USD Coin (USDC): Definition, How It Works in Currency, and Value

USD Coin (USDC) is a digital currency that is fully backed by U.S. dollar assets. USDC is a tokenized U.S. dollar, with the value of one USDC coin pegged as close to the value of one U.S. dollar as it can get. The value of USDC is designed to remain stable, making USDC a stablecoin.

Key Takeaways

  • USD Coin (USDC) is a cryptocurrency that is backed by fiat money, making it a stablecoin.
  • USDC reserve assets are held in segregated accounts with U.S.-regulated financial institutions.
  • The U.S. government does not issue USDC.

USDC is managed by a consortium called Centre, which was founded by Circle and includes members from the cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase and Bitcoin mining company Bitmain. USDC is primarily available as an Ethereum ERC-20 token, but it is also available on other blockchains such as Hedera Hashgraph, Algorand, Avalanche, Solana, Stellar, Polygon, and TRON.

Each USDC token in circulation is backed by $1 USD in cash or cash equivalents, held by regulated U.S. financial institutions. These reserves are regularly attested by Grant Thornton, LLP, though they are not audited. The monthly attestations can be found on the Centre Consortium's website.

USDC has various use cases in the crypto marketplace, including being used in decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols and by traders. It provides a stable value and is interoperable with Ethereum-based applications and other popular blockchains.

USDC was first announced in May 2018 and launched in September of the same year by Centre, a joint enterprise between Circle and one of the largest peer-to-peer payment providers. It should not be confused with a central bank digital currency (CBDC) issued by the U.S. government.

In summary, USD Coin (USDC) is a stablecoin cryptocurrency that is fully backed by U.S. dollar assets. It is managed by Centre and has a value pegged to the U.S. dollar. USDC provides stability and is widely used in the crypto marketplace.

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Where to Buy the Cryptocurrency USDC

You can buy the cryptocurrency USDC from various platforms and exchanges. Here are some popular options:

1. Coinbase

You can buy USDC on Coinbase's centralized exchange. It is a quick, secure, and easy way to purchase USDC.

Learn more about buying USDC on Coinbase

2. BitPay

BitPay also offers the option to buy USDC. You can use a credit card, debit card, Apple Pay, or Google Pay for the purchase.

Find out how to buy USDC with BitPay

3. Binance

Binance is another platform where you can buy USDC. They offer multiple options, including credit cards, debit cards, and third-party payment systems.

Get a guide on buying USDC on Binance

These are just a few examples of platforms where you can buy USDC. It is always recommended to do thorough research and ensure that the platform you choose is reputable and secure.

Founders of USDC

USDC (USD Coin) is a digital stablecoin pegged to the United States dollar.

It is managed by a consortium called Centre, which was founded by Circle and includes members from the cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase and Bitcoin mining company Bitmain.

  • Circle: Circle, also known as Circle Internet Financial, LLC, is a global financial technology firm that enables businesses to harness the power of digital currencies and public blockchains for payments, commerce, and financial applications. Circle is one of the founding companies behind Centre Consortium, which is a jointly managed self-governance consortium for USDC.
  • Coinbase: Coinbase is a cryptocurrency exchange that allows people to buy, sell, and store various cryptocurrencies.

    It is another founding company of Centre Consortium and plays a role in the governance and management of USDC.

These two companies, Circle and Coinbase, were instrumental in the creation and launch of USDC, and they continue to be involved in its development and management.

Roadmap and Future Plans of USDC


USDC is a leading stablecoin pegged to the US dollar, designed to provide the benefits of blockchain technology in facilitating fast, reliable, and secure digital transactions.

It has gained widespread adoption and is one of the most trusted stablecoins in the cryptocurrency market.

Expansion and Blockchain Integration

To unlock the next phase of utility for USDC, the team behind the cryptocurrency has announced plans for expansion and integration with different blockchains.

This will enable USDC to be accessible on multiple networks, ensuring wider availability and usability. Currently, USDC operates on various advanced blockchains such as Ethereum, Algorand, Solana, Stellar, and TRON.

This multi-chain approach allows users to transact in USDC across different ecosystems and provides flexibility in terms of choosing the most suitable blockchain for their needs. Recently, USDC has also announced its launch on new blockchains, expanding its reach and accessibility.

The cryptocurrency will be launched on Polygon PoS Mainnet, Polkadot, and Arbitrum, further integrating itself into the growing blockchain ecosystem.

Advantages and Use Cases

USDC offers several advantages and use cases that make it an appealing choice for users: 1.

Speed and Efficiency: USDC operates at internet speed, enabling instant transactions that can be completed in seconds. It eliminates the need for long settlement times and allows for rapid cash flow.

2. Global Accessibility: As a digital dollar with global reach, USDC can be accessed and used by anyone with an internet connection.

It transcends borders and banking hours, providing availability whenever and wherever it is needed. 3.

Cost-Effective Payments: USDC offers cost-effective payment solutions, eliminating the need for expensive wire transfers or credit card fees. This enables merchants to avoid high transaction costs and pass on the savings to their customers.

4. Financial Opportunities: USDC opens up opportunities in crypto capital markets, including trading, lending, borrowing, and fundraising.

It provides access to a global marketplace, enabling users to explore various financial applications and take advantage of the benefits of blockchain technology.

Transparency and Trust

USDC maintains transparency and trust through its fully reserved and regulated nature.

All USDC reserves are held in segregated accounts at regulated financial institutions in the US. Monthly attestation reports by certified public auditors verify that USDC is fully backed by its dollar reserves, providing assurance and building trust among users.

Looking ahead, USDC aims to further enhance transparency by introducing on-chain reporting. This will allow real-time verification of USDC reserves directly on the public blockchain, setting a new standard for stability and reliability in the stablecoin market.


USDC continues to evolve and expand its capabilities to serve the needs of users in the fast-growing cryptocurrency market. With its roadmap focused on blockchain integration, global accessibility, and transparency, USDC aims to remain a trusted and widely adopted stablecoin that enables easy access to digital dollars and facilitates efficient transactions.

What is USDC?

The world of cryptocurrencies is expanding, introducing new types of digital assets with unique qualities and capabilities. USDC, or USD Coin, is one such currency that's been gaining popularity. It's called a "stablecoin" for a good reason. Unlike typical cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum, which have values that fluctuate wildly based on market demand, USDC maintains a constant value. So, how does it accomplish this? The answer is quite straightforward - it's "pegged" to the US dollar.

What Does "Pegged" Mean?

Just as the term would suggest, when a digital currency is "pegged", its value is anchored or linked to a specific asset. In the case of USDC, its value is pegged to the US dollar. This means that for every USDC token in circulation, there's a corresponding US dollar preserved in a reserve, guaranteeing the value of the digital token. Thanks to this system, one USDC is always approximately equivalent to one US dollar.

Why Use USDC?

One might be asking, "If USDC is always worth about a dollar, why not simply use dollars?" There are several advantages to using USDC over traditional fiat currency. One significant benefit is its compatibility with the blockchain. USDC operates on a peer-to-peer network, allowing for efficient, secure, and swift transfers worldwide without requiring a traditional banking system. Additionally, USDC can be part of the decentralized finance ("DeFi") ecosystem, where it can generate interest for its users, be used to borrow against other assets, and more.

How Do I Get USDC?

Acquiring USDC is not unlike purchasing traditional cryptocurrencies. You'll first need a digital wallet to store your tokens, which can easily be set up online. Once you have that, you can purchase them using the US dollar or certain other cryptocurrencies from a cryptocurrency exchange. Remember always to do your due diligence when choosing a platform to mitigate any security concerns.

Understanding the Risks

Lastly, it's important to understand that despite the relative stability of USDC, dealing with any cryptocurrency entails risk. Cryptocurrency exchanges are not FDIC insured. This means that if the platform where you bought your USDC goes bankrupt, your USDC could potentially be lost. Also, while USDC's value is constant in terms of US dollars, its purchasing power can still be affected by changes in the dollar's value.

Overall, USDC offers a stable entryway into the world of digital currency. It maintains a reliable value linked to the US dollar while still providing the advantages of operating within the blockchain system. Yet, as with all investments, understanding the risks is vital to ensure you take appropriate measures for personal financial safety.

How is USDC created?

To understand how USDC (USD Coin) is created or "minted", you first need to understand who's involved in its establishment. USDC is the product of a consortium known as CENTRE. This consortium is a collaboration between Circle, a peer-to-peer payment technology company, and Coinbase, a well-known cryptocurrency exchange platform.

Circle and Coinbase co-founded CENTRE with the objective to establish a standard for fiat on the internet and provide a governance framework for the stablecoin industry. Now, you might be asking what a stablecoin is? Well, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum are notorious for their price volatility; their value can drastically fluctuate in mere seconds! A stablecoin, on the other hand, is a type of cryptocurrency that's designed to maintain a stable value relative to a specific asset or a pool of assets—USDC is pegged to the United States dollar.

Let's now shift focus on how USDC is actually minted.

A user who wants to mint USDC would need to deposit USD into one of CENTRE's partner banks. Once the consortium, which is responsible for governing USDC, confirms the deposit, an equivalent amount of USDC is created or "minted". This minting process involves the use of smart contracts—an Ethereum-based computer protocol that digitally facilitates, verifies, or enforces the negotiation or performance of a contract. These smart contracts "mint" the new USDC tokens and send them to the user.

It's important to emphasize that for every USDC token in circulation, there's an equivalent USD held in reserve. This is to ensure that USDC maintains its 1:1 value proposition with the US dollar.

So, when a holder of USDC decides to redeem their digital coins for USD, the reverse process occurs. The USDC tokens are returned—and effectively "burnt"—and the corresponding USD are released back to the holder. 'Burning' in this context means that these tokens are removed from circulation, hence maintaining the balance of USD in reserve and USDC in circulation.

This whole process is regulated by CENTRE and it adheres to laws and financial compliance standards. They conduct monthly attestations through independent accounting firms to confirm that each USDC coin in the market is backed by an equivalent amount of USD.

Benefits of using USDC

One of USDC's standout features is its stability. Unlike many other cryptocurrencies, which are known for their volatile values, USDC maintains a stable value because it is a type of cryptocurrency known as a "stablecoin". Backed by reserves of the US Dollar on a 1:1 ratio, the value of one USDC is always equivalent to one US Dollar. This eliminates the dramatic swings in value often associated with other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, making USDC a safer choice for those wary of volatility.

1. Stability

2. Security

USDC provides robust security measures to protect its users. Using advanced cryptographic technology, each transaction you make with USDC is secure and tamper-proof, preventing fraud and unauthorized access. These measures ensure that your cryptocurrency stash remains safe and secure at all times.

3. Transparency

USDC is also committed to providing full transparency for its users. Every USDC in circulation is accounted for by a corresponding US dollar held in reserve. These reserves are regularly audited by Grant Thornton LLP, one of the world's largest accounting firms. This audited transparency provides a level of trust and accountability more traditionally associated with regular finance, but now being brought to the world of cryptocurrency.

4. Wide Acceptance

Unlike some other digital currencies, USDC enjoys wide acceptance, largely due to its regulation and auditing process. The USDC protocol is built in open view on the Ethereum blockchain, a well-respected and commonly used blockchain. It’s developed by Centre, a consortium that counts COINBASE and Circle amongst its members - both are highly regarded and trusted within the cryptocurrency world. This helps to increase its credibility and acceptance amongst businesses and users alike.

