IBM Goes All In On Stablecoin Project as Mainstream Crypto Adoption Grows

Dow blue-chip IBM (IBM) has teamed up with a financial technology startup to launch a new stablecoin that will be pegged to the U.S. dollar. The announcement is the latest in a series of positive developments linking mainstream business to the bustling world of cryptocurrency.

IBM Backs Stablecoin

IBM and fin-tech startup Stronghold are developing a new stablecoin by the name of “Stronghold USD,” which is backed by Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)-insured U.S. dollars. Reserves will be held in Prime Trust, a blockchain-focused asset manager.

By experimenting with virtual dollars, IBM is looking to develop new ways of helping financial institutions process payments more quickly and securely. The company is leveraging its existing relationship with Stellar to launch the new stablecoin. This means Stronghold USD will be backed by the Stellar blockchain.

This isn’t the first time IBM has tapped the Stellar protocol to experiment with cryptocurrency. Earlier this year, the technology giant joined hands with environmental startup Veridium to transform carbon credits into digital tokens. As Hacked reported in May, the carbon credits will be used by businesses to offset environmental damage.

IBM’s original partnership with Stellar involved work on a global payment network powered by blockchain solutions. Through Stellar’s digital ledger, IBM is seeking to develop 12 currency corridors in the South Pacific.

Stablecoins: Opportunity and Controversy

In principle, a stablecoin removes much of the volatility from digital currency trading by ensuring that each token is tied to a government-backed currency. Conceivably, each Stronghold USD token will be pegged to the U.S. dollar.

The problem with stablecoins is confirming whether the token is actually backed by an equal quantity of government-backed currency. Much of the controversy surrounding stablecoins emanates from Tether, a highly controversial project that has repeatedly failed to provide evidence of its U.S. dollar reserves.

Tether has also been accused of inflating the price of bitcoin by flooding the market with USDT tokens. Tether is run by the same CEO as Bitfinex, a leading digital currency exchange, prompting an investigation of both companies by U.S. federal regulators. This culminated in a subpoena by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on Dec. 6.

Nevertheless, stablecoins have surged in popularity as investors search for a reliable funding mechanism to enter trades. Tether’s USDT token accounts for nearly one-fifth of total cryptocurrency trades, according to data provider CoinMarketCap.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Author:
Chief Editor to Hacked.com and Contributor to CCN.com, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi

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