Circle To Stay Private for Now as Rivals Gain Market Share
Circle currently holds about 31% of the total market share for stablecoins, down from 37% six months ago
Blockworks exclusive art by Axel Rangel
As Circle reevaluates its plans to go public, USD Coin has been quietly losing stablecoin market share to competitors Tether and Binance USD over the past six months.
Circle currently holds about 31% of the total market share for stablecoins, down from 37% six months ago, according to data compiled by Blockworks Research.
Tether currently holds around 47% of stablecoin market share, while Binance has about 16%. Both Tether and Binance have taken over more of the market share in the past six months, with Binance USD gaining around 4.5% and Tether increasing its market share by around 1%.
“That may be one reason why Circle had been in a rush to go public, if underlying trends below the surface — market share loss vs. overall stablecoin market share as a percent of crypto has been steadily rising — are less positive,” Rich Falk-Wallace, CEO of Arcana Analytics, said.
The switch-up in market share is in part due to issuer location and how they interact with the broader market, Falk-Wallace said.
“It’s related to offshore versus onshore market share in that Binance and other offshore centralized exchanges are taking share versus DeFi, which is where USDC has relatively greater exposure,” he added.
Based on Uniswap trading volumes, which can give a general look into total DeFi activity, DeFi trading volumes are down around 30% more than CeFi trading volumes over the past six months, Falk-Wallace said.
“Centralized exchanges don’t have huge USDC volumes, [but] some CeFi exchanges have very large Tether volumes,” Falk-Wallace said. “USDC’s low use in centralized exchanges may be because it is owned by a JV with Coinbase, so there’s a competitive angle to Binance, for example, not using USDC, versus Binance’s very large BTC-USDT and BTC-BUSD markets, which trade around $2 billion to $4 billion per day.”
Binance recently transitioned stablecoin balances held on the exchange to BUSD as a default and allows withdrawals of various stablecoins across multiple blockchain networks.
USDC is expanding to more networks but for now remains concentrated on Ethereum, where about 77% of the circulating supply is held compared to 40% of the USDT supply. Around 46% of USDT is held on the layer-1 chain Tron, Falk-Wallace said, with the network serving as a low-cost conduit to sling tether back and forth between exchanges.
“Ethereum total value locked has declined meaningfully, while Tron total value locked has actually done well,” he added. Total value locked (TVL) on Ethereum has declined by roughly 75% over the past year, although still six times larger than Tron’s TVL which has remained range bound between about $4 billion and $6 billion according to DeFi Llama.
On a backdrop of declining market share, Circle, which announced it was killing its SPAC plans on Monday, said it is still determined to become a publicly traded company in the future. The third quarter of 2022 marked the company’s first profitable quarter, the issuer also said.
“We are disappointed the proposed transaction timed out, however, becoming a public company remains part of Circle’s core strategy to enhance trust and transparency, which has never been more important,” Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire said in a statement.
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