The Tether stablecoin USDT’s daily usage on the Ethereum blockchain has shifted slightly later in the day from Asian business hours toward European and U.S. market hours, possibly because of China’s crackdown on cryptocurrency trading and USDT users’ migration to other blockchains, a new report suggests.
Last year, most USDT activity on Ethereum happened between 2:00 and 14:00 coordinated universal time, and during that time, the period from 6:00 to 8:00 UTC was the busiest, according to the report by blockchain-analysis firm Coin Metrics. This year, however, there has been less usage from 2:00 to 6:00 UTC and more from 15:00 to 20:00 UTC.
Investors can trade crypto 24 hours, seven days a week, but local stock exchange times can be used as a proxy for when traders in any given region are active.
Several factors could have contributed to the shift of USDT’s daily usage pattern on Ethereum, according to Coin Metrics, including that some trading activity has shifted to other blockchains that offer lower fees than Ethereum, such as Tron and Solana.
Also, as China reiterated its crypto ban and started cracking down on crypto mining in May, the migration of crypto miners and investors may have led to a drop in Asia-based USDT activity. That migration, however, wouldn’t explain the changes before May, Coin Metrics noted.
It’s also possible that that USDT on Ethereum is increasingly being used as collateral in decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols.