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What Are Stable Coins? (The Complete Guide)

  • Mar 17, 2024
  • 9 min read
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Cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that uses blockchain technology for secure financial transactions. One of the most significant challenges in the cryptocurrency market has been volatility, which leads to fluctuations in the asset's value. As a solution to this problem, stable coins were introduced.

In recent years, stable coins have become increasingly popular in the world of cryptocurrencies. In this guide, we will explore what stable coins are, how they work, and their benefits.

What Are Stable Coins?

Stable coins are cryptocurrencies designed to maintain a stable value. They offer the best of both worlds by combining the security of traditional currencies with the decentralization of cryptocurrencies. Unlike other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum, which have volatile values, stable coins aim to keep their value consistent.

You can think of stable coins as digital assets that are pegged to real-world assets, such as fiat currencies like the US dollar or commodities like gold. This ensures that their value remains relatively constant and reduces the risk associated with traditional cryptocurrencies.

How Do Stable Coins Work?

Stable coins work by pegging their value to an external asset, such as fiat currency like the US dollar or a commodity like gold. The most common type of stable coin is the fiat-backed stable coin, where the value is tied to a national currency. For example, 1 USD-backed stable coin should always be equal to 1 USD.

Stable coins use different methods to maintain their value, such as overcollateralization and algorithmic mechanisms. Overcollateralization involves holding a reserve of the pegged assets that are greater than the stable coin's value. This ensures that there is always enough collateral to back up the stable coin's value in case of market fluctuations.

Algorithmic stable coins, on the other hand, use algorithms to adjust their supply and demand to maintain a stable value. These stable coins are not backed by any external asset but instead rely on market forces and complex mathematical formulas to maintain stability.

Benefits of Stable Coins

Stable coins offer several benefits that make them attractive to investors, traders, and users:

  • Stable Value: As the name suggests, stable coins offer a stable value compared to traditional cryptocurrencies that are known for their volatility.
  • Reduced Risk: By pegging their value to an external asset, stable coins reduce the risk associated with traditional cryptocurrencies. Investors and traders can use them as a hedge against market fluctuations.
  • Facilitate Cross-border Transactions: Stable coins eliminate the need for costly conversions when making cross-border transactions. As they are pegged to a fiat currency, they provide a convenient way to transact globally.
  • Lower Transaction Fees: Stable coins often have lower transaction fees compared to traditional cryptocurrencies, making them an attractive option for users looking to save on fees.
  • Faster Transactions: With their stable value and low transaction fees, stable coins offer faster transactions compared to traditional cryptocurrencies. This makes them ideal for day-to-day use and microtransactions.
  • Easier Tax Reporting: Stable coins are often pegged to a fiat currency, making it easier for users to report their gains and losses for tax purposes compared to traditional cryptocurrencies that require complicated calculations.
  • Increased Liquidity: With a stable value and lower volatility, stable coins are more liquid compared to traditional cryptocurrencies. This means that investors and traders can easily buy and sell them without affecting the market price significantly.
  • Less Market Manipulation: As stable coins are backed by real-world assets or rely on market forces, they are less prone to market manipulation compared to traditional cryptocurrencies that are largely unregulated.

Popular Stable Coins

Now that we've gone over the benefits of stable coins, let's take a look at some of the most popular ones in the market today. Each one has its unique features and use cases, so it's essential to understand them before choosing which one is right for your needs.

Tether (USDT)

Tether (USDT) is the most well-known stable coin in the market. It is pegged to the US dollar at a 1:1 ratio, making it a popular option for traders and investors looking to minimize volatility in their portfolio. The company behind Tether claims that each USDT is backed by one dollar held in reserves, but this has been met with skepticism, leading to controversies surrounding the coin.

This stable coin is widely used in the crypto market, with a market capitalization of over $100 billion as of March 2024. It is supported by most major exchanges and offers fast transactions with low fees. However, it is essential to note that Tether does not offer complete transparency in its operations, which has raised concerns among investors.

There are also criticisms surrounding the potential risk of Tether being used for money laundering and other illegal activities, as it allows users to bypass traditional financial institutions. Despite this, Tether remains a popular choice for traders and investors alike. Its centralized nature makes it easier to use compared to other stable coins, but it also poses a risk as the company behind Tether has control over the coin's stability.


