Cryptocurrency–Binance Labs, the independent investment vehicle of the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchanges by volume and user base, has announced the backing of a $32 million dollar project to create a new stable coin. Compared to traditional cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and the vast majority, stable coins provide some form of relative price security by anchoring the coin’s value to an external source. In the case of Tether, eighth largest coin by market capitalization and by far the world’s most high profile stable coin, the USDT coin is pegged to the valuation of one U.S. dollar, providing investors with an option to safe-harbor their funds on exchanges in the event of an erratic market pricing.
As more blockchain investors and developers look to use cryptocurrency in a way that does not necessarily lend itself to an investment vehicle, stable coins are becoming a more popular option as a way to avoid the massive price volatility of the market and general fluctuation in valuation that makes crypto difficult to conceptualize as a form of digital tender. While the general market of cryptocurrency has been enticed by the massive opportunity for price appreciation, deflation and price gain, stable coins offer other advantages via their ability to deliver day to day consistency.
Binance, along with three other exchanges, have joined forces to fund a new currency titled Terra with the goal of increasing cryptocurrency adoption through the appeal of a stable coin. By focusing on the consumer, particularly one that wants to use an alternative digital tender like cryptocurrency as opposed to government fiat, Terra is targeting Asian-based eCommerce as its first wave of adoption. The idea is to create rewards and discounts for Terra customers, thereby incentivizing the use of the stable coin over traditional payment routes, without raising costs for merchants. As opposed to paying banking and card fees, the team behind Terra is prompting merchants to pass the difference in cost (sometimes as high as 4 percent of the transaction total) to Terra consumers.
Speaking in an interview with Fortune, one of the founders of Terra Daniel Shin explained his image for the new project,
“Imagine going to Amazon and clicking “Terra pay” at checkout. You don’t need a wallet and so on. All you know is it’s a better deal.”
The idea is to grow adoption via the novelty of the payment source, in addition to piggybacking off of the growing movement of digital payments and crypto-alternatives to government fiat. Shin and the other backers of Terra see the advantage in their currency through the stable coin model, which will find far more traction with the average consumer and those who are rebuffed by the current price volatility of crypto. Rather than espousing the investment opportunity to be made, Terra is marketing itself as a discounted form of payment, albeit one that provides similar benefits of cryptocurrency and blockchain.
The long-term goal of the currency, according to Shin, is to create a secondary currency to peg the value of Terra to, as opposed to relying solely upon a fiat anchor as in the case of Tether’s USDT.