Visa Reports USD Coin Transaction Volume Exceeds Tether

USD Coin (USDC) has surpassed Tether (USDT) in transaction volume, marking a significant shift in stablecoin market dynamics according to Visa's latest data.

The dynamics of stablecoin transactions have taken center stage. With reports indicating that major stablecoins like USDT, USDC, and DAI have surpassed traditional giants such as Visa in transaction volumes, the industry is witnessing a shift towards digital currency adoption.

Meanwhile, Binance, a leading crypto exchange, is navigating complex legal challenges with the SEC over the regulatory status of digital assets, a situation further complicated by governmental positions on stablecoins as seen in separate legal proceedings.

Circle’s USD Coin Surpasses Tether in Transaction Count, Shaking Up Stablecoin Market

In a surprising shift within the crypto landscape, Circle's USD Coin (USDC) has recently surpassed Tether (USDT), the world’s largest stablecoin by market capitalization, in terms of transaction volume. According to the latest on-chain analytics released by Visa, USDC recorded 166.6 million transactions in April 2024, edging out USDT's 163.6 million. This marks a significant milestone in the evolving dynamics of the stablecoin sector.

A Shift in Market Dynamics

USDC's ascendancy began to take shape at the tail end of 2023. Visa's data indicates that in December 2023, USDC's monthly transactions surpassed USDT's for the first time, with USDC logging 145 million transactions compared to USDT's 127 million.

This upward trajectory then continued into the new year, which could signal a shift in user preferences and market dynamics within the stablecoin space.

Despite USDC's lower overall market capitalization of $33.5 billion, according to CoinMarketCap, compared to Tether's dominant $110 billion, the transaction volume of USDC has been steadily increasing. This growth in transactions, however, has not yet translated into a broader user base; USDT remains the leader in this regard, utilized by over 34.2 million unique wallets in April 2024, while USDC was used by just 9.57 million.

Visa’s Role in Cryptocurrency Analytics

Visa introduced its stablecoin analytics dashboard in April 2024, designed to provide clear and concise data on stablecoin activities across multiple blockchains. This initiative aims to cut through market noise and offer stakeholders a reliable source of information on four major stablecoins: USDC, USDT, the Paxos Dollar (USDP), and PayPal USD (PYUSD).

Monthly stablecoin transaction volume (Source: Visa)

The introduction of such tools is a response to the growing importance of stablecoins in the cryptocurrency market, where they serve as a bridge for traders to quickly enter and exit positions. The total market capitalization of stablecoins now stands at over $161 billion, making up 6.63% of the total crypto market cap of $2.43 trillion.

Analyzing the Stablecoin Landscape

Over the past 30 days, the four stablecoins tracked by Visa have seen significant activity, recording over $2.3 trillion in transaction volume across more than 352 million transactions. This data shows the pivotal role that stablecoins play in the liquidity and movement of funds within the crypto market.

Implications and Industry Reactions

The rise of USDC over USDT in terms of transaction volume has surprised many industry observers, given Tether's longstanding dominance in the market. Experts speculate that increased regulatory scrutiny on Tether in various jurisdictions might be influencing users' preference for USDC, which is perceived as having a more robust compliance framework.

The impact of USDC's rise is multifaceted, affecting everything from trading strategies and market liquidity to the regulatory landscape. As the market continues to evolve, the competition among stablecoins is likely to intensify, possibly leading to further innovations and shifts in user preferences.

Surging Stablecoin Volumes Outperform Visa's Monthly Averages, Challenging Traditional Payment Giants

In an era increasingly dominated by digital currencies, the world's largest stablecoins—Tether (USDT), USD Coin (USDC), and DAI—have collectively surpassed the monthly transaction volumes of Visa, a global leader in digital payments. According to recent data from the on-chain analytics firm Nansen, these three stablecoins processed a combined total of $1.369 trillion in the past 30 days, overtaking Visa's 2023 monthly average of $1.23 trillion.

Stablecoins Gain Ground in Digital Finance

Nansen's findings highlight a significant shift in the landscape of financial transactions, with digital currencies gaining a substantial foothold against traditional financial institutions. Tether, the largest stablecoin by market capitalization, alone processed $654 billion, nearing the monthly volumes of Mastercard, which stood at $750 billion in 2023.

In contrast, PayPal's monthly averages, which reached $125 billion last year, were significantly lower than Tether's transaction volume.

USDC Emerges as a Leader in Transaction Integrity

Amidst these high volumes, Visa has pointed out a notable trend in the quality of transactions processed by these stablecoins. In a detailed April report, Visa emphasized that USDC should be considered the leading stablecoin in terms of transaction volume after adjusting for quality and legitimacy of transfers.

Visa's methodology involved filtering out inorganic activities such as bot operations and automatic transactions from centralized exchanges, aiming to present a clearer picture of genuine user-driven activity.

According to Visa, only transactions initiated by accounts with fewer than 1,000 stablecoin transactions and less than $10 million in transfer volume over the last 30 days were counted. This stringent criterion aims to remove noise caused by automated and bulk operations, thereby highlighting USDC's significance in the realm of meaningful financial exchanges.

DAI's Notable Performance

The performance of DAI, often less highlighted compared to its larger counterparts, also deserves recognition. With over $394 billion in flows, DAI has showcased its robust role in the decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem, which is often characterized by its open and programmable nature of finance without traditional banking structures.

Implications for the Financial Ecosystem

The increasing volumes of transactions processed by stablecoins represent more than just a shift in preference for digital over traditional banking solutions; they signify a potential reordering of the financial ecosystem.

The ability of stablecoins to process volumes comparable to those of major card providers like Visa and Mastercard reflects a growing confidence in their utility and stability as digital currencies.

This trend also poses new challenges for regulatory frameworks, which must adapt to the rapidly evolving landscape of digital finance. The rise of stablecoins, especially when it involves significant transaction volumes, calls for enhanced scrutiny and potentially new regulatory approaches to ensure their safe integration into the global financial system.

The surge in stablecoin transactions is not merely a statistical anomaly but a clear indicator of the shifting paradigms in how people and institutions perceive and use money. As digital currencies continue to evolve and mature, their impact on global finance could redefine the mechanisms of economic exchange on a global scale.

Binance and Former CEO CZ Leverage Government’s Stablecoin Stance in SEC Battle

Crypto giant Binance and its former CEO, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, have filed a Notice of Supplemental Authority in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. This filing, dated Apr. 25, aims to underline a key argument made by the U.S. government in a separate criminal case that could significantly influence Binance's ongoing battle with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Background of the Case

The legal entanglement involves Binance and CZ responding to charges from the SEC, which in June 2023, accused the crypto exchange of facilitating unregistered offers and sales of digital assets including BNB (Binance Coin) and BUSD (Binance USD), as well as associated services like Binance’s Simple Earn, BNB Vault, and staking programs. The SEC's contention is that these activities fall under its regulatory purview requiring proper registration and compliance.

Government’s Stance in Mango Markets Case

Central to Binance's recent legal filing is the government’s position on stablecoins, particularly highlighted in the U.S. Justice Department's prosecution of Avraham Eisenberg, the individual behind the Mango Markets exploitation. In prosecuting Eisenberg, who was convicted of fraud and market manipulation on Apr. 18, the Justice Department argued that there was "no factual basis" for treating USD Coin (USDC) as a security, suggesting that the question should not even be put before a jury.

This stance, Binance argues, supports its contention that certain stablecoins, like USDC, should not be deemed securities and, by extension, should not be subject to SEC regulations.

Implications for Binance’s SEC Lawsuit

Binance is seizing on the Justice Department's argument to bolster its defense against the SEC's charges. By establishing that the U.S. government itself has contested the classification of at least one major stablecoin as a security, Binance aims to challenge the broader implications of the SEC’s regulatory claims over its operations.

However, the focus of the Justice Department’s argument was specifically on USDC, not directly on BNB or BUSD, which are central to the SEC’s case against Binance.

Broader Legal and Regulatory Challenges

Beyond the SEC, Binance continues to face a range of legal and regulatory challenges globally. In November 2023, Binance and CZ reached a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department, Treasury Department, and Commodity Futures Trading Commission, agreeing to a hefty $4.3 billion payment. Following this, CZ stepped down as CEO and pleaded guilty to one felony count, with his sentencing scheduled for Apr. 30.

Internationally, the scrutiny remains intense. Recent developments include the arrest of two Binance executives in Nigeria, following the company’s decision to halt transactions in the local currency, the naira. Additionally, Canadian authorities initiated a class-action lawsuit against Binance on Apr. 19, alleging that the exchange sold unregistered crypto derivative products.