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Breakpoint 2023: Stablecoin Panel

Published on 2023-11-09

Experts from the stablecoin sector discuss the future of money, cryptocurrency interoperability, and regulations.

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

Summary

At Breakpoint 2023, five stablecoin specialists gathered to share their insights on the state of the stablecoin industry and what the future holds. The panel included leaders from diverse companies, including Alex McDougall from Stablecorp, Alexander Tkachenko from VNX, Kento Inami from UXD Protocol, and Juuso Välimäki from Membrane Finance, all moderated by Anna from the Solana Foundation. The discussion encompassed current and futuristic use cases for stablecoins, their interoperability, and the impact of upcoming regulations.

Key Points:

Stablecoin Interoperability and Use Cases

The speakers highlighted how stablecoins from different companies are expected to complement each other rather than compete. This interoperability aims to create a fabric where stablecoins can move smoothly across different networks and financial systems. Discussions revolved around practical applications, such as using stablecoins for paying tuition fees, enabling payments for international students, company formation fees, or powering smart city applications like electric vehicle charging.

The Role of Regulation in the Stablecoin Industry

Regulation played a significant role in the discourse, emphasizing that even decentralized stablecoins need to operate within the bounds of law. Panelists spoke about compliance, licensing, and how these factors build trust among users. They also discussed the European Union's Mica regulation and how it has brought European stablecoins to the forefront.

Innovation in Stablecoin Models

Kento Inami from UXD Protocol touched upon the unique approach to their stablecoin, which is not Fiat-backed but still strives to be decentralized and compliant. He explained the role of governance tokens and how they allow for a community-driven approach to stablecoin management, contrasting with Alex McDougall's emphasis on Fiat-reserved models, which are considered more "boring" but stable and ready to scale today.

Facts + Figures

  • Alex McDougall from Stablecorp presented the Canadian stablecoin as fully fiat reserved, focusing on currency interoperability and usability.
  • Alexander Tkachenko shared that VNX issues Euro, Swiss Franc stablecoins, and tokenized gold, being regulated in European countries like Liechtenstein and Luxembourg.
  • Kento Inami introduced UXD Protocol's decentralized stablecoin, backed by governance tokens rather than traditional collateral.
  • Juuso Välimäki highlighted Membrane Finance's focus on compliance, being an electronic money institution regulated in Finland and compatible with EU's Mica.
  • The discussion mentioned how stablecoins are starting to bridge the gap between traditional finance (TradFi) and DeFi.
  • Several use cases, such as tuition payment and company formations using stablecoins, were brought up to demonstrate the real-world applications.
  • It was mentioned that non-USD stablecoins currently represent only 0.1% of the market cap and a negligible amount of the volume in the wider stablecoin market.

Top quotes

  • "The way the global stablecoin game gets won is all of us creating fabric together where coins are interoperable." - Alex McDougall
  • "Stablecoins are designed to take a lot of the risk out and just extend the technology of a framework we already have today." - Alex McDougall
  • "Stablecoins are not above the law." - Kento Inami
  • "Not everything you can do on TradFi you can do on DeFi, and that's what's really exciting about decentralized stablecoins." - Kento Inami
  • "Cash is peer to peer; none of the others are except for stablecoins." - Juuso Välimäki
  • "This really is an opportunity to actually unbundle payments from banks for the first time since we had script or when cash was kind of actually king." - Alex McDougall

Questions Answered

What are stablecoins?

Stablecoins are a type of cryptocurrency designed to offer stability by being pegged to a reserve asset, like fiat currency or gold, aiming to minimize price volatility compared to other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum.

Why are stablecoins important?

Stablecoins represent an important bridge between traditional finance and blockchain technology. They offer near-instant monetary transactions with minimal fees, fostering applications that are currently impossible within the traditional banking system, such as smart city integrations or low-cost international transfers.

How do centralized and decentralized stablecoins differ?

Centralized stablecoins are typically pegged to fiat currency reserves and operate within a regulated framework, providing stability and building user trust. In contrast, decentralized stablecoins may not rely on fiat reserves but rather on mechanisms like governance tokens, allowing for community-driven management and innovative financial models.

How might regulation impact stablecoins?

Regulations ensure that stablecoin operations comply with legal standards, enhancing trust and safety for users. In the European context, the introduction of Mica regulations positions EU-based stablecoins favorably within a clear legal framework, potentially spurring growth and adoption in the region.

What new use cases do stablecoins enable?

Stablecoins enable a range of new use cases by being programmable money. They can power smart contracts, real-time payments for services like electric vehicle charging, streamline international transactions, facilitate company formations, and more, all without relying on traditional banking infrastructures.

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