OCC Guidance Represents Progress for Stablecoins in US Financial System
Jeremy AllaireSeptember 21, 2020
Today’s newly issued guidance and commentary from the US Treasury’s OCC represents significant progress for the advancement of digital dollar stablecoins in the US financial system. As an issuer of USD Coin (USDC), the guidance validates the approach we have taken in building a resilient, powerful and open standard for the use of digital dollars on the internet.
Digital dollar stablecoins on public blockchain networks represent one of the most significant innovations in money and payment systems in history, enabling fast, inexpensive, interoperable and global payments over the internet. Just as data, content and communications have moved from closed networks and proprietary walled gardens to the open internet, digital dollar stablecoins herald the same breakthroughs for the US and global financial system.
With this clarity from the US Treasury Department around the standards for banks to hold reserves on behalf of stablecoin issuers, businesses of all sizes, fintech firms and banks can have more confidence in building on this innovation, while also ensuring that the guardrails and risk management expected from the US banking system can be applied to this new age of internet money.
Circle has been at the forefront of building safe, resilient and regulated models for digital dollar stablecoins, having built and then launched Centre Consortium in partnership with Coinbase, the first industry standard effort for compliant, open and interoperable digital dollar stablecoins, with USDC becoming the fastest growing regulated stablecoin in history.
Centre Consortium publishes monthly attestations provided by global accounting firm Grant Thornton LLP as to the full fiat reserves backing USDC. These monthly reports are public and available online.
In just the past six months of 2020, demand for digital dollar stablecoins has surged, with USDC growing from just over 400 million in circulation, to over 2.3 billion today, representing nearly 500% growth YTD. USDC has supported over $130B in transactions on public blockchains, and is already widely adopted and supported by hundreds of companies in the digital asset and blockchain ecosystem.
In particular, Circle has recently launched dedicated programs aimed at assisting banks and fintechs in supporting digital dollar stablecoins such as USDC, including the underlying conversion infrastructure, digital currency custody and blockchain wallet infrastructure needed to leverage digital dollars.
We are really just at the start of the broader transformation that stablecoins and blockchains will bring to the financial system, with more fundamental innovation made possible by the programmability of digital dollars and smart contracts opening up significant changes in how markets, capital, payments and commerce will function in the decade ahead. Regulatory guardrails combined with open, interoperable and industry standards are set to help the United States and the US dollar to continue its leadership role in the world economic system.
Watch my interview with Acting Comptroller of the Currency at the US Treasury Department, Brian Brooks here: