Tether market capitalization hits $50 billion as use of the US dollar stablecoin grows

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In this photo illustration, a smartphone displays the Tether market value on the stock exchange via The Crypto App. Photo Illustration by Guillaume Payen/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The US dollar stablecoin Tether surpassed a market capitalization of $50 billion on Sunday.

A stabelcoin is a type of cryptocurrency that is backed by a reserve. In the case of tether, or USDt, it is pegged to the dollar, affording it more stability compared to other cryptocurrencies.

Paolo Ardoino, CTO at Tether, said this $50 billion mark has been a milestone since Tether’s founding in 2014. This means that there are now more than 50 billion USDt in circulation, with daily trading volume exceeding $140 billion, data from CoinGecko shows.

“Tether’s success is a blueprint for a central bank digital currency and a banking system of the future,” he said in a statement. “We are truly humbled by the pivotal role that tether now plays in the digital token ecosystem across myriad protocols and applications.”

The exponential growth of tether – doubling from $18 billion at the start of 2021 – indicates growing use and positive sentiment toward the stablecoin.

Data from Sentifi, an alternative data company, on Monday show that tether had the highest sentiment score across social media, news, and other online content.

On April 22, newly listed Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the US, gave its stamp of approval by listing tether to Coinbase Pro.

Still, tether is not without controversy. The fifth-largest cryptocurrency and most popular stablecoin by market capitalization went through a legal battle with New York that began in 2019.

“Tether’s claims that its virtual currency was fully backed by US dollars at all times was a lie,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a February 2021 statement, banning the stablecoin from trading in the state.

She continued: “These companies obscured the true risk investors faced and were operated by unlicensed and unregulated individuals and entities dealing in the darkest corners of the financial system.”

Tether agreed to pay an $18.5 million fine to settle the dispute, though admitted to no wrongdoing.

“Contrary to online speculation, after two and half years there was no finding that Tether ever issued tethers without backing, or to manipulate crypto prices,” it said in a statement.

Since the start of the year, tether added $29 billion to its market cap, a gain that is greater than the combined valuation of all rival stablecoins.

Tether peaked at an all-time high of $1.26 in July 02018, according to CoinGecko. When it first debuted, the price of each token was $1.