zaterdag, april 10, 2021

Let’s build a stable stable coin πŸ€”

Recently, the rise of the M1 and M2 money supply keeps popping up in the news [0].

There are a ton of virtual currencies today that in one way or the other are pegged to the price of the US dollar or other fiat currencies.

According to CoinGecko, there are now 25 stable coins [1] with a combined value of $70 billion, that all attempt to exactly track the value of the US dollar.

These "stable" coins however are not stable. I do not mean to criticise the day to day narrow bands in which they do rise and fall compared to a real US dollar. What is mean is that the real thing, the US dollar itself, is rapidly losing value. 

I don't know if I should believe the official inflation numbers as measured in the Consumer Price Index [4] or the definitely unofficial inflation numbers of the guy (it's always a guy, isn't it?) that runs Shadowstats [5]  But I do know that according to both sources, my money is losing value fast. 

How fast? Well, $100 in 1970 would carry an equal value of $692 or $3500 today (my best guess, I am not a subscriber because my money is devaluing and I need to live), depending on which statistics you believe [6].

And I feel this too. My salary has off course risen as well the last couple of years. But somehow spending money doesn't feel "the same" as it did a decade ago. I used to be able to go out and eat with friends and be able to pay for everyone. Nowadays, (between lockdowns) when we do go out we all have to pay separately because none of us has the money on hand to pay upfront for the whole group, let alone to treat each other to anything more than French fries or a beer. 

To offset the loss in purchasing power I save in bitcoin. But, before mass adoption could happen one big complaint about bitcoin should be solved first: it is very volatile.

Of course, I personally am not bothered by this. I have a longer view. I know bitcoin has since its inception in 2008 never dipped below its own 200-day simple moving average (200-SMA). In other words: any amount of money I convert into bitcoin is worth more after 40 weeks. "More", of course, as expressed in fiat money that is, in fact, losing value.

Maybe (someone should run the numbers on this) bitcoin is a true stable coin already? Maybe it is really tracking the value of 1 dollar since 2008 (if there had been no inflation)? But maybe not. 

I propose a new type of stable coin.
Not a coin that is pegged to the dollar today, but a stable coin that is pegged to the dollar in 1970. I don't want to get into the weeds about what exact value to peg it to (do we believe CPI or shadow stats?) but hope to illuminate the advantages of such a stable coin. Let's call it the coin USD70.

Simply put: we can all start pricing everything in that coin because even if our suppliers were to ask for higher prices *in dollars* our revenue would not decline, since we are being paid by our customers in USD70.

If you convert your pay-check into this USD70 coin then you immediately see the true decline in purchasing power you suffer, and you can make changes in your spending habits accordingly. This will further stimulate you to save money in a way that holds (or better yet, accrues) value.

All stable coins need an underlying asset to cover them. In Tether (USDT) this is dollars and other assets in a bank account (we hope πŸ˜…), and in Dai (MCD) this a basket of other cryptocurrencies like Golem (GNT) and Ether (ETH) [7].

The stable stable coin that I propose would basically have to be covered by something better than US dollars (after all, to keep the peg constant to the purchasing power of $1 in 1970, you would have to put more and more collateral in, to keep value up). At the moment only bitcoin seems a viable option since it is known to never go below its 200-SMA (as expressed in current US dollars, at least).

So maybe the people behind the Maker Dao project can make a new coin that is technically almost identical to the current multi-collateral-DAI, only with one exception: the "Oracle" for the price is not a current dollar, but a number that the people of shadowstats will have to provide.

Alternatively, a very simple peg is the "Big Mac Index" [8] (in 2021 a Big Mac goes for $5.66, compared to the 2008 price of $3.57 and the 1970 price of $0.65 😱) as expressed in the different price between now and 1970. A little problem here is that the actual Big-Mac-Index only started in 1986, but you only need to convert the prices from before this point once to have an anchor or starting point.

The end goal is not to get rich, but, to not become poorer. 

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