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By 2021 the stablecoin universe had become crowded. Table 1 lists the ten leading stablecoins by market capitalization. Tether is a particularly interesting case because it has been around the longest, because its market capitalization is the highest, and because its colorful history illustrates some of the controversial issues surrounding stablecoins. Although Tether has long claimed to hold a dollar bank deposit as backing for each dollar token issued, this does not appear to have continuously been the case, for the simple reason that for portions of its history Tether has not had a banking partner.4 The Attorney General of the State of New York alleged that Tether misrepresented the extent of its backing and, together with Bitfinex, covered up the loss of US$ 850 million in customer funds. The suit was settled in 2021, when Tether and Bitfinex agreed to pay fines of US$ 18.5 million and cease all trading with New York–based residents and entities. As part of the settlement, Tether is required to provide quarterly financial reports to the State Attorney General. It is required to document that it is properly segregating the accounts of its clients and company executives and specifically to report all transfers between Bitfinex and Tether.5

Table 1.

Stablecoins by market capitalization, October 2021

StablecoinTickerMarket cap
Tether USDT US$ 70.32B 
USDC USDC US$ 32.98B 
Binance USD BUSD US$ 13.03B 
DAI DAI US$ 6.47B 
Terra USD UST US$ 2.78B 
TrueUSD TUSD US$ 1.18B 
Paxos PAX US$ 945.67M 
Liquity USD LUSD US$ 715.04M 
Neutrino USD USDN US$ 613.11M 
HUSD HUSD US$ 237.57M 
StablecoinTickerMarket cap
Tether USDT US$ 70.32B 
USDC USDC US$ 32.98B 
Binance USD BUSD US$ 13.03B 
DAI DAI US$ 6.47B 
Terra USD UST US$ 2.78B 
TrueUSD TUSD US$ 1.18B 
Paxos PAX US$ 945.67M 
Liquity USD LUSD US$ 715.04M 
Neutrino USD USDN US$ 613.11M 
HUSD HUSD US$ 237.57M 

Note: Stablecoins by market cap, data source https://cryptoslate.com/cryptos/stablecoin/ accessed on 30 October 2021.

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