USDT vs USDC: Which Stablecoin Is Best In 2023?

The crypto market has become competitive, and the battle for supremacy is not limited to just Bitcoin and Ethereum. A less volatile but equally significant war is being waged in the realm of stablecoins, specifically between Tether (USDT) and USD Coin (USDC). As the crypto market continues to mature and attract mainstream attention, the role of stablecoins has become increasingly crucial. These digital assets pegged to traditional fiat currencies, offer a refuge from the notorious volatility of the crypto market, providing stability and predictability. Among the plethora of stablecoins available, USDT and USDC have emerged as the dominant players. 

However, choosing between these two giants is not a straightforward task. Each comes with its own set of features, benefits, and potential drawbacks. This article aims to delve into the intricacies of USDT and USDC, comparing their operations, transparency, liquidity, and overall trustworthiness. As we navigate through the complex landscape of these leading stablecoins, we aim to provide you with a comprehensive understanding, helping you make an informed decision on which stablecoin will reign supreme in 2023.

What are Stablecoins?

In the stablecoin market, no battle rages harder than the colossal conflict of USDT vs USDC. Stablecoins are widely considered the most useful application of DeFi and blockchain technology. While so many USD stablecoins exist, Tether (USDT) and USD Coin (USDC) are light years ahead of the crowd.

Stablecoins are a kind of cryptocurrency pegged to the value of other assets like fiat currencies or gold. The most common stablecoins in the crypto market are pegged to US dollars or simply USD stablecoins, although new coins pegged to other fiat currencies like EURO and RMB are slowly emerging. These crypto assets live on the blockchain, providing a somewhat safe refuge from the market’s iconic volatility. In a perfect world, these digital assets are designed to maintain a stable value regardless of fluctuations in the crypto market. 

How do Stablecoins Work?

Depending on how they’re created and issued, stablecoins can be both centralized or decentralized. Most blockchain-based stablecoins fall into one of three distinct categories: fiat-backed stablecoins, collateralized stablecoins, and algorithmic stablecoins.

Fiat-backed stablecoins are supported by their corresponding fiat currency reserves. Coins are backed 1:1 with an equal amount of fiat, which the issuer holds in reserve. USDT, USDC, and Binance USD (BUSD) are all excellent examples of fiat-backed cryptocurrencies.

Collateralized stablecoins are backed by other assets that are not fiat currency, like Bitcoin (BTC) or traditional assets like gold. Instead of providing fiat in exchange for stablecoins, users lock external assets into issuer protocols to mint the corresponding value in stablecoins.

Algorithmic stablecoins are cryptocurrencies that maintain a stable value through smart contracts. These blockchain-based contracts automatically buy and sell reserve currencies to ensure that coins stay at their intended value.

What are Tether (USDT) Stablecoins?

Tether (USDT), a leading stablecoin with a staggering market capitalization exceeding $83 billion, is a product of iFinex, a Hong Kong-based firm that also operates the BitFinex cryptocurrency exchange.

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USDT maintains a 1:1 peg with the U.S. dollar, with each token underpinned by assets held in reserve. This backing allows USDT to function similarly to traditional fiat currencies, enabling spending, transfers, and exchanges.

As one of the pioneering cryptocurrencies, Tether has successfully addressed several blockchain-related hurdles, such as enabling the transfer of national currencies and providing a mechanism for users to verify the token’s value.

Despite facing criticism over its reserve management and degree of decentralization, USDT continues to hold a prominent position in the stablecoin market. It is widely accepted across numerous exchanges and is compatible with a variety of wallets.

In response to concerns about its stability, the company behind Tether has taken steps towards greater transparency. It now discloses its cash reserves through monthly transparency reports, demonstrating a commitment to addressing user concerns.

Controversies On USDT Token 

Tether’s journey in the blockchain ecosystem has been marked by a series of controversies. From the onset, Tether has been under scrutiny for its inability to conclusively demonstrate that its fiat reserves adequately back the circulating supply of USDT tokens.

The concerns escalated when financial regulators and law enforcement agencies initiated investigations into Tether, revealing that the reserves were not only insufficient but were also propped up by corporate loans and bad debt.

Adding to the controversy, Bitfinex, a sister company of Tether, was found to have mismanaged $850 million of client and corporate funds, resorting to using Tether’s reserves to balance their books. This significant loan was kept hidden from investors by Tether Limited. In 2021, Tether acknowledged its missteps and paid an $18 million fine.

While these incidents represent just a fraction of Tether’s complex history, the stablecoin giant seems to be charting a new course. Tether has shown a renewed commitment to transparency, providing daily updates on the status of its reserves.

What is USD Coin (USDC)?

USD Coin, akin to its predecessor Tether, is a stablecoin underpinned by fiat currency and maintains a 1:1 peg with the US dollar. The Centre Consortium, a collaboration of reputable companies, including Circle and Coinbase, introduced USDC in 2018 as an ERC-20 token on the Ethereum blockchain.

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Contrasted with Tether, USD Coin has consistently upheld a commendable reputation, demonstrating transparent evidence of its cash reserves. The exchange of USDC tokens occurs on a 1:1 basis through regulated financial institutions, providing an additional layer of trust compared to Tether’s single-company model.

To further bolster its credibility, USD Coin publishes monthly attestations and undergoes audits to confirm that its fiat reserves are adequately maintained to support its growing crypto ecosystem. Recently, USD Coin has seen a significant surge, ascending to become the industry’s second-largest stablecoin and securing a spot among the top 10 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization.

USDC Tokens

Despite its commendable reputation, USD Coin is not exempt from potential risks. A notable instance was when Silicon Valley Bank, which held over $3 billion in USD Coin, collapsed, leading to a significant de-pegging of USDC, which saw its value plummet to as low as $0.86.

This series of bank failures also included the collapse of Signature Bank, resulting in the discontinuation of its product, Signet, which was instrumental in the redemption of USDC for US dollars. This event cast a shadow over Circle and USD Coin, raising questions about the stablecoin’s ability to withstand a crisis.

However, USD Coin demonstrated its resilience by quickly recovering from this setback and restoring its peg shortly after the initial divergence.

USDT vs USDC: Comparative Analysis

In terms of market presence, Tether (USDT) holds an advantage, having been introduced in October 2014, four years prior to the launch of USD Coin (USDC) in September 2018. However, Tether’s journey has been marred by controversies, with critics questioning the adequacy of its reserve disclosures and the sufficiency of its reserves to redeem all circulating USDT tokens.

Conversely, USD Coin has generally maintained a less controversial profile, although it hasn’t been entirely devoid of issues. The most significant incident was the de-pegging event in March 2023, as detailed in the de-pegging incidents section above. This event rattled the market’s confidence in USDC, leading to a substantial decline in its market capitalization.

USDC vs USDT: Which Is Better?

Whether you choose between USDT and USDC stablecoins, it largely depends on your intended use. If your goal is to hold either for a brief period to facilitate trade on a crypto exchange, the choice between the two may not significantly impact your decision. However, if you plan to hold USDT or USDC as a store of value over an extended period, there are crucial factors to consider.

Redemptions: Tether provides a service to convert USDT tokens into USD. However, this service may not be practical for many USDT holders due to the minimum redemption amount of 100,000 USDT ($100,000) and a 150 USDT verification fee. Most USDT holders looking to convert their tokens to fiat will likely resort to a cryptocurrency exchange. Some exchanges, such as Kraken, offer direct trading pairs like USDT/EUR and USDT/USD. On other platforms, you may need to exchange USDT for a cryptocurrency like BTC before selling it for fiat.

In contrast, USD Coin offers a more accessible redemption process through Circle’s Circle Account product, with a minimum redemption of $100 via bank wire. Alternatively, you can convert USDC to USD through a cryptocurrency exchange.

De-pegging Incidents: Both USDT and USDC have experienced de-pegging incidents where their price fell below the $1 target.

In October 2018, USDT dropped to as low as $0.92 amid rumors of insufficient backing for USDT and withdrawal issues on the Bitfinex cryptocurrency exchange. However, USDT eventually regained its $1 peg.

USDC experienced a significant de-pegging incident in March 2023, following the sudden collapse of the US-based Silicon Valley Bank due to a bank run. $3.3 billion of the reserves backing USDC were held at this bank, leading to a sell-off of USDC and a drop in its price below $1 on several crypto exchanges, in some cases as low as $0.91. However, USDC quickly recovered to its $1 target within a few days, with Circle accessing the $3.3 billion reserve deposit at Silicon Valley Bank and transferring it to new banking partners.

