, Armanino makes that data available to the Chainlink oracle network via an API endpoint. If the account balance has changed beyond a predetermined deviation, the Chainlink network will broadcast an update to the reference contract on the blockchain, where it can be easily read by a smart contract. If the TUSD Proof of Reserve contract reports that the USD fiat reserves are insufficient to back the TUSD circulating supply, circuit breakers will be triggered to suspend transactions and protect users’ assets.
According to The Block, stablecoin issuer Tether announced on 15 August that it had appointed BDO Italia, the Italian arm of BDO, the world’s fifth-largest accounting firm, to issue assurance and attestation reports of its reserves. Their partnership means Tether no longer works with the two Caymanian accounting firms, Moore Cayman and MHA Cayman. Tether began working with BDO Italia in July for its quarterly attestations, it said, adding that it planned to move towards monthly attestations. Tether also aims to achieve “a complete audit” in the future. Given that the USDT audit has always been criticized for the lack of transparency, this new cooperation will hopefully provide a better example for the stablecoin market.
USDC has been issuing monthly audit reports since October 2018, prepared by Grant Thorton, the sixth-largest accounting firm in the US. The reports list the up-to-date total balance of U.S. dollar-denominated assets in segregated accounts held by the USDC reserve and other details. According to the report issued on 31 July 2022, the dollar-nominated assets of stablecoin USDC reserve mainly consisted of U.S. Treasury securities, with a small number of cash deposits.
Stablecoin BUSD has been issuing monthly audit reports provided by the US accounting firm Withum since September 2019. Unlike those of USDC and USDT, the audit reports of BUSD only list the total balance of U.S. dollar-denominated assets held by the BUSD reserve without any further details.
BUSD audit report issued on 29 July
In a nutshell, the audit reports of these four USD-pegged stablecoins vary in their contents. Although such reports have no uniform standards yet, they still play a significant role in the trading and circulation of USD-pegged stablecoins in the crypto market. Their timely release is essential to the growth of the stablecoin market and ensures a healthy and transparent stablecoin asset. It is believed that as the value of USD-backed stablecoins increases, the contents of their audit reports will gradually improve to bring peace of mind to their users.