Terra Classics Unveiled: Could Ethena’s USDe and Bitcoin Fusion Echo a LUNA-like Crisis?
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Terra Classics Unveiled: Could Ethena’s USDe and Bitcoin Fusion Echo a LUNA-like Crisis?

  • Highlighting concerns from industry experts like CryptoQuant CEO Ki Young Ju and DeFi figures Marc Zeller and Andre Cronje, the article delves into the risks posed by Ethena Labs’ decision to back its USDe synthetic dollar with Bitcoin, drawing parallels to the Terra-LUNA crisis and potential market instability.
  • The move to scale USDe using Bitcoin as collateral is scrutinized for its potential impact on Bitcoin holders, the stability of USDe, and the broader implications for the crypto market during varying market conditions.

In the ever-evolving world of cryptocurrency, the announcement by Ethena Labs to back its USDe synthetic dollar with Bitcoin has stirred debate and concern among industry experts. This move, aimed at scaling USDe from a $2 billion supply to a $10 billion market cap, has raised comparisons to the Terra-LUNA crisis, which wreaked havoc on the crypto market in recent history.

A Potential Contagion Warning

CryptoQuant CEO Ki Young Ju has sounded the alarm, drawing parallels between Ethena’s plan and the Terra-LUNA debacle. He warns that backing USDe with Bitcoin could expose Bitcoin holders to significant risks, particularly during market downturns. Terra-LUNA’s attempt to maintain its UST stablecoin peg using Bitcoin reserves ultimately led to a crisis that reverberated across the crypto landscape, triggering bankruptcies and market turmoil.

Ju emphasizes the challenge of maintaining a delta-neutral strategy for Bitcoin during bear markets. Ethena Labs’ strategy of holding spot BTC and shorting BTC as part of a cash and carry trade raises concerns about the potential need to sell Bitcoin to stabilize USDe’s peg during adverse market conditions.

“If there’s a method to short BTC by holding some DeFi-wrapped BTC, the market size would be smaller than its TVL. This is a CeFi stablecoin run by a hedge fund, effective only in bull markets. Correct me if I’m wrong,” Ju cautioned.

Complex Financial Strategies and Contagion Risks

Ethena Labs’ approach involves leveraging Bitcoin to unlock significant growth for USDe. Users deposit stablecoins like USDT, FRAX, DAI, crvUSD, and mkUSD to obtain USDe, while Ethena generates a substantial yield by shorting Ethereum (ETH) futures and capitalizing on funding rates.

However, concerns abound regarding the stability and sustainability of USDe. Aave founder Marc Zeller has expressed worry about potential contagion risks, prompting Aave to consider dropping MakerDAO’s DAI as collateral after MakerDAO proposed allocating a substantial amount of DAI to USDe.

Navigating Uncharted Waters

Ethena’s bold strategy to scale USDe with Bitcoin as collateral underscores the complexities and risks inherent in the cryptocurrency ecosystem. While this initiative promises substantial growth, it also introduces contagion risks reminiscent of past market crises.

As the crypto market continues to evolve, stakeholders must tread carefully, heeding the lessons of history and embracing prudent risk management practices to navigate the uncharted waters of decentralized finance. The fate of Ethena’s USDe backed by Bitcoin serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of vigilance and foresight in this dynamic landscape.