Longevity: In terms of market presence, USDT, initially known as Realcoin and launched in October 2014, has a longer history compared to USDC, which was introduced in September 2018. Thus, USDT holds an advantage in terms of longevity.

Liquidity: Compared to USD Coin, Tether boasts a significantly higher trading and liquidity volume. As per CoinMarketCap data, Tether’s daily trading volume hovers around $80 billion, dwarfing USD Coin’s daily trading volume of approximately $11 billion. This substantial volume difference positions Tether as the more favored stablecoin among traders and investors.

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The Risks Of Stablecoins

Stablecoins, with their promise of reliability and trustworthiness, have become a cornerstone in the crypto landscape. However, the year 2022 served as a stark reminder of the risks involved. The crypto community witnessed the dramatic collapse of the Terra ecosystem, designed to support algorithmic stablecoins like UST, and the bankruptcy of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange. 

These events, coupled with a series of bankruptcies in the crypto lending industry, significantly impacted the trust users place in the crypto industry, particularly in centralized businesses where users deposit their crypto. Stablecoins like USDC and USDT, which rely on trust, were no exception. Users holding these stablecoins trust that the issuers have sufficient reserves to back every token in circulation.

Alternatives to USDT and USDC

For those seeking alternatives to centralized stablecoins like USDC and USDT, over-collateralized crypto-backed stablecoins, such as DAI, are worth considering. DAI offers a high level of transparency as it is backed by a diverse range of assets, including USDC, and its issuance and redemptions are performed fully on-chain through smart contracts. However, users should be aware of the potential vulnerability of such stablecoins to extreme crypto market movements. Another alternative following a similar centralized model is Binance USD (BUSD), issued by Paxos and controlled by the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS).


In conclusion, stablecoins play a crucial role in the crypto ecosystem, providing a stable value linked to fiat currency. While both Tether and USD Coin aim to maintain a 1:1 value ratio with the US dollar, they each have their unique features and challenges. Tether, with its long history and larger trading volume, has faced controversy over its reserve assets’ stability. 

In contrast, USD Coin, despite its smaller trading volume, has been more transparent about its reserve assets. The choice between the two will depend on individual needs and preferences. As the crypto market continues to evolve, the competition between USDT and USDC will intensify. 

However, as of 2023, both remain integral to the crypto ecosystem, providing a stable store of value for traders and investors. The future of stablecoins is promising, and whether you choose USDT, USDC, or another stablecoin, understanding the associated risks and benefits is crucial. 

Always stay informed about the latest developments in the crypto space to make the best decisions for your financial future. As the crypto market continues to evolve, we can expect to see more stablecoins, each with unique features and benefits. 

For now, USDT and USDC remain the leading contenders in the stablecoin market, offering a unique combination of stability, liquidity, and trustworthiness, making them valuable assets for any crypto investor.


What are the main differences between USDT and USDC?

USDT and USDC are both stablecoins pegged to the US dollar, but they differ in terms of transparency, liquidity, and controversy. USDT, launched by Tether Ltd., has a larger trading volume but has faced criticism over the transparency of its reserves. On the other hand, USDC, launched by the Centre Consortium, has been more transparent about its reserves but has a smaller trading volume.

Why is USDT used more than USDC?

USDT has been in the market longer than USDC, which has contributed to its wider acceptance and larger trading volume. Additionally, USDT is listed on more exchanges and is often the default stablecoin for many traders and investors due to its high liquidity.

Are USDT and USDC safe to use?

Both USDT and USDC are generally considered safe to use, but they come with their own risks. It's important for users to understand that while these stablecoins are pegged to the US dollar, they are not immune to market risks and regulatory scrutiny

How are USDT and USDC backed?

Both USDT and USDC claim to be backed by reserves held by their respective issuers. USDT's reserves include traditional currency and cash equivalents, while USDC's reserves are held in US dollars in segregated accounts.

Can USDT and USDC be redeemed for US dollars?

Yes, both USDT and USDC can be redeemed for US dollars. However, the process and conditions for redemption differ. Tether requires a minimum of 100,000 USDT for direct redemption, while Circle allows for USDC to USD redemption with a minimum of $100.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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Micah Abiodun

Micah is a crypto enthusiast with a strong understanding of the crypto industry and its potential for shaping the future. A result-driven Chemical Engineer (with a specialization in the field of process engineering and piping design), Micah visualizes and articulates the intricate details of blockchain ecosystems. In his free time, he explores various interests, including sports and music.

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