USD Coin (USDC) is another popular stable coin in the market. It is issued by a consortium of companies, including Coinbase and Circle, making it a more decentralized option compared to Tether. Each USDC is also pegged to the US dollar at a 1:1 ratio, with every coin backed by an equivalent amount of dollars held in reserves.

USDC offers transparency in its operations and regular audits from third-party firms to ensure the coin's stability. It is also widely accepted by major exchanges and has a growing presence in the cryptocurrency market with a market capitalization of over $29 billion as of March 2024.

As a highly regulated stable coin, USDC has gained the trust of investors and institutions looking to enter the crypto market. It also offers fast transactions with low fees, making it a practical choice for everyday use. For these reasons, USDC has become a popular alternative to traditional banking and payment methods.

Dai (DAI)

Dai is a unique stable coin as it is decentralized and not backed by any physical currency or asset. Instead, it is backed by collateral in other cryptocurrencies, mainly Ether (ETH). This allows for a more stable and decentralized value compared to other stable coins.

The value of Dai is maintained through an automated system called MakerDAO, which manages the collateral and adjusts it accordingly based on market fluctuations. This makes Dai less susceptible to issues such as company mismanagement or scandals.

Dai has gained popularity among users looking for a decentralized stable coin option and has a market capitalization of over $5 billion as of March 2024. It is also widely supported by major exchanges and offers low transaction fees.

Additionally, Dai offers the potential for users to earn interest through protocols such as Compound and Aave, where they can lend out their Dai in exchange for interest payments. This adds another layer of utility and incentive for holding Dai. Although it is not as popular as USDC, Dai continues to gain traction in the cryptocurrency market.

What Happens If a Stable Coin's Peg Breaks

While stable coins aim to maintain a 1:1 peg with their respective currency or asset, there are instances where the peg may break. This can happen due to various reasons such as market volatility, regulatory changes, or loss of confidence in the issuer.

If a stable coin's peg breaks, its value will deviate from its intended peg and may fluctuate. This can have significant implications for users, as their holdings may decrease in value or become illiquid.

In such cases, the issuer of the stable coin may take steps to restore the peg, such as increasing collateral or implementing new policies. However, if these measures are unsuccessful, it could lead to a loss of trust and potentially result in the collapse of the stable coin.

It is important for users to understand the potential risks associated with stable coins and to carefully consider their options before investing in them. As with any investment, it is advisable to do thorough research and seek professional advice before making any decisions.

Overall, while stable coins offer many benefits such as stability and decentralization, there are also inherent risks involved that users must be aware of. It is crucial for the stable coin market to continue evolving and improving in order to maintain trust and stability in the long run.

Do You Really Need Stable Coins?

While stable coins may seem like an attractive option for investors looking to mitigate volatility in the crypto market, they are not a necessity for everyone. With more and more online stores that accept Bitcoin coming into existence, it is becoming increasingly possible to use cryptocurrencies as a form of payment for everyday transactions. This eliminates the need for stable coins as an intermediary step in converting crypto to fiat currencies.

With Bitbeast finding these online stores for you, there is even less of a need for stable coins. Bitbeast is a platform that allows users to easily find and purchase products from online stores that accept cryptocurrencies. This eliminates the hassle of converting to stable coins and then back to crypto, making the process more seamless and convenient for users.

Many of these merchants found on Bitbeast use BitPay, a payment processor that enables businesses to accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as payment. This further reduces the need for stable coins when making purchases with crypto as it also converts your crypto payments into cash for merchants in real-time.

Furthermore, stable coins are still a relatively new concept and their long-term stability and success have yet to be proven. As with any emerging technology, there is always a level of risk involved. It is important for users to carefully consider the potential risks before investing in stable coins and to diversify their portfolio accordingly.


Stable coins have revolutionized the cryptocurrency market by providing a solution for volatility and increasing adoption. They offer a bridge between traditional finance and the decentralized world, making it easier for individuals and institutions to transact with cryptocurrencies.

However, as the industry continues to evolve and more merchants start accepting direct crypto payments, the need for stable coins may decrease in the near future. It is important to stay informed and adapt to these changes in order to make the most out of your cryptocurrency investments.

Whether you choose to invest in stable coins or not, always remember to do your own research and make informed decisions to protect your assets.

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