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MakerDAO Votes to Custody $1.6 Billion in USDC With Coinbase

The MakerDAO pilot will run through the end of 2022 before the community needs to vote on whether to keep its USDC with Coinbase next year.

3 min read
USDC is the second-largest stablecoin by market cap. Image: Shutterstock

Coinbase will custody $1.6 billion worth of MarkerDAO’s USD Coin (USDC) treasury with its institutional-grade service, allowing the DAO to earn up to 1.5% rewards on the funds.

The proposal was ratified with 75% of the votes in favor on Monday afternoon after Coinbase Institutional submitted it on September 6. The USDC represents one-third of the treasury backing the Peg Stability Module, which allows users to deposit collateral in exchange for DAI, Maker’s U.S. dollar-pegged stablecoin.

Maker will not pay a custody fee, according to the proposal, and the community will need to vote on whether to keep its funds custodied with Coinbase after the trial period at the end of the year.

But first, MakerDAO will now need to create a legal entity that can be onboarded to Coinbase’s institutional rewards program, according to a Twitter thread posted by Maker.

The deposit will almost double the $1.7 billion worth of USDC that Coinbase was holding on behalf of customers at the end of June, according to a blog post.

“The additional monthly revenue generated through this deal enables Maker to further advance its overarching mission to create a global, trustless financial future built on decentralized rails,” Jennifer Senhaji, head of growth and business development at MakerDAO, said in the post.

MakerDAO’s governance token, MKR, was trading at $926.20 on Monday afternoon, down 3% over the past day and down 16% compared to last week, according to CoinGecko. As of this writing DAI, Maker’s stablecoin, is the fourth largest with a $5.8 billion market capitalization, which accounts for roughly 4% of all stablecoins in circulation.

Both DAI and USDC could use a boost. The stablecoins saw their market caps drop, DAI by 11% and USDC by 12%, over the last month, according to CoinGecko. This means that those stablecoins have likely been cashed in, for fiat or another currency, since both stablecoin issuers create new tokens when they’re bought on an exchange and destroy them when they’ve been redeemed.

Earlier this month, MakerDAO announced that it would invest $500 million in short-term U.S. treasury and corporate bonds. That makes today’s Coinbase news another move towards centralized entities and assets, which seemingly runs counter to remarks from MakerDAO cofounder Rune Christensen that DAI should divest from USDC

When the U.S. Office of Foreign Asset Control sanctioned Ethereum mixer Tornado Cash over the summer, he took issue with how eagerly USDC issuer Circle blacklisted the 38 wallets on the list and froze USDC in them. Circle wasn’t technically required to freeze the funds, but Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire wrote in a blog post that it was “right and our obligation as a regulated financial institution.”

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