Moreover, because USDC is a regulated entity, it complies with all the financial rules and regulations, including Know Your Customer(KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering(AML) procedures. This compliance further increases its acceptance because it reduces the risk of USDC being used in illegal activities.

Differences between USDC and other cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum

Unlike Bitcoin, Ethereum, and most other cryptocurrencies, the US Dollar Coin (USDC) stands out as a "stablecoin". This means that it is designed to maintain a stable value, avoiding the high volatility commonly associated with cryptocurrencies.

Understanding USDC

The USDC is a digital stablecoin that is pegged to the U.S. dollar. This means that for every USDC, there's an equivalent real dollar kept in reserve. This fundamental principle allows USDC to maintain its value stability, disassociating from the volatile price fluctuations seen with Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies.

Stablecoins: How They Work

Stablecoins offer the advantages of cryptocurrencies, such as transparency, speed, and security, while maintaining price stability. They achieve this stability by having their value pegged to a reserve of assets. In the case of USDC, it's 1:1 with the U.S. dollar, making it a fiat-collateralized stablecoin. This provides a predictable and reliable digital asset without exposing users to the wild price swings of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

USDC Versus Bitcoin and Ethereum

Bitcoin and Ethereum, the two most prominent cryptocurrencies, operate on revolutionary technology called blockchain. This has enabled decentralization, transfer security, and transparency. But Bitcoin and Ethereum are subject to intense market forces that lead to significant fluctuations in their value. Users often see the value of their holdings increase or decrease dramatically in short periods, leading to potentially high risks or returns.

USDC: A Safe Harbor?

As a stablecoin, USDC offers a "safe harbor" during periods of high volatility in the cryptocurrency market. For instance, during a market dip, investors might convert their more volatile cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum to USDC to maintain their value. Once the market stabilizes, they could then convert back into the desired cryptocurrencies.

Despite not offering the potential for significant capital gains, like Bitcoin or Ethereum, USDC provides a certain degree of confidence and predictability. This makes it an appealing option for users seeking stability in the unpredictable world of crypto.

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How to buy and store USDC

Step 1: Choose a Cryptocurrency Exchange To start the process of buying USDC, you first have to decide on a cryptocurrency exchange to use. Some popular exchanges that allow you to buy USDC include Coinbase, Binance, and Kraken. Make sure the exchange you choose is reputable and offers a secure platform for buying and selling cryptocurrency. Step 2: Set Up Your Account Once you've chosen an exchange, you'll need to create an account. This usually involves providing an email address and creating a secure password. Depending on the exchange, you may also need to provide additional information, such as your full name and phone number, for identity verification purposes. Step 3: Deposit Funds Before you can buy USDC, you'll need to deposit funds into your exchange account. You can usually do this through a bank transfer, credit or debit card, or by depositing another cryptocurrency. Step 4: Buy USDC Once you've deposited funds, you can proceed to buy USDC. Navigate to the market section of the exchange, locate USDC, and click on 'buy'. You'll then have to enter the amount you want to buy, and confirm the transaction. Step 5: Choose a Digital Wallet For safekeeping of your USDC, you'll need a digital wallet. Wallets can be software-based (apps or desktop programs), hardware devices, or online (web-based). Step 6: Set Up Your Digital Wallet After picking your wallet, set it up by following its specific setup process which generally involves setting a strong password and creating a backup of your wallet's seed phrase. This phrase is vital for recovery in case you lose access to your wallet. Step 7: Transfer your USDC to your Wallet Go back to your exchange account, find your USDC, and click on 'withdraw' or 'send'. You'll then need to input your wallet's address. Be absolutely sure that the address is correct as cryptocurrency transactions are irreversible. After you confirm the transaction, your USDC will be transferred to your wallet. Step 8: Check Your Wallet Finally, check your digital wallet to ensure the transfer was successful. Depending on the network, it might take some time for the USDC to appear in your wallet. This guide is designed to provide a basic understanding of the process involved when buying and storing USDC. Always remember to use secure networks and to keep your wallet credentials safe at all times.

