Minor Stablecoins & USDT Issuance: Even More Coincidences

  1. Background on a few minor stables
  2. Present a very nice data set
  3. Statistics and analysis of said data
  4. Compelling coincidences

Minor Stablecoins

What do we mean by minor stablecoins? HUSD, TUSD, USDP, GUSD. There is also USDK but it’s so tiny the word “minor” doesn’t do it justice.

HUSD

HUSD is an odd stablecoin. First, it’s not particularly large in market cap terms but sure has a lot of minting and burning:

HUSD gives you their gross mint and burn numbers on their website.
Paxos stopped doing HUSD somewhere around June-July 2021.
First it was Paxos and then it was Huobi Trust Company. Remember those account numbers.
HUSD also takes wires.
Huobi Trust Company is a licensed trust company in Nevada.
Current instructions from stcoins.com. The image is missing there so that’s why it is missing here.
OIder ones from the wayback machine.
Taken straight from their KYC/AML page.

TrueUSD

This one is also kind of wonky. But these folks tell you where their USD sit:

How you end up with $16 in BitGo and an even $100 million in “other” we are just going to ignore for now. There is just too much juicy stuff floating around this space.

Minting & Burning Data

That HUSD screenshot showed some weird minting and burning behavior: $250 million in market cap with $10.5 billion in mints and $10.25 billion in burns. That is odd. But how can we dig deeper?

Growth from 2018 to late-2021, total burn and the ratio over the same period.
Ratio of burn to market cap. 50th percentile is the median. 100th percentile is the max. This one is flat and low.
Yes it’s a little noisier. But, again, BUSD was tiny in 2019 and it calms for the second half. Also note the lower percentiles are 0 here — there are many quiet days.

You Said USDT Right?

Indeed we did. We know these stablecoins interact with the same banks as the USDT-sized pile of dollars we found last time. Now let’s compare USDT market cap against the cumulative burning of these stables:

Minor stable burning has the same shape and dates as USDT growth!

What Is Happening?

This is yet another weird coincidence. But if these are all real USD — and we have no reason to believe they are not — then we have three possible explanations:

  1. The USD flowing through these minor stables end up at Silvergate and Signature, somehow, as some kind of (maybe oursourced) backing for USDT. They pass through these minor stables as a sort of funnel into the “Tether complex.”
  2. There is another $20 billion in crypto somewhere.
  3. These burns mean something else.
Flat does not mean no minting and burning! Also we question some of the flatness given the daily market caps we observe in the raw blockchain data. But that’s a different issue.

TRON

Some folks may be thinking “yeah that’s just washing money.” Maybe, sure. But the money has to end up somewhere. It is theoretically possible these funds were washed and ended up somewhere else. Burned HUSD might get withdrawn in cash somehow. But it’s a lot simpler to suppose they ended up in the pile we already know about with a similar size and shape.

USDT issuance split into Ethereum and TRON. Yeah, the minor stablecoin burning fits TRON pretty well.

Final Notes

To be completely clear we are not suggesting any party referenced here did anything illegal or even “wrong.” The key takeaway is that it looks like a large chunk of real USD travelled through a few minor stablecoins and ended up in one of the larger US-based crypto-serving banks as some kind of backing for USDT on TRON. And this funnelling process may well have been accomplished without any out-of-bounds activities.

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