Cheatsheet: Stablecoins mint $7.7B since bitcoin ETFs, beating inflows

A crypto bull market demands billions more dollars on blockchains. Luckily, stablecoin issuers are on deck

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Art by Crystal Le

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This is Cheatsheet, a primer on what’s happening in crypto today.

AI has taken over while bitcoin takes a breather. 

Three of today’s five best performers at the top end of the market are AI-related: fetch.ai (FET) and singularityNET (AGIX) are up almost 20%, followed by Bittensor (TAO) with 13%.

Axelar (AXL), a layer-1 blockchain built for interoperability, has exploded 41% following the announcement of a listing on Binance. AXL suddenly pumped from $1.54 to as much as $2.64 overnight, before retracing to $2.19 as of 7:00 am ET. 

Solana (SOL) meanwhile is the only megacap crypto in the green for the day, up 4.7%. Bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH) are about square, now at $62,400 and $3,440.

Memecoins pepe (PEPE) and bonk (BONK) have beaten most other cryptocurrencies with over $1 billion market cap over the past week, having more than doubled in price.

What’s happening on-chain

Nearly $7.5 billion net has flowed into bitcoin spot ETFs since they went live in the US last month — but stablecoins have attracted even more.

  • Bigger than ETFs: USD stablecoins have printed over $7.7 billion fresh tokens since BlackRock et al. got the greenlight, and nearly $11 billion year-to-date.
  • Circle bottomed: Tether and USDC minted nearly all of it, with Circle issuing more stablecoins than at any point over the past two years.
  • Bankman-who?: There’s now $141 billion in stables across crypto, just shy of pre-FTX levels.

Stablecoin issuers like Circle and Tether accept cash in exchange for new tokens, minting them when fresh capital comes in. They generally burn tokens when redeemed for dollars, so shrinking supplies can indicate lower interest in crypto markets overall, and vice versa.

Outside of the big two, Binance-adopted FDUSD has added the most supply this year with about $1.5 billion, an 83% boost. TrueUSD, struggling to maintain its peg, fell out of favor alongside Gemini Dollar, both bleeding more than $1 billion. Stablecoins in total make up about 6% of the crypto market.

Tether is still by far the most traded stablecoin on centralized exchanges. USDC is favored on DEXs and other apps on Solana and Ethereum. PayPal debuted its own offering last year, which has quickly gathered over $300 million in supply (and a few DeFi integrations).

Read more: Tether made nearly $1B in monthly profit during Q4

  • DEX record: Daily DEX volume hit its highest in over a year with $8.8 billion yesterday (31% of all exchange volume). On-chain derivatives are seeing about double that, at record highs.
  • Solana Spring: Solana platforms Orca, Raydium and Lifinity are growing faster than BSC’s PancakeSwap. 
  • Most since December: Solana DeFi overall saw almost $2 billion in volume yesterday.
Stablecoin issuers were busy minting coins as bitcoin dipped in late January

Crypto business

Marathon, the largest public bitcoin miner by market value, took a beating yesterday amid a correction in crypto stocks more severe than bitcoin itself.

  • What goes up: MARA fell more than 15.5% between the day session and after hours trade (still up by half over the past month).
  • Bit by bitcoin: Rig maker Canaan alongside miners Argo Blockchain and TeraWulf fell more than 10%.
  • The system works: MicroStrategy persists as a top performer after gaining 4% overall.

Coinbase traded flat and is still in the top-three performing crypto stocks in the past month, after miner ClearSpark and bitcoin hoarder MicroStrategy.

Brian Armstrong’s firm has made serious moves to diversify revenue from transaction fees: staking as a service, stablecoins and its own Ethereum layer-2 network, Base, have all helped. 

But Coinbase stock is still behaving like a bitcoin proxy, more correlated than at any point over the past 13 months. COIN’s 30-day correlation coefficient is currently triple what it was this time last year, after spending some of October and January entirely uncoupled, per TradingView.

Read more: Marathon Digital ready to deploy ‘dry powder’ in push to double hash rate

  • Not a tech stock: Bitcoin is less correlated with the tech-heavy QQQ by comparison, even inversely correlated during the first half of the week.
  • Voyager repayments: Voyager has less than $350,000 in crypto, according to Arkham, down from half a billion when its debtor repayment plan was approved in May (Celsius is still working through its own).
  • Uncle Sam: The US government is sitting on more crypto than ever, with $13.6 billion (mostly bitcoin), up from $9.4 billion one month ago.

On the ground

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