An overview of the market with regards to money transfer operators, stablecoins and central bank digital currencies.
EURC sits at the intersection between the worlds of international money transfer services and cryptocurrencies, specifically around the the concepts of stablecoins and central bank digital currencies.
The crypto currency landscape overall is evolving, there are new financial products coming into the market such as earning interest on crypto currency stored on an exchange and lending services where crypto is used as collateral to borrow fiat currencies.
The total market value of the circulating supply of Bitcoin, Ethereum and Stellar (XLM) in relation to the Euro can be viewed by following the links below.
The World Bank provides data on remittance payments worldwide.
The rise of online money transfer services across borders has challenged the perception that a bank is the safest and best method to transfer money across borders.
This is because bank transfers across borders are expensive, slow and inflexible whereas online money transfer services are faster, cheaper and offer a specialised service.
Money transfers across borders are typically transacted using SWIFT. A Money Transfer Operator (MTO) will charge a consumer a fee for initiating an interbank transaction using the SWIFT network of correspondent banks.
SWIFT: The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) is a messaging network used by banks and other financial institutions to send and receive money transfer instructions. More information is available on the SWIFT website
Successful MTOs offer consumers the mid-market currency exchange rate which is the real exchange rate and charge a transaction fee. This is a practice championed by Wise (formerly known as TransferWise).
These are some of the noteable MTOs:
- Western Union
- Currencies Direct
- XE Money Transfer
Crypto currencies are able to slash the cost and speed of the cross border remittances offered by the MTOs listed above.
Stablecoins introduced the concept of a stable store of value that is pegged one-to-one to fiat currencies or other assets such as precious metals to digital asset markets.
Trusted stablecoins in the international monetary system have been growing rapidly and are increasingly used as a payment medium and monetary instrument in various financial services. The global digital asset marketplace is evolving and there is increased acceptance of trusted digital fiat currencies backed by secure blockchain technology.
These are the dominant stablecoins on the market. They are both pegged to the US Dollar.
These are some of the European stablecoins on the market. They are pegged to the Euro.
Stablecoins represent a significant advancement in digital assets, leveraging the infrastructure, regulatory oversight and currency stability of the traditional financial system, while operating with the speed and efficiency of the internet.
The issuance of stablecoins by unregulated entities and stablecoins that are not pegged to a fiat currency represent a serious compliance and regulatory risk.
The advent of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC) which are virtual currencies issued by central banks are an indication that it is simply not possible to go back to a time without crypto currencies.
These are the countries that have issued CBDCs.
- The Bahamas
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
There is no reason to believe that CBDCs will replace crypto currencies given that there are around 13,000 different crypto currencies since Bitcoin was launched. The introduction of these other crypto currencies has not weakened or diminished the appeal, functionality or fundamentals of the crypto currency marketplace and neither will CBDC.
The ecosystem that will have to be built for CBDCs to succeed will unlock a new wave of innovation in the crypto currency industry.
CBDCs have the potential to increase financial inclusion, reduce cross border money transfer transaction costs as well as assist with the development of monetary policy.
CBDCs are tied to a particular country or a group of countries that already use the same currency and are not interconnected with existing crypto currency networks or exchanges.
This also means that there are no existing international standards or protocols.
The Markets in Crypto-Assets Regulation (MiCA) is a proposal by the European Union (EU) to establish a regulatory mechanism including a common licensing system to govern crypto-assets and EU crypto asset providers across all EU member states by 2024.
MiCA is intended to regulate the following crypto-asset classes:
- E-Money token, being a form of crypto-asset, which have a stable value based on only one electronic money currency. The intention of E-money tokens it to work similarly to electronic money in the sense that they can be used as payment in the place of a fiat currency.
- Asset-Referenced tokens, which are tokens that have the aim of maintaining a value that is stable by referencing multiple assets, i.e., currencies that represent legal tender, one or more commodities, one or more crypto assets, or a basket of these kinds of assets. The tokens will then be used as a payment mechanism for the purchasing of services and goods, as a value store; and
- Utility tokens are issued for non-financial reasons to provide digital connectivity on DLT networks to resources, applications, or services available.
Providers of crypto-asset services (CASPs) with existing licenses or authorisations from the relevant authority in a member state will be able to transfer from a national license into a MiCA CASP license that is applicable in every EU member state.