Stablecoins vs CBDCs
I have written about stablecoins in the past. I think they are a very important part of the crypto asset landscape. Two of the top ten crypto assets by market cap are stablecoins, Tether ($62bn) and USDC ($27bn). You don’t buy these assets to generate gains because they are price stabilized. You hold them like cash, to be able to move in and out of trades, purchase things, etc.
Countries around the world are looking at stablecoins and thinking “we should issue these assets via our central banks.” That is called a “central bank digital currency” or CBDC for short. China is the farthest along on a CBDC but many other countries around the world are thinking about CBDCs or building them.
Yesterday, SEC Commissioner Hester Pierce suggested that stablecoins are preferable to CBDCs.
Hester focused on the privacy concerns around CBDCs, and I agree with her that I would rather hold USDC than a Fed issued digital dollar.
But there is another more important reason to want stablecoins to win over CBDCs – competition.
When you have competition, you get innovation, new features, composability, and a host of other important benefits. When you have a monopoly, like the US Government or any government, pushing out the alternatives and forcing us to use their digital dollar, you lose all the value of competition. And that would be a terrible thing.
I am all for central banks issuing digital currencies. But they should compete for our usage with market-based stablecoins. Then we get the best of both worlds. I hope policymakers in the US and around the world understand the importance of competition and allow stablecoins to co-exist with CBDCs.