USD Coin, according to the stablecoin’s governing company, Circle, soon will be available on six additional blockchains: Base, Cosmos via the Noble network, NEAR, Optimism, Polkadot, and Polygon PoS.
The announcement planned for later today comes amid major changes for USDC, and just two days after Coinbase took an equity stake in Circle and the two firms shuttered the Centre Consortium, the organization that had managed USDC since it launched in 2018.
USDC is the second-largest stablecoin, a type of crypto token that maintains a peg to an underlying asset, such as a fiat currency or commodity. Despite its prominence, it has been steadily losing market share to its primary competitor, Tether, since March, when Circle revealed that it had $3.3 billion in reserves stuck at the failing Silicon Valley Bank, causing USDC to briefly depeg. USDC’s market cap is currently just under $26 billion, compared with nearly $83 billion for Tether.
The push to other blockchains should spur much-needed adoption for USDC. While Circle initially developed the stablecoin to kickstart a global payments revolution, it has largely found adoption for applications in decentralized finance, or DeFi, such as self-custodial wallets and lending protocols. Because of its $1 peg, USDC serves as a substitute for the U.S. dollar in the crypto ecosystem, meaning users don’t have to transfer back and forth between digital currencies and fiat.
USDC—already available on Ethereum, Stellar, Avalanche, Arbitrum, Algorand, Tron, Flow, Solana, and Hedera—will be rolled out on the additional blockchains beginning in September, according to Circle, with Polygon PoS coming in October. The company had previously announced that it planned to add Polkadot, NEAR, Optimism, and Cosmos in 2023. Because of Coinbase’s active role in the distribution of USDC—as well as its equity stake in Circle—its newly launched layer-2 blockchain, Base, served as a natural candidate for the stablecoin.
The expansion to other blockchains comes amid a flurry of developer-focused activity for Circle. Earlier in August, the firm released a programmable Web3 wallet platform, which it said will facilitate applications to send, receive, and store cryptocurrencies, including USDC. In April, Circle unveiled a protocol that allows users to move USDC between blockchains, with Ethereum and Avalanche serving as the pilot.
USDC’s availability on other blockchains serves as a market differentiator from peers. The rival Paxos only issues stablecoins on Ethereum, including the newly launched PayPal token. Tether is currently available on 14 blockchains, although it operates outside of U.S. regulation.
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