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 Apr 13, 2022 at 3:18 p.m. UTC

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

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.


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

CoinDesk - Unknown

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