Stablecoins refers to an asset class in cryptocurrency whose value is pegged on some external or reserved asset. Often, this external asset might be a fiat currency, such as an Indian Rupee or the US Dollar. Stablecoins are very popular alternatives to the existing cryptocurrencies and can bring about ‘stability,’ as the name suggests, to the trading of crypto.
Bitcoin has been known to be a notoriously volatile asset. For example, in late March 2020, Bitcoin volatility was as high as 11%, a peak in years of almost always remaining under 8%.
This volatility is something that stands as a barrier to the paramount heights cryptocurrencies can attain. A concept that combats this with ease is stablecoins. Their benefits include the fact that they bridge the gap between fiat currency and cryptocurrency. In order to ensure that cryptocurrency reaches the level of the stock market, we must study these benefits in detail.
The benefits of stablecoins
Maintaining Price Stability
Stablecoins are safe and non-volatile assets. They have a value that does not suffer from severe fluctuations like other cryptocurrencies. This makes it an ideal option to invest in. Further, being the crypto equivalent of an asset, based on the concept of the derivative, they reduce risks dramatically.
Heavy Security due to their model
Stablecoin prices and network models are all operated from a decentralized, public blockchain network. This not only ensures full transparency to all users but curbs the risk of cyber threats occurring. Further, since trusted sources back them, nobody really doubts them.
Stablecoins make the whole transaction process quicker. They are implemented with smart contracts which work autonomously. Since a central authority doesn’t regulate them, financial transactions can be done at any time and faster too.
Lower transaction fees
Already, the crypto world has much lower transaction and processing costs than in the real world; this is the same for stablecoin transactions. Rather than worry about a large percentage being cut off as duty, the amount here is minimal.
Borderless Transactions made easy
Another noteworthy point is its efficiency when it comes to cross-border payments. Usually, cross-border transactions must pass through multiple checkpoints, which delays the speed of payment substantially. This problem is easily mitigated using stablecoins because of the previously mentioned blockchain model.
Types of Stablecoins
Here are the various types of stablecoins available based on the working mechanism:
The type of stablecoins where the reserve asset is some fiat currency is known as fiat-collateralized. Here, ‘collateral’ refers to an asset that can be used in exchange for a certain amount of cryptocurrency. These reserves are regularly audited by independent custodians so that they adhere to real-world values. An example includes the Synthetic USD.
In crypto-collateralized stablecoins, the reserve is another cryptocurrency. Since other cryptocurrencies are highly volatile and the purpose of stablecoins is to mitigate this volatility, these coins are ‘over collateralized.’ That is, to maintain a reserve of a smaller number of stablecoins, a large number of crypt tokens are kept aside.
Non-collateralized stablecoins (or algorithmic stablecoins) are not pegged on any external product but maintain their price stability by depending upon some working mechanism. For example, a stablecoin may work on the consensus mechanism to regulate the supply of tokens of some cryptocurrency.
This is akin to issuing fiat currency in a bank; however, it is implemented using smart contracts since it is done on an autonomous, decentralized platform.
Some of the most popular stablecoins in use are Tether, Paxos, Binance USD, etc.
The asset of the future
Stablecoins are bits and pieces of code that work together. This means that they can be configured and features added to them based on the user’s requirements.
When we look at the existing uses of stablecoins, we can see that they’re heavily weighted towards cryptocurrency trading. Stablecoins have a lot of uses and can also be used to hold bigwig national fiat currencies accountable. In times of political upheaval, they also provide security, stability, and financial options. Further, they can also make deposits, remit money, lend money, resolve settlements, and serve as a bank substitute.
Remittance is the most important of the uses because of cross-border transfers and sending money across nations. In a pandemic creating a stir, international payments were the ones affected most, but now, with the benefits of the stablecoin, it doesn’t have to be that way anymore.
Source: Siddharth via Twitter
At WazirX, we get front-row seats to how significant a role stablecoins can play in the future. Already, an astonishing amount of trades on our exchange occurs using USDT pairs, from the larger $350 million volume we process in a day.