In this post, we recap our Converge22 session mapping the future of modern commerce with USDC and Euro Coin. We brought together some of the world's most innovative developers to explore some of the complexities, hurdles, and potential use cases for mainstream crypto adoption.
One key point of discussion was the unique position of stablecoins to serve as a vital instrument in powering merchant solutions on a global scale, adding value to both developed and emerging economies. Stablecoins can bring about a future of faster, cheaper payment solutions to every region of the world, equalizing opportunity for international business and local community growth.
The Value of USDC
USDC is not just a stablecoin: it transforms the blockchain into a practical settlement rail for everyday commerce. The benefits of USDC include:
- Near-Instant Settlement Finality - enabling payments that can settle in seconds, dramatically improving cash flow and access to funds.
- Irreversibility - strengthening e-commerce with reduced merchant risk of fraudulent transactions
- Low-cost Infrastructure - processing transactions can cost fractions of a cent, which means merchants can pass back these savings to their customers
- Scalability - the ability for merchants to tap into a global network with one integration and reach millions of their customers
Joao Reginatto, VP of Product for Stablecoins at Circle, highlights how stablecoins such as USDC and Euro Coin should be viewed as a protocol for money - an interoperable way to represent fiat currencies in digital form on the blockchain.
Aside from allowing for cheaper transactions at near-instantaneous speeds, the USDC stablecoin also serves as a base layer for businesses and payment service providers (PSPs) to build upon. USDC can be thought of as an open standard for programmable money, enabling merchants and PSPs to automate payment acceptance and mass payouts, and build unique customer experiences from a single integration. Running a business on stablecoin infrastructure improves capital efficiency and streamlines treasury operations.
Flexible Development Platform
A key benefit of USDC is its flexibility as a platform: it's a bottom-up technology. Over the past few decades, there have been many attempts in the fintech industry to deliver a more efficient system for payments and remittances. Despite these efforts, existing solutions are plagued by their “walled garden” networks, which limit access to global users and third-party developers. Many of these inefficiencies and limitations can be solved with an open platform like USDC that can be accessed by all and encourages further development, rather than the closed nature of many legacy payment rails.
Cuy Sheffield, Vice President and Head for Crypto at VISA, highlights, "We spend a lot of time engaging with different central banks across the world, really helping them to look at stablecoins and use that as a lab to understand the use cases for digital fiat."
There is an ongoing goal of modernizing global payment systems, and USDC is a foundational platform that developers can leverage and build upon. The goal is to create new financial services and payments applications that are programmable by smart contracts and compliant with regulations, with stablecoins that are accepted as legal tender no matter where you’re transacting from.
Joao Reginatto explained how the USDC stablecoin is disruptive to modern commerce. "The protocol … is extremely powerful. It works 24/7, it's nearly instant, it's nearly free, but the programmability will allow new forms of businesses and new forms of settlement, exchange, and commerce to be built … and everyone will have that ability.”
Stablecoins can help lower the barrier of entry to build new financial services, in that USDC can create access to dollar-denominated borrowing and lending to everyone with an internet connection, which is significant to emerging markets and the unbanked.
The Future of Stablecoins
The primary key hurdles that USDC and Euro Coin face are regulation and achieving critical mass of developer adoption.
For developers, creating effective smart contracts is challenging: security and error-free programming is paramount when building an application that can move millions of dollars a day. Layers of abstraction – like APIs, SDKs, and developer-friendly platform services – are needed to securely and efficiently interact with blockchain. This extends to users as well: the mainstream consumer needs easy, intuitive apps for sending, spending, and saving money on the blockchain.
On the regulatory end, the crypto industry is engaging in meaningful dialogue with regulators. Recently, there’s been an increase in collaboration and education from both sides. Avishkar Sharma, head of crypto partnerships at Checkout.com, added in regards to USDC capabilities and regulation considerations, "When regulators look at it permeating into traditional banking and it having a stored value, I think where the regulators are going is interesting… It is certainly collaborating, educating [with regulators] and with the right safeguarding it will permeate and become an effective method."
As we gain regulatory clarity, we look forward to the further adoption of USDC, Euro Coin, and other fiat-denominated stablecoins within the global economy. We remain optimistic about releasing relevant financial services that help to solve inefficiencies with legacy payment rails, while making usage of the USDC stablecoin seamless.
As more businesses adopt digital currencies, financial inclusion becomes a major global benefit, as people worldwide have easier ways to accept payments and remit money to their families around the globe.
This discussion is only the beginning. Learn more about how Circle is powering modern commerce through stablecoins with merchant payment solutions designed for turnkey implementation.