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How “stablecoins” will fit into our digital lives

“The stablecoin, even if it can do without bank account, remains a debt on its issuer (such as Facebook and his friends Libra), and that it is private and unregulated. »Dado Ruvic / REUTERS

Tribune. Speaking to the US Congress on October 23, Mark Zuckerberg dared to say that the Libra, with its majority dollar backing for value, will expand the US's influence in the world (as if they needed it) . The boss of Facebook has given reason to those who fear to see a private actor exercise a monetary policy worthy of a central bank or even a state. Shocking.

If we now seem to have many different technologies to pay, all come back, in the end, out of money from a bank account (the only exception is the payment in cash). But a bank deposit is a claim on a bank … that can go bankrupt.

This system only holds because we are assured of being able to withdraw money in exchange for this claim. And if we are assured, it is because the deposits are guaranteed by the State, that the banks are supervised by public agencies and central banks, and that it exists, in case of emergency or financial crisis , various mechanisms to make cash available.

Value based on a basket of currencies

In the age of the Internet has arrived a new means of payment, the digital currency. Stablecoins (or stable cryptocurrencies) are a form that does not lack attraction. Its price is stable, unlike bitcoin, the value of which is regulated only by supply and demand. They are based on the blockchain, slip easily into mobile applications. They are operated on open source and are free from the shackles of banks and their proprietary computer systems.

Stablecoins fit easily into our digital lives. The low cost of their implementation, the global coverage, the speed of payment complete to explain their attractiveness. It will be as easy to pay as to use a social network, in any case the message already sent by WeChat.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Libra: “This electronic wallet has flaws on which Facebook does not provide any guarantee at this stage”

But the fact remains that the stablecoin, even if it can happen without bank account, remains a claim on its issuer (like Facebook and his friends of the Libra), and that it is private and unregulated since stablecoin issuers do not want to be banks. The Libra, like the USD Coin or the Gold Coin, is not so “stable” as this name suggests, since their value is based on a currency or a basket of currencies, which fluctuate by definition. There is more virtuous: the M-Pesa in Kenya or WeChat Pay, the cryptocurrency system of Chinese Tencent, offer a fixed value of refund.

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