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Use cases for USDC

USDC (or USD Coin) is a cryptocurrency that's linked to the US Dollar, which means its value is typically stable and in sync with the dollar. This makes it a practical option for online payments. Individuals and businesses can use it to pay or accept payments on the internet without encountering the usual challenges that come with traditional banking systems such as slow transaction speeds, high fees, and banking hours limitations. Major e-commerce platforms as well as peer-to-peer platforms have adopted cryptocurrencies as a payment option, making it easier for customers to use digital currencies like USDC.

Using USDC for remittances

When sending money across borders, fees can be quite high and the process can be time-consuming, not to mention inconvenient in areas with limited banking services. USDC provides a solution to these problems. Because it's a cryptocurrency, it can be sent anywhere globally that has internet access, usually in just a matter of minutes and at a fraction of the cost of conventional remittance methods. This makes USDC a useful tool for global remittances, helping folks send money to family and friends abroad with ease.

USDC application in blockchain-based platforms

Blockchain technology underpins cryptocurrencies like USDC. It's a sophisticated, decentralized ledger that records transactions securely, transparently, and efficiently. Many businesses have begun employing blockchain technology to streamline operations and foster trust among their clients. USDC, as a stablecoin, is widely used within blockchain-based applications or "dApps" (decentralized applications). It can act as the stable, digital cash within these platforms, allowing users to pay for goods, services, or even access and participate in online communities.

USDC use in Decentralized Finance (DeFi)

Decentralized Finance, or DeFi, refers to the innovative financial applications being developed on blockchain networks. DeFi challenges traditional finance by offering financial services without the need for intermediaries like banks. USDC is a popular choice in the DeFi landscape because of its stability, underpinning smart contracts, lending platforms, and many more applications for banking and finance. Users can earn interest by providing liquidity, borrow against their USDC holdings, and engage in a host of other financial operations. Remember that as promising as these real-world applications of USDC are, it's crucial to proceed with caution. Every investment comes with its own set of risks, and the rapidly changing landscape of cryptocurrency is no exception. Always do thorough research and consider seeking advice from financial advisors to make the best decisions.

Risks associated with USDC

Given the rising popularity of cryptocurrencies, one that has garnered significant attention is USDC or USD Coin. Before diving headfirst into the world of digital currencies, potential investors should understand some of the potential risks that may ensue. These risks generally fall under three main categories, namely, regulatory changes, technological issues, and risks that are inherent to all forms of digital money.

The first risk concerns regulatory changes. Since cryptocurrencies are a relatively recent development, governments worldwide are still trying to figure out how they fit into existing financial systems and what rules should be implemented to regulate them. Should a government decide to tighten regulations, the value of USDC could possibly be adversely affected. This risk is particularly crucial since USDC is a stablecoin pegged to the US dollar, meaning its value could fluctuate if the regulators decide to implement significant changes.

Technological Issues

Another potential concern is technological issues. Cryptocurrencies like USDC are based on blockchain technology, which is relatively new and can sometimes have teething problems. For instance, the system could be vulnerable to hacking attempts, which may lead to the loss of investment. Also, if there are disruptions in the network or if it experiences 'hard forks' (a change to the protocol that the software uses to create blocks), this could also affect the cryptocurrency's value and stability.

Risks Inherent to Digital Money

Finally, we must consider the risks inherent to all forms of digital money. For example, there is a risk associated with the fact that people can lose their private keys (which are needed to access their digital wallets) due to issues such as hardware failure, loss, or theft. Depending on the circumstances, it might not be possible to recover these keys, which could result in a total loss of the funds in the digital wallet. Other risks include falling victim to scams or unscrupulous operators within the cryptocurrency market.

In conclusion, while firmly established cryptocurrencies such as USDC offer excellent opportunities for investments, they are not without their own set of risks. Investors should take prudent steps to understand these potential pitfalls before investing.