Using On-Chain Data for Policy Research, Part 3: Mint/Burn Dashboard
The purpose of this series has been to demonstrate how on-chain data can be used to probe important policy issues in crypto.
Today, fiat-backed stablecoins are an important part of the crypto ecosystem and looking closely at on-chain data can surface issues that lead to better-designed stablecoins. Rather than write an academic-style report, our approach here is to make available a clean data set and deliver an interactive data dashboard to encourage more individual use and exploration of on-chain activity.
- For most stablecoins and time periods, the majority of mint/burn activity takes place during times when U.S. markets are open (e.g., Monday through Friday, between 9am and 5pm ET). Despite the fact that tokens can circulate 24/7 on-chain, the on- and off-ramps are still very dependent on core legacy financial infrastructures, which come with their own risks and inefficiencies. (These issues are discussed at length in a previous post.)
- Although the majority of on-chain minting/burning occurs during U.S.-market hours, most stablecoins maintain the ability to issue when markets are closed (e.g., overnight and on the weekends). One conjecture from this observation is that stablecoin issuers manage buffers of cash that they use to mint or burn coins when they receive requests from customers during off-hours when reserve collateral cannot be invested or sold. Otherwise, they would only be able to mint or burn stablecoins during certain times of day/week. How they size such buffers is likely to be an important focal area for policymakers and risk managers in the future.
- The stablecoins included vary widely in their minting/burning practices, both in terms of size and frequency.
- Times of heightened volatility are evident in the data. For example, during May 2022 when the Terra/Luna peg broke.
- As noted previously, it is important to keep in mind that on-chain data only represents a portion of total stablecoin activity.
- Additionally, the data used in this project only show a subset of stablecoins on one blockchain during one time period. Looking at more L1s and a broader set of stablecoins (including decentralized stablecoins) may be necessary for more in-depth analyses.