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Stablecoin News for the week ending Wednesday 21st September.

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

How much interest is there in stablecoins?

Interest rates are returning to Financial Markets and with it comes extra income for the existing private stablecoin issuers, in the meantime interest as in focus seems to be waning in the CBDC or Central Bank issued stablecoins.

After six months of study, the US federal agencies made it clear that they’re devoting a lot of attention to crypto, but they aren’t ready to declare a definite course of action. 

Still unanswered is the U.S. regulatory question in crypto: What makes a token a security, and which ones should be regulated as commodities?  Meaning who is responsible, the SEC (Securities) or the CFTC (Commodities and Currencies), or someone new?

On the CBDC question – the reports offered some ideas and suggested the Federal Reserve “continue its ongoing CBDC research, experimentation and evaluation,” but federal officials concluded that no digital dollar should be created unless it’s found to be in the “national interest.”

Biden’s Executive Order Produces Few Answers in Crypto Reports From US Treasury (coindesk.com)

In the meantime, the battle for the existing stablecoin market is heating up as interest rates continue to rise and the largest players jostle for market share.  

Stablecoin issuers run a lucrative business by investing user deposits in cash and cash-equivalent assets like short-duration U.S. Treasurys. The more deposits a stablecoin issuer has to invest, the more interest income it earns. 

So we will see more consolidation in one direction and continued innovation and birth of new players in the other.

Climbing Interest Rates Fuel Stablecoin War as Binance Makes Move on Rivals – WSJ

Speaking of new players and in a geopolitical interesting turn of events, Alexander Lebedev, the former owner of Russia’s National Standard Bank and publisher of U.K. newspapers The Independent and the Evening Standard, is starting a new cryptocurrency project.

InDeFi – the decentralized finance (DeFi) startup he founded – plans to introduce a ruble-backed stablecoin on the Ethereum blockchain, co-founder and CEO Sergey Mendeleev said on Wednesday at the Blockchain Life conference in Moscow.

Mendeleev, who is also founder of the Garantex crypto exchange, which is sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury, noted that the project has nothing to do with the Bank of Russia’s digital ruble

InDeFi’s crypto ruble will be decentralised, Mendeleev said. A trial version of the coin with minimal features is available for testing and feedback, he told CoinDesk.

Russian Millionaire’s Startup Plans Ruble Stablecoin Following DAI Model (coindesk.com)

 

And finally, in what appears to be a scaled back investment (and hence level of interest), the European Central Bank has picked five partners – including CaixaBank and Amazon – to help it develop a digital euro prototype.

The ECB received 54 expressions of interest after it put out a call for partners in April and has now settled on the Spanish lender and US tech giant, alongside Worldline, Nexi and EPI.

ECB taps CaixaBank and Amazon for digital euro prototypes (finextra.com)

So in summary, this week we saw the US and EU political class wrestle with how to approach stablecoins and what their role should be, if any, in this new, emerging and risky asset class.  At the same time we continue to see the existing players eye off more revenue and develop new products.

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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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