As we enter the summer of 2019 with an enormous upswing in crypto prices and general market sentiment, attentions are turning to the key narratives that will shape the ecosystem in the coming months.
One undeniably important trend that has continued from 2018 is the proliferation of fiat-pegged stablecoins. With several new players joining Tether (USDT) last year, and the Tether company (and Bitfinex) itself coming under increasing scrutiny from the media and the New York Attorney General, the space is becoming increasingly competitive and complex.
This month will also likely see the announcement of a Facebook Stablecoin, rumoured to be pegged to a basket of currencies, rather than a single fiat currency - adding a major player to the growing stablecoin landscape.
Many in the existing crypto industry however, are less than excited about the much-anticipated new coin from Facebook. Critics in the crypto community see a digital asset from the tech giant as a fundamental contradiction to the spirit of decentralization that animated the creation of Bitcoin and most cryptoassets. For them, the entry of such a large actor into the ecosystem with a private blockchain is not to be applauded. Moreover, some fear that such privately operated assets may act as competition to the existing cryptoassets and potential new users may be lost to a new generation of corporate coins.
Others more optimistically hope that Facebook’s entry will turn a whole new audience onto Bitcoin and other decentralized cryptoassets, and while they might not embrace Facebook’s coin itself, they hope it will act as the gateway which will get users interested in truly decentralized digital assets.
What seems to be clear however, is that there is a definite and growing market within the crypto space itself for stablecoins and that those within the industry will continue to try and keep users within the crypto sphere.
One such new stablecoin that has just been announced, is USDK. Launched on Jun 3rd by OKLink, the new USD-pegged stablecoin was developed and delivered in conjunction with Prime Trust, the registered Trust Company based in Nevada, US.
There are several features that USDK boasts that will draw attention to the new stablecoin. Every USDK is backed strictly by 1 USD, and the funds back the USDK are held in trust by a third-party registered trust company.
It is this feature that will draw attention to the new stablecoin, particularly when investors compare it to the current dominant player in the stablecoin space - Tether (USDT).
A significant problem faced by leading stablecoin Tether has been the consistent - if as yet unproven - allegations that the stablecoin did not in fact have the dollar backing it claimed. The company has recently clarified that USDT is backed by cash and “cash equivalents,” and there is no evidence whatsoever to date that it has not backed all USDT.
As the market watches new stablecoins closely, therefore, a monthly audit of a stablecoin’s reserves are likely to encourage skeptical investors.
In terms of transparency too, USDK aims to move the needle - the trust company has appointed an auditor to issue monthly reports on the USD balance, ensuring the integrity of the stablecoin.
USDK leverages OKLink’s technical expertise - with the company responsible for developing and managing the smart contract, including the minting and burning of USDK, under the express instruction of PrimeTrust.
PrimeTrust’s role involves creating, servicing, placing and managing trusts, providing processing funds, AML and KYC compliance as well as transaction technology services.
The new stablecoin also benefits from trading on one of the leading crypto exchanges - OKEx. USDK will be listed on OKEx’s fiat-to-token (C2C) trading platform against six fiat currencies – CNY, VND, GBP, RUB, EUR and TRY, and spot trading platform with 11 trading pairs. OKEx is also launching a 2-week fee-free promotion for USDK, ending Jun 26th.
Stablecoins and Institutions
The rapid growth of stablecoins will undoubtedly prove crucial to the institutional and even retail influx into the cryptoasset that many expect to see in 2019 and beyond. With bitcoin and other leading cryptoassets recovering in price, it is likely that demand will increase for stablecoins as people look for safe on-ramps into the cryptocurrency markets. Reliable, exchange-backed stablecoins therefore, will likely prove crucial to this next stage in the evolution of crypto.