The prolonged market downturn has minimal effect on the increase in stablecoin usage. In contrast, dollar-pegged currencies such as USDT and USDC had a meteoric increase in market capitalization in 2022, turning out to be the de facto settlement currency of the cryptocurrency sector.
After the demise of Terra and its algorithmic stablecoin UST, the two stablecoin titans seized control of the bulk of stablecoin transaction volumes, and they have no plans to stop. As per CoinMetrics statistics, more than $7 trillion was paid using stablecoins this year. This is a huge rise from the $6 trillion and $1 trillion resolved in 2021 and 2020, respectively. This year, the overall value resolved using stablecoins exceeded the settlement value handled by Mastercard this year, which was approximately $2.2 trillion.
According to some estimates, the value of transactions paid using stablecoins might hit $9 trillion by 2023, next only to Visa, which handles roughly $12 trillion annually. Others anticipate that their on-chain transaction volume will exceed not just Visa, but even the combined volumes of the four main card networks Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover.
Nevertheless, even when the settlement value remains unchanged over the course of 2022, it will exceed virtually all other major settlement platforms, notably Mastercard, American Express, and Discover.
Mastercard, the second-biggest card issuer in the industry, has handled approximately $2.2 trillion worth of transactions to date in 2022, which is far less than the total settlement value of the seven key stablecoins. American Express cleared transactions worth about $1 trillion this year, while Discover resolved trades worth just under $200 billion.