Gone are the times when we had to rely exclusively on our bank cards to make online purchases. It’s now very common to find e-commerce giants that offer digital payment solutions such as PayPal, Apple Pay, and some gift cards that can be purchased from authorized agents, among other alternatives. In a previous note, we talked about the exponential growth of the e-commerce industry in recent years, as well as what human action is capable of when it develops with total freedom. Many people (almost always due to lack of attention) believe that we already have not only well-planned solutions and adequate structures to take advantage of our productive efforts but are also incapable of surprising and offering something new. At the same time, some people never lose sight of the fact that, when it comes to the appetite to modernize and gain independence, the individual is capable of breaking down almost any wall. We firmly believe that Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies can give a great boost to the e-commerce industry: consumers are increasingly demanding more versatility.
Ours are not isolated beliefs. In 2022, a study by Custom Market Insights concluded that, by 2030, Blockchain will enjoy annual growth of around 68%, having grown to around $69 billion. The development of multiple solutions based on this technology and the use of cryptocurrencies will be the key factors for this growth. After touching upon PayPal, it’s worth noting that on August 7, the company made headlines by launching its stablecoin, PYUSD, in partnership with Paxos Trust Company.
Where do we intend to go? It’s simple: we want to highlight the value of stablecoins as an emerging aspect of Blockchain technology and their importance in the e-commerce industry. Although cryptocurrencies have enjoyed a great reception among many services and supply chains, the truth is that price volatility is an issue to be taken into account by potential clients. This is where US dollar-pegged tokens come into being. It’s time to review a little what its advantages are.
What is a stablecoin? It’s a digital asset that was born with the focus of guaranteeing price stability, a token that is issued through smart contracts. The first initiatives arose back in 2014, taking into account that the idea was to avoid situations like the one experienced by Laszlo Hanyecz, a young man who, on May 22, 2010, paid 10,000 bitcoins for 2 pizzas. It was Laszlo himself who published online his idea of spending that amount, so a guy who wanted to get the BTC decided to participate in the transaction (the boy bought both pizzas for just over $40 and sent them to Laszlo). You guessed it, it’s in honor of this transaction that the famous Bitcoin Pizza Day is celebrated every year. At the time of writing, what Laszlo Hanyecz paid for those pizzas was worth $285,655,522.
Stablecoins are payment instruments whose value is generally pegged to the US dollar, hence their 1:1 peg. Tether or USDT, the most used stablecoin, emerged in 2014 and began trading in 2015 (Tether is the stablecoin with the largest market capitalization). It’s important to highlight that these assets are issued on multiple networks such as Tron, Polygon, Solana, Optimism, EOS, and Ethereum or ERC20; There are also several types of stablecoins: backed by fiat currency, such as Tether (issued by the company Tether Limited) and USD Coin (USDC), managed by the Center conglomerate (merger between Coinbase and Circle)… there are also stablecoins backed by crypto, such as Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC), and hybrid projects such as DAI, which emulate the value of the US dollar using various cryptocurrencies as backing and using particular requirements for its stability (you can issue DAI as long as you contribute an amount of crypto of at least 150% of the value of each token issued).
Stablecoins have been surrounded by controversy for a long time. Many regulatory entities question its transparency and stability, as do countless people very close to the crypto industry. However, this instrument can be a great ally if used intelligently… it can help us manage our finances, as well as help multiple startups grow; Stablecoins are already gaining notoriety in the e-commerce industry, as many entrepreneurs are more willing to offer their products at prices that, in real time, are referenced to the US dollar.
In multiple territories, more and more companies are joining the trend of accepting stablecoins… yes, we are talking about companies that offer services of all kinds, from small businesses that sell items such as televisions and game consoles, to pizzerias and ice cream shops. Countries like India, Venezuela, and Argentina are cases to take into account. These countries are going through a difficult economic reality and limited access to dollars, so entrepreneurs and clients benefit greatly from digital assets… merchants who may not be incredibly familiar with Bitcoin and Ethereum benefit, and clients who don’t trust banking institutions.
Here’s an interesting anecdote. Do you remember the closure of LocalBitcoins? I’m referring to the iconic platform that for years worked for people from all over the world to exchange their fiat money for BTC and vice versa. I know what you are thinking, some will say that the ecosystem closed due to issues such as the last crypto winter or regulations such as the tightening of the KYC (“Know Your Customer”), and yes, those factors had a lot to do with it. However, there’s one aspect to take into account: the late introduction of other digital assets, including, yes, stablecoins (users, among other requirements, requested access to instruments such as USDT and USDC… when the platform decided to take note, much of the damage had already been done, people had turned to other services capable of providing more benefits).
We put a lot of effort into analyzing the reality of the industry, which is why we have internalized all these principles when building the LOAD protocol. Our intention, as we described in a previous note, is to allow users to carry out transactions in different cryptocurrencies, including stablecoins. This means that the client will be able to access hundreds of products using digital assets (WBTC, ETH, USDT, USDC…), among which the seller will have the power to choose. It’s simple: the seller stakes the LOAD token, proceeds to list their products on the portal, and then sets the price in a digital asset. The transactions would take advantage of L2 Optimism (an Ethereum Blockchain), guaranteeing low fees and making this project attractive to suppliers and common users.
Companies that only accept conventional means of payment, such as debit and credit cards, exclude a good part of the population, people who don’t have high incomes and don’t trust the banking regulations in their countries. While it’s true that there are conventional digital payment alternatives, it’s also true that cryptocurrencies provide much more efficiency: there are no expensive fees for sending and receiving money, transactions are much faster and there’s no need to provide personal information. It’s great to allow users to deposit and withdraw assets like BTC, ETH, or LTC, but why not give them the chance to do the same with USDT or USDC? We see no reason not to do so, nor do we believe that the use of stablecoins is an affront to the very principles of cryptocurrencies.