The collaborators behind USD Coin (USDC) are opening their doors to new associates.
On Thursday, the CENTRE Consortium, which counts Circle and Coinbase among its most high-profile drivers, declared the group was opening up the CENTRE Network, the software-based governance framework for the group, to new members.
Such membership would allow these novel participants to “issue or redeem USDC” but would be contingent upon prospects committing to the consortium’s “operating rules and an issuer settlement and liability framework” and contributing technical resources to help develop the group’s projects.
Specifically, CENTRE has said network prospects will need to prove, and thereafter routinely maintain, their status as being fully licensed and legally compliant; as having custodied fiat; and as having sufficient accounting processes.
The idea is to generate revenue by further building out an ecosystem around CENTRE’s projects, the consortium explained in their announcement:
“CENTRE Issuers have the option to generate returns on reserve assets allocated to them in accordance with the CENTRE Investment Policy. Businesses may also generate revenue by building financial products and services that utilize CENTRE stablecoins.”
Looking ahead, the group said it was also planning on making its coins functional across different blockchains, including private ones, and that it was exploring the creation of stablecoins for further fiat currencies beyond just the U.S. dollar.
Notably, CENTRE added that it would eventually develop a “basketcoin” digital currency underpinned by the consortium’s various stablecoins:
“Once a variety of currencies are supported by CENTRE’s fiat tokens, a natural next step is to imagine a new global digital currency that is backed by those reserve currency tokens, with a basket structure chosen by CENTRE […] We expect Bitcoin to also be a reserve currency asset in such a basket token, as Bitcoin grows in importance as a global non-sovereign store of value.”
Yet while CENTRE casts USD Coin and its other initaitives as steps toward the future, others aren’t so sure about elements of what’s unfurling.
For example, licensed attorney and ZeroLaw co-founder Gabriel Shapiro has since commented that the advance of USDC suggests the advance of “trust-maximized stablecoins.”
(2) if I understand correctly and the consortium members can continue to hold their USDC reserves as long as they "attest" that they're there, how does this not mean that USDC are non-fungible and have differing risk properties depending on the particular issuer that issued them?
— ☠l̶̫͚̍̃͊́͐e̷̛̊́x̸-̴́̿n̷̛̜̣̥͛̋͛̓ǒ̶̾̿̒͂̈́̍d̸͛̔̀̽ë̵́☠ (@lex_node) June 13, 2019
“There may be answers to these questions but I’m definitely not seeing them in the press release,” Shapiro added.
Stablecoins as Hot a Topic as Ever
The 2019 cryptoeconomy has stablecoin fever.
Back in February, banking giant JP Morgan made waves in unveiling work on JPM Coin, a stablecoin-like token backed by USD reserves that the bank’s blockchain developers were building atop their in-house permissioned Ethereum fork, Quorum.
As spring rolled around, tether (USDT) became embroiled in controversy, as it was revealed in a court battle with New York Attorney General that its backers — Bitfinex and Tether Limited — had borrowed hundreds of millions of dollars from tether’s cash reserves to cover for funds being seized from its one-time Panama-based payments processor, Crypto Capital.
The other major stablecoin headline so far this year has centered around social media powerhouse Facebook, which reportedly plans to issue a basketcoin of its own in the coming days.
That project — tentatively dubbed GlobalCoin by Facebook’s leadership — is set to have its whitepaper released on June 18th. Word broke last week that the company was exploring paying some employees with the token, opening up associated ATMs, and charging institutions $10 million to run one of its network nodes. The token will apparently be pegged to several major foreign currencies rather than to just the U.S. dollar.
In the years ahead, then, a key thread to watch will be how increased project saturation in the stablecoin arena plays itself out. Can the many survive together? Or will only a handful of projects, some decentralized and some not, win out? Only time will tell.