Stablecoins are one of the newest hot spots on the crypto market. They have the potential to enhance the efficiency of the provision of financial services including payments, and to promote financial inclusion. They might offer a new way to transact and
retain value, starting to redefine modern finance. We all have seen their incredible growth in 2020 and 2021 under the DeFi market influence as I described in my former blog. Stablecoins however bear a number of risks that could harm. They are not that stable
as is suggested. And think of the systemic risks when stable coins are being used all over the world. Disruptions in the value of a stablecoin could not only have damaging impact on the broader crypto market, but also on the real financial world, unless regulators
step in. Main question is: what kind of regulatory oversight would work best without harming innovation?
What are stable coins?
Stablecoins are a type of cryptocurrencies that are pegged to and/or backed by the underlying real-world assets what can be anything from fiat money, commodities or even another cryptocurrency. Like their name suggests, stablecoins are designed to have value
that stays (rather) stable with traditional currencies or the underlying commodities. Many stablecoins are collateralized at a 1:1 ratio with their peg, which can be traded on exchanges across the world.
Stablecoins have been created to overcome the price volatility of crypto currencies such as Bitcoin or Tether, which stems from the fact that there is no robust mechanism to determine their real-world value. Given high levels of distrust in those cryptocurrencies,
investors tend to resort to safer options like stablecoins. These may leverage the benefits of cryptocurrencies and blockchain without losing the guarantees of trust and stability that come with using fiat currencies. Currently, there are more than 200 stablecoins.
At the time of writing of this blog the total value of stablecoins issued on public blockchain networks has surpassed $110 billion, compared to $28 bn at the start of 2021, which reflects the high institutional and retail demand in unstable times.
Types of stable coins
Based on design, we can split stablecoins into a number of major types: fiat-collateralized, crypto-collateralized, commodity-collateralized, and algorithmic or non-collateralized.
Fiat-collateralized stablecoins are the simplest and most common type. They are pegged to fiat currencies like the US dollar or the Euro, and usually backed at a 1:1 ratio, by holding a basket of dollar- or euro-denominated assets. This means that for each
of such stablecoin in existence, there is a fiat currency in a bank account. Traders can exchange their stable coins and redeem their dollars directly from the exchange at any time. The most popular fiat-collateralised stablecoins are Tether (USDT) (market
cap $62 bn) and USD Coin (USDC0 (market cap $ 27,3 bn).