Coinbase and Circle launch USDC stablecoin
For a real sense of how big this is, look at all the CENTRE consortium members.
Coinbase and Circle have announced the launch of a new stablecoin, the ERC20 USDC.
This is the stablecoin centrepiece of the CENTRE consortium, a wide-ranging cryptocurrency industry group founded by Circle and Coinbase with the goal of opening global commerce and really delivering the crypto dream of being able to transfer programmable digital value at the speed of data.
At the CENTRE of things
The most cursory implications of this are that Coinbase is now listing a new stablecoin that will receive a good amount of support from across the industry.
Beyond that, this is a significant element in a wider plan of opening the doors of commerce to the digital age. As Coinbase says, no one really knows all the places stablecoins will find themselves used in the future, but having them available for straightforward commercial use is key to finding out what people really want with them.
USDC will be integrated into a wide range of Coinbase cryptocurrency solutions that will let it be usefully applied in areas where cryptocurrency is simply more practical than fiat.
For example, online stores can now use it to do cryptocurrency while dodging the usual volatility risks and thereby start enjoying the following benefits:
- Accepting international payments without currency exchange fees
- Serving customers in areas that are usually off-limits due to the high risk of credit card fraud
- Saying goodbye to chargebacks
- Using programmable escrow smart contracts to provide a safer experience for all parties with minimal extra cost
- Setting up any kind of programmable automated payment system desired. Want a gym with a freemium payment model? How about a by-the-minute, pay-as-you-go rental service?
- Using one of the world's first effective international micropayment systems
- Cutting out rent-seekers like PayPal or credit card providers, and replacing them with rent-seekers like Coinbase
- Cutting out rent-seekers like Coinbase by going directly P2P and replacing them with headaches like Ethereum gas fees and potential KYC/AML issues
On the other side of the payment channel, users can benefit from the wide range of CENTRE consortium members, which should make USDC quite accessible. CENTRE consortium-members CoolWallet S and BitPay have already announced their intention to support UDSC, while CENTRE heavy-hitters like ConsenSys, Chainalysis and of course Circle and Coinbase themselves, might be able to move the needle on adoption.
Reasons to use crypto
The crux of why this is such a big deal compared to other stablecoins might be that CENTRE has enough clout to kick off acceptance of USDC by merchants by selling them on the very real benefits (see above) of accepting crypto.
This acceptance can in turn let people start really using USDC like money.
Want to avoid international exchange rates while travelling? There's USDC. Want to send reliably valued money directly to someone else anywhere in the world without going through banks or any other middleman? There's USDC.
However, the key is to create sufficiently wide acceptance that you won't ever have to convert your USDC into USD because the usual fiat limitations mean redemption is slow, painful and expensive.
This is big and beneficial... but only if people use it.
For reference, CENTRE members include the following:
Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author holds ETH, IOTA, ICX, VET, XLM, BTC and ADA.