Potentially, but there are hurdles that stand in the way.
Earlier this year, Facebook unveiled plans for Libra — a stablecoin that would be pegged to a basket of assets — including major fiat currencies such as the U.S. dollar, yen, euro and pound. The social network has the vision of enabling its billions of users to send and receive money between each other — including across borders — potentially disrupting the remittances market. However, Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder and CEO of Facebook, has had to slam the brakes on the project, with American politicians fearing that it could undermine the U.S. dollar and even threaten the global economy. That’s thrown its 2020 launch date into doubt, with Facebook admitting to investors that it may never launch at all.
Walmart, one of the world’s biggest retailers, has also been getting in on the action. A patent filing suggests that, like Facebook, it wants to develop a digital currency backed by the U.S. dollar that could be used to store wealth — and be redeemed and converted into cash at selected retailers. This could give consumers who don’t use banking services a financial alternative, and prove a headache for credit and debit card companies. As reported by CryptoX, some experts believe Walmart will face less regulatory pushback than Libra.
These projects have thrust stablecoins into the limelight — giving many members of the public their first opportunity to understand what blockchain and crypto are, and what they could offer. Back in February, a report published by the stablecoin startup Reserve claimed that stablecoins will play a key role in the mainstream adoption of crypto technologies — not least in countries that have been ravaged by hyperinflation, such as Venezuela and Angola. Stablecoin trading volumes have been rising steadily over the past few months, with market cap records being broken along the way.