The Next Big Thing or a Total Monstrosity? 4 Experts Weigh in on Stablecoins
Stablecoins have long divided opinion in the crypto community, with some believing they’re needed to gradually convert the masses away from fiat, whereas others have grave concerns about these dollar-pegged assets. 4 experts – Gabriel Cardona, Roger Ver, Miko Matsumura, and Vin Armani – recently shared very different stablecoin opinions.
The Stablecoin Is Here to Stay
Stablecoins, love them or hate them, are here to stay for now, at least. The digital coins, whose value is pegged to fiat currency, were a hot topic in 2018, with USDT frequently talked about and heavily traded. Despite their shortcomings, it looks like stablecoins will feature prominently in 2019’s cryptocurrency markets, just as they did in 2018. BCH developer Gabriel Cardona said that 2019 will be the year of the stablecoin: I think stablecoins are completely radical and I know there are some very smart people out there who are naysayers and say it is impossible to have a stablecoin. I suspect it is possible although I’m not going to probably be the person to design it, but my intuition tells me that it will be possible to have some kind of stablecoin that works most of the time for most use cases.
Cardona also said he thinks the stablecoin is the missing piece of the BCH token ecosystem, and added that people are attracted to them because of the volatility seen with conventional cryptocurrencies. We need merchants to be able to adopt cryptocurrency and they’re unable to because volatility is so high and they can’t be exposed to it.
Roger Ver also said that 2019 would be the year of the stablecoin. He said: I think we’ll see a lot more people using stablecoins. It seems pretty clear that the market is headed in that direction at the moment. Stablecoins are popular, not only due to their relative immunity from volatility, but also their ability to serve as a fiat surrogate that can be stored onchain. Institutional investors have been particularly attracted to stablecoins as a hedge against extreme price movements, as Vin Armani, developer and founder of Cointext, acknowledged: Institutional investors want something that feels familiar, and so stablecoins present that. It’s a way to bring in institutional investors.
Miko Matsumura, cofounder of Evercoin and GP of Gumi Cryptos venture fund, said that stablecoins will stick around, though the way we see them will change over time. The point I will make is stablecoins will continue to exist but we will think of them more as payment coins, we will think of them as ecommerce coins or kinds of baskets of asset-backed security-like mutual funds, we’ll think of them differently from the way we think of them today.
The Downsides to Stablecoins
Stablecoins have frequently drawn criticism, which all of the experts noted in the podcast. One such fault, according to Matsumura, is that stablecoins are unimaginative and have little appeal. If stability is the only property of a coin, then it’s not interesting. Matsumura added the phrase stablecoin is itself a Telegram and Twitter-driven monstrosity and the coins allow people to move in and out of crypto while still being in crypto.
Those who criticize stablecoins do so because they want cryptocurrencies to move people away from a dependence on government regulation. Roger Ver, a prominent critic of stablecoins, said that it was frustrating there is so much interest in them: I want to see the US dollar, the euro and the yen replaced by cryptocurrencies directly rather than tokens pegged to the dollar, euro or yen but it seems pretty clear that the market is headed in that direction at the moment. Vin Armani added that stablecoins would eventually go away, but in the meantime are a bridge technology.