Contrary are the positions regarding the reliability of cryptocurrencies. However, stablecoins enjoy better reputation for banks and more users want to handle cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin
The Governor of the Bank of France, Francois Villeroy, said that the European Central Bank (ECB) is closely watching the behavior of stablecoins. In recent months, the financial institution said that cryptocurrencies could allow scams and that, given their volatility, many people must distrust. But stablecoins make the difference.
Approximately, a total of 7.1 million users have Bitcoin (BTC) and 5% of Americans use this cryptocurrency, according to a survey made by the companies SurveyMonkey and Global Blockchain Council, published at the beginning of the year.
A report by the firm Chainalysis, leader in blockchain analysis, revealed that active Bitcoin users represent around a third of the number of BTC subscribers. In addition, 2.3 million people use BTC to make payments, while 4.8 million users retain their Bitcoin assets in order to obtain future profits.
The figures seem to continue increasing since the time Bitcoin was available in 2009. However, the ECB estimates that the number of users who have cryptocurrencies is still not enough to displace fiat or traditional money, which works not only as a means of payment, but also as a stable unit of account and a store of value.
Which Is the Disadvantage of Bitcoin?
At the discretion of the ECB, the volatility observed in the value of some cryptoactives “prevents their use as a deposit of value and discourages their use as a means of payment”. Similarly, the lack of a supervisory body such as a central bank or a monetary authority that protects both its users and the value of cryptoactives hinders its use as a form of money.
Earlier this month, ECB President Mario Draghi said that cryptocurrencies “are not significant enough in the entity to affect real economies in a macro way”. The comment is based on the report published this month, whose name is “Crypto-assets: implications for financial stability, monetary policy, and payments and market infrastructures”, where the potential impact of digital currencies on the evolution of money was analyzed.
However, the ECB closely watches the behavior of stable currencies, whose value is linked to physical assets, fiduciary currencies or is stabilized by an algorithm. These anchoring features guarantee continuous monitoring. The stablecoins could even be less volatile if central bank reserves guarantee them, as the ECB proposes.
Does the ECB Consider Cryptocurrencies as Money?
About the classification of these digital assets, which are already used to pay goods, taxes or products, Mario Draghi comments: “Cryptocurrencies are not really currencies, they are assets. One euro is one euro today, tomorrow, and the same in a month. It is always one euro and the ECB is behind the euro. Who is behind the cryptocurrencies? They are very risky assets”, he says, without changing his position regarding this type of asset.
But Villeroy, the leader of the Bank of France, differentiates the stablecoins from the cryptocurrency tokens. The official believes that stablecoins “are quite different from speculative assets such as bitcoins. The stablecoins are more promising”.
Although more and more cryptocurrencies are being created, their expansion is still limited until now. Few merchants, compared with the ones who use fiat money, are ready to allow purchases of goods and services with those digital currencies.
Users Give Support
The ECB report concluded saying that cryptocurrencies have no implications on monetary policy or in the “real economy”, however, millions of users give their support and make exchanges with cryptographic something real.
The study of Chainalysis found that the “holders” or long-term investors, are 6.4 million people, who trust in the cryptocurrencies that they possess. The number of users of the Coinbase wallet, one of the most used, is 13 million, a figure that does not include users from China, South Korea and Japan, who do not have the service of that wallet, as well as happens with other 29 countries.
It is estimated that 25 million people have cryptocurrencies, taking into account that, according to Statista, there are 32 million wallets, but that some users own more than one wallet, and that Coinbase serves 13 million people. Thus, the growth of the crypto community, with highs or lows, continues, as well as the regulatory projects around the world.
By María Rodríguez