The Role of Stablecoins In The New Crypto Based Economy

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role of stablecoins crypto economy

Cryptocurrencies can be extremely volatile when it comes to price action. Many assets move several percent in a day. Stablecoins act as a buffer, giving crypto users and traders a ‘safe haven’ from the crazy market volatility. Unlike assets such as Bitcoin or Ethereum, whose values can fluctuate wildly, stablecoins aim to maintain a steady value. But how do they achieve this, and why are they indispensable in the world of crypto transactions? In this article we are going to look into the role of stablecoins in the new crypto based economy.

Understanding Stablecoins

Stablecoins are digital currencies pegged to stable assets, like fiat currencies such as the US dollar, the Euro, or commodities like gold. This pegging ensures that the stablecoin’s value remains relatively constant, protecting it from the price volatility seen in other cryptocurrencies. Many traders use stablecoins as their base currency to trade against for pairs like BTC/USDT. This means that when they are ready to take profits on Bitcoin, they will trade into Tether or other stablecoins like USDC.

Stablecoins come in various forms like fiat backed, collateralized, and algorithmic stablecoins. Let’s get into what this all means.

Fiat-Collateralized Stablecoins: These stablecoins are backed by reserves of fiat currency, such as US dollars, held in a bank account. For example, each USDT (Tether) should have an equivalent amount of US dollars in reserve, same with Circle’s USDC.

Crypto-Collateralized Stablecoins: These stablecoins are backed by cryptocurrencies held as collateral. Algorithms regulate the stablecoin supply based on market demand to maintain price stability. MakerDAO’s DAI stablecoin was the first of this kind of stablecoin. The way it works is you put up Ethereum, USDC, WBTC, or other accepted coins as collateral, and then you can mint the DAI token against it. You have to have more than the loan amount in most cases than what you borrow for your account to stay stable, meaning these are over-collateralized positions.

Algorithmic Stablecoins: These stablecoins, like the Hive Backed Dollar utilize algorithms and smart contracts to dynamically adjust their supply. They do not require any underlying assets for collateral and it is not a loan. They are backed by the underlying asset and the balance mechanisms in the algorithm will either buy or sell the base asset to help keep the stablecoin’s peg.

This can cause a major issue as we saw with Terra LUNA’s UST stablecoin. If the underlying asset’s price suddenly changes price. The peg can be thrown off so the price will vary away from the USD peg that most of these coins tries to keep its value with.

Use Cases for Stablecoins

Stablecoins serve essential functions in the cryptocurrency ecosystem. They can be used for trading, global peer to peer transactions, decentralized finance, and as a savings tool.

Traders use stablecoins to hedge against the volatility of other cryptocurrencies, facilitating faster trading between exchanges without converting to fiat currencies. So like you would be trading a stock against the dollar or Euro, you would be trading a cryptocurrency against a stablecoin.

Stablecoins also provide a quicker and cheaper alternative to traditional cross-border payment methods, enabling instant transfers with minimal fees. Anyone in the world can transact using stablecoins by just sending them from one wallet to another.

DEFI offers some great opportunities to use stablecoins. They are a fundamental piece to the DeFi ecosystem, serving as the primary medium of exchange, collateral, and liquidity provision for various decentralized financial services.

They also offer a relatively low-risk option for cryptocurrency holders to preserve their wealth during market volatility, allowing users to park their funds while awaiting favorable market conditions. Some DEFI platforms will let you lend your stablecoins to collect interest, while some like Hive Backed Dollar has a savings wallet that allows you to earn up to 20% APR on your savings. In most cases you get way more than any traditional bank will give you.

In conclusion, stablecoins play a vital role in facilitating stable and efficient transactions within the cryptocurrency ecoonomy. Whether used for trading, remittances, DeFi, or as a stable store of value, stablecoins provide a reliable bridge between the traditional financial system and the crypto world. As the crypto market evolves, stablecoins are poised to become even more integral to its functionality and widespread adoption, hopefully spreading into commerce, not just online, but in traditional retail as well, that’s the dream!

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