- A stablecoin backed by one of the world's most volatile currencies has become one of the leading non-U.S.-dollar-pegged stablecoins.
- The Turkish-lira backed TRYB is second only to Tether's euro-pegged EURt in market cap after quadrupling in just three weeks.
While the stablecoin world is dominated by dollar-backed tokens like tether (USDT) and USD Coin (USDC), there's a smaller chunk of the market that's pegged to other currencies. Now, a token backed by Turkey's lira (TRY), one of the most volatile fiat currencies globally, has become one of the world's leading non-U.S.-dollar-pegged stablecoins.
The Ethereum-based TRYB stablecoin from Turkey-based fintech company BiLira is pegged to the lira, allowing users to issue and redeem 1 TRYB for 1 TRY. According to the official website, the stablecoin is 100% backed by fiat reserves held in Turkish banks.
Data from Coingecko show the market cap of TRYB has surged by 325% to $136.10 million in three weeks. That makes it the world's second-largest non-USD-pegged stablecoin, just behind Tether's euro-pegged stablecoin EURt, which has a market cap of $224 million. Tether is also behind the world’s largest stablecoin, dollar-pegged USDT, with an almost $83 billion market cap.
"Since the Turkish lira price has been very volatile and losing value against the U.S. dollar, the TRYB token is mostly a medium of exchange currency. Our customers have been using the TRYB token as a gateway to exchange their Turkish lira fiat into cryptocurrency and vice versa," BiLira told CoinDesk in an email.
The usage pattern is consistent with the global trend. Stablecoins are widely used as a base currency in crypto trading pairs, allowing traders to access a stable asset while bypassing the volatility in fiat currencies.
"Stablecoins facilitate trades on crypto exchanges, serve as the underlying asset for many crypto loans, and allow market participants to avoid inefficiencies stemming from converting back to fiat currency for crypto trades,” the U.S. Federal Reserve said in December 2022. “They essentially serve as both a means of payment and store of value for these transactions." Over 80% of volume on centralized exchanges involves stablecoins, it said.
Still, even though TRYB looks to have gathered traction in Turkey, USDT remains dominant. In the past 24 hours, the USDT/TRY pair listed on the largest Turkey-based crypto exchange, BtcTurk, has seen a trading volume of $12.3 million, accounting for 18% of the total activity on the exchange. Meanwhile, the total volume in TRYB trading pairs listed on MECX, Pangolin and Icrypex is just $61,700.
Volatile market cap
TRYB's volatile market cap has drawn the attention of the crypto community.
"The timing of the large mints and burns of TRYB is a little bit uncanny," ChainArgos tweeted on X. "All burned off right before FTX collapsed. 2. Massively re-minted right after Signature Bank collapsed. 3. Burned off when Binance switched to TUSD, Prime Trust went bankrupt."
In an email to CoinDesk, BiLira explained that, unlike other stablecoin projects, it mints and redeems tokens in batches to avoid unsustainable gas fees.
The company pre-mints an average of two days of supply and keeps it in a pre-mint wallet. The amount to be pre-minted depends on the daily issuance volume. Users receive coins in their unique deposit controlled by BiLira. When redeemed, the tokens are sent to the TRYB Redemption Sweep wallet and then to the TRYB Burn Wallet.
"As an Emerging Country Stablecoin, minting and burning each issuance/redemption would make our operations unsustainable due to operational security standards and high gas costs," BiLira said.
BiLira said it's working with other stablecoin providers to improve the mint and burn functionality and their frequencies.
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