Stablecoins: Implications for Monetary Policy, Financial Stability, Market Infrastructure and Payments, and Banking Supervision in the Euro Area
37 Pages Posted: 23 Oct 2020
Date Written: September, 2020
This paper summarises the outcome of an analysis of stablecoins undertaken by the ECB Crypto-Assets Task Force. At the time of writing, the stablecoin debate lacks a common taxonomy and unambiguous terminology. This paper applies a definition that distinguishes stablecoins from existing forms of currencies – regardless of the technology used – and characterises stablecoin arrangements based on the functions they fulfil. This approach emphasises the role of technology-neutral regulation in preventing arbitrage, as well as comprehensive Eurosystem oversight, irrespective of stablecoins’ regulatory status. Against this background, this paper assesses stablecoins’ implications for the euro area based on three scenarios for the uptake of stablecoins: (i) as a crypto-assets accessory function; (ii) as a new payment method; and (iii) as an alternative store of value. While the first scenario is merely the continuation of the current state of the market and, thus far, has not posed concerns for the financial sector and/or central bank tasks, stablecoins of the type envisaged in the second scenario may reach a scale such that financial stability risks can become material, and the safety and efficiency of the payment system may be affected. The third scenario is both the least plausible and the most relevant from a monetary policy perspective. The paper concludes that the Eurosystem relies on appropriate regulation, oversight, and supervision to manage the implications of stablecoins (and the risks that stem from them) on its mandate and tasks under plausible scenarios. The Eurosystem continues monitoring the evolution of the stablecoin market and stands ready to respond to rapid changes in all possible scenarios.
Keywords: implications of stablecoins, oversight, regulation, stablecoins
JEL Classification: E42, G21, G23, O33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation