What Are Stablecoins? A Beginner's Guide

What Are Stablecoins? A Beginner's Guide
Photo by CoinWire Japan / Unsplash

What Are Stablecoins?

Stablecoins are a type of cryptocurrency that's designed to keep its market price stable. This makes them a more attractive option for investors who want to get involved in the crypto market without having to worry about the high volatility of other cryptocurrencies.

Two Types of Stablecoins: Collateralized and Algorithmic

There are two main types of stablecoins: collateralized stablecoins and algorithmic stablecoins.

  • Collateralized stablecoins are backed by real-world assets, like fiat currency or gold. This means that for every stablecoin that's issued, there's an equivalent amount of fiat currency or gold held in reserve. This helps to ensure that the value of the stablecoin stays stable, even if the price of other cryptocurrencies fluctuates.
  • Algorithmic stablecoins don't have any underlying assets backing them. Instead, they use algorithms to control the supply of tokens in order to keep the price fixed at a predetermined level. This can be a riskier approach, as it relies on the accuracy of the algorithms.
Cash Money
Photo by Kenny Eliason / Unsplash

There are a number of popular stablecoins in the market today, including:

  • USDT: Tether is the most popular stablecoin in the world, with a market capitalization of over $70 billion. It's backed by fiat currency, and it's the most widely traded stablecoin on cryptocurrency exchanges.
  • USDC: USD Coin is another popular stablecoin, with a market capitalization of over $50 billion. It's also backed by fiat currency, and it's the second most widely traded stablecoin on cryptocurrency exchanges.
  • BUSD: Binance USD is a stablecoin that's issued by the Binance cryptocurrency exchange. It's backed by fiat currency, and it's the third most widely traded stablecoin on cryptocurrency exchanges.
  • DAI: DAI is an algorithmic stablecoin that's not backed by any underlying assets. It's instead maintained by a complex system of smart contracts that are designed to keep its price pegged to the US dollar.

Stablecoins in the crypto market

Stablecoins have become increasingly popular in the crypto market in recent years. This is because they offer a number of advantages over other cryptocurrencies, such as:

  • Reduced volatility: Stablecoins are designed to be less volatile than other cryptocurrencies, making them a more attractive option for investors who want to reduce their risk.
  • Ease of use: Stablecoins can be easily traded on cryptocurrency exchanges, and they can also be used to make payments. This makes them a more convenient option for everyday use than other cryptocurrencies.
  • Cross-border payments: Stablecoins can be used to make cross-border payments more easily and cheaply than traditional methods. This is because they're not subject to the same regulations as fiat currency, and they can be transferred quickly and easily across borders.
Mobile Payment using Payment Terminal. Picture taken by Jonas Leupe (www.brandstof.cc) for In The Pocket (www.inthepocket.com)
Photo by Jonas Leupe / Unsplash

Recent developments in the stablecoin market

The stablecoin market has grown rapidly in recent years, and there are now a number of different stablecoin projects in existence. However, the recent collapse of the TerraUSD (UST) stablecoin has raised concerns about the stability of the stablecoin market.

UST was an algorithmic stablecoin that was designed to maintain its peg to the US dollar through a complex system of arbitrage incentives. However, the system failed when a large number of investors began to sell UST, causing its price to fall below $1. This event has led to calls for greater regulation of the stablecoin market, and it remains to be seen how the market will recover in the long term.


Stablecoins are a relatively new type of cryptocurrency, but they have the potential to offer a number of benefits to investors. However, there are also some risks to consider, and investors should carefully evaluate the risks and benefits before deciding whether to invest in stablecoins.

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