Some of the biggest news in cryptocurrency in 2020 is coming from China’s Central Bank. Despite the country’s past skepticism regarding cryptocurrency expansion, the bank is now one the verge of releasing its own version of digital money. Our blog post ‘China’s Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) Sees Mobile App Reveal’ noted that more details about the project have emerged of late. Specifically, the app is serving as a ‘testing interface” for token usage, which we now expect to be trialed officially in four cities.
This is increasingly being treated as a fairly significant financial maneuver by China. It’s difficult to say at this point what any kind of supremacy in the digital currency space will mean moving forward, but should the CBDC be a success, China will be at the forefront of that discussion. In the meantime though, it’s also worth considering where the main competition may come from.
This essentially means looking into other noteworthy stablecoins emerging or already in circulation around the world. And these are a few (out of very many) that come to mind.
Libra is arguably the most well-known stablecoin in the world, and it doesn’t even exist yet. In fact, we’re not even quite sure what it will look like, or how much of a traditional stablecoin it will be. Nevertheless, Facebook’s announcement that it would be releasing its own, investor-backed cryptocurrency brought attention to the idea of alternative cryptocurrencies produced by established entities (like companies or banks). Libra may also be the option in most direct conflict with the CBDC; RTHK noted Facebook’s declaration that it “welcomes competition” late in 2019, and China seems to be answering the call.
Aside from Libra, Tether may be the biggest name in stablecoins. While the original Tether has been somewhat controversial though, Tether Gold currently stands as the most prominent stablecoin option tied to the value of gold. This makes it a formidable competitor in the emerging stablecoin space, simply because of the general perception of the reliability of the gold price. To that point, the gold trading chart on Plus500 tracks how traders are feeling about gold, in addition to monitoring the basic price of the currency, and has recently posted positive indicators. And even in a time of great economic uncertainty around the world, the tracker shows that 70% of investors are looking to buy gold, rather than sell it. This sort of strength — while by no means a guarantee — will likely lead many to place their trust in a high-profile stablecoin tied to gold.
There are already numerous stablecoins that are tied, in one way or another, to the value of the U.S. dollar. It stands to reason that at least one of them will be competitive with the CBDC, and while TrueUSD is not backed by a national bank, it may be the leading candidate. With a reputation for transparency, management by a team of former tech leaders, and a market cap that exceeds $200 million, TrueUSD is already a formidable cryptocurrency in its own right. However, it may be the larger “True” brand that is most worth keeping an eye on; the people behind TrueUSD plan to expand with similar coin offerings for the Euro and Yen, at least.
The closest U.S. counterpart to the CBDC that we’ve seen emerge to date might be JP Morgan’s “JPM Coin.” The coin was covered by South China Morning Post last year when it was first developed to “speed up corporate global payments” for the United States’ biggest bank. At that time, it was framed as something of an experiment, but nevertheless one that could prove to be a significant development as a proof of concept. Roughly a year later, not much has changed in those regards. But JPM Coin is still a noteworthy competitor simply due to its potential to pioneer the broader idea of dollar-backed digital coins issued by U.S. banks.
In all likelihood, we won’t see a single stablecoin emerge as a dominant force anytime soon, if ever. This is still a relatively new type of asset within the broader crypto market, and there will be room for competition. In the early going though, we can likely expect to see options like these mentioned among those vying for attention alongside the CBDC.