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In search for stability in crypto-assets: are stablecoins the solution?

Author

Listed:
  • Bullmann, Dirk
  • Klemm, Jonas
  • Pinna, Andrea

Abstract

Stablecoins claim to stabilise the value of major currencies in the volatile crypto-asset market. This paper describes the often complex functioning of different types of stablecoins and proposes a taxonomy of stablecoin initiatives. To this end it relies on a novel framework for their classification, based on the key dimensions that matter for crypto-assets, namely: (i) accountability of issuer, (ii) decentralisation of responsibilities, and (iii) what underpins the value of the asset. The analysis of different types of stablecoins shows a trade-off between the novelty of the stabilisation mechanism used in an initiative (from mirroring the traditional electronic money approach to the alleged introduction of an “algorithmic central bank”) and its capacity to maintain a stable market value. While relatively less innovative stablecoins could provide a solution to users seeking a stable store of value, especially if legitimised by the adherence to standards that are typical of payment services, the jury is still out on the potential future role of more innovative stablecoins outside their core user base. JEL Classification: E42, L17, O33

Suggested Citation

  • Bullmann, Dirk & Klemm, Jonas & Pinna, Andrea, 2019. "In search for stability in crypto-assets: are stablecoins the solution?," Occasional Paper Series 230, European Central Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbops:2019230
    Note: 3679451
    as

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    File URL: https://www.ecb.europa.eu//pub/pdf/scpops/ecb.op230~d57946be3b.en.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    crypto-assets; distributed ledger technology; electronic money; stablecoins;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System
    • L17 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Open Source Products and Markets
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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