Tether’s USDT Stablecoin Enters Polkadot Ecosystem With Kusama Launch

Kusama becomes the tenth blockchain to support USDT, which already has more than $80 billion in circulation.

AccessTimeIconApr 13, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 5:43 p.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global hub for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

Tether (USDT), the largest of the dollar-pegged stablecoins with a market capitalization of over $80 billion, is launching on Kusama, a system of parallel blockchains that serves as Polkadot’s “canary network.”

Stablecoins are a hot topic right now, with recent news of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, taking an interest in USDC, Tether’s closest rival in terms of circulating supply. (USDC is also slated for deployment within the Polkadot ecosystem.)

The addition of USDT is a milestone for Kusama as it will be later for Polkadot, said Peter Mauric, head of public affairs at Polkadot developer Parity Technologies, since accessibility and interoperability is the overarching goal of the two networks – both of which already have parachain-specific stablecoin projects.

“Different builders and institutions have their own preferences on the tech stack and products they interface with, and there is plenty of room for a variety of options within the crypto ecosystem,” Mauric said in a Telegram message. “Tether’s deployment on Kusama is a clear indication that there is interest in having it available to builders in the Polkadot ecosystem alongside the Polkadot-native options that are launching as well.”

Important protocol upgrades and other innovations always happen first on the Kusama network (a kind of canary in a coalmine) before appearing on the more conservative Polkadot ecosystem. The network is named after the polkadot-inspired artist Yayoi Kusama.

At launch, USDT will have an asset tag that allows Polkadot and Kusama’s rule-operating relay chains to recognize tokens other than their respective native cryptocurrencies, DOT and KSM.

As such, the stablecoin will power transactions on Kusama’s Statemine (equivalent to the Statemint parachain on Polkadot), a so-called “public good parachain” needed for asset deployment and balance-keeping of fungible and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) flowing across the web of blockchains.

Tether’s USDT is also live on Ethereum, Solana, Algorand, EOS, Liquid Network, Omni, Tron and Bitcoin Cash’s Standard Ledger Protocol. Polkadot will join that list soon after Kusama (the Polkadot parachain auctions followed Kusama by a few months).

“Timeline is to be determined but I suspect that this Kusama deployment will serve much of the same ‘canary effect’ we saw in the Polkadot launch process for the relay chain and parachains, as a real world proving ground for the tech before it is ready for production on Polkadot,” said Mauric.


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, institutional digital assets exchange. Bullish group is majority owned by Block.one; both groups have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary, and an editorial committee, chaired by a former editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal, is being formed to support journalistic integrity.

Ian Allison

Ian Allison is an award-winning senior reporter at CoinDesk. He holds ETH.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.

Read more about