Finder makes money from featured partners, but editorial opinions are our own. Advertiser disclosure

USD Coin (USDC) vs. Tether (USDT)

We compare USDC and USDT, the 2 largest stablecoins by market cap

Disclaimer: This page is not financial advice or an endorsement of digital assets, providers or services. Digital assets are volatile and risky, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. Potential regulations or policies can affect their availability and services provided. Talk with a financial professional before making a decision. Finder or the author may own cryptocurrency discussed on this page.

US dollar-backed stablecoins USD Coin (USDC) and Tether (USDT) are the two most widely used stablecoins in the world.

We compare USDC versus USDT on key stats like market capitalization, track record and transparency to help you decide on what’s best for your financial goals.

USDC vs. USDT at a glance

Information last updated March 01, 2024 09:03 UTC.
Coin symbol USDCUSDT
Market cap
US$28,932,251,201
US$99,144,637,091
Total supply 28,931,428,13099,179,337,471
Circulating supply 28,960,691,01299,179,337,471
Current price US$0.99941US$0.999736
All-time high US$1.17US$1.32
All-time high date May 08, 2019July 24, 2018
Notable team members Jeremy Allaire, Sean Neville, Brian ArmstrongBrock Pierce, Craig Sellars, Reeve Collins
Partnerships Visa, RipioTron, OMG Network
Industry StablecoinsStablecoins
Token uses StablecoinStablecoin
Network Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain, Solana and othersEthereum, Binance Smart Chain, Solana and others

What are stablecoins and what do people use them for?

Stablecoins are digital tokens that aim to maintain a 1:1 ratio with the value of currencies like the US dollar.

These tokenized dollars can be collateralized — or backed — in many ways. USDT and USDC, the two largest stablecoins by market capitalization, are backed with actual US dollars or other reserve assets like US Treasury bills or commercial bonds.

High-frequency traders often use stablecoins. If traders want to exit a position in an asset like Bitcoin (BTC) but don’t necessarily want to move their money back into a bank account, which often takes days, they can park their money in stablecoins before making their next trade.

Some hold stablecoins to earn a yield on them. Stablecoin holders can earn yields on their stablecoins through centralized finance (CeFi) platforms like BlockFi or through decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols like SushiSwap.

Stablecoins are also used as a currency outside of the United States. People use US dollar-backed stablecoins to pay for goods and services in countries like Argentina, which have dollarized due to high inflation in their national currencies.

How do stablecoins work?

History of USDT and USDC

Originally called Realcoin, Tether (USDT) was brought to market in July 2014. USDT quickly became used as an alternative to US dollars on crypto exchanges.

Other stablecoins were created in 2014 and 2015, but USDT is the only one from that era that has survived. It’s since become the most widely used stablecoin in the world and the #3 ranked crypto by market cap, according to CoinGecko.

It was created by the Goldman Sachs-backed payment company Circle and is managed by the Centre consortium, which is comprised of Circle and major crypto exchange Coinbase.

In under four years, USDC’s market cap has grown to $56 billion. This makes it the second-most widely used stablecoin in the world and the #4 ranked crypto by market cap according to CoinGecko.

USDC vs. USDT fees

The fees associated with using USDC and USDT are not related to the tokens themselves. Instead, the fees for using these tokens have to do with the blockchain on which you use them.

For example, transaction fees on the Ethereum blockchain are typically much higher than the transaction fees on other Layer 1 blockchains like Solana, Binance Smart Chain and Fantom or Layer 2 blockchains like Polygon.
What are Layer 1 and Layer 2 blockchains?

USDC vs. USDT: An issue of trust

USDC has earned a good reputation in the crypto space because its parent company, Circle, is more transparent about the assets that back USDC than Tether is with USDT.

USDCUSDT
Audit frequencyYearlyN/A
Attestation frequencyMonthlyQuarterly
Reserve backingUS dollars, Treasury BillsUS dollars, Treasury Bills, corporate bonds

USDC’s transparency

USDC was created to provide the crypto market with a US dollar-backed stablecoin like USDT but with more transparent backing.

Stablecoin users didn’t trust that USDT was fully collateralized because Tether’s reserves had never been audited. In other words, Tether has been less than forward regarding its finances, and Circle believed that the market needed a stablecoin that investors could trust.

USDC’s reserves have been audited annually by outside accounting firms since the asset’s inception, and the audits from 2020 and 2021 are filed with the SEC.

USDC also undergoes monthly attestations or stress tests in which accounting firms attest to the accuracy of Circle’s financial reports on USDC.

Reports show that USDC is backed only by actual US dollars and US Treasury Bills.

This transparency is important not just for USDC users but also because Circle is preparing to become a publicly-traded company listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

USDT’s lack of transparency

Tether has been notorious for not disclosing the assets it holds to collateralize USDT.

Tether has never been audited nor disclosed the names of the banks in which it keeps its reserves.

Only through an attestation on December 31, 2021, did Tether prove that about 44% of its reserves were in US Treasury Bills. And as of May 2021, only 3% of its reserves were in US dollars.

The rest of its reserves are described as holdings of “unspecified commercial paper,” or short-term debt issued by companies. It’s also added that it doesn’t want to disclose the type of commercial paper it holds because it doesn’t want to give away its “secret sauce.”

New York State sued Tether in April 2019, alleging that it attempted to cover up an $850 million loss.

Bitfinex, a crypto exchange owned by the same company that owns Tether — iFinex — was rumored to have lent Tether money to cover up the losses.

In 2019, the New York Supreme Court found that Tether (USDT) was only 74% backed, and New York State has prohibited Tether from doing business within its borders.

Tether settled the lawsuit by paying a fine of $18.5 million.

Tether still has not been audited and has taken part in only one attestation in the past six months.

Tether has also never issued a full report of what assets compose its reserves, nor in which banks or on which platforms these reserves are kept.

Some fear that Tether poses a systemic risk to crypto markets. For example, professors at the University of Texas found in 2018 that USDT tokens had been minted — without necessarily being properly collateralized — to buy Bitcoin as a means to prop up its price.

Is Tether’s lack of transparency really an issue?

Despite the controversy surrounding USDT, Tether has never failed to process a redemption for an actual US dollar.

If there were a run on Tether, however unlikely, it would mean that not everyone holding USDT tokens would be able to redeem them for actual US dollars.

Bottom line

Whether you’re parking your money in USDT or USDC between trades, lending your stablecoins to generate yield or using them as a medium of exchange, make sure you’ve considered each asset’s track record of transparency and accountability first.

Continue your research on USDC versus USDT by reading our market data overviews on each coin: USD Coin (USDC) and Tether (USDT).

FAQs

  1. “How to build trust – USDC audits and attestations,” Circle, June 3, 2022 https://www.circle.com/blog/how-to-build-trust-usdc-audits-and-attestations#:~:text=The%20USDC%20reserve%20has%20been
  2. “Anyone seen Tether’s billions?,” Bloomberg, October 7, 2021
  3. “Circle CEO: USDC Becoming More Transparent to Meet Accountability Standards,” Yahoo, July 12, 2021
  4. Consolidated financial statements as of December 21, 2021 and 2020, and for the year ended December 21, 2021 and 2020, SEC, May 6, 2022
  5. “We like to be perfectly clear,” Centre
  6. “The Tether controversy, explained,” The Verge, August 16, 2021
  7. “Tether fails to dispel mystery on stablecoin’s crucial reserves,” Bloomberg, December 3, 2021,
  8. “Tether has reduced commercial paper backing USDT by 20% since April,” Yahoo, May 19, 2022
  9. “Tether cut commercial paper reserve by 17% in Q1, accountants say,” CoinDesk, May 19, 2022 https://www.coindesk.com/business/2022/05/19/tether-cut-commercial-paper-reserve-by-17-in-q1/#:~:text=Tether’s%20attestation%20report%20is%20authorized
  10. “Attorney General James announces court order against “crypto” currency company under investigation for fraud,” New York State Office of the Attorney General, April 25, 2019
  11. “Attorney General James ends virtual currency trading platform Bitfinex’s illegal activities in New York,” New York State Office of the Attorney General, February 23, 2021
  12. “NY AG accuses Bitfinex and Tether of covering up $851 million loss in investor funds,” JD Supra, May 8, 2019
  13. “Tether lawyer admits stablecoin now 74% backed by cash and equivalents,” CoinDesk, April 30, 2019
  14. “Tether manipulation pushed up Bitcoin’s price, researchers find,” CoinDesk, June 13, 2018

Whether products shown are available to you is subject to individual provider sole approval and discretion in accordance with the eligibility criteria and T&Cs on the provider website.

Name Product Deposit methods Fiat Currencies Cryptocurrencies Offer Disclaimer Link
eToro Cryptocurrency Trading
eToro Cryptocurrency Trading
Bank transfer, Credit card, Debit card, Neteller, Skrill
EUR, GBP, NZD, USD, AUD, HKD, SGD, CHF, NOK & 5+ more

78
cryptocurrencies

Disclaimer: Cryptoasset investing is highly volatile and unregulated in the UK and some EU countries. No consumer protection. Tax on profits may apply.

