Algorithmic Stablecoin USDN Falls From Dollar Peg as Liquidity Slumps

The stablecoin is currently trading at 91 cents as speculation mounts over its sustainability.

AccessTimeIconAug 26, 2022 at 8:05 a.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 6:48 p.m. UTC
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Algorithmic stablecoin USDN, which is designed to mimic the value of the U.S. dollar, has fallen off its peg by 9 cents to 91 cents.

  • USDN is backed by the waves token (WAVES) and leverages the staking model of the Waves protocol’s underlying consensus algorithm.
  • Waves' token is trading 3.86% lower over the past 24-hours, according to CoinGecko.
  • Concerns over the algorithm have previously been raised by the company's founder Sasha Ivanov.
  • "We have to work on the algorithm,” Ivanov said on CoinDesk TV’s “First Mover” program in June. “And what happens now is kind of inevitable, which is just a test of the whole system.”
  • Algorithmic stablecoins have been in the spotlight this year following the collapse of terraUSD (UST) and the LUNA ecosystem, which saw $83 billion in market cap evaporate in May.
  • Analysts told CoinDesk that USDN's backing was realized through WAVES and was currently about 14% backed, which created "almost the same scenario as with UST."
  • "Just a week ago, their team made it possible to improve the mechanics of USDN reserve recapitalization through the SURF token purchase, depending on the backing ratio: the lower the ratio, the lower the token’s price," Iakov Levin, CEO of crypto yield platform Midas, explained in a message to CoinDesk.
  • Levin said that even though all purchases made with this token add to USDN backing, the move created a model similar to UST by relying on a secondary token to support the stablecoins' peg by providing liquidity. The upcoming Ethereum Merge was further cited as a reason for falling liquidity.
  • "Everyone is busy preparing for the Ethereum Merge upgrade," he said, so "the liquidity drops naturally. No one is keen on supporting the peg of another algorithmic stablecoin. This model potentially leads to dire consequences and extreme fragility of the peg," Levin added.

UPDATE (Aug. 26, 2022, 11:08 UTC): Adds analysts' comments in seventh and eighth bullets.

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Oliver Knight

Oliver Knight is a CoinDesk reporter based between London and Lisbon. He does not own any crypto.

Shaurya Malwa

Shaurya is the Deputy Managing Editor for the Data & Tokens team, focusing on decentralized finance, markets, on-chain data, and governance across all major and minor blockchains.


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