PayPal stablecoin deployment on Aave sought by Paxos

As PYUSD sees middling adoption, Paxos is helping create DeFi markets for the stablecoin


MardeFondos/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks


Since launching in August, PayPal’s PYUSD stablecoin has struggled to gain a foothold in the top-heavy stablecoin sector. In a bid to boost PYUSD’s liquidity, the token’s issuer is beginning to venture into decentralized finance.  

The lending protocol Aave is conducting a community temperature check on potential PYUSD onboarding into Aave’s Ethereum pool. The initial vote ends Jan. 11th and follows a PYUSD activation on the automated market maker Curve in late December. 

The stablecoin’s August debut came with much fanfare, as the online payments giant became the first major financial institution to offer the price-pegged crypto instrument. Stablecoins grease the wheels of crypto markets, and PayPal seemed primed to expose some of its hundreds of millions of users to the blockchain.

But with stablecoin offerings from Tether and Circle already processing tens of billions of dollars per day, a nagging question remained: what is PYUSD’s use?

PayPal’s marketing language surrounding PYUSD suggests the firm would like the stablecoin to be used for payments and within the PayPal app, Clara Medalie, head of growth at DeFi research firm Kaiko, said. Medalie added that PYUSD’s deployment on centralized exchanges indicates the token is meant to be used for crypto trading, too. 

There is no publicly available data on PYUSD’s use for payments within the PayPal app, so it’s impossible to know how successful the stablecoin has been on that front, Medalie said. PayPal did not return multiple requests for comment. 

On exchanges, PYUSD’s adoption is growing but remains far behind its competitors. Data from CoinGecko shows PYUSD is the twelfth-largest stablecoin by market capitalization. Its circulation grew by 63% over the past month. 

PYUSD still finds itself multiple decimal places away from volumes seen by Tether and Circle. Its roughly $17 million in trading volume over the past 24 hours was outstripped by erstwhile stablecoins Terra Classic and Binance USD.

PYUSD seems to be experiencing something of a stablecoin Matthew Effect: liquidity tends to go where liquidity already exists. 

“It will be hard for Paypal to compete against USDT considering the majority of crypto liquidity is denominated in this stablecoin,” Medalie said. USDT currently accounts for roughly 70% of all stablecoins, according to DeFiLlama.

PYUSD is issued by Paxos, a New York-based crypto firm that formerly issued Binance’s BUSD stablecoin until the New York Department of Financial Services forced an end to the relationship

In late 2023, Paxos began contracting with a digital asset firm named Trident Digital to boost PYUSD’s on-chain liquidity. The two firms previously worked together on Maker-related ventures, Trident co-founder Anthony DeMartino said. 

Trident wrote and passed the PYUSD activation on Curve, and it is behind the current Aave proposal. 

DeMartino called the Aave and Curve deployments “symbiotic” in that the two protocols are perceived to have different risk profiles. Demand for higher Curve yields will raise the PYUSD borrow rate on Aave, incentivizing lower-risk investors to deposit PYUSD on Aave, DeMartino said.

Were the Aave proposal to pass, “Paxos and other parties” would seed the pool with $5-10 million in liquidity, Trident wrote under its governance proposal. 

Paxos did not return a request for comment. Its work with PYUSD has mostly flown under the radar of late outside of some SEC scrutiny in November. But as the stablecoin attempts to gather enough liquidity to compete with the entrenched giants, DeFi appears to at least present a starting point. 

“It’s like starting a fire, right? This is just the kindling,” DeMartino said.

Start your day with top crypto insights from David Canellis and Katherine Ross. Subscribe to the Empire newsletter.

The Lightspeed newsletter is all things Solana, in your inbox, every day. Subscribe to daily Solana news from Jack Kubinec and Jeff Albus.


Upcoming Events

Salt Lake City, UT

MON - TUES, OCT. 7 - 8, 2023

Blockworks and Bankless in collaboration with buidlbox are excited to announce the second installment of the Permissionless Hackathon – taking place October 7-8 in Salt Lake City, Utah. We’ve partnered with buidlbox to bring together the brightest minds in crypto for […]

Salt Lake City, UT

WED - FRI, OCTOBER 9 - 11, 2024

Pack your bags, anon — we’re heading west! Join us in the beautiful Salt Lake City for the third installment of Permissionless. Come for the alpha, stay for the fresh air. Permissionless III promises unforgettable panels, killer networking opportunities, and mountains […]

recent research

Research Report Cover Vertex.jpg


The proliferation of new perp DEXs has led to fragmented liquidity across various DEXs and chains. Vertex, known for its vertically-integrated DEX that includes spot, perpetual, and integrated money markets, is now tackling cross-chain liquidity fragmentation through horizontal integration with the launch of new Edge instances. Vertex's integrated offerings and cross-margined account structure amplify the benefits of new instances: native cross-chain spot trading, optimized cross-chain basis trading, consistent interest rates, reduced bridging friction, and more.


Partnering with EtherFi and Angle, the fully on-chain perp DEX features bespoke collateral



Gavin Wood introduced the next evolutionary step for the Polkadot network: the Join-Accumulate Machine, or JAM


The side events were the places to be at Consensus 2024, according to attendees


Also, who’s come out swinging in the spot ether ETF fee war — and who could undercut them


I know it is not in their nature, but US regulators could learn a lot by researching the digital asset frameworks that overseas regulators have already gotten right


Also, the ETF hype train can count out at least one member