What is USDC?

What is USDC and how does it work?

USD Coin (USDC) is a fully collateralized US Dollar stablecoin.

What is a stablecoin you ask? A stablecoin is a digital currency designed to maintain price parity to some "stable" asset. A stablecoin can have its value "pegged" to fiat money, to gold, to other digital currencies, to exchange-traded commodities, etc. The "peg" is typically either maintained by collateralization or by an algorithm that implements some sort of monetary policy.

USDC's price is obviously pegged to USD $1. Its peg mechanism uses a simple 100% collateralization approach. This means that for every 1 USDC token in circulation there is USD $1 held in collateral.

USDC was built on top of the open source fiat stablecoin framework developed by Centre. At the moment, USDC is a digital token that runs on:

USDC was created late in 2018, but it is already the fastest growing full reserve and regulated US dollar stablecoin. You can monitor reports on USDC's reserve holdings by checking Centre's transparency page.

Why is USDC relevant in the context of Circle APIs?

Since the beginning, we at Circle envisioned a world where “everyday money” such as dollars, euros, yen, etc. could inherit the most powerful features of digital currencies like bitcoin:

  • open, global, connected to anyone and anything on the internet;
  • fast, cheap and secure to transmit.

Representing and storing "money", and processing transfers of "money" are capabilities that more and more businesses require at its core. Taking payments, transacting with partners, engaging in internet commerce and different types of financial transactions - all of these capabilities typically involved representing and storing money in a bank account, and handling transfers via traditional payments processing solutions. From a technology perspective, these solutions are typically closed, regional, hard to obtain, slow and expensive.

Circle APIs integrate with and utilize USDC in order to represent money in an internet-native way. Card (and other types of) payments get settled in USDC on a wallet, as opposed to "traditional" money on a bank account. Businesses can manipulate those funds via modern APIs, and can instantly connect to any other service or infrastructure that also utilizes USDC.

This approach offers developers and entrepreneurs around the world a choice. The choice to build products and commerce in a way that is not only more open, global, faster and cheaper, but also one where the concept of money itself is extensible and programmable.

USDC has already become a critical piece of infrastructure for hundreds of businesses around the world, having been integrated into everything from digital wallets and exchanges, to securities platforms, trade finance systems, payment products, savings and lending, and even games.

🎉 We can't wait to see what you can build!

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