Capital at risk

View details
Binance Cryptocurrency Exchange (Not available to US users)
Bank transfer, Cryptocurrency
-

369
cryptocurrencies

Capital at risk

View details
KuCoin Cryptocurrency Exchange
KuCoin Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer, Credit card, Cryptocurrency, Debit card, PayPal, P2P
USD, EUR, GBP, RUB, CNY, AUD, KRW, JPY, TRY, VND

743
cryptocurrencies

Capital at risk

View details
Bybit Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bybit Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer, Credit card, Cryptocurrency, Debit card, P2P
USD, AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, NZD, HKD, JPY, SGD, PHP

279
cryptocurrencies

Disclaimer: Highly volatile investment product. Your capital is at risk.

Capital at risk

View details
Gate.io Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer, Credit card, Cryptocurrency, Debit card

1607
cryptocurrencies

Capital at risk

View details
Kraken Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer, Credit card, Cryptocurrency, Debit card, Apple Pay, Google Pay, SWIFT
USD, EUR, CAD, GBP, CHF, AUD

222
cryptocurrencies

Capital at risk

View details
OKX Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer, Cryptocurrency, iDEAL, PayPal, POLi, SEPA, Faster Payments (FPS)
CNY, EUR, ARS, AUD, BGN, BRL, CAD, CHF, COP

338
cryptocurrencies

Capital at risk

View details
Uphold
Uphold
Bank transfer (ACH), Credit card, Debit card, Apple Pay, Google Pay
USD, GBP, AUD, EUR, CAD, CNY, JPY, SGD, INR, NZD

237
cryptocurrencies

Capital at risk

View details
Paybis Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer, Credit card, Debit card, Neteller
EUR, GBP, USD, AUD, CAD, PHP, SGD, CHF, HKD, JPY & 30+ more

357
cryptocurrencies

US residents: Restricted in the following states - NY, CT, NM, WA, HI, AL, VT, FL, AK, NV.

Capital at risk

View details
Finder Award
Bitstamp Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer, Credit card, Cryptocurrency, Debit card, SEPA, Faster Payments (FPS)
USD, EUR, GBP

79
cryptocurrencies

Capital at risk

View details
Coinmama Cryptocurrency Marketplace
Credit card, Fedwire, SEPA, Google Pay, SWIFT, Bank card
USD, EUR, AUD, CAD, GBP, JPY

16
cryptocurrencies

Capital at risk

View details
OFFER
Gemini Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer (ACH), Cryptocurrency, Debit card, PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, SWIFT
USD, AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, SGD, HKD, COP

141
cryptocurrencies

Capital at risk

View details
Finder Award
Crypto.com App
Bank transfer, Credit card, Cryptocurrency, Debit card, PayPal, Wire transfer, Apple Pay, Google Pay, SWIFT
USD, EUR, GBP, COP, CHF, HKD, SGD, AUD, CAD, KRW, SEK, CNY, TRY, RON, JPY, NOK, MYR, BRL, DKK, ZAR, BGN, THB, INR, TWD, PHP, IDR, MOP, MDL, SAR, MXN, CLP

318
cryptocurrencies

Capital at risk

View details
loading

Are you visiting from outside the US?

Select an option to continue

Bybit Cryptocurrency Exchange

Bybit Cryptocurrency Exchange logo
  • Offers leverage and derivative trading
  • Supports EUR, GBP and CHF
  • Licensed to operate in all European countries
Go to site
Disclaimer: Highly volatile investment product. Your capital is at risk.

KuCoin Cryptocurrency Exchange

KuCoin Cryptocurrency Exchange logo
  • Buy, sell and trade over 700 crypto assets
  • Supports 10 Asian fiat currencies
  • Offers crypto futures trading
Go to site

Kraken Cryptocurrency Exchange

Kraken Cryptocurrency Exchange logo
  • Buy, sell and trade over 200 crypto assets
  • Licensed to operate in 17 jurisdictions in Oceania
  • Supports AUD
Go to site

Binance Cryptocurrency Exchange (Not available to US users)

Binance Cryptocurrency Exchange (Not available to US users) logo
  • Supports over 300 crypto assets
  • Binance Pay enables users spend their crypto
  • Binance P2P supports multiple African fiat currencies
Go to site

Binance Cryptocurrency Exchange (Not available to US users)

Binance Cryptocurrency Exchange (Not available to US users) logo
  • Supports over 300 crypto assets
  • Binance Pay works with Credencial Payments to support crypto payments
  • Binance P2P supports five Latin American fiat currencies
Go to site

Bybit Cryptocurrency Exchange

Bybit Cryptocurrency Exchange logo
  • Supports leverage and derivative trading
  • Supports 300 spot trading pairs
  • Low-to-non-existent trading fees
Go to site
Disclaimer: Highly volatile investment product. Your capital is at risk.

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and finder.com Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Go to site