Stablecoins: A Brave New World?

22 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2020 Last revised: 9 Mar 2020

See all articles by Anastasia Melachrinos

Anastasia Melachrinos

Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne

Christian Pfister

Banque de France

Date Written: March 1, 2020

Abstract

At the root of the notion of stablecoin (SC) lies a desire to reconcile two different worlds: that of legal currency, whose essential attributes are hierarchical order, the vocation to uniqueness and stability of the purchasing power, and that of crypto-assets, featuring decentralization, multiplicity and thus the possibility of choice, and the instability of value. Do SCs fulfill their promises? With regard to their volatile prices, limited number, small total amount, and concentrated market, SCs have so far met with a mixed success. They rather represent a complement to the crypto-assets market. However, the arrival of very large issuers, securing a higher degree of confidence to users, and apt to reach a wide public, could give their projects a potentially systemic impact. These global SCs would create risks, in particular for financial stability and monetary policy, and in lesser-developed economies. This paper reviews these risks and the way the private sector, regulators and central banks can address them.

Keywords: Stablecoins, monetary policy, financial stability

JEL Classification: E42, E52, E58

Suggested Citation

Melachrinos, Anastasia and Pfister, Christian, Stablecoins: A Brave New World? (March 1, 2020). Banque de France Working Paper, March 2020, WP 757 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3549872 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3549872

Anastasia Melachrinos

Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne ( email )

17, rue de la Sorbonne
Paris, IL 75005
France

Christian Pfister (Contact Author)

Banque de France ( email )

Paris
France

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