Stablecoins pose lower risk than bank deposits says former Fed policy analyst

In this post:

  • Stablecoins are argued to present lower risks than traditional bank deposits due to differences in reserve assets and maturity transformation practices.
  • The distinct purpose of stablecoins, primarily as a means of payment, sets them apart from money market funds and warrants tailored regulatory approaches.
  • Implementing rigid bank-like oversight on stablecoin issuers might hinder competition and empower a select few market participants.

A recent policy paper authored by Brendan Malone, a former Federal Reserve Board analyst representing Paradigm, a technology investment firm, sheds light on the comparative risks of stablecoins against traditional bank deposits and money market funds. The paper explores the potential risks that stablecoins might pose to the financial system, particularly in the context of ongoing legislative proposals in the United States aiming to integrate crypto payment instruments into existing banking and securities frameworks.

Malone contends that stablecoins should not be equated with bank deposits in terms of risk. Unlike banks, which engage in “maturity transformation” by using short-term deposits for long-term loans, stablecoins are often backed by short-dated Treasuries and isolated from the issuer’s assets. This difference, according to Malone, reduces the risk exposure associated with stablecoins, as there is no significant duration mismatch between short-term liabilities and long-term assets.

Risks and reserves between stablecoins and bank deposits

Furthermore, the paper emphasizes that stablecoins serve distinct purposes compared to money market funds. While money market funds are typically used as investment options or cash management tools, stablecoins primarily function as a means of payment or transaction based on their peg to a fiat currency, such as the U.S. dollar.

The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank in March serves as a cautionary example of the risks posed by traditional banks’ maturity transformation practices. The bank’s reliance on long-term assets backed by short-term client deposits led to its shutdown following a bank run.

In light of the unique characteristics, Malone advocates for tailored regulations that address their specific risks while still encouraging innovation. Applying traditional bank-like oversight to stablecoin issuers might stifle competition and grant undue market dominance to a few large players.

As lawmakers grapple with at least 50 digital asset bills introduced to the U.S. Congress since 2022, including proposals aimed at regulating the assets, the paper urges the implementation of regulatory guardrails that preserve confidence in the assets as a form of money. Striking the right balance between regulation and innovation, the document suggests, is crucial in safeguarding the stability and accessibility of stablecoins in the financial landscape.

Disclaimer: The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decision.

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