How safe is the stable coin of Coinbase?
How safe is the stable coin of Coinbase?

How safe is the stable coin of Coinbase?

By Fabio Lugano - 25 Oct 2018

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In mid-October, Coinbase announced the launch of its stable coin, USDC, backed by the dollar, but at the same time based on Ethereum’s blockchain, in the form of an ERC20 token.

This new cryptocurrency is the result of a joint venture between Coinbase and Circle, a well-known payments company, an initiative that gave rise to the Center Consortium, in charge of developing the cryptocurrency.

The idea is to provide a virtual value that, not being affected by the very high volatility typical of this sector, is more attractive to ordinary people who want to approach this category of assets and/or use it as a means of payment.

In addition, since it uses the ERC20 standard, these tokens can also be stored in cold storage with various Ledger models for example.

Unfortunately, this great innovation has some unclear aspects. Reading the user agreement, in fact, it turns out that the clauses give the counterparty an enormous power in the world of virtual currencies:

Circle reserves the right to “blacklist” certain USDC addresses and freeze associated USDC (temporarily or permanently) that it determines, in its sole discretion, are associated with illegal activity or activity that otherwise violates the terms of this User Agreement.

The power of Circle, however, does not end there: the company, in fact, will also seize all USDC that are sent to the blocked account, and also reserves the right to seize, at the request of the authorities, even the corresponding dollars.

So, if on the one hand, this joint venture could simplify access to cryptocurrencies, making it similar to a simple payment system, on the other, it has brought into the system many uncertainties previously reserved only to the banking system.

A bit like all stable coins, in fact, these cryptocurrencies are highly centralized, unlike the other coins, especially the more reserved ones, which are inherently secure and difficult to seize and block.

This element risks making the success of this initiative more difficult, as much as it is necessary for a global acceptance of virtual currencies.

Fabio Lugano

Graduated with honors from Bocconi University, Fabio is a consultant for companies and wounded shareholders of the Banche Venete. He is also the author of "Scenari Economici", and lecturer and analyst of cryptocurrencies since 2016.

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