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Breakpoint 2023: OPOS – Stablecoin and FX

Anna Yuan from the Solana Foundation explores the evolving role of stablecoins in the global financial ecosystem.

The notes below are AI generated and may not be 100% accurate. Watch the video to be sure!


In her compelling talk at Breakpoint 2023, Anna Yuan, Growth Lead for Stablecoins & International Markets at the Solana Foundation, provided a macro-focused, forward-looking perspective on the state of stablecoins and their burgeoning role in the global financial landscape. Spotlighting how the stablecoins' functionality extends beyond just being a cryptocurrency trend to potentially de-risking the world from a U.S.-centric economy and reshaping monetary policies. With stablecoins already making an impact through increased adoption, Yuan highlighted the future potential of stablecoins issued on the Solana blockchain technology to transform international payments, reduce foreign exchange (FX) risks, and even support novel financial constructs such as tokenized T-bills and sovereign bonds.

Key Points:

The Evolution of Money and Stablecoins

Anna Yuan challenged the audience to consider the concept of money, its inherent instability in some economies, and the historical context that the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency is a relatively recent development. She explained how stablecoins, while currently a small part of the overall money supply, offer a reimagined concept of money that exists outside of traditional financial systems, similar to Bitcoin, but with the advantage of scalability courtesy of blockchains like Solana.

Stablecoins and International Finance

Stablecoins, according to Yuan, play a critical role in the financial activities beyond just crypto trading. They form the backbone for capital-efficient payments and can function as a settlement token for a range of financial transactions. Yuan expressed hope that in the near future, stablecoins would empower finance in a way that moves beyond a dollar-centric model, potentially influencing global monetary policies.

The Current Landscape and Future Trends

Yuan detailed that a majority of the money supply today is digital and that it is costly to move, especially across borders. Stablecoins present a way around this by reducing intermediaries and reshaping traditional transfer structures. She identified three future trends: diversified collateralization, the growing divide between U.S. and non-U.S. financial practices, and the convergence of storage of value with a medium of exchange.

Facts + Figures

  • The talk was macro-focused and forward-looking on the potential impact of stablecoins in our financial systems.
  • Stablecoins have a market issuance peak of $260 billion, compared to the multi-trillion-dollar eurodollar market.
  • The Solana blockchain is positioned as a potential global money machine due to its scalability.
  • Visa and WorldPay discussed stablecoins for capital-efficient payments at the event.
  • The speech heralds a shift from a U.S.-centric economy to a more diversified monetary policy through stablecoins.
  • Money largely exists today in digital forms and moving it, especially across borders, is expensive.
  • Fiat-backed stablecoins circumvent traditional financial systems and are often perceived as a threat by traditional finance and regulators.
  • Stablecoins are here to stay, with central banks experimenting with and researching their use.
  • Solana-based projects aim to maximize accessibility to stable and fiat currencies.
  • Over $1 billion in stablecoins have been natively issued on Solana.
  • New Solana-based stablecoins include the Euro from membrane finance, Canadian Dollar from Stablecorp, Swiss Franc from VNX, and US Dollar from Braille.
  • 90% of centralized exchange volume in Africa comes from stablecoins.
  • The potential for instant FX transactions on Solana could change global trade settlements significantly.
  • The “clam burger” concept was introduced as an innovative financial structure enabling easier stablecoin transactions.

Top quotes

  • "Stablecoins reimagine where money could exist."
  • "In the next cycle, we'll see stablecoins outgrow crypto trading into powering real economic activities."
  • "Stablecoins are for sure here to stay."
  • "The possibilities of finance on Solana are endless."
  • "With yield-bearing tokens, this will no longer be a forced choice."
  • "Crypto mullet: business in the front, [...] crypto in the back."
  • "The market demands Eurodollars, preferably distributed across networks of custodians and issuers."
  • "Building use cases that are only possible on Solana."
  • "Who are we to say that we can't incorporate DeFi with real world economic activities?"

Questions Answered

What are stablecoins and why should I care about them?

Stablecoins are cryptocurrencies designed to maintain a stable value, often pegged to a fiat currency like the U.S. dollar. They are important because they offer a more stable form of digital money that can be used for everyday transactions, savings, and as a buffer against the volatility typically associated with other cryptocurrencies. As economies and consumer demands evolve, they represent the potential for a more efficient and inclusive financial system.

How do stablecoins fit into the global financial system?

Stablecoins have the potential to transform the global financial system by simplifying and reducing the cost of monetary transactions, especially across borders. Unlike traditional money, which exists mostly in digital form and can be costly to move, stablecoins operate on blockchain technology, allowing for swift, secure, and cheap transfers without the need for intermediaries.

What is the future potential of stablecoins on the Solana blockchain?

The Solana blockchain’s scalability could position it as a global execution layer for financial activities, making it ideal for issuing and transacting with stablecoins. Looking ahead, stablecoins on Solana could support novel financial services such as tokenized treasury bills and sovereign bonds with yield, enabling a fusion of payments and financing that is both transparent and efficient.

What are the trends shaping the future of stablecoins and FX?

Trends shaping the future of stablecoins include diversified collateralization, where assets other than fiat can back stablecoins; a possible deeper divide between U.S. and international financial practices, and the merging of storage of value with mediums of exchange. These trends suggest a future where stablecoins contribute to more resilient financial systems and give people more control over their economic interactions.

Why might stablecoins be considered a threat by traditional finance and regulators?

Stablecoins offer a radically different financial structure that could minimize or eliminate the need for traditional intermediaries and potentially displace profits from existing financial institutions. This substantial change poses a challenge to established financial sectors, leading to resistance and concerned reactions by traditional finance and regulators.