Stablecoin News for the week ending Wednesday 2nd March.

Here is our pick of the 3 most important Stablecoin news stories during the week.

Will the horrors of Ukraine speed up the transition of Crypto and Stablecoins from a niche to the future of money?

In a horrific week, when we witnessed a full scale invasion of Ukraine and scenes many of us thought would never happen again in Europe, our world of Finance was also weaponised, with sanctions on Russian Banks and the blocking of access to SWIFT.  

Denying access to SWIFT is a slow burn sanction, yes it hurts but there are workarounds including Crypto.  But freezing the foriegn reserves of the Russian Central Bank which is what the ECB, Bank of England, Fed and BIS has reportedly done (36% of their reserves are in EUR) is designed to attack the Financial system and cause a run on Russian Banks by depositors.  That is nuclear as it sets out to destroy citizens’ faith in the currency and cause a series of Bank runs, collapsing the system from the inside. 

One way this could all play out is already visible as Ukrainians were paying a steep premium over the U.S. dollar for Tether’s USDT stablecoin after Russia invaded the Eastern European country Thursday.  Expect more of this.

The price of USDT on the popular Ukrainian cryptocurrency exchange Kuna jumped Thursday by almost 5% in the past 24 hours to 32 Ukrainian hryvnia, the country’s national currency. The price works out to $1.10 per USDT, which is supposed to be worth $1.  Simply put, right now, there are a lot more buyers than sellers.

Tether’s USDT Stablecoin Well Over $1 on Ukrainian Crypto Exchange (coindesk.com)

As central banks and other observers begin to discuss actual use cases for a CBDC, the potential benefits recede and the costs come into sharper focus.  The Federal Reserve has wisely taken its time, allowed the fog to clear, and embarked on a thoughtful study of whether a dollar CBDC makes sense.

Are central banks going off the idea of CBDC? (paymentscardsandmobile.com)

Former Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo, is worried central bank digital currencies (CBDC) in the hands of adversaries can bust U.S. sanctions. That’s why the U.S. should accelerate creating its own “digital dollar,” he said on CoinDesk TV’s “First Mover” program on Friday.

Former CFTC Chair Giancarlo on Russian Sanctions, CBDCs and Dollar Hegemony (coindesk.com)

So in summary, as Central Banks in the West take their time to study and then maybe reject CBDC’s, will we see a flight to the safety of USD stablecoins in the East, as both the participants and innocent civilians in the war scramble to get out of Russian Ruble (RUB) and Ukrainian hryvnia (UAH), thereby accelerating a global transition to Digital from existing Fiat currencies and their financial plumbing? 

Maybe, just maybe there will be some tiny advancement for humanity in all this massive failure on every other front.

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Alan Scott is an expert in the FX market and has been working in the domain of stablecoins for many years.  Twitter @Alan_SmartMoney 

We have a self imposed constraint of 3 news stories per week because we serve busy senior Fintech leaders who just want succinct and important information.

For context on stablecoins please read this introductory interview with Alan “How stablecoins will change our world” and read articles tagged stablecoin in our archives. 

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