What is a Stablecoin?

Stablecoins are a type of cryptocurrency that are backed by an asset and designed to maintain a stable value. They have become increasingly popular in recent years, as they offer investors a way to limit their exposure to volatile markets.

The most commonly used stablecoin are US dollar-backed stablecoins like USD Coin (USDC) Tether (USDT) and Binance USD (BUSD). But with so many different stablecoins on the market, it can be difficult to decide which one is safest and most reliable.

Top 5 Stablecoins
Stablecoin Market Growth and Top 5 by Market Cap.

What factors make a Stablecoin safe?

The primary concern when selecting a stablecoin is ensuring that the company issuing the stablecoin is regulated and keeps the token backed 1:1 by real dollars that are in secure vaults. In order to this, stablecoin issuers need to provide monthly audits and transparency reports to demonstrate proper reserves.

Beyond that, other factors to consider include the network’s security measures, transaction fees, and user-friendly interfaces.  

Top 3 Safest Stablecoins (USDC vs BUSD vs USDT)

The three safest stablecoins to use in crypto finance are:

  1. USD Coin (USDC): USDC is the safest overall stablecoin because it is fully backed 1:1 and regulated in New York, which has the most rigorous auditing and licensing requirements for stablecoin issuers.
  2. Tether (USDT): Tether is the second safest stablecoin because they lack the high degree of transparency over their reserves compared to USDC. The issuing company Tether Limited has also previosuly been accused of fraud by the Justice Department for lying about their reserves.
  3. Binance USD (BUSD): Binance and BUSD is issued by a US-regulated company called Paxos Global. BUSD was previously considered to be the second most trusted stablecoin, however they are now less safe than USDC and USDT after the SEC issued a Wells Notice to Paxos for issuing BUSD to Binance due to their lack of regulatory clarity.

Why is USDC the safest Stablecoin?

USDC was created by Circle Internet Financial, a licensed and regulated financial services company. This makes them one of the most trusted stablecoins in the digital asset industry. Furthermore, they are backed 1:1 by US Dollars and short-dated US Treasury bills held at approved banking institutions, so users can rest assured that their tokens are backed by real dollars.

Finally, USDC complies with all anti-money laundering and know-your-customer regulations, ensuring the highest level of security for users. With these measures in place, USDC is one of the safest stablecoins available on the market today.

USDC Reserves
USDC Stablecoin Reserves.

What Happened with Circle and Silicon Valley Bank?

The USDC token issued by Circle depegged to $0.9 on the 11th of March due to rumors around liquidity issues with customer funds held in Silicon Valley Bank. This is because Silicon Valley Bank experienced a bank run and had to sell long-term assets to meet redemption demands, leading to a short-term liquidity crunch.

USDC has $3.3bn in cash reserves deposited in Silicon Valley Bank, according to an official statement by Circle. Despite this, USDC is still fully backed by a combination of cash and US Treasuries, with US Treasury Bills accounting for 77% of the collateral and cash held at a variety of other institutions making up the remaining 23%. Transfers of these funds to other banking partners have been initiated, though they had not yet been settled as of the end of business on Friday.

According to official communications in a tweet from CEO Jeramy Allaire, the current situation is being managed by the FDIC, and Circle remains confident in their ability to protect customers' assets. As a regulated payment token, USDC will remain redeemable 1 for 1 with the U.S. Dollar and Coinbase's 1:1 redemption will re-open on Monday during banking hours.

Safest platform to earn yield on Stablecoins

The safest platform to earn yield on stablecoins is a decentralized finance application. This is because centralized lending platforms lack transparency and have a history of collapsing and losing customer funds due to bad internal practices (e.g FTX, BlockFi and Voyager).  

Decentralized finance applications, on the other hand, use smart contracts to create a trustless environment where users can lend stablecoins with confidence. This means that yield earned on these platforms is much more secure and reliable than centralized alternatives.  Some of the most popular decentralized lending apps today are MakerDAO, Compound and Aave.

Is Dai a safe Decentralized Stablecoin?

DAI is considered a decentralized and safe stablecoin as it is maintained through a decentralized platform called MakerDAO. It uses a system of smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain to maintain its peg to the US dollar.

The value of DAI is maintained through a process called "over-collateralization," where users must lock up collateral in the form of Ethereum to generate DAI. This creates a system of incentives that helps to keep the value of DAI stable. However, as with all cryptocurrencies, there may be risks involved in holding and using DAI, and its value may still be subject to fluctuations.

Final Thoughts

Stablecoins are an essential part of the crypto finance ecosystem, and it is important to choose one that is safe and secure. USDC stands out as one of the safest stablecoins available due to its strict regulatory compliance, 1:1 backing and transparency reports.

If you want to earn yield on your stablecoin holdings, then a decentralized finance application is the safest and most reliable way to do so. With these applications, users can earn yield without worrying about their funds being lost due to internal mismanagement.  Ultimately, when selecting a stablecoin or platform to invest in, safety should always be your main priority.