In September 2020, Algorand became the second blockchain to integrate a native token version of USD Coin (USDC).
With innovations in performance, security, and transparency, Algorand has grown into an ecosystem for emerging Web3 applications. Many developers and institutions are turning to Algorand for its high speeds, relatively low costs, and expanding decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem.
In every blockchain, stablecoin infrastructure can be critical for its applications and users. For the Algorand network, USDC’s framework provides seamless interoperability between some of the world’s top blockchains.
USDC on Algorand (also commonly referred to as “USDCa”) has shown substantial adoption since its inception, with about $108 million in circulation as of April, 3 2023. As one of the fastest-growing, fully reserved digital dollar currencies, USDC on Algorand is accessible from some of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges.
What is Algorand?
Algorand is a layer 1 blockchain built on its own “Pure Proof of Stake” consensus mechanism1.
Designed for the next generation of financial tools and services, Algorand works to bridge traditional and decentralized finance rails. The network prioritizes high throughput at over 6,000 TPS, finality in under 4 seconds, and fees typically at fractions of a cent. This is made possible through the AVM (Algorand Virtual Machine), which powers the layer 1’s smart contract platform.
What is USDCa?
USDCa is the version of USDC created on the Algorand protocol as an Algorand Standard Asset (ASA) token.
Algorand’s tokenization of ASAs makes assets like USDCa directly built into the layer 1, allowing for universal interoperability with the rest of the blockchain. ASAs are fast, secure, and simple to issue for developers and enterprises.
For comparison, ASA is the token standarization of Algorand just as ERC-20 is the token standardization of Ethereum.
Things to Remember When Buying USDCa
There are a few things to be mindful of before purchasing USDC on Algorand:
1. Find an exchange that supports USDCa
USDC is a Multi-Chain stablecoin, meaning it spans multiple blockchains in different token standards. When a business purchases USDC with the intent to use it on Algorand, it should ensure the exchange supports ASAs, including USDCa.
USDC that is issued as another token, such as an ERC-20, will not be compatible with Algorand wallets or applications.
Note that attempting to transfer digital assets to the wrong network can ultimately result in a permanent loss of funds.
2. Use fiat funds or swap existing crypto balances for USDCa
One of the advantages of using a crypto exchange is the ability to on-ramp with fiat currencies such as USD. Many exchanges allow for account funding with cash through debit cards, credit cards, and bank accounts. Refer to each exchange’s website for exact funding policies.
In addition to fiat, a business may also directly swap other cryptocurrency assets for USDC on Algorand. If the exchange supports the specific pairing, existing cryptocurrency balances can be traded for USDC on Algorand, rather than depositing more fiat funds.
3. Be aware of crypto exchange fees
Some crypto exchanges may charge fees when purchasing USDCa. There may also be subsequent Algorand network fees when transferring USDCa to an on-chain wallet.
4. When moving USDCa on-chain, use an ASA-compatible wallet
USDC on Algorand funds that are held in a crypto exchange account are off-chain and can be transferred to an on-chain, ASA-compatible wallet to directly access Algorand applications.
There are several wallets for ASA assets, the most compatible being the Pera Wallet (formerly known as the Algorand Wallet).
The Pera Algo Wallet is a software wallet for buying and storing tokens on the Algorand blockchain. The relaunch of Pera Wallet on February 16, 2022 brought about an entirely new roadmap, with upcoming features including web browser and mobile versions, as well as more partner integrations.
Crypto Exchanges that Support USDCa
If a business is using a new exchange to buy USDC on Algorand, it will first need to follow the required registration, identity verification, and account funding processes of that platform. Once those steps are completed, it should be ready to buy USDCa from one of the following exchanges:
Why Use Algorand USDC?
The Algorand Foundation, an independent community organization, claims Algorand to be “the most powerful, decentralized blockchain platform available to DeFi innovators today.”2
In September of 2021, the Foundation launched the Viridis fund, which allocated $300 million to support and incentivize the growth of DeFi on Algorand.3 Shortly after, on December 13th, 2021, the Algorand Foundation launched Aeneas, which was Phase II of Viridis and became the foundation’s first official liquidity incentive program.USDC is helping the Algorand network develop a wide range of financial applications that are stable, scalable and secure.
Here are some of the leading projects on Algorand that are leveraging the benefits of USDC:
Building for the Future of Finance
Algorand is committed to powering economic models of the future through its innovative blockchain technology. The network prioritizes durability and longevity, most evident in its scalability, security, and global sustainability.
Stablecoins like USDC can be essential to the continual expansion of ecosystems like Algorand. With USDCa available from centralized exchanges, more developers and businesses may turn to Algorand and its applications for accessible, fast, and efficient digital dollar transacting.
2 Algorand Foundation, Supercharge DeFi on Algorand
3 Algorand Foundation, Algorand Foundation Launches $300 Million USD Viridis Fund to Support DeFi Innovation