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Emerging market turmoil could be breeding ground for stable coins » Brave New Coin

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While this trend is nothing new it isn’t going to abate any time soon either; the devaluation of emerging market (EM) currencies has been happening for the past eight years and is part of a far bigger picture.

In 2008 emerging market countries borrowed billions in USD-denominated debt when USD was going cheap as the Fed printed more of it to shore up the economy during the GFC. As US interest rates were slashed to 0%, EM countries borrowed at next to nothing, but since 2010 they’ve been hit with a double whammy of repaying the debt in a rallying US dollar and at higher interest rates.

BNC EM Economies Debts 13 18The volume of Local Bitcoins trades in emerging markets has increased alongside their country’s foreign debt.

“Interest rate manipulation by the central bank appears to be Turkey’s only option”, says Eiland Glover, CEO of the stable coin minting blockchain Kowala. Although the Turkish government hasn’t lifted rates yet to stem the inflation or the outflows from the country, at 17.75% it is still cripplingly high for an average person to repay on a loan let alone a mortgage.    

Argentina takes the mantel for the world’s highest interest rate currently, at an unfathomable 33.25 percent, and Local Bitcoins volumes, which have been on a steady uptrend since 2013, this week hit an all-time high at an equivalent of over $6m in the week. Local Bitcoin transactions in Venezuela also hit an all-time high, another country also in the economic doldrums.  

The tight negative correlation between the performance of emerging market economies and the strength of the USD can be seen in the comparison below between the US Dollar Index (USD strength relative to a basket of foreign currencies) against the exchange-traded fund EEM, which tracks an index of mid and large capitalization equities across emerging markets – with a strong weighting to China, Korea, India and Latin America.

dxy eem

 The US dollar index (DXY) in blue and EEM in red. 

Turkish Lira going into crypto

Along with China, Turkey has been in a trade war with the US that has escalated in recent weeks and we’ve seen the price of BTC in Lira deviating from the rest of the major currencies. 

btc try3

The volume of Turkish Lira (TRY, light blue line) going into BTC this week has been an outlier from the rest of the fiat currencies.

The Turkish Lira (TRY) has cratered 38% against the USD in the past year and a similar amount against the Euro; the probability of the Turkish government defaulting on its debt has increased to 52%, as indicated by its credit default swaps. As the Turkish government and corporations have billions of outstanding debt denominated in EUR and USD this downward spiral could lead to hyperinflation (inflation in Turkey is already running at 17%). 

Bitcoin is now trading at a 25% premium in Turkish Lira over BTC/USD. 

btctryusd

 BTC/TRY in the candlesticks versus BTC/USD in orange trading at a near 25% premium.  

Are emerging markets using USD stable coins?

Turkey, where citizens have been implored by the government to sell USD and gold to buy the Lira and India, where access to foreign exchange is limited, would be fertile ground for a USD pegged stable coin. 

And looking at the volumes going into the stable coin USD Tether over the past month, the currencies of Turkey (TRY) and India (INR) have indeed at times been trading at a much higher premium than $1USD. 

Screen Shot 2018 08 17 at 5.17.56 pm

The INR has been trading at a premium to the $1USD peg for TrueUSD (TUSD)

Kowala’s Glover believes we are approaching a future in which governments lack much of the power to create such economic crises in the first place.

“We are witnessing the end to the nation-state’s monopoly on the creation of money,” he says. “Stable—cryptocurrencies will soon enter the marketplace as viable alternatives to government fiat. Price stabilizing mechanisms such as autonomous money supply control are much simpler and more effective than the current tools at Central Banks’ disposal.”

Screen Shot 2018 08 17 at 6.12.54 pm

The INR has been trading at a premium to the $1USD peg for TrueUSD (TUSD)

“As this happens, money will simply become another product, and consumers and businesses will be able to choose from among many viable currencies just as easily as choosing a brand of laundry detergent.”



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