All Bets on Tether (USDT): Why the Fixed-Price Coin is So Popular

As the bear market continues, Bitcoin is no longer the place to store value.

The speed at which Bitcoin loses positions is making it less popular in the current bear market. The dominance of Bitcoin in terms of market value has increased to 42%, but this is just a technicality: right now, as altcoins unravel all the spectacular gains, no one seems to be parking their gains into Bitcoin as a store of value.

Trading BTC has fallen out of favor, dropping continuously, but this time, for days, BTC trades have been below the 30% mark, and down to 27%. The slack has been taken up by Tether (USDT) trading, which exploded over the weekend. USDT trading now takes up more than 22% of the entire crypto market, for volumes around $3.5 billion. At the same time, BTC volumes hover around $4 billion.

More assets have been paired with USDT in the past months, and the sell-off continues for Ethereum (ETH), as well as EOS. Coins with a large share of USDT trading, such as Litecoin (LTC), also continued their slide, as the expectations allow for even lower price levels. The share of USDT trading in Bitcoin remains low, at around 14%, but for some assets, more than 30% of the trading activity has drifted to the USDT pairing.

The latest move to fixed-priced coins has also led to the constant increase in TrueUSD (TUSD) volumes. The supply of coins has increased to more than 72.8 million. What is curious is that the most active pairing is between TUSD and USDT on Binance, taking up nearly 50% of all TUSD exchanges.

One possible explanation is that TUSD is used as a fiat on-ramp to acquire Tethers, which are paired with more tokens. The other possible explanation is that Tethers are transformed into TUSD, as the project inspires more trust for its monthly banking balance reviews. Buying and selling TUSD is relatively balanced, although there is a third option - a form of arbitrage as the coins fluctuate a few cents up and down.

However, the recent market slide has erased some of the skepticism for Tethers, as the asset has indeed proven it can store value while coins unravel.

Trading fixed-price assets BitUSD and CK USD remains active, though these two coins have difficulties keeping their peg, with BitUSD rising to $1.10, and CK USD lowered to $0.95. Those assets are used only on their native niche exchanges, but robust volumes show that for stores of value, fixed-priced coins have become indispensable in 2018.