Despite stirring controversy over the last year and a half, the ninth largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization Tether has achieved an all time high in daily transaction volume.
USDT, which holds a market cap of $2.04 billion, is now second in daily transaction volume behind Bitcoin. According to data published on CoinMarketCap, Tether daily transactions hit an all time high of 38,150 on Mar. 31, worth $9.4 billion in trading volume, compared to first place Bitcoin at $10.2 billion.
Tether continues to be the industry leader in terms of offering a stablecoin. While cryptocurrency prices have seen a bullish turn over the last several days, the USDT token is often the most economical choice for investors to move their digital assets into a more price stable form. Bitcoin price volatility may have reached its lowest point in March since that of November 2018, but USDT and stablecoins provide “guaranteed” value by pegging their currency to an external source.
However, that same guarantee of value has also continued to stir controversy for Tether and cryptocurrency investors over the last several years. In 2017, the company behind the USDT coin was accused of market manipulation and artificially driving up the price of BTC by printing tokens at an accelerated pace. Each time Tether would release a batch of USDT, the price of BTC would skyrocket, leading some to question the relationship between the stablecoin and its close leadership ties to cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex.
Throughout 2018 the company faced regular inquiries into the exact holding behind USDT. While the policy has since changed, each USDT was originally supposed to be backed 1:1 with U.S. dollars, thereby pegging the price to the relatively stable fiat. Investors could hold their value on exchange in Tether without having to worry over the massive fluctuations in price that typically affect Bitcoin and other top cryptos.
Despite repeated quests to prove the backing of their 2.04 billion USDT in circulation, Tether has never fully assuaged investor concerns over the exact nature of each token value. More recently, social media users pointed out that Tether’s policy had changed on its official website. Whereas before the company claimed to back each USDT 1:1 with U.S. dollars, that is no longer the case. Instead the company claims that other assets may be substituted to make up for the value, without disclosing the nature of those assets–thus giving investors little certainty that USDT is less price stable than alternatives.
Nonetheless, Tether’s influence on the market and industry leading actions via their stablecoin have spawned a host of new market entrants. Whereas ICOs and traditional cryptocurrencies dominated the new coin development landscape a year ago, stablecoins have become the focal point for large companies entering the space of cryptocurrency.
Social media giant Facebook is looking to create a digital, stable cryptocurrency for their messaging platform, while other development teams are experimenting with stablecoins that are not pegged to popular fiat currencies. The massive volatility in cryptocurrency value, which took Bitcoin from $20,000 to $3,000 in less than a year, has led many interested in crypto to look to a more price stable alternative.