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Isabella Gschossmann

17 November 2021
Financial Stability Review Issue 2, 2021
The market capitalisation of stablecoins has increased from USD 5 billion to USD 120 billion since 2020. Despite their recent growth, stablecoins still only account for around 6% of the estimated USD 2 trillion total market capitalisation of crypto-assets, though interlinkages between stablecoins and crypto-assets imply a correlation of risks between these market segments. At the same time, the functions served by stablecoins within the ecosystem have multiplied. In addition to acting as a relatively safe “parking space” for crypto volatility, stablecoins serve as a bridge between fiat currencies and crypto-assets and are used for trading or as collateral in crypto-asset derivative transactions or in decentralised finance. Against this background of stablecoins’ interlinkages with the wider crypto-asset market and their direct links to the traditional financial system, this box analyses the risks associated with the evolving functions of stablecoins and the financial stability implications of such risks. It concludes that while stablecoins currently pose limited financial stability risks in the euro area, their growing size, usage and connected infrastructure may alter this assessment in the future. Nevertheless it highlights that the global reach of this market underscores the need for global standard-setting bodies to further assess the extent to which existing standards are appropriate for, and applicable to, stablecoins and close any gaps as necessary.
JEL Code
E42 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Monetary Systems, Standards, Regimes, Government and the Monetary System, Payment Systems
G13 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→Contingent Pricing, Futures Pricing
G18 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→Government Policy and Regulation
G28. : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Government Policy and Regulation