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21 January 2021

Facebook’s Diem stablecoin is an existential threat to traditional banking

Facebook’s Diem stablecoin is an existential threat to traditional banking


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They are right to be concerned, as stablecoins — particularly ones such as the rebranded Diem that have the potential for massive network effects — bring new risks to consumers and savers as well as to the global financial system?

But they also have the potential to bring huge benefits in the form of speed, efficiency and financial inclusion.

Well-structured stablecoins with appropriate legal, regulatory and governance controls have a valuable role to play in the world economy and could bring the benefits of crypto technology to an entirely new generation of users.

Stablecoins bring additional risk — not least, ensuring they are appropriately backed by whatever asset they are pegged to and that all the necessary controls to manage those reserves are put in place.

Stablecoins that become global success stories bring even more challenges.

They could even have implications for a country’s monetary policy and, ultimately, economic growth.

While acknowledging the benefits that stablecoins could bring in the form of “faster, cheaper and more inclusive” global payments, it focused on the legal, regulatory and oversight challenges of this new innovation.

They can also improve financial inclusion and can offer a store of value to savers in countries that do not have stable domestic currencies.

The clock is ticking for the regional or national regulators that do not have a similar digital-asset framework in place; they run the risk of their respective financial sectors being left behind

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