Circle’s most recent report follows Paxos’s move last week to publish a detailed breakdown all assets in reserve. Circle, the payments company behind USDC stablecoin has published a complete asset breakdown of its growing dollar-pegged token.
Circle’s Thursday report was unaudited and provides a rare level of detail. This is in contrast to the increased scrutiny that stablecoins are currently under from regulators all over the world. It comes after the collapse at Terra.
The report of Circle shows that it no longer holds commercial papers, which is a short-term, unsecured loan instrument. Circle had 9% of its reserves last July, but promised that it would move 100% to cash and U.S. Treasurys.
Thursday’s report showed that Circle had $42.1 billion worth of U.S. Treasury bonds as of June 30, according to the report. All such bonds expire prior to September 29 or earlier. $13.6 billion of company reserves are still held in cash. They are then stored with regulated financial institutions like Silvergate Bank, Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank.
This brings Circle’s total reserve to $55.7 billion, which is slightly more than the 55 billion USDC tokens currently in circulation.
USDC currently ranks fourth in cryptocurrency market capital and is the second-largest stablecoin in crypto. Stablecoins are tokens that have a fixed value and can be used to purchase a stable asset or currency such as the U.S. Dollar.
Stablecoins are characterized by their ability to be instantly and easily redeemable with the underlying asset. Arbitrage incentives in the market create arbitrage incentives that allow stablecoins to return to their price peg when volatility is encountered.
However, this reliability has been questioned for many years by both the crypto industry’s critics and the regulators and politicians who closely observe it. After the May collapse, Terra’s UST–the former third-largest stablecoin on the market–these voices have grown louder. Terra’s UST was an algorithmic stablecoin that was held steady by code and no reserves.
Terra, once a popular DeFi blockchain, was able to attract billions of dollars in investments, promising 20% returns on UST deposits made on the now-defunct lending platform Anchor. After a run on Anchor, UST was unable to maintain its price and both the stablecoin (and its sister token LUNA ) fell to zero.
Tether, Circle, and Paxos, centralized stablecoin issuers, have been under increased pressure to ensure that their tokens will not meet the same fate. This is especially true as account freezes and bankruptcy shake the once-trusted crypto lending industry.
Paxos, the USDP stablecoin issuer, and custody platform behind BUSD, provided a similar report regarding its reserve holdings. According to the report, it was also supported solely by treasury notes, treasury bonds and cash. Its assets totaled $17.5 billion.
Tether, which is the issuer of the stablecoin king USDT, has yet to give a comparable detailed report. The most recent attestation numbers in March showed $82 Billion in reserve assets. However, this number has likely declined as the token has experienced billions in redemptions.