Since stablecoins emerged in the crypto sphere, many have questioned their legitimacy. While cryptocurrencies are perhaps more frequently used as a tool for value storage rather than a means of transaction, coins (or any financial products) that cannot appreciate in value certainly raise several questions. So why have stablecoins become so popular among businesses and individuals alike? Below we're taking a look at their use cases and reporting on whether they're the safe haven of crypto.
What are stablecoins?
Before we continue, let's clarify what stablecoins are. These types of cryptocurrencies are "stable assets" that have their value pegged to a fiat currency or commodity. This might include the US dollar, euros, the price of gold or even other cryptocurrencies. So while Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) are subject to bouts of volatility, stablecoins remain consistent with the price of the money they are pegged to.
Stablecoins are not to be confused with CBDCs (central bank digital currencies) which are operated by a government-controlled organisation, usually a country's national bank. Stablecoins are controlled by a company and utilise blockchain technology to facilitate transactions, store the relevant data and maintain security.
Stablecoins' economic policy ensures that they maintain their value through the use of smart contracts, algorithms and reserves. For each Tether in circulation, for example, one US dollar needs to be held in a reserve account. These types of cryptocurrency tokens provide a reliable and non-volatile means of making payments with the companies issuing them regulating the circulating supply.
What value do stablecoins provide?
While many might not initially see that value in a fiat-pegged cryptocurrency, stablecoins are actually hugely useful in a largely volatile market. Let the current top 5 biggest cryptocurrencies based on market cap in the industry be an indication, with two of the five being stablecoins.
As stablecoins utilise blockchain technology, the coins naturally inherit all the characteristics of seamless and fast digital transactions (as well as transparency when it comes to transactions). Much like traditional digital assets, stablecoins can be transferred across borders instantly, a much faster and cheaper alternative to using fiat currencies and without the chance of price swings. Users, whether consumers or businesses, are able to buy, store and sell stablecoins as they would any other cryptocurrency on the market.
For example, should you wish to pay a business in another country for services rendered or any other expense, it would prove to be much faster and cheaper to use a stablecoin than to send your local currency via traditional banking services. Stablecoins offer a much more streamlined means of completing the job.
Stablecoins also provide an entry into exchanges that don't work with fiat currencies, providing a reliable means of trading on those platforms. Stablecoins have come to be known as "risk-off" assets, giving newer traders a chance to "test" the markets without the volatility.
This innovation in the blockchain space has opened many new markets to the use of cryptocurrencies, certainly more mainstream markets across a wide range of countries. As information regarding how they work spreads, more businesses have opened their mind to using them in everyday working life. Stablecoins have also become a popular option with users trading on DeFi (decentralised finance) platforms, providing a secure and efficient means of using the products.
Are stablecoins the safe haven of crypto?
In essence, yes. Since the advent of stablecoins (marked by the launch of Tether) in 2014, there has been a number of new stablecoins to emerge, resulting in more confidence in crypto markets. This has equated to more movement and trade volume, and a lower risk management sector.
So while one isn't going to make huge returns (if any) on stablecoins, they bring value to the market due to their stability and transaction ability.
As stablecoins are used by traders to hedge against falling markets, they provide a safe haven for their digital funds until the markets return to normal levels. Businesses around the world use stablecoins as they provide a faster and cheaper means of settling bills, allowing them to harness the power of blockchain technology without the worry of prices rising or falling in a short space of time.
Tap into stability
Whether you're considering accumulating stablecoins during periods of market volatility or looking to engage in transactions, acquiring stablecoins involves buying the assets through a cryptocurrency exchange. Always ensure that you choose a reputable platform and that it holds the necessary licenses to offer these services.
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