Before Facebook unveiled the Libra earlier this month, mainstream reporting suggested the stablecoin would eventually get its own ATMs. However, MakerDAO’s Dai stablecoin just beat Libra to the automated teller machine punch.
On June 26th, Bitcoin ATM company Coinsource announced it was partnering with the Maker Foundation, backers of DeFi’s darling dual-token MKR-DAI ecosystem, to unfurl Dai buys and sells throughout the firm’s ATM network.
That network has an increasingly expansive presence in the United States. Based out of Texas, Coinsource, among the largest cryptocurrency ATM operators in the world according to tracker site Coin ATM Radar, operates more than 230 bitcoin teller machines — or BTMs — across nearly 30 U.S. states and counting.
Coinsource characterized the collaboration as a way for users to readily interact with USD without have to go through traditional banking infrastructure.
— Maker (@MakerDAO) June 26, 2019
“This upgrade will provide customers with a means to control their finances without the dangers of token volatility and without the need for a bank account,” the company said in its announcement.
Moreover, the firm revealed that the integration of Dai functionalities in its bitcoin machines would precede the release of a “full remittance service” that would give users the ability to send and receive Dai “seamlessly” upon complying with a Know Your Customer (KYC) process.
On the news, Maker Foundation president and chief operating officer Steven Becker hailed the team-up as providing yet another onramp that can help bring Dai into the mainstream:
“Coinsource provides an important crypto onramp for people previously sidelined by the modern global financial infrastructure. Maker aims to level the economic playing field for everybody, so it’s critical for us to partner with organizations that offer access to financial alternatives that are as decentralized, permissionless, and as empowering as possible.”
The meld comes as Coinsource has recently been gunning to advance its presence and services from sea to shining sea. Last fall, the firm revealed it had secured a BitLicense, only the twelfth ever released at that point, to operate in New York.
The designation made the company the first formally approved BTM operator in the state.
Comparing DeFi’s Reigning Champ to Facebook’s “Basketcoin”
Will Maker’s Dai and Facebook’s Libra end up being competitors? That remains to be seen.
What is already known for sure, however, is that the two stablecoins work according to very different designs.
In an attempt to clarify key differences between the projects, the MakerDAO team released an info-graphic last week comparing the two. The guide argued Dai was decentralized, transparent, censorship resistant and blockchain agnostic, whereas Facebook’s Libra was centralized, private, censorable, and confined to the social media giant’s in-house blockchain platform.
— Maker (@MakerDAO) June 21, 2019
The guide also noted that Libra was underpinned by a “basket of fiat currencies deposited in a bank account,” as opposed to the Dai, which is secured in automated fashion by collateralized digital assets on a blockchain.
Another notable difference not highlighted by the infographic is the fact that Libra won’t be pegged to $1 USD like the Dai is. While the Dai does fluctuate, and its backers have worked to maintain the token’s peg throughout this year, the stablecoin has hitherto proven able to make its way back to $1.
With that said, it’s not year clear what valuation the Libra will end up having; it’s only known that the token’s underlying basket will drive its stability, even its precise price is flexible over time.
The open question for now is whether the insurgent Libra can catch up with Dai’s popularity as DeFi’s current token of choice. Some wouldn’t count Facebook out because of its sheer reach and wealth, though others would say the possibility remains that regulators around the globe may ultimately hamstring Libra.