Bitcoin is not the only asset experiencing a late summer downturn.
Stablecoins, cryptocurrencies typically pegged to real assets such as the US dollar, have fallen to their lowest market capitalisation in two years as low trading volumes and a buzzing dollar put pressure on the market for these tokens.
In fact, they are suffering the most.
While the entire cryptocurrency ecosystem has bounced back from 2022 lows, the market capitalisation of the stablecoin sector is set to decline for the 18th consecutive month, according to research firm CCData. It’s down by almost a tenth this year and stood at $124.4bn as of 14 September.
Not everyone is keeping pace, though: The largest dollar-stablecoin, Tether, is bucking the downward trend. It hit a record high of $83.8bn in July, according to CoinGecko, after being worth less than $80bn in the first three months of this year, its volume has since fallen to around $82.9bn.
While stablecoins make up only a modest portion of the cryptocurrency market, they play a key role for traders, allowing them to hedge against price spikes in other tokens, such as bitcoin, or to store idle cash without having to transfer it back into fiat currency. Some enthusiasts also envisage using stablecoins as a means of payment.
However, the market for these tokens has been in the doldrums since last year’s collapse of the algorithmic token TerraUSD, which was once the fourth-largest stablecoin token and was the first domino in a series of dramatic industry failures.
The market has also suffered losses for Binance’s dollar-linked token BUSD, which is down about 89% from its all-time high reached in November. In February, the New York Department of Financial Services ordered issuer Paxos to cease issuing the token, which was once the third-largest stablecoin.
The market value of USD Coin (USDC), the second-largest stablecoin, has fallen more than 53% from its record high reached last June and now stands at more than $26bn.