Circle, the issuer of USDC, the second-largest stablecoin by market capitalization, has made a significant move by launching USDC natively on Polkadot, a Layer 0 network created by Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood. This development is set to have a notable impact on the DeFi ecosystem within the Polkadot network.
USDC is now being issued via the Polkadot Asset Hub, making it accessible to all Polkadot Layer 1s, also known as parachains. This integration will enhance liquidity and increase institutional participation in the Polkadot ecosystem.
Aaron Evans, Director of the Moonbeam Foundation, expressed enthusiasm about introducing native USDC, stating, “Native USDC will help foster a more sophisticated and mature DeFi ecosystem.” The Moonbeam Foundation intends to support this launch and help establish this natively-minted stablecoin as a vital resource for various decentralized applications (dApps) on the Moonbeam parachain.
Polkadot, which had gained prominence during its highly anticipated parachain auctions in November 2021, has seen a decrease in attention. The network provides shared security through its staking layer, supporting 100-layer parachains. Parachain slots are allocated to projects on a lease basis, with teams competing to raise Polkadot’s native DOT tokens from their communities to use as collateral for slot bids.
However, the value of DOT has experienced a significant drop, currently trading at $4.15, marking a 92.5% decrease from its all-time high in November 2021.
Despite these challenges, Polkadot has reported that several parachain projects have already announced their integrations with USDC. For example, Centrifuge, a protocol for tokenizing and financing real-world assets, has adopted USDC as the native currency for its liquidity pools, allowing users to invest assets using USDC or DAI.
HydraDX, an Omni pool-based decentralized exchange, allows users to provide liquidity in USDC, and Interlay enables users to lend the stablecoin.
Circle’s expansion of USDC onto the Polkadot network follows their announcement of plans to deploy the stablecoin on six additional chains by the end of the year. Circle recently launched USDC on Ethereum Layer 2s Base and Optimism, with plans to make it available on Arbitrum, Near, and Cosmos.
This move reflects Circle’s commitment to increasing the utility and accessibility of USDC across various blockchain ecosystems. It comes amid a decline in the market capitalization of the USD, which has fallen from $56 billion in mid-2022 to $